Email queries waste of time?

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  • #31
    Originally posted by RKOwens View Post

    Thanks a lot for the great tips, really. I was surprised to read that you query agents and producers as well though. Pretty much every website and forum thread here I read on the topic of agents and managers said that agents will do absolutely nothing to help a new writer sell their scripts, that agents essentially only handle the negotiations and paperwork after a studio has already shown interest in purchasing/optioning a script, and that writers shouldn't even waste their time trying to get an agent unless they already have a manager. Was this all just poor advice? Is it worth our time and effort as writers to be querying agents?

    And about querying producers... I had often considered doing this since their emails are relatively easy to find and I know of a few producers that seem to have a great interest in projects dealing with the UFO phenomenon, a category one of my spec scripts falls into. But I thought it would be completely pointless querying them since I figured they likely all reject unsolicited submissions, and even if by some miracle they read and wanted to buy/option the script, without having a manager or agent I would be completely lost in that process. Do you find that producers can be open to such queries? And what would you do if they were interested in a script but you were unrepresented?
    I would say they're right about agents. I wouldn't query them now. Managers and producers are receptive.

    Producers are looking for projects to make, in order to do that they need to be open to accepting material.
    "Reserving rights to comment and make changes."
    Hollywood producer

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    • #32
      FWIW, I don't understand the logic of not approaching agents. What's to lose? And I know plenty of first time writers with agents.

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      • #33
        Dude, if you know agents who are open to submissions, PM me!

        We've (as producers) had direct contact with a few small producers regarding a project we have, but nothing's panned out. Getting to talk to the big boys though...? Not happening!

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        • #34
          Originally posted by JeffLowell View Post
          FWIW, I don't understand the logic of not approaching agents. What's to lose? And I know plenty of first time writers with agents.
          Nothing to lose. It's just less likely to succeed. But so is everything in this business, so I agree, why not try. Also a lot of smaller agents that may be way more open to submissions.

          Many of the managers we all query came from the agency side. It's not like there is no crossover.

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          • #35
            I'm a nobody in this business but I can vouch that some agents are receptive to queries from noobs. An agent requested a script of mine once, though he demanded I mail it in and that it was fastened with brads (I didn't know what those were). He was kind of rude, but apparently he facilitated the deal for Geostorm. Anyway, never heard from him again.

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            • #36
              When I hire staff writers - so it's their first credit - most of them come to me through agencies, not managers.

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              • #37
                Originally posted by JeffLowell View Post
                When I hire staff writers - so it's their first credit - most of them come to me through agencies, not managers.
                It would be interesting to know how they got the agent: cold queries, manager then agent, script that went wide, didn't sell, but got heat and good buzz, networking, industry job, etc. You should take a survey

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                • #38
                  Originally posted by JeffLowell View Post
                  FWIW, I don't understand the logic of not approaching agents. What's to lose? And I know plenty of first time writers with agents.
                  It's not about what's to lose, personally, I'm speaking from experience. I have never received a response from an agent (other than their legal rejection notices) I've queried, even when I've received close to 30 read requests on the same spec from top managers in the industry.

                  Agents are a referral business. They want a writer with a spec ready to sell-- a spec that they believe can sell.

                  It doesn't take that much more time to send queries to agents, so sure...

                  Who do you classify as "first time writers?" Someone who has a manager? Someone who works in the industry already in another capacity? Someone who knows someone inside the industry? I could be wrong, but it doesn't seem likely that a writer at your level knows first time writers who are not one of those things, no?

                  Once you have a manager, a contact that can legitimize your work, or you're inside somehow, or you win a major contest, sure it could amount to "plenty."

                  There are only 4-5 legit contests that will really get you interest, and only a coupe where people would really consider the finalists. There are a lot of good writers, with a lot of good scripts. It's a battle that must be fought. Either you're up for it or you're not. Rarely are there short cuts or leaps to the top. It takes perseverance. Patience. And determination.
                  "Reserving rights to comment and make changes."
                  Hollywood producer

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                  • #39
                    Originally posted by finalact4 View Post
                    Who do you classify as "first time writers?" Someone who has a manager? Someone who works in the industry already in another capacity? Someone who knows someone inside the industry? I could be wrong, but it doesn't seem likely that a writer at your level knows first time writers who are not one of those things, no?
                    These aren't writers I know. These are submissions from agencies. But yes - a lot of them are Hollywood assistants, or standups, or people in L.A. who are working their contacts to get a rep. It's not always popular to say, but TV is an L.A. game.

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                    • #40
                      Originally posted by JeffLowell View Post

                      These aren't writers I know. These are submissions from agencies. But yes - a lot of them are Hollywood assistants, or standups, or people in L.A. who are working their contacts to get a rep. It's not always popular to say, but TV is an L.A. game.
                      That's why I moved here.
                      "Reserving rights to comment and make changes."
                      Hollywood producer

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                      • #41
                        Originally posted by finalact4 View Post

                        That's why I moved here.
                        Perfect!

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                        • #42
                          Jeff is absolutely right. There’s no reason not to try agents. I landed two agents off cold queries (one of them is my current agent.) I didn’t have credits or a track record at the time. Just a great logline and a script that delivered.

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