Query Conundrum

Collapse

Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Query Conundrum

    Hi everyone.

    So over two months ago I got a read request from two different managers who seemed excited to read my spec. It's been radio silence since then. I sent a follow up email last week and didn't get a response. That no response thing scared me into looking at the spec again, and doing an additional rewrite. My question is, should I email them the new draft, or cut my losses and move on?

  • #2
    Re: Query Conundrum

    Cut your losses, and pitch it elsewhere, while commencing your next script.

    Some day (for me, it's 2-3 years, and when the script is 10 pages shorter following regular polishes) you can maybe pitch it again to the same company. (You may find the contacts there may have moved on, anyway)

    I don't mean to suggest this rehashing is a goal to aim for - hopefully by then (2-3+ years) it's just a mild consideration among the many, many great alternatives you have established by then (multiple scripts, dozens or hundreds of personal contacts, etc.)!

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Query Conundrum

      so a few things come to mind, because i cannot determine where you are in your writing journey.

      first, let it go and move on.

      but before you do that, there are a few things you might want to consider and it requires that you be honest with yourself, because one of two things happened. one, they read your spec and it didn't fit with their needs. or two, they read your spec and it didn't pass muster. either way the answer is a resounding, pass.

      yes, they could come back to you in another month, but not likely. you can't wait. you have to move on in one of two ways. one, send it to others. two, invest more time and effort into getting it to the professionally written level. that's they key. a manager wants to know that you can produce a project that is very close to production ready. that's not as easy as a writer may think.

      the point is, don't wait for anyone. push forward. always.

      consider: if you're scared into rewriting that easily, perhaps it wasn't ready to send out from the start, and you're only now finally able to 'consciously' listen to your gut? typically, we know when it's not ready. it's important that you do not send it out until it is the best it can be.

      understandably, this can be a difficult ask. we get to a point where we just want it to be done, but it's the due diligence that will pay off. don't go for the short game, you're in it for the long game.

      consider: how many drafts have you written on this spec? have you received peer reviews? have you sent it to a story consultant you trust? have you paid to have it covered from a reader? have you submitted it to The Black List for reviews? how many scripts have you written before this one? giving us these answers can help us gauge your probable experience level, which may or may not be an issue.

      getting coverage from reliable resources can help you better determine your strengths, weaknesses, and shortfalls that need to be addressed. it can also highlight your prospects. the more experience you get with receiving criticism the better you will become at determining which advice is the 'wheat' and which the 'chaff.'

      remember, just because someone gives you notes doesn't mean any of it will be relevant, but you must keep a weather eye out for the comments that can have a huge impact on your narrative in a positive way, should you find value in them. that's the key, you determine which notes have value and which to toss aside, even if it's every word.

      but, and this is very important, open your mind and close your heart when reading criticisms. notes can be exceptionally valuable to a writer and you have to remove both your ego and your emotions. read the notes. try to be subjective about them. if you cannot, close the file and come back to it another day.

      you have to learn to evaluate notes without emotion before they can help you. so, whenever i feel any emotion i try to suppress it first, and if i can't, i step away. it's amazing how different you will see a note once you are willing to accept that your script isn't as good as you had hoped or believed.

      it's only two people. keep moving ahead.

      and

      much good luck to you.
      FA4
      "Reserving rights to comment and make changes."
      Hollywood producer

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Query Conundrum

        Originally posted by finalact4 View Post
        so a few things come to mind, because i cannot determine where you are in your writing journey.

        first, let it go and move on.

        but before you do that, there are a few things you might want to consider and it requires that you be honest with yourself, because one of two things happened. one, they read your spec and it didn't fit with their needs. or two, they read your spec and it didn't pass muster. either way the answer is a resounding, pass.

        yes, they could come back to you in another month, but not likely. you can't wait. you have to move on in one of two ways. one, send it to others. two, invest more time and effort into getting it to the professionally written level. that's they key. a manager wants to know that you can produce a project that is very close to production ready. that's not as easy as a writer may think.

        the point is, don't wait for anyone. push forward. always.

        consider: if you're scared into rewriting that easily, perhaps it wasn't ready to send out from the start, and you're only now finally able to 'consciously' listen to your gut? typically, we know when it's not ready. it's important that you do not send it out until it is the best it can be.

        understandably, this can be a difficult ask. we get to a point where we just want it to be done, but it's the due diligence that will pay off. don't go for the short game, you're in it for the long game.

        consider: how many drafts have you written on this spec? have you received peer reviews? have you sent it to a story consultant you trust? have you paid to have it covered from a reader? have you submitted it to The Black List for reviews? how many scripts have you written before this one? giving us these answers can help us gauge your probable experience level, which may or may not be an issue.

