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Old 09-09-2014, 10:08 AM   #1
Concord
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Default Contest results (so far) enough to persuade a manager to read my script?

So I'm looking to get a manager… or at least get one to read my stuff. My latest script is a semi-finalist in the Page contest and is a Second Rounder in this year's Austin competition.

Question for those who have way more experience than I do:

Are those contest results enough to mention in a query letter to managers, or should I wait for, hopefully, more?

And should I bother quoting the personal note from Austin? It read:

"Our readers really loved your script! Your story is funny and highly original, displaying a fresh writing voice. Keep up the good work!"

I'm clear-eyed enough to know if they had *really* loved it, it would have made the Austin finals, but the script is still in contention with Page, so there's that.

Anyway, all advice welcomed!
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Old 09-09-2014, 10:31 AM   #2
muckraker
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Default Re: Contest results (so far) enough to persuade a manager to read my script?

Congrats on your success thus far. Since all advice is welcomed, I would wait. You have nothing to lose in holding off another month or whatever to see if it goes any further. Winner or finalist is of course much more appealing than any lesser placement sounds.

And I would not include the Austin quote because everyone else will also infer that if your script was that freaking awesome it would have advanced further.

Good luck.
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Old 09-09-2014, 10:42 AM   #3
jcpdoc
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Default Re: Contest results (so far) enough to persuade a manager to read my script?

I see the wisdom of waiting as well, but you might test the waters by sending out a single query to a prospective manager with "Page Semifinalist" in the subject heading. I would also not mention Austin, since it's tantamount to saying it didn't advance.
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Old 09-09-2014, 10:53 AM   #4
docgonzo
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Default Re: Contest results (so far) enough to persuade a manager to read my script?

I'm going to give you the opposite advice of Muck and say don't wait, for a few reasons.

First, just because your script was a second rounder/semi-finalist doesn't means it's any lesser of a script than the ones that moved on, or that industry professionals won't love it. The script I entered didn't even make it into the second round (at least I don't think it did), yet it landed me a manager and had a prod co attached (this was before I even submitted it to Austin). A subsequent draft was a finalist in another major contest, and got me in at an agency and another prod co.

The lesson is, you just never know. Just because it doesn't go far in a contest doesn't mean it's not a good or even great script.

As for querying, I do think it's sometimes helpful to mention significant placements in highly respected contests. I was a semi-finalist last year in one of the network fellowships and mentioned that in my queries for the pilot that was rejected by Austin. I believe it did help get me a few more reads. But I don't think it's a great idea to use the quote; reps/producers simply won't care. They're interested in the logline (make that great) and if they love the script they'll want to know more about you. The quote might be a nice touch for what amounts to being a rejection letter, but I don't think it's going to sway industry peeps.

So if you really believe you have a good script and think it's ready to send out into the world, why wait? Just make sure your logline's tight and let that do the talking.

Hope this helps. I'm sure others will weigh in with their own opinions.
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Old 09-09-2014, 11:28 AM   #5
anxt
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Default Re: Contest results (so far) enough to persuade a manager to read my script?

I'm a SF in Page and AFF this year. I'm letting those babies run until I start querying managers. Who knows--maybe I won't even have to...
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Old 09-09-2014, 11:37 AM   #6
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Default Re: Contest results (so far) enough to persuade a manager to read my script?

To be clear, I don't mean to suggest the OP hold off on querying, just that it would seem premature to make mention of contest status as an enticement at this stage.
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Old 09-09-2014, 12:36 PM   #7
Concord
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Default Re: Contest results (so far) enough to persuade a manager to read my script?

Thanks to all for your input! You've given me much to mull over.

I have decided not to mention the quote from Austin because, flattering as it is, it does highlight the fact that I didn't make it to the finals.

My concern about waiting for the Page results is, right now I'm a semi-finalist, which is pretty cool and if I wait a week, I'll either be a finalist -- which is cooler -- or I'm out entirely.

At least now I can flag to managers: "hey, the Page contest people think this guy has potential."

But if I wait a week, then maybe that potential flag goes away.

I don't know. Obviously there are no absolute right and wrong answers here...

I'm gonna call heads, see what happens. ;-)
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Old 09-09-2014, 04:17 PM   #8
ducky1288
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Default Re: Contest results (so far) enough to persuade a manager to read my script?

You can mention placements in your query but I wouldn't do quotes -- these reps don't know the person who said that so it will likely mean nothing to them.

In the past I've used a very simple template for my queries:

Hi xxxxx,

My script ____________ is an action thriller about _____________________.

It was a finalist in X, Y, and Z.

I would love to send for your consideration.

--Ducky


Less is more. Be concise and to the point. They read hundreds of emails a day and don't want to look at your page long query with synopsis and background of your life and all that. Just pitch them the idea and give them a reason to request it.
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Old 09-10-2014, 10:25 AM   #9
EJ Pennypacker
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Default Re: Contest results (so far) enough to persuade a manager to read my script?

Just a quick note, when I was QF of the Nics, I queried and people read it. When I was a SF with the same script, people read it (even more quickly). I ended up getting two offers of representation (before my script didn't make the finals) so whatever you do, don't wait. Strike while the iron is hot.
Note: It helps if your contest is noticeable.
EJ
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Old 09-10-2014, 10:52 AM   #10
Concord
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Default Re: Contest results (so far) enough to persuade a manager to read my script?

Quote:
Originally Posted by EJ Pennypacker View Post
Just a quick note, when I was QF of the Nics, I queried and people read it. When I was a SF with the same script, people read it (even more quickly). I ended up getting two offers of representation (before my script didn't make the finals) so whatever you do, don't wait. Strike while the iron is hot.
Note: It helps if your contest is noticeable.
EJ
Vey interesting, EJ. May I ask:

-- Did you send out a lot of queries or do a more targeted campaign to get that response?

-- I assume the Page contest qualifies as "noticeable"?

Based on your recommendation, I'll have to hurry up and do my queries before Page whittles the list down to the finalists next week!
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