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Old 05-22-2019, 07:00 AM   #1
JoeNYC
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Default Opinions on idea of sending script to a top production company

I have an idea that some of you will think is a bold act and some of you will think is a desperate act, but I prefer to think of it as a found opportunity.

I have different options on how to proceed, but before I give the options for your opinions, I’ll need to put the idea in context.

In Bono’s logline thread, he bet me $100 that a query letter that I had sent off a decade ago, when I was a newbie, had an overwritten logline. I told him he would lose that bet, and I proceeded to search for the query letter to prove it.

By the time I found the query, Bono had withdrawn the bet, but what was interesting is that in the production company’s returned envelope to me I found that it not only contained a copy of the query letter I had sent them, but also their legal submission agreement form, which I had forgotten all about.

I never sent the script, or the signed submission form because, as a newbie, I came to the sad realization that my craft wasn’t at a professional level yet, so I put the screenplay away and continued with studying the craft and writing other screenplays.

Now that Bono made me dig out this query and the production company’s script request it got me thinking that technically they’ve requested the script and there was no stated deadline to send the requested script.

By now, you all know what I’m thinking. Could this be a legit loophole to now send the requested script?

I’ve never heard of any industry people, or non-pro writers discuss that there’s an unspoken deadline, where when a script is requested and a writer fails to send it in a certain amount of time, he loses the opportunity. The door has closed to the requested script.

I have three options available to me:

Option “A”:

ARE YOU CRAZY! Forget about it and move on to query managers to help you open industry doors.

Option “B”:

I send the now well-crafted script with their signed and dated submission agreement form.

On the envelope, I’ll write, “Signed and dated Di Novi Pictures submission agreement form enclosed.”

Maybe by never receiving the script, there’s no record of when the request was made, so maybe they’ll think this is a recent request and send it off to their readers for coverage.

Option “C”:

Come clean about the situation by enclosing a cover letter, though still not revealing the request was made a decade ago.

The cover letter could go something like the following:

In the past, I attended a seminar given by Denise Di Novi. Ms. Di Novi invited the attendees to send her company a query letter addressed to her president and partner, Alison Greenspan, along with a code to identify the invited queries, which I did.

Out of 300 queries, 3 screenplays were requested, which one was mine. I never sent my script, because at the time, being a newbie, I realized my craft wasn’t at a professional level yet.

I continued studying the craft and writing screenplays and forgotten all about this request until the commercial success of the superhero comedy SHAZAM.

Since there was no stated deadline on sending the screenplay and the fact that I’m now confident that my level of craft is at a professional level, I’ve rewritten the screenplay and sent it to you along with the company’s official submission agreement, signed and dated, for your consideration.

Thank you.

-- These are the three options available to me.

What’s your opinion on which option is best to proceed, “A,” “B,” or “C”?

Some may think there’s an “Option “D”: Send another query with the cover letter to explain the situation.

This isn’t an available option. For legal reasons, they have a strict policy of not accepting query letters, so with the assigned code no longer valid and seeing that it’s a query letter, right in the trash it’ll go.

ON A SIDE NOTE TO BONO:

It’s a good thing you withdrew the bet because with the proof of Di Novi’s returned envelope and the copy of my newbie query letter, showing a concisely written 26 word logline, you would have lost the $100 bet.

What’s ironic is that now, as I rewrite the logline as an experienced writer, it’s longer than my newbie version, running 39 to 44 words. Hopefully, every word is necessary and not perceived as overwritten with unnecessary details.

Last edited by JoeNYC : 05-22-2019 at 04:16 PM.
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Old 05-22-2019, 03:45 PM   #2
finalact4
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Default Re: Opinions on idea of sending script to a top production company

imo, the best thing that ever happened is that you realized that you weren't ready. and it shouldn't have been a "sad" moment for you at all. i knew this when i first started as well. it drove me to be the best i could be. it still drives me. i may not be completely ready, but my writing is at the pro level and i'm willing to step into the arena now with confidence.

so, consider yourself fortunate that you had that insight.

i am surprised, though, that you feel your only option is to use this old query as a way to manipulate your way into submitting your script. sure, there's no deadline, but you know it's wrong. you know they didn't intend for you to send them a script 10 years later. you know this because you're trying right now to find a way to circumvent the system.

it doesn't matter if they have a no solicitation policy. if they love the logline they'll request it. if they don't they won't. move on.

and honestly, it seems kinda desperate, i'm really sorry to say. you're not desperate are you? you believe in your writing, right? you believe in your script, right? then why would you risk this?

this could blow up in your face. it might not, that's true, but it could. how do you think they'll feel about you trying to sneak your script into their hands? realistically, they'll put you on a list of "who not to accept material from." and if that happens, you'll have to explain to your future manager or agent that you tried this, and that you're not allowed to let them submit your work to this prodco. that's the worse that can happen.

i think what you're trying to do is wrong. it's these kinds of tactics that give non-represented writers a bad name. it's exactly these tactics that are the reason companies have a "no unsolicited material" policy in the first place.

send a new query letter in with the original email. or scan it and send the original as an attachment. tell them that you didn't want to submit it until you developed your craft. until a time you felt it was ready. tell them that you are willing to sign the agreement and have so included it in the attachment. explain to them about the code that was given to you in the seminar. show them that you are a writer with integrity. i'll bet that they will accept it.

and if they don't? so what? move on.

did a quick google search and it looks like Denise Di Novi has started a new production company called Patma Productions with the backing of CAA. here's an excerpt from the Variety announcement. looks like they will be focusing on working with women and POC.

