How to Query a Screenwriting Agent
Screenwriting is a lucrative and competitive business. Knowing how to break into the screenwriting industry takes a certain amount of industry know-how and a considerable amount of resolve. One of the best ways to get your work into the hands of those who can market it is to seek out a knowledgeable screenwriting agent. Knowing how to write a professional screenplay query is a skill that is priceless for any burgeoning screenwriter. A proper query has three concise sections; an introduction, a pitch and a conclusion, but how you construct these can make the difference between acquiring an agent and not.
Make a list of 10-15 agents who represent writers in the genre you are trying to break into. There are a variety of books in the market as well as Internet databases to help you find the right agents to suit your script.
Use a standard business letter writing format to draft your letter. Put the name and address of the agent/company at the top right-hand corner of the page. Use 1-inch margins and 12 point font in all of your letters.
Begin the letter with an appropriate greeting such as "Dear Ms. or Mr..." Start by stating precisely the reason you are writing, such as "I am a screenwriter with various screenplays I would like to submit for your consideration for representation."
Continue the letter by listing the various screenplays you have written and very briefly (one or two sentences) telling the agent what the screenplays are about. Tell the agent the genre of the film and the overall themes as succinctly as possible. This portion of the letter should make up the bulk of your query.
State any awards, previous publications, qualifications or screenwriting contests or options you have secured to help make your query more attractive, however don't spend too long on this section, your work should speak for itself. Ask the agent if he is interested in reading any of your scripts to contact you directly (providing appropriate contact information) and you will promptly send him your work.
Print the letter and address the envelope. Ensure that you use the proper postage. Consider sending it priority mail if you want to guarantee the letter's arrival at its proper destination.
- Do not send your work to agents requiring a reading fee as these are often scams and have a reputation for stealing writers' work.
- Don't make your letter too long or you risk it being thrown in the trash -- the more succinct the better.
- Provide the agent with the URL of a website with samples of your work, a resume or an accomplishment sheet he can access.
- Send your query to as many agents who work in your genre as possible as it will give you options when considering which agent to go with.
- Practice writing log-lines or tag lines and use these when describing your work.
- Search the Internet for examples of standard business letter formatting if you are unsure.
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