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Old 10-10-2019, 04:47 PM   #31
Bono
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Default Re: When you query ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Merrick View Post
Thank you. Yes. I know, I know. My final draft essentially started at 240 pages and with several rounds of editing, I got it down to 139.

At least I didn't start querying with the longer versions. A few industry people have read it now, and a couple didn't mention length. A couple mentioned that it could be slimmed down slightly.

I had to a choose a point at which to query, otherwise I'd be tinkering forever. I went out with it to a few now and waiting to see if I hear anything.

I'm writing for myself here, but I'm open to notes of knowledgeable people who understand it (and most do). If I get negative reactions, I can retool before sending again.

For now, I need to go out with this one. It for sure will get some retooling before it's produced. I already have some notes from trusted sources to work into it. But I didn't think they were fatal before starting to send out.
Glad to hear you got reads and no one said anything. Probably another rule that is meant to be broken. Ha. I'm adding 30 pages to all my scripts now. Good luck.

And more serious, glad you listened to the advice to trim it down, but also listened to yourself as a writer. The perfect way to take advice from strangers on a writing message board.
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Old 10-10-2019, 11:43 PM   #32
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Default Re: When you query ...

Thank you all. I am aware of the risks.
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Old 10-29-2019, 03:31 AM   #33
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Default Re: When you query ...

How often do producers meet their deadlines of reading?

Is it bad if they don't?

I followed up with the producer that requested a read, and he replied and even gave a specific finishing date. He's missed the date by about a week now, which is making me think of querying others, as it's probably not wise to keep all my chips on this guy.

I would really love feedback from him (even if it's a no), and was holding on sending wider in case he said it wasn't ready. But if he goes over by a month or disappears completely, I don't want to be waiting forever on an unsure thing.

FWIW - I found contacts to a lot of producers in my arena, so I already have the ability to start going wider with it. I was holding off until I heard something from my first queries, of which I only sent 2-3. It's been a month, so ... I think I need to start going a little faster than 2-3 per month.
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Old 10-29-2019, 07:19 AM   #34
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Default Re: When you query ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Merrick View Post
How often do producers meet their deadlines of reading?

Is it bad if they don't?

I followed up with the producer that requested a read, and he replied and even gave a specific finishing date. He's missed the date by about a week now, which is making me think of querying others, as it's probably not wise to keep all my chips on this guy.

I would really love feedback from him (even if it's a no), and was holding on sending wider in case he said it wasn't ready. But if he goes over by a month or disappears completely, I don't want to be waiting forever on an unsure thing.

FWIW - I found contacts to a lot of producers in my arena, so I already have the ability to start going wider with it. I was holding off until I heard something from my first queries, of which I only sent 2-3. It's been a month, so ... I think I need to start going a little faster than 2-3 per month.
I wouldn't wait. In this town you could wait forever...
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Old 10-29-2019, 07:22 AM   #35
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Default Re: When you query ...

I was advised to not do a mass query to start but to gauge reaction off a few reads before going after many producers / companies.

So that's why I only wrote a few.

But so, I should just go for it? I was bummed this guy didn't meet his own deadline. I'm personally not keen on people who can't make deadlines, but I don't know if that is par for the course in this industry.
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Old 10-29-2019, 09:00 AM   #36
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Default Re: When you query ...

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I was advised to not do a mass query to start but to gauge reaction off a few reads before going after many producers / companies.

So that's why I only wrote a few.

But so, I should just go for it? I was bummed this guy didn't meet his own deadline. I'm personally not keen on people who can't make deadlines, but I don't know if that is par for the course in this industry.
You seem cautious and conscientious. That can be a good thing but if it leads to to over thinking and passivity it's not.
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Old 10-29-2019, 11:01 AM   #37
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Default Re: When you query ...

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Originally Posted by Merrick View Post
How often do producers meet their deadlines of reading?
they miss them a lot. they're busy. they'll get to it if and when they have time.
Quote:
Is it bad if they don't?
honestly? yeah, it could be. he could have read it and set it down, in which case you might not receive a response at all. it could be that they're too busy. don't push. if he gets back to you he gets back to you. follow up several weeks later. i once waited four months and finally received a response.

Quote:
I followed up with the producer that requested a read, and he replied and even gave a specific finishing date. He's missed the date by about a week now, which is making me think of querying others, as it's probably not wise to keep all my chips on this guy.
you should always be querying. imo, you send it and forget it. do not wait for someone to respond. the only time you stop querying is when you have a signed contract/option.

Quote:
I would really love feedback from him (even if it's a no), and was holding on sending wider in case he said it wasn't ready. But if he goes over by a month or disappears completely, I don't want to be waiting forever on an unsure thing.
don't expect feedback. if they're not interested they definitely won't have the time to offer you anything more than possibly a reason they are passing. don't wait. move on.

Quote:
FWIW - I found contacts to a lot of producers in my arena, so I already have the ability to start going wider with it. I was holding off until I heard something from my first queries, of which I only sent 2-3. It's been a month, so ... I think I need to start going a little faster than 2-3 per month.

