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Query Letter Writing: Script,Screenplay, Novel and Movie

What Query Letter Is?

A query letter is a one-page document, which is written to the movie makers, agents, and executive of the companies, offering them to read your screenplay. It is a formal letter, which explains the topic and subject of the screenplay. It is more beneficial for those, who do not have any contacts in the business. This letter is a way to contact the related people, in an appropriate way. You may have an idea about how to write a great screenplay, but if you can’t write a great query letter, you can’t sell your screenplay.

The purpose of this letter is to attract the movie makes to read your work. You have to include a brief introduction about yourself and experience you have in this field. A logline, stating the idea of your screenplay. Main characters and the storyline, without including the end of your story. Finish letter with an offer to send your screenplay and your contact information.

screenwriting query letter

What Is the Purpose of Query Letter?

Query letters for screenplays serve different purposes. Few of them are stated here.

  1. It is used as a communication method to establish relationships with the executives in the industry.
  2. It is a request to legally submit the screenplay.
  3. It serves as a written record when theft of ideas is concerned.

Query letter types

When you are writing a query letter, you need to know that there are different types of query letters, but here we are discussing traditional and nontraditional query letters. The content of both types is almost the same, but they are different in writing style and tone.

Traditional letters

These letters are sent by post and written in strictly formal style. Very formal salutations are used. An answering envelop is also sent with it. No personal information is added in them and they are kept strictly professional.

Nontraditional letters

These letters are sent through emails usually. They are also written in a formal way, but not very strictly. A lighter tone is observed, for not to make it boring. A little personal information is also added in nontraditional letters.

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Killer Query Letter Recipe

Writing a query letter is not difficult, but writing an impressive letter is actually something. If you wonder how to write a query letter for a novel or any other genre. These few steps can help you.

  • A query letter is a sample of your writing skills. So, make sure it has no spelling, grammar, and sentence structure mistakes.
  • You have to Show your experiences and work in the field. Mention everything which is related, and which proves that you can write and you can write well.
  • The tone of your query letter should be according to the genre of your screenplay. Logline and synopsis should support the same tone.
  • Logline should be comprehensive and, ideally, only one sentence. However, you can write two sentences, but two sentences are not a good idea.
  • A synopsis should not be complicated. Keep it as simple as you can. It should be easily understandable for the reader.

Query Letter Template

Here is a query letter template for you. If you have no idea that how to write a query letter to an agent, you will find it helpful. However, you can make changes. These are few important points, which you should keep in mind.

  1. You can start with a catchy line in bold words or a question, which arise curiosity in mind of the reader. It can be something like Meet John Walton, a detective on a mission to save his country, will he succeed?”
  2. Start with the date, name, and title of the executive followed by the company name and address.
  3. Use proper salutation
  4. The first paragraph should be about your introduction and introduction of your project.
  5. Give one sentence logline after that.
  6. Next comes the synopsis paragraph. Mention genre, main characters, and basic storyline. Don’t mention the ending.
  7. Add another paragraph about your experience in the field.
  8. The closing should include thanking the executive and your contact information.

writing a query letter

Query Letter Content

When you write a query letter, you have to be careful about the content. A query letter is a one-page document. It should contain:

  • A brief introduction of the author
  • One sentence log line
  • A paragraph of synopsis of the script
  • Last inviting paragraph to read your script

Don’t send the same letter to every company or agent, customize it according to the person you are addressing. Some movie makers want a unique script, while others prefer to have examples of successful movies. So, depending on the reputation of the company, customize your letter.

Addressing Your Query

If you will address the president of the studio for your queries, it will be a mistake. People keep changing their positions and jobs. So, the good idea is to call the company and find out the name and official address of the person, to whom you have to send your query. After writing a query letter, send the query to the concerned person, by writing his name and designation. Don’t use the first name of the person if you don’t know him personally.

Loglines

Logline is the sentence, which conveys the main idea of the story. If we say, you are writing a pitch letter to TV producer, the logline is the written pitch. But it is not the tagline, which we see in the advertisement of the movies. This is a sentence, which tells about the core of your story. It Should be written in the present tense and to write this, you have to answer the question, what the script is all about? Answer this question in one line and that will be your logline.

Don’t mention the name of the characters in loglines. But if you are writing on historical topic and characters are well known, you can use them. Don’t use common phrases and clinches, it’s just a sentence and every word should be valuable.

