Query Letters

Want to make it clear straight away that this isn’t a how to write query letters blog. I’m not an advisor of such things (or anything really). This is more my experience in trying to write a query letter for the first time in a while. (Too long).

So query letters from what I can tell are something that really is open to interpretation. The first thing I done when setting out to write this one was look online for tips on what to include and what not to include. How to write it, how formal it should be, how long it should be. All the usual. What I learnt was very simple. There’s no right way.

Not only is there no right way, but nearly every single bit of advice seemed to contradict what the last thing I read said. The only thing they all seemed to agree on was not opening it with ‘Hey dude’.

The basic structure from what I can tell is introduce yourself, pitch the idea and then finish with a lot bit of a bio. Three act structures all round. Made sense. This is the approach I took before with a little bit of success and this still seems to be the way. Outside of that format however you can pretty much approach it however you want and am sure you cab bend that format a fair bit anyway. (like all things, guidelines not absolutes).

My first draft felt a little to short. But then I couldn’t work out whether that was a good thing or not. I feel my log line is pretty tight and knowing the 50 version of the log line that have come before it I know how much work has gone into that. I added to the log line with a little more pitching but this didn’t feel as worked out. I finished with a little bit about my previous achievements and what I wanted from the producer.

The second draft I went for a longer approach. I tightened the beginning and the end but the middle is where I really expanded. I added another paragraph onto the pitch with a bit more detail and liked it at first. Once I read it back however it just seemed to be that I had expanded upon my log line using more words which went against my less is better style of script writing. It gave more info but didn’t necessarily add anything that my original log line hadn’t already said. I could have turned it more into a brief synopsis, and maybe that’s what i’ll do in the future, but didn’t feel right for this particular project.

I’m currently up to my third draft and have gone back to the first query letter and worked more on that than the second. Added a new sentence instead of a new paragraph. For me it’s all about getting that right balance between telling about myself and pitching the project. Part of me thinks its more the concept that matters but I’m more interested in people and tend to want to know more about them.  I’m sure I will know when the letter is right or at least when its at a point where I feel comfortable sending it off.

The one bit of advise I did read that I haven’t read before and contradicts what I done last time was to not send them all out at once. That while I should approach as many people that I genuine want to work with as possible, I should limit the amount of query letters sent out in any one go so I can gage the reaction. This way if I don’t get any replies it might be the letter rather than my concept and I can adjust the query letter for the next batch. Thinking about it it makes perfect sense and means I can start sending out earlier while I still research who I want to approach.

Anyway hopefully all will be ready soon and I can start getting myself out there a lot more. I have the work, now just need to really start paying a lot more attention to getting people to read it. That said, I’ll still be writing every day. Have to.

 

Stephen

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