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A query letter for a screenplay is often an independent filmmaker’s introduction to the production company.   It has to be right—tight and right. 

A query letter that is to the point and promises a screenplay that can be made into a great film, is what a producer responds to.   Creating one is not as easy as many think.  Like the logline, the query letter has a way about it.     Here’s the basic breakdown of a query letter: Address to: It is professional and respectful to use the formal Mr. (Ms.) - and the exec’s position in the company - even if you know the person. 

Salutation: The standard “Dear” is, in our opinion, the most accepted and respectful way to address a producer or production company executive query letter.   Depending upon how you came to contact the company and exec, and who you are will determine if you should use a familiar first name here.

Intro: A short introductory sentence that has the title of the script mentioned and the company name, plus a short hello to personalize it. Logline: “An Ozark Mountain girl…” Close: This is where you get to tell a bit about why you want to make the film and a bit about the filmmaker(s) – whatever interesting note you can make that will call attention to the film project (“Based on the true story about my reuniting with my 25 year old twin brother after being separated at birth when my mother took him to live with a religious cult in Arizona.”) Here are sample queries for a Producer, Director and Screenwriter:

PRODUCER:

Dear Molly,

I've just received the final polish to a screenplay I have been developing this last year: "WB".  I would like to submit it for your consideration at ABC Productions.  "An unflinching Ozark Mountain girl naively hacks through dangerous social terrain to discover her drug dealing father has been murdered and her only chance at keeping her family intact is to convince his killers to help her prove he is dead." The film is based on a novel of the same name for which I hold the rights.  The screenwriter, Leo G. ("River Bank", "Mill's Answer", "Rampage in Eden") has done a wonderful job with a complex novel about a part of the world very few get to see from this deep inside.   I have serious interest from Jennie Dean to play the lead.  I believe she can do wonders with the part of Lil - a character possessed with a determined sense of self rarely seen on screen.   Jennie was raised near where the story takes place.  She knows the people and the place and loves the part. 

I have a budget based on involvement by local community members who will help keep production costs down while at the same time a real plus for the look and feel of the film.  I also have a few investors who would like to come on board once I have a company like ABC Productions involved.   I estimate their involvement could be somewhere near 30% of the budget I’ve had drawn up.  As for me, you might have seen a film I produced last year, my first and a Toronto winner: "Never Say Yes". It was distributed by Indus Features.   If you like, reviews and clips can be seen at: Neversayyes.com I've been a fan of the films you've produced, most especially, "Strangers When We Part".  You are the first producer I am sending a query to as I believe if you decide to read it, "WB" is a script for a film you will want to be a key part of.   Thanks for your time, Molly. Regards, Your name

Your address
Your telephone number
Your email address
www.yoursite.com

DIRECTOR:  

Dear Molly,

I've just received the final polish to "WB", a screenplay written by Leo G. ("River Bank", "Mill's Answer", "Rampage in The Garden of Eden"). I would like to submit the script for consideration at ABC Productions.

Here is the logline: 

"An unflinching Ozark Mountain girl naively hacks through dangerous social terrain to discover her drug dealing father has been murdered and her only chance at keeping her family intact is to convince her father’s killers to help prove he is dead."

The film is based on a novel of the same name.  The novelist is a friend from college who has given me the rights.  Leo has done a wonderful job with a complex novel and I am really excited about showing an audience a unique place in the world populated by simple yet very complex people very few get to see from this deep inside.

I have serious interest from Jennie Dean to play the lead.  She and I met at Sundance and became quick friends.  I believe she can do wonders with the part of Lil - a character possessed with a determined sense of self rarely seen on screen.   She was raised near where the story takes place, knows the people and the place and loves the part. 

The first feature I directed was a winner at last year's Toronto Film Festival: "Never Say Yes". It was distributed by Indus Features.   If you are interested, a full bio, clips and reviews of my work can be seen at: www.mysite.com. 

You are the first producer I am submitting to.  I've been a fan of the films you've produced, my personal favorite being: "Strangers When We Met".  For me, "WB" has an equally compelling story and tapestry that I am confident will speak to you.  

I look forward to your response and thanks for your time, Molly.

Regards,

Your name

Your address
Your telephone number
Your email address
www.yoursite.com

SCREENWRITER:

Dear Ms. Sanders,

I've just completed the polish of "WB”, the second screenplay I’ve written that I would like to submit for your consideration at ABC Productions.

"An unflinching Ozark Mountain girl naively hacks through dangerous social terrain to discover her drug dealing father has been murdered and her only chance at keeping her family intact is to convince his killers to help prove he is dead."

The film is based on a novel of the same name. The novelist is a family friend who has graciously granted me the rights.   It was a great and difficult experience for me as a writer, not only to write a script based on a novel, but a complex novel about a part of the world very few get to see from this deep inside and a female character possessed with a determined sense-of-self rarely seen on screen. The first screenplay I wrote "Never Say Yes" won the screenwriting competition at Toronto last year and was then optioned by Indus Features.    I decided to send this screenplay out just this last week and you are the first producer I am sending it to.  Having seen the film you produced, “When Night Falls”, I believe WB is a story that will capture your imagination and attention.  

Thank you for your time, Ms. Sanders.  I look forward to your response.

Regards,

Your name

Your address
Your telephone number
Your email address
www.yoursite.com

  
 
 
   
 

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