Plot Synopsis

Plot synopsis is a paragraph, which should contain 4 -5 sentences. It should be written in present tense. You have to tell the summery of your script in this paragraph. You have to introduce your protagonist and describe his journey briefly. Mention how your story is different from the others and what makes it unique. When you wonder, how to write a good query letter, the synopsis should be well written. Don’t describe plot and characters in detail. Make sure you don’t mention the ending of your story.

Your Biography

Your biography should be one paragraph, which provides information about you. It should tell your writing background, but don’t exaggerate it. Mention your achievements in the field. If you are new in the field, mention institutions you have studied in, your profession and your inspirations. You can also include your personal background too, but briefly. Mention your experiences, internship or any other related work experience no matter how short it was.

How to Write a Great Query Letter Subject Line

Subject line is very important when you ask how to write script letters. A catchy subject can attract the reader to read your email. Usually, a subject line of query letters says, “Query”, “Query letter” or “Drama Script” or movie script. Such subjects stand very low chances. You have to bring some innovation. For instance, you can write by focusing on your genre. It can be something like “An inspiration drama, query”, “An award winning comedy screenplay” or “ A romantic Sci-fi movie”. You can focus on other strengths of your screenplay. For instance, “Historical screenplay (an award-winning script)” or “Horror script by a published writer”.

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How to Write A Professional Query Letter for Screenplay

Many companies hire script coverage services to respond to the screenplays, they get every day. If you want to get a good response, you have to write a professional query letter. We can help you for that.

  1. Start with the logline. A strong sentence, which is called longline is very important. Write that first, even before starting your query letter.
  2. When you start writing, don’t write a long prolog. You have limited words, come to the point quickly.
  3. Write logline and introduce your script. You can write two loglines in the same letter, is has worked for many people.
  4. Mention your writing background. List your credentials, if you have any. If you don’t have any work experience, you can include your academic qualifications here, which are related to this field.
  5. In the end, offer them to read your screenplay.
  6. Close with your contact information. Provide the link of your website, if you have one.

Avoid exaggerating your script. Don’t mention the names, which you think are suitable for this screenplay. Don’t talk about the budget. Keep small details in mind to give a professional look to your letter. It should be free from any mistake.

query letter for screenplay

What to Include and Not Include in Your Query Letter

  1. Include your professional diploma or course, related to this field, particular when you are writing query letter screenplay.
  2. Mention the name of the institutions you have attended. It may help you to establish a connection.
  3. If you have contacts, write their names in personal recommendations. It will show that you are already known in the industry.
  4. If you have any distinction, like you have won a competition, include that.
  5. If you are comparing your script, compare it with successful movies.
  6. Don’t include the number of scripts, you have already written.
  7. Don’t send synopsis in the first instant. Speak to officials, ask them and if they agree, you can send.
  8. Send your script, when someone request for it. Sending it on your own will be of no use.

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3 Big Query Letter Mistakes to Avoid in Your Screenwriting

People who have no idea about how to write a query letter for a screenplay, usually make mistakes. Here are some big ones.

  • Exaggeration: Most of the writers exaggerate their screenplay. Usually, it does not work. Exaggeration will take your to nowhere. So, avoid it as much as possible.
  • No homework: People don’t search about the person or company, they are sending their script to. Sometimes a person is no more in the same company and they keep asking for the response. So, it’s better to do a search about the agency before sending any letter.
  • Writing mistakes: Query letter should be free form mistakes. But people don’t give it proper attention and it brings no results for them. You have to exhibit strong writing skills even in your query letter.

