Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Those Who Don't Ask Don't Get

No Unsolicited Material.

Three words that are the most frustrating for writers just starting out, but ones you shouldn't let stop you contacting people.

I've talked about this before, but it's worth mentioning again that these words are there to put off those hobby writers who are not professional and haven't polished their work to a fine sheen. Basically it's a barrier for production companies to stop them being inundated with rubbish scripts. If you have a polished script you are confident is ready to be read there is a simple way to get past those three words.

A polite email. Yep, it's as simple as that. Or is it? Well yes and no. There are rules to follow and they are:
  • Be polite - obvious but essential.
  • Don't sign in with, 'Yo Dude' or anything as stupid.
  • Thoroughly research who you are about to approach. If your script doesn't match their back catalogue then don't waste your time. For example if they make comedies it would be a waste of time sending them a biopic of Alan Sugar.
  • Show an interest in who they are by asking them about some of their past work, or praising something they've done. Don't be vague and don't fawn all over them.
  • Introduce yourself - tell them who you are and what you've done.
  • If you have a unique selling point - for example if you've won a competition - then mention it, as it'll put you ahead of the queue.
  • Don't be pushy.
  • Don't attach your script. Ask them if they would be kind enough to read it first. If they ask to read it, then send it.
  • Include your logline.
  • Politely sign off - again obvious but essential
  • Keep it short. A rambling email will just get binned.
This approach works. I know it does because I've used it and had my work read by companies who have 'No Unsolicited Material' plastered all over their website. Follow these guidelines and most companies will be receptive to this kind of approached.

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