        getting coverage from reliable resources can help you better determine your strengths, weaknesses, and shortfalls that need to be addressed. it can also highlight your prospects. the more experience you get with receiving criticism the better you will become at determining which advice is the 'wheat' and which the 'chaff.'

        remember, just because someone gives you notes doesn't mean any of it will be relevant, but you must keep a weather eye out for the comments that can have a huge impact on your narrative in a positive way, should you find value in them. that's the key, you determine which notes have value and which to toss aside, even if it's every word.

        but, and this is very important, open your mind and close your heart when reading criticisms. notes can be exceptionally valuable to a writer and you have to remove both your ego and your emotions. read the notes. try to be subjective about them. if you cannot, close the file and come back to it another day.

        you have to learn to evaluate notes without emotion before they can help you. so, whenever i feel any emotion i try to suppress it first, and if i can't, i step away. it's amazing how different you will see a note once you are willing to accept that your script isn't as good as you had hoped or believed.

        it's only two people. keep moving ahead.

        and

        much good luck to you.
        FA4
        This particular feature is number seven. I've gotten peer feedback and felt good about where that draft was went I sent it out to them at the beginning of the year. But when I got no response back it just made me second guess everything. And i'm glad it did, because I feel way more happier and confident with this new draft. I really believe in this story, so right now I'm trying to get feedback on this new draft to see how it really stacks up.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Query Conundrum

          Originally posted by ricther View Post
          This particular feature is number seven. I've gotten peer feedback and felt good about where that draft was went I sent it out to them at the beginning of the year. But when I got no response back it just made me second guess everything. And i'm glad it did, because I feel way more happier and confident with this new draft. I really believe in this story, so right now I'm trying to get feedback on this new draft to see how it really stacks up.
          following your gut is always good. i would consider getting notes from a professional reader. have you considered The Black List? or entering it into a contest? What about Austin?

          how many queries did you send out? 2 out of how many sent? i would move on. it is possible that they haven't had a chance to read and would appreciate the revised version. it can't hurt to shoot them an email saying that you went through a rewrite that you feel confident in, and if they haven't had a chance to read it, would it be okay to send a revised draft. they may respond and either say they haven't read it, send the revision or it may trigger then to say, it's a pass. it doesn't cost you anything, so why not? if it's total silence after that, then you know it's a hard pass.

          just keep moving forward. BTW, congrats on getting seven completed. good for you. that will pay off.
          "Reserving rights to comment and make changes."
          Hollywood producer

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Query Conundrum

            Originally posted by finalact4 View Post
            following your gut is always good. i would consider getting notes from a professional reader. have you considered The Black List? or entering it into a contest? What about Austin?

            how many queries did you send out? 2 out of how many sent? i would move on. it is possible that they haven't had a chance to read and would appreciate the revised version. it can't hurt to shoot them an email saying that you went through a rewrite that you feel confident in, and if they haven't had a chance to read it, would it be okay to send a revised draft. they may respond and either say they haven't read it, send the revision or it may trigger then to say, it's a pass. it doesn't cost you anything, so why not? if it's total silence after that, then you know it's a hard pass.

            just keep moving forward. BTW, congrats on getting seven completed. good for you. that will pay off.
            Thank you so much. This was very helpful.

            BTW I think we follow each other on Twitter. I'm @rodneybr23.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Query Conundrum

              we do follow each other. haha.

              good luck and, nice to meet you.
              "Reserving rights to comment and make changes."
              Hollywood producer

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Query Conundrum

                Originally posted by finalact4 View Post
                we do follow each other. haha.

                good luck and, nice to meet you.
                Thanks. Same to you.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Query Conundrum

                  If they want to do something, they get back to you. If they want to do something with your work, they won't forget. Most of the time they don't.

                  I'm not against following up, I did it all the time, but now realize it's mostly just a waste of time. Now keeping in contact with people isn't a waste of time. Or learning what they thought of a script. But I have rarely heard the story, I bugged the guy or girl who forget to read my script and then they read it 7 months after i sent it to them and he loved it! But sometimes they do forget. Most of the time, they didn't like it enough to even finish it.

                  About rewriting instantly -- this is a sign of a newer writer. My writer friends used to do that to me and it drove me nuts. Can you read my script? I take maybe a week to get to it, spend hours and you get back "Thanks, already on 4th rewrite since I sent this to you, and fixed this issues..." Well, why did I waste my time? This happens a lot. So just image if you sent that to the manager, they will feel even more annoyed because they aren't your friend and it shows them that the spec you sent wasn't ready.

