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Old 11-24-2019, 05:24 PM   #1
Join Date: Oct 2009
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Default Contest vs Query Letters

Which is more effective
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Old 11-24-2019, 05:40 PM   #2
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Default Re: Contest vs Query Letters

The vast majority of script writers will never ever win a contest, so in general, a great query letter is the only way for them to go, especially in term of this "question."

But at the end of the day, a contest win, especially with an established contest, will carry much more weight with people because it's a third party validation of your writing skills & script.
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Last edited by Done Deal Pro : 11-25-2019 at 07:36 AM. Reason: Clarification
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Old 11-24-2019, 07:46 PM   #3
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Default Re: Contest v.s Query Letters

Spot on.

Think of it this way, the finalists are going to be the only ones that really get attention for the writing in the top, let's say 3-5 contests, that's like only 15 - 30 writers, out of ALL the writers that have a script ready.

There will be hundreds that have the potential to be made into a film. Use every tool in your arsenal. These are a mere two tools.
“Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist,” Pablo Picasso
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Old 11-25-2019, 01:31 PM   #4
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Default Re: Contest v.s Query Letters

A contest win from a film festival / competition other than the top 10 will probably not get you an agent. But it can get you non-WGA work/assignments if you are good and bust your tail to prove you're the right writer the gig.
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Old 11-25-2019, 02:05 PM   #5
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Default Re: Contest v.s Query Letters

Originally Posted by kdmccaskill View Post
Which is more effective
Multiple high contest placements combined with a great logline is more effective.

Zero contest placements combined with a great logline is more effective.

Multiple contest wins with a lacklustre logline is not effective.
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Old 11-25-2019, 02:27 PM   #6
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Default Re: Contest v.s Query Letters

Being a finalist in certain contests will get you reads from legit managers and you might not have to query. I'm talking about trackingb and tracking board. Both have judges panels made up of managers, agents, and execs. I was a finalist one year and got my current manager from it.

Same probably goes for Nicholls finalists. If you make it that far, people are reaching out to you.
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Old 06-15-2020, 01:21 PM   #7
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Default Re: Contest v.s Query Letters

Bit late to this party, but...

CONTESTS - If you finish high in a reputable contest, industry folks will come to you. I've had it happen before and it was a nice experience. You become the commodity and they become the pursuers.

QUERIES - When you query people, they become the commodity and you become the pursuer. The writer is in the subservient position here, essentially begging for a favor. I think that puts you at a disadvantage right away because, psychologically, reps are going to be more skeptical of someone who's pursuing them than of someone they're pursuing. I've had very limited success here, with only a couple read requests to show for maybe 30-35 queries sent out over the years.

There's a perception among "outsiders" that industry people don't want to read anything, but I don't believe that's accurate. There will always be demand for strong material, but there's so much garbage filling the pipeline that it's not cost-efficient for reps to read something unless they have a reason to believe it won't be crap.

A strong query letter with the right concept or sales pitch can definitely get you a read, but a high placement in a reputable contest lends a certain amount of instant credibility to your project, which is far more valuable.

It's not an either-or situation though. You can place high in a contest AND then use that placement as a carrot in query letters, which will make reps more likely to bite. Some reps monitor contest results and will aggressively solicit material that places high. However, other reps don't put in that work on their own, but might become receptive to something after it's been vetted.
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