pseudonyms and query letters



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  • pseudonyms and query letters

    Alright, so I have a pseudonym... do I use it in my Query? Or my real name, and then explain the pseudonym part later?

  • #2

    I don't understand why you need to use a pseudonym. Most folks are going to think it's really weird not to use your own name (unless you are an ex-mobster in witness relocation and have written a script about the crime family you were a member of). Why do you need to hide your identity? Why are you making it hard for hunky young stars to find you?

    - Bill


    • #3
      Crazy ex-husbands? Fatal Attraction from an inverse gender angle?


      • #4
        I have a pen name too. I've published fiction under it, so I always include it in correspondence:


        Pat Jones
        writing as Pat Smith

        But if you haven't sold stuff under the pseudonym yet, do whatever feels right to you. I think I'd leave it off the query letter --then when they request the material, make it clear.

        That would also keep your options open -- you might change your mind and decide to use a different pseudonym. Hunk E. Dory or something.

        A pen name is just a toy.


        • #5
          pseudonyms and query letters

          Pseudonyms aren't as popular in screen writing as they are in literature and I'm not sure how they are handled in the screen trade. But in literature the pen name is only used on the title page of the story, everywhere else you use your real name. So I would have to agree with 40winks.

          &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp J.W.


          • #6
            All of this Cr*p has made me decide to just legally change my name... (No one can give me a straight definitive answer) And yes, Psycho Ex on the loose...


            • #7
              Good reason to have a new name.

              Back a while, during the recent negotiations, the WGA were asking for writers to have the right to use pseudonyms. I dunno if that's been "authorized" yet or not.


              • #8
                Re: pseudonyms and query letters - Caution

                You can write a query letter under any name as long as you have no intent to defraud.

                If accepted, use an intermediary for further contact. Rarely would a buyer insist on 'eyeball conatact' - - - if you have a biz rep (who better know the industry games: Mark Litwak comes to mind) - That's different than an agent who merely gets you in the door, a biz rep (atty) gets you to the bank.

                A change of name ?

                Is authorized by a court of law;

                Is recorded in the county of that jurisdiction - is an open record;

                It then is 'of record'.

                The ex can access those kinds of records in every jurisdiction - as in all of them! - for as little as $39.00 on the Internet! And 'probably' 'possibly' find you. My guess is that he knows your social security number.
                Under some circumstance that number may be changed, linking old to new for your later benefits, but not published.

                (Social Security numbers can never be changed for credit repair!)

                This is a big If, a big IF here!, If the court agrees to sequester your record, your name change 'migh't not be accessible. 'Might' meaning if no one 'bribes' the record keepers or if there is no successul challenge later on - by creditors, for examle.


                What you are seeking is known as: a PKA (professionally known as). Your PKA may be safeguarded by your attorney and not released for publication or recordation - which protects you in case of alleged fraud, etc.

                If . . . you establish a professional corporation - a PC - which then pays your taxes earned using your PKA you'll keep things in line with IRS.

                While all taxpayer records, including professional corporations, are of record in some form, somewhere - not what you pay, but who/what you are - and some records are cross-indexed -like names with social security numbers to professional corporations - it is less likely that you'll have to worry about ex using your PKA to find you.

                Nothing is infallible: could happen at a distant gas station! Bingo, there he is, there you are! Whoops! (Not trying to create paranoia, just reality. But, it's not likely, just in a script!)

                (There is also 'offshore' registrations to consider - use 'google' on the Internet for more info. Use caution, and <!--EZCODE UNDERLINE START-->know<!--EZCODE UNDERLINE END--> what you're doing! Get competent, proven, experienced advice.)

                Registration by WGA requires a social security number. (Ditto the federal copyright registration.) I haven't resourced this part for this reply, but memory tells me that an EIN number is also acceptable by WGA. (You can download the answer from the WGAw website: screenwriters manual at:

                - Consult, also the Minimum Basic Agreement, MBA - for any further clarification.

                - an EIN = Employer Identification Number, federal tax number.

                Some scripts are owned by corporations, thus an EIN for your PC/PKA is 'probably' OK.

                You don't have to 'register' to have protection of copyright; it's just for legal recourse and 'proof of date' - but, no registration = no damages! But authorship? Yes.

                I hope you are able to maintain your privacy.


                Killiam Tierney
                [email protected]

                PS: The price you pay for advice establishes its accuracy and value!