                  Anyway -- good luck. It's hard. You learn as you go.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Query Conundrum

                    Originally posted by ricther View Post
                    So over two months ago I got a read request from two different managers who seemed excited to read my spec. It's been radio silence since then. I sent a follow up email last week and didn't get a response.
                    You did the right thing by sending a follow up e-mail after two or three months from sending script. Industry people are very busy, where your script can get lost in a pile, or they forget about you.

                    I'm surprised after receiving an email from you stating it's been two months that they didn't reply with "I'll put it on my weekend read list," or "It's a pass."

                    Not very professional of them. I suggest to remember their names, not company because they could move, and when you ever get a hot screenplay, where everyone wants to represent you, don't choose these two guys.

                    And no, you don't send them another email about you've rewritten the script and would like to send them the new draft. Move on, my friend.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Query Conundrum

                      Thanks for the advice everyone! This was very helpful.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Query Conundrum

                        Originally posted by JoeNYC View Post
                        Not very professional of them. I suggest to remember their names, not company because they could move, and when you ever get a hot screenplay, where everyone wants to represent you, don't choose these two guys.
                        You can't expect people to respond to every single request. They are busy, and likely they read, passed, and moved on with their day. That doesn't make them terrible people, and certainly it doesn't make them unprofessional or not worth going back to with the next script. All reps do the soft pass thing. It's perfectly acceptable.

                        OP just needs to write a better script next time. That's really what this boils down to.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Query Conundrum

                          Originally posted by docgonzo View Post
                          You can't expect people to respond to every single request. They are busy, and likely they read, passed, and moved on with their day.
                          This may be how you think about it, but not me.

                          If an industry person doesn't respond to my query, okay, but if they request my script for consideration, then I'd like to have a response.

                          If they want to read it and not respond with a pass, or whatever, they certainty have that right, but if I happen to win the Nicholl Fellowship and this person was one of the 50 who requested my script to read for consideration of representing me, uh-uh, I'm not sending it to him.

                          I'll send it to the other 49 who requested, which is my right.

                          Establishing relationships works both ways.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Query Conundrum

                            when someone requests your script it is common courtesy to respond once it's been read.

                            years ago, a top tier manager/producer (everyone knows his name) requested my script and i followed up. he responded, apologizing for not yet having read it.

                            i waited longer for the next follow up. he responded again with a gracious apology explaining he was in production at the time and was sorry he hadn't had time.

                            when he finally did read it, he sent me an email apologizing again for the delay, that he had read it and he thanked me for sending him my script. he said that "i didn't fall in love with this story, so this one isn't for me," leaving the door open to send my next one.

                            i have a lot of respect for him. and now that i no longer have a rep, he will always be one of the first people i send my work.

                            as much as it stings to have someone ingore you, you have to let it go. but you still have the right to refuse to share your work with someone you feel was rude or unprofessional.

                            edited to add below:

                            i will also add that my old manager who is now only producing called me in January asking if he could send two of my specs to a newly formed production company. a month later i called to check and he'd received a pass on the epic, and the exec loved the second and had sent it up to top level execs-- i've never heard a word from him since.

                            he did say i could submit any new specs i have and they make sense to develop he'd work with me again. i've already decided not to send him anything in the future. his non-response is disrespectful, we actually had a prior relationship for over a year we spoke daily/weekly. that's not cool with me. i will be respectful and cordial if i ever come across him again. you don't have to work with people like that if you don't want.
                            Last edited by finalact4; 04-14-2019, 10:57 AM.
                            "Reserving rights to comment and make changes."
                            Hollywood producer

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Query Conundrum

                              It's nice when they get back to you with the "pass" email, but they rarely do unless you have some prior relationship with them. In Hollywood, they don't like to give bad news, so no email is the bad news.

                              Trust me, good news they can't wait to tell you. I Love Your script is rare. I Love Your Script, but.... is 99% of the time. Well 10%, the other 89% like I said is nothing... and 1% is the "let's do something together with this" project.

                              I have friends that don't respond to emails. Hell, I don't always respond to my own wife. And every one of us one this board has at least 10 emails you are dreading returning or have no plans to, or more. Put the shoe on the other foot, you requested a script, read 5 pages, hated it and you moved on to the next 1000 things you had to do... that's the reality.

                              It's impressive to get a read request, that's great. But out of say 100 read requests which is crazy hard to get BTW on your own, expecting more than 5-10 responses that could lead to getting repped or some positive action is not helpful to your own well being.

                              Except "No" and carry on. That's the reality. And Yes I've been repped before. And i had scripts go out. I made money. Did I sell a spec? No, I did not. So I have had experience though making it from this board to a big agency pitch meeting. So this isn't just me talking 100% out of my fat ass. But mostly. I don't know crap either. I just may, may know more than a few of you starting out or who haven't made it as far as I have. I'm just trying to pass on what I learned...

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X