Quote:
“We are committed to gender parity, and giving women and people of color more opportunities both in front of and behind the camera,” said Di Novi. “PatMa will develop content that not only entertains, but surprises, challenges, and awakens audiences to the emotional experiences of people from every walk of life.”
Here's the article that announced a year ago in January that she was starting a new studio.

https://variety.com/2018/film/news/n...ns-1202680279/
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Last edited by finalact4 : 05-22-2019 at 04:10 PM.
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Old 05-22-2019, 04:12 PM   #3
JoeNYC
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Default Re: Opinions on idea of sending script to a top production company

Quote:
Originally Posted by finalact4 View Post
i am surprised, though, that you feel your only option is to use this old query as a way to manipulate your way into submitting your script. sure, there's no deadline, but you know it's wrong.
That's just it and the reason for this thread, I'm not so sure it's wrong. They were intrigued by the concept and wanted to read the script, so I'm a tad late in sending them the script. Maybe they won't notice.

I'm thinking the clean way to do it is to send the above mentioned cover letter explaining the situation, but not by email. Regular mail might give me a better chance that the cover letter, which would include the title, genre and logline, would be read.

Tough, I do like Option "C." It's a risk, but sometimes these efforts work. Who knows?

Edited to add: I caught your link to the Varity article. If she dissolves Di Novi Pictures, then this idea is DOA.
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Old 05-22-2019, 04:21 PM   #4
finalact4
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Default Re: Opinions on idea of sending script to a top production company

did you read my post edit? you should check to see if Di Novi Productions is still around because Denise Di Novi has started a new studio.

and if you don't think it's wrong, or deceptive, then why deliberately hide the fact that you received the request 10 years ago. why are you sending it "mail" instead of email? you're deliberately choosing to be deceptive, which is wrong. period.

no one sends letters anymore. i'm sure they would appreciate an email. at least you'll have a record that you sent it.
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Old 05-22-2019, 04:46 PM   #5
JoeNYC
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Default Re: Opinions on idea of sending script to a top production company

Quote:
Originally Posted by finalact4 View Post
if you don't think it's wrong, or deceptive, then why deliberately hide the fact that you received the request 10 years ago. why are you sending it "mail" instead of email?
It's not really about "hiding," or being "deceptive." It's a strategy to get past their strict policy of NO QUERY LETTERS and to make the office assistants aware that their boss had shown interest in this concept and requested the script.

Now if they have a record that this request was made years ago, this may, or may not irk them. Maybe they would understand the difficulty it is for a writer to get his screenplay in front of the eyes of industry people and they would like my gumption for using a past request and submission agreement. Like I said, they gave no deadline to send, so technically…

After all, I was invited to send, but this all may be moot if Di Novi made a new partnership and formed another production company. I'll have to look into this.

Thanks, finalact4, for giving me your honest opinion on this idea of mine.
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Old 05-22-2019, 08:44 PM   #6
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Default Re: Opinions on idea of sending script to a top production company

I got a real headache trying to read this, and couldn't possible process it all.

No single submission could possibly be so bloody precious. Oh, if only I'd taken the red pill instead of the blue one, or whatever it was.

Just send a requery, and ignore any pretense of the past dealings.

I regularly (have this week, in fact) send out queries on the same script, to the same prodcos. Of course, the script will be polished and usually 10% shorter, staff at the companies may have changed, and at least 3 (and, given my own catalog, up to 9) years will have passed.

Even if it's the same staff, I don't hesitate to put something like "Hi, I pitched this a few years ago at 112 pages, but it's undergone several polishes and maybe you'd like to see it again." The script may now be 103 pages, and I attach the header of the previous emails to prove the previous contact. No sense in hiding it.

But it's just a query. In most cases, nobody's even going to remember the earlier contact, or complain about the new one.

And by the way, even on those "no unsolicited" replies that I and we all get on our email pitches, quite often 3-4 years later I contact them again with a "forward" of that email to ask if their policy's changed. I can't recollect if anybody's ever responded with "Sure, send us a query/script", but at least half the time they get back to me courteously, with "sorry, no change in policy." But, it does keep my name in front of them.

So yeah, we all ponder past prospects, but it it shouldn't be a big deal.

Now, I understand the perceived difference in this case, about no-unsolicited and a release, and being a full script vs. just a re-query. But who's going to remember if you just resend the query and initiate a contemporary conversation? I think that would be the most courteous thing to do.

I also think that having a release is a bit overblown. Lots of places that accept "solicited" queries/scripts still want to know "do I know you" and "to whom were you talking" (ie. who asked for the script. Even those companies (eg. Renfield) that have the release posted right on their website still want the script to be "solicited", and only have the release at-the-ready for those circumstances.

Sheesh. My headache's worse.

Just resend a query. A decade. It doesn't merit the bandwidth of this thread, so methinks we're all just looking for excuses to avoid writing a new script, polishing an old one, or doing some heavy duty fresh marketing/pitching.
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