2-3 in one month? i'm guessing the market in Scandinavia is a lot smaller than Hollywood, but if you feel your query is the best is can be, i'd be sending it to everyone. the worst that can happen is that you have to email them back and tell them that the project has been acquired and is no longer available.

the only catch is that your query has to kick ass.

good luck.
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Old 10-29-2019, 12:10 PM   #38
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Default Re: When you query ...

Hey there, thanks for the answers and advice. I'll start casting a wider net now. Your advice sounds good. This wait is too painful and it would be better if I'm constantly juggling a few people rather than waiting on one.

Disappointing about the breaking deadlines thing. Would've thought the reliable people in this industry need to be very time specific. But I guess it's an industry thing.

I followed up after a couple weeks but won't write him again for a month. Will move onto others.

How do you find so many people to continuously query? I mean, you must run out of people at some point? The industry isn't that huge.

I am querying the US market.
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Old 10-30-2019, 11:12 AM   #39
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Default Re: When you query ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Merrick View Post
Hey there, thanks for the answers and advice. I'll start casting a wider net now. Your advice sounds good. This wait is too painful and it would be better if I'm constantly juggling a few people rather than waiting on one.
it's not painful at all. it's a process that you have no control over, so it's best to accept that, do the due diligence, but you MUST let it go. don't waste good time, effort and energy worrying about what you cannot control.

Quote:
Disappointing about the breaking deadlines thing. Would've thought the reliable people in this industry need to be very time specific. But I guess it's an industry thing.
look, it's not about breaking a promise. they owe you nothing. they are doing you a favor by reading your work, not the other way around (not saying you think that, just generally speaking).

they have projects they have to work through, they have clients that ALWAYS will come before you. they could be at any stage of production which requires them to work insane hours, you can't realistically expect them to honor reading your script by a deadline. it's an unrealistic expectation.

some managers read 20 scripts a week or more. they have to read their client's next draft before yours, they will read referrals from family, friends, agents, producers, networks, studio exec ALL BEFORE READING your script.

writers need to manage their expectations. and while you're querying you should be writing, researching, exploring new ideas and get to work on your next script because it will be better than the last.

Quote:
I followed up after a couple weeks but won't write him again for a month. Will move onto others.

How do you find so many people to continuously query? I mean, you must run out of people at some point? The industry isn't that huge.

I am querying the US market.
i use every tool i can. Done Deal Pro, IMDBpro, RocketReach-- you'd be surprised that a lot of producers and managers do have their emails included. many don't. i've found managers and agent's emails on scripts i've read from the annual black lists.

DDP is a great resource because if you check out the deals throughout the month you'll figure out quickly who is making deals, who their managers, agents and lawyers are even the studios, networks and producers on any given project. you can look up historical date on either imdbpro and DDP. it takes time, perseverance and drive, because it can be boring and fascinating at the same time. i keep a huge spread sheet and copy the main one for each script.

i actually do not run out of people to access and there are still more to add to my list. depending on the genre you may tap out, i suppose, but managers rep different writers who write in different genres. it doesn't make sense for a manager to only and exclusively rep "thriller" writers because then all his clients are fighting for the same projects-- a manager wants to compete with other manager's clients, not their own.

and when you reach the bottom of the list of potential people to query, that's when you sent your next one out. if you think your script is ready for the market, then maybe you try The Black List or other contests to get recognition.

just get to work on your next project now. and if you're not going to write another project or want to transition to screenwriting full time, then you'll have an even harder time securing a manager and especially an agent-- these people make money on prolific writers. they are not going to invest their time and expertise for a one off.

one person's opinion.
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Old 10-30-2019, 12:33 PM   #40
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Default Re: When you query ...

Thanks so much for the thorough reply!

So to clarify about the producer thing, there are two aspects which made it a disappointment. I do not think he owes me anything.

One is that he seemed to be a perfect fit in terms of having worked on a lot of stuff in similar subgenre to mine but ALSO not insanely busy producing AAA films constantly. Which I took as a bonus. He seems to stick around indie stuff or lower budget studio, which would work perfectly for me.

Two is that I intend to direct and also produce mine too. But a producer partner feels important to get it off the ground. So, if you as a screenwriter are looking for a sale and to get produced, it's a little bit different story than me who is looking for long-term trustworthy people to develop with ... I think? I know the process of making a film from pre through post is insane, and so if someone can't meet a deadline then I start to become concerned how will it be working alongside them on a daily basis for 1-2 years straight.

That out of the way, your querying strategy is very cool and impressive. I don't know if I have that much stamina in me simply because of other work commitments and the fact that I'm cramming tons of producing info now and planning the directing of this film in advance, just in case a "yes" comes at any moment.

There will be a time when this process is finished (in a few months minimum). I am definitely keen to write another script, but as you said, I don't know if this will be full-time for me. My preference would always be to write spec scripts. I don't see the emotional or financial rewards for me of doing touch ups or hire jobs unless it's really something I want to do anyway.

I actually put my script on The Black List out of curiosity. Probably I'm being defeatist. I have some feeling it won't do well there. But hope to be pleasantly surprised. It will be interesting nevertheless to hear comments from anonymous readers. I don't know why but I have this feeling like it would do better in contests than on TBL.

Thank you so much in any case for the rundown, as it was very helpful.

This will be a journey for me and will take some painful readjustments of expectations. I admire your ability to take this with quiet dignity.
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