Scriptnotes - Querying

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  • Scriptnotes - Querying

    I just saw this Scriptnotes - The One With The Agent

    And the agent states that querying is all but useless. Agents don't find writers that way. "Never. Never happens." (To him at least.)

    He also states he doesn't care about loglines. Would prefer not to see one.

    Anyone listened? Opinions?

    I've seen a fair few threads on here where some of you had some kind of success from queries (meetings or reps) so it's just conflicting, that's all.

    I'm really starting to think you just shouldn't listen to anyone. Just do what you believe and see which way the wind blows.
    @hairingtons

  • #2
    Re: Scriptnotes - Querying

    query managers, not agents

    to query you need a logline

    that's it

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Scriptnotes - Querying

      In all the times I've queried managers, producers and agents, I have never received a query response or read request from an agent. That is a fact.

      However, I have always received read requests from the top management firms as well as many other managers, producers, and filmmakers off an emailed query letter with only a simple logline. Many other writers on this board have, too.

      I know Craig Mazin always claims they don't work, but they do. They are not a waste of time. He speaks from his own personal experience. That is not everyone's experience.

      When you send a query letter, the first thing they're going to want is a logline. And you want it to be as compelling as possible. Taking time to craft a well-written (clear and accurate) logline is important. I don't think you need to take a class or spend any kind of money whatsoever.

      Christopher Lockhart, story editor at WME Entertainment, created a document for writers to help craft compelling, clear loglines. You can find it here...

      http://twoadverbs.site.aplus.net/logline.pdf

      I, as well as many other writers, have used his technique to create loglines that get read requests.

      My manager contacted me off a query letter. I also had 8s and 9s on the Black List which I linked to in the query letter.

      I consider my manager an asset. He has gotten me read by top executives at studios and important prodcos that have the ability to produce the high budget movies I write. He reads my work within a day or two of me sending it. We have a conference call to review his page notes and I come up with solutions to issues or concerns he raises. We do this a few times back and forth when I complete a new draft. And when he feels it's ready to go out-- we send it out. But only when we both feel it's ready.

      I don't live in LA. I live in almost the opposite corner, in fact, in Connecticut. I write features, and my manager has never said, I have to be in LA, to work as a feature writer.

      I have not broken in, yet.

      If you want to write for TV you do have to live where the work is. But that doesn't mean you can't still be a feature writer from elsewhere. Is it harder? Yes. But you should be used to that by now, because nothing is easy in screenwriting.

      My opinions are based on my own personal experience.

      Good luck.
      "Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist,- Pablo Picasso

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Scriptnotes - Querying

        I've had read requests from agents in the past, so it's not totally unheard of. Rarer than getting a read request from a manager, though. I'd focus on them first. If you can land a manager, they'll help you find an agent when the time is right.

        I really enjoy the Scriptnotes podcast and respect Craig's opinion, but I think he's doing a disservice by being so absolutist on this subject. By all means, query managers. Yes, you should tap your network and get reads from people you know or who can slip it to their reps. That's always going to be the best way. But sometimes you have to expand your base a little and querying can help. Writing a compelling enough logline isn't that hard.

        Now caveat emptor, I have yet to get a meeting from a query request. That's most likely the script (it's been a few years since I've done it and my writing has improved), but there are probably other factors as well. Maybe the script wasn't taken as seriously as a referral. But that shouldn't stop anyone from trying. There are plenty of people on this board who have gotten reps from cold queries. I believe our esteemed Jeff Lowell has landed a rep or two this way as well.

        You should try every avenue available to you.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Scriptnotes - Querying

          I do think there tends to be an outsized emphasis on queries and loglines on most screenwriting boards, compared to stuff like expanding your network.

          But I also noticed that Craig and John both seem to be baffled by the prevalence of managers and not totally clear on what they do or why people want them. And queries are generally more for managers than agents from what I've seen. So they may not be the best sources on how breaking in works now vs when they were new to the game.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Scriptnotes - Querying

            Ironically enough, the agent interviewed in the podcast made a sale this year from a spec that was recommended to him by a manager -- WHO WAS QUERIED!

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Scriptnotes - Querying

              Originally posted by docgonzo View Post
              I really enjoy the Scriptnotes podcast and respect Craig's opinion, but I think he's doing a disservice by being so absolutist on this subject. By all means, query managers.
              I honestly think there is a strong tendency to make absolutist statements on the podcast. And not take into account how realities for new writers differ from those for established ones. It's annoyed me more than once.
              "I love being a writer. What I can't stand is the paperwork.-- Peter De Vries

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Scriptnotes - Querying

                Originally posted by docgonzo View Post
                I've had read requests from agents in the past, so it's not totally unheard of. Rarer than getting a read request from a manager, though. I'd focus on them first. If you can land a manager, they'll help you find an agent when the time is right.

                I really enjoy the Scriptnotes podcast and respect Craig's opinion, but I think he's doing a disservice by being so absolutist on this subject. By all means, query managers. Yes, you should tap your network and get reads from people you know or who can slip it to their reps. That's always going to be the best way. But sometimes you have to expand your base a little and querying can help. Writing a compelling enough logline isn't that hard.

                Now caveat emptor, I have yet to get a meeting from a query request. That's most likely the script (it's been a few years since I've done it and my writing has improved), but there are probably other factors as well. Maybe the script wasn't taken as seriously as a referral. But that shouldn't stop anyone from trying. There are plenty of people on this board who have gotten reps from cold queries. I believe our esteemed Jeff Lowell has landed a rep or two this way as well.

                You should try every avenue available to you.
                ^^^This last line is absolutely true^^^

                Who cares that it's not working for the next person. You use whatever you need to in order to get read. The old adage is also true: It only takes one person to believe in what you do. In order to find that person you use every avenue you can. Use networking. Use the big contests. Use paid sites like the Blacklist. Use queries. Join filmmaking groups in your area. Do whatever you can think of that's not illegal or stupid. Everybody's got an opinion of what's right and wrong and none of those people are you or give a crap about you. You have to do the work. And believe me, it is work. But it's the good writers who don't listen to all the experts and forge their own path that succeed. May take a while, because it ALWAYS does, and will be as frustrating as hell. The secret is to write great stories and to never give up. It paid off for me.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Scriptnotes - Querying

                  Thanks for all the replies.

                  Originally posted by nativeson View Post
                  Ironically enough, the agent interviewed in the podcast made a sale this year from a spec that was recommended to him by a manager -- WHO WAS QUERIED!
                  Love that.
                  @hairingtons

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Scriptnotes - Querying

                    Originally posted by UpandComing View Post
                    I honestly think there is a strong tendency to make absolutist statements on the podcast. And not take into account how realities for new writers differ from those for established ones. It's annoyed me more than once.
                    I definitely agree with this, BUT I also think "absolutist" is one of the endearing parts of Craig's personality, so you just listen and enjoy and go with the other person's advice above of trying everything.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Scriptnotes - Querying

                      Originally posted by cvolante View Post
                      I definitely agree with this, BUT I also think "absolutist" is one of the endearing parts of Craig's personality, so you just listen and enjoy and go with the other person's advice above of trying everything.
                      I'll agree that we should try everything : )
                      "I love being a writer. What I can't stand is the paperwork.-- Peter De Vries

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