Once you have polished your script, gotten a thumbs up from a professional script analyst, and you also feel it’s ready to go, then you have to get it out to the market to have your chance at getting it on the big screen.
Although putting yourself out there and marketing may bring up your greatest fear of rejection, the bottom line is: “It’s gotta be done.”
One of the best ways to get your screenplay out to the market is through a query letter mailing campaign. Pitching in person is also great. The point is, you somehow have to let execs know that you have a great screenplay.
But then you face your next big problem, and that is, that even once you get your opportunity to pitch your story, it’s not enough. Whether you’re pitching your screenplay in person or through a query letter mailing, the execs must not only like the story, but they must also be convinced that you can deliver on what you just pitched.
If your story is good but they feel like you are clueless, they may figure it will be a waste of time and therefore not bother to read it.
If your script — or your query letter for that matter — is full of formatting errors and misspellings, they will be annoyed that you have wasted their time.
That will be a strike against you and your script, and they won’t read it because they will assume you haven’t put enough work into it since you have made errors in the simplest part of all.
It is critical in your pitch that you come across like you know what you’re doing and that you make them believe you can deliver what you are promising in your pitch.
You can’t come right out and tell them this, it has to come across in the way you pitch. It seeps through in your words — as well as in more obvious ways such as the presentation of your script and your letter.
To accomplish this, in addition to putting the pitch in your letter, try to put in something that will establish your credibility with them.
You might tell about your experience with the subject matter, for example. If your story is about a love affair that develops as two climbers meet on their way to the top of Mount Everest and you tried to climb it once, then tell that in your letter. If you are a research scientist and know of something very odd that few people yet know and that is incorporated into your script, then tell it.
Being a writer in some other medium is not enough to establish credibility as a screenwriter, but if you have things that make you sound like an interesting human being and you have drawn upon that in your screenplay, then that is more likely to catch their attention.
By the time you get someone’s ear and they hear your pitch or read your query letter, take advantage of it by going one step further to convince them that they will not be wasting their time. Whether you mention your credibility on the subject matter or the “validation” you’ve gotten from Winning or Placing High Up in contests, mention it. This will help seal the deal in the exec actually reading your script if they like your story.
If you aren’t sure how to do this, then you might want to use the Smart Girls query letter mailing service. In that we help create your query letter and identify what could help establish your credibility in your letter.
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