List of Pointers and Directives for Writing the Perfect Query Letter

  1. Send an email instead of post mail: Now we live in a digital word where email is considered the fastest way to communicate. No one has time to read and reply post mails. Send emails to get a quicker response.
  2. Be selective to send your emails: It’s better to do some research. Sending your emails to all the major production houses and agencies is not a good idea.  Find those, who are making movies in your genre and approach them.
  3. Address Individuals: Usually screenwriting query letter is addressed to “To Whom It May concern”, which is a wrong approach. Address a particular persona and spell his name correctly.
  4. Write about the script: Writers write a long introduction about themselves and make their letter boring. Write about your script instead of writing details about yourself.
  5. Keep the balance: Your tone should be informal, but make sure you don’t cross any limit. Keeping the balance is very important.
  6. No jokes: Avoid telling jokes, it seems very unprofessional.
  7. Be focused: give a brief introduction about yourself and get to the point quickly.
  8. Highlight logline: Concept is important for all the genres. Mention your logline clearly, which will mention the concept very quickly.
  9. Use examples: It’s good to mention the examples of your story. You can select some successful examples for this.
  10. Be confident: Your Script query letter should reflect your confident personality. But it should not present you as an arrogant person.
  11. Email subject: The subject of the email should be attractive. Screenplay query email subject line force the reader to open this email.  Avoid the common ones. You can use informal subjects, they can work.
  12. Use your contacts: If you have met a person, use it as your clue to communicate. Use your contacts to make your way.
  13. Say thanks: When you are done say thanks and leave. If they will like your idea, they will contact you.
  14. Don’t wait: instead of waiting for the answers, it’s better to do something else. Keep sending your quires, but don’t stick to your computer for a response.
  15. Be ready for success: You may be lucky enough to get a response, so be ready for that too.

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Key Query Letter Writing Tips to Unlocking Doors in Hollywood

Here are a few tips, which you will find helpful.

  1. Query letter should not be more than a page. it’s a formal letter, so simple font style and standard size should be used. It should be written in a proper format, if you are sending an email. If you are sending it my post, fold it properly and the name of the executive should be faced upward, which you fold it.
  2. Address the executive of the company, with his name. “To whom it may concern” will not work.
  3. It should be a types letter; the handwritten letter will not work.
  4. Split it into different short paragraphs.
  5. Once you are done, get the opinion by a third person, who is related to this industry.
  6. Don’t target large companies only. Try sending it to different agents, who are working on a smaller scale.

Query letter Dos and Don’ts

No matter you are writing a query letter for TV Spec Script or for a movie, you have to be careful about some do’s and don’ts.

Dos

  • Be unique, you have to present something different.
  • Be specific. It’s a formal business letter, write it to the point.
  • Paragraphs should be short.
  • Mention the genre of your screenplay.
  • Give your introduction and mention your project, briefly.
  • Explain how your script is compatible with the company’s requirements.
  • Writing draft should be perfectly written.
  • Write your contact information.

Don’ts

  • There should be no errors, avoid spelling mistakes, typo errors and punctuation mistakes.
  • It should not be a handwritten letter.
  • Don’t repeat logline.
  • Don’t ask for the permission to send your script.
  • Don’t include box office projection.
  • Don’t be funny.
  • Don’t include the budget of your script.
  • Don’t talk about the marketing of your script.

script query letter

Query Letter Test Drive

Before sending your movie query, you can test it. For that, write a query and show it to someone, who don’t know about your story. Ask him a few questions, once he finished reading your query. You can ask him, what is the genre of the story? Who is the hero? What are the main problems he faces? There can be other similar questions too. If the person can answer these questions, it means you have written a good query. If you have to explain the answers, your query needs improvement.

What to Do After Your Query Letter Has Been Sent?

Once you have sent a query letter, you have to wait for the response. It can take one week to few months. If you don’t get any response, you can contact the company again. Send them another email that it’s your second query. If you get no response even after that, it means they are not interested in your story. If you get a response form an agency, they may request you for writing a movie synopsis. If they like the synopsis, they will schedule a meeting.

You may be contacted by an agent, who asks for a reading fee. Don’t pay any fee, such agents are not registered with the concerned authority. When a company asks you for writing a movie script, usually they request to sign a release form first. You can consult your lawyer for that. Keep the record of your documents. Don’t rush for the agreement, if someone contacts you. search about the company and if you have any confusion ask about that. Sign the agreement carefully.

Help in Writing a Query Letter for a Screenplay

You don’t have to worry whether your screenplay will be sold or will be successful, our query letter writing team has a huge experience in such letters writing and we are ready to help you. Doesn’t matter you need a screenplay query letter, movie or novel letter – our writers will provide you with qualified and professional help as soon as you need it.

Here are the main benefits you can gain from our writing services:

  • Quality query letter
  • 24/7 Online Support
  • Affordable Prices
  • Your Full Satisfaction
  • Originality

“Don’t know how to write a script query letter?

Our experts are ready to craft the best query letter for you right now!”

Are you going to sell your screenplay and gain the most from it? Write your best query letter with our professional writers and your dreams will come true!