The hunt for representation is underway. Again.
But this round feels quite different.
Maybe this is the experience talking, but my best guess would be that it’s from taking my time and reminding myself there’s absolutely no need to rush through it. These folks aren’t going anywhere, so taking a few more days to properly prepare won’t make much of a difference.
But it is making a huge difference for me.
I’ve got two exceptionally long lists of names and emails, but each is several years old, which requires some admittedly exhausting investigating through multiple levels of IMDBPro into how accurate and up-to-date the information is. Don’t have a subscription to it? You should.
Time, determination, patience and persistence are the four essentials in this scenario.
A lot of time has been spent tracking down where some of those names have ended up. While most are still at the same organization, a good many have moved on. Some to new places, some who’ve gone out on their own, and, from what I can gather, some have totally abandoned ship (including one guy who fell into the deep end of the cliche pool and now sells real estate).
My favorite one so far has been the manager who passed away several years ago, yet is still listed. Just their name and nothing else. I’ve no doubt that at this very moment, somewhere out there, a query email is working its way to them.
The last couple of times I sent out a massive wave of queries, it was in a very rushed and impatient way. “This has to go out NOW!” After finding an email address, I’d immediately cut-and-paste the body of the letter and hit ‘send’. Nothing else. I’d estimate about 75% of them went through, while the remaining 25% came back as ‘undeliverable’ or “address not found”. Those would be immediately dismissed. Over the next few days and weeks, maybe a few responses would trickle in; say 1 for every 10-15 sent. Not the best of returns.
But again, this time it’s different as I’m trying to be been much, much more thorough. Do they even accept queries? What sort of material do they specialize in? Sending to someone who specializes in horror would be a waste of time for both of us. When was their last project? Have I heard of any of their projects? How many clients do they have? What are some of their clients known for? (One place lists Rod Serling(!) as their top client. Interpret that however you want.) They still use Hotmail? Is that even still a thing?
So while I spend part of my time developing a workable list of query letter recipients, I’m also focusing on assembling the actual letter that will be sent. Type ‘screenwriting query letter’ in any reputable search engine, and you get page upon page of links to articles, columns, blogposts and so on. There are countless opinions about what should and should not be in there. Pay attention to those. I tend to favor short and to the point, but effective enough that it gets you noticed and hopefully piques their interest.
It’s pretty likely I’ll crank out a few drafts of this as well before finding one that I think works best.
Like writing the script itself, it ain’t easy. None of this is. But it’s what I have to do in order to make things happen and move ’em forward.
(And if anybody knows a manager they’d recommend or think might be interested in taking a look at my stuff, feel free to point them in this direction. Much obliged.)