How to Write a Query Letter As Good As Your Screenplay

Query letter. The very sound of those two words sends many a writer spiraling into an ocean of sad panic. Like no matter what you write it’s not going to sound right and why try anyway? 

Query Letter Blog

Do query letters work? There are a lot of people that will tell you that unsolicited emails sent blindly to people is unprofessional, rude and a waste of time. 

Well, if your query letter is awful, that could prove to be true. 

But the truth is query letters work. (We are talking about emails, of course.)

I know, because I’ve sent them out myself and people have responded. 

People read query letters. That’s the good news. The bad news is:

People read query letters. 

So how do you make your query letter work for you? 

Don’t Send a Query Letter if You Can’t Deliver

The biggest problem people have with query letters is they don’t have a script ready to send to the person they’ve asked to read it. You think you’re ready, but are you? Has everyone in your world read your script and told you its the best script they’ve read in a year? If people are still giving notes on your work, please consider focusing on rewriting your script and not worry about writing a query letter. 

Don’t be Scared to Send a Query Letter

If you’re scared to email people, go back and work on your script. When you love your script, you will feel confidence and hope and you will not be frightened by talking to people about what you create. Rewrite your script until you’re not scared. If you’re scared, you might email three people and call it a day. Have no fear. If you’ve already blown everyone away with your incredible script, then have faith that it will find its path. It’s not magic. An unstoppable screenplay needs no luck. It will work out if the script is amazing. That’s the laws of the market. 

Your Query should be half the size of an iPhone Screen

Your query letter should be no longer than 10 seconds. How can it be this short? Because your idea is so powerful that you can say it in one line. If your script is what you think it is, then telling someone about it shouldn’t take that long and should instantly attract them to reading it. 

This goes back to your script. If you can’t hook someone in one sentence, then you need to work on your script. We’re not talking about a logline. You can use a logline in your query letter, as long as its doing what you want it to do—-engage the reader. 

Offer the Opening

Ask them if they’d like to read the opening of your script, and then if they do, send them no more than 10 pages. Maybe send 5. Don’t send the whole thing unless they ask. “If you’d like to read the opening, let me know.” That’s it. 

Polite, Short, Engage

Be polite when you email someone. Address your query letter personally to the individual (Dear Mrs. Wonder Woman).

Don’t ask them to read more than a street sign in the email.

Have something incredible to send.

Send it out to a lot of people and you’ll get a response.

And you only need one in the end to change everything. 

Remember: the hard part of writing a good query letter is writing the good screenplay. 

Easier said than done!

Gordy Hoffman  

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14 Responses to “How to Write a Query Letter As Good As Your Screenplay”

  1. Gary Piazza Says:

    February 13th, 2018 at 5:02 pm

    This addresses email query letters. But does old fashioned snail mail work anymore?

  2. BlueCat Says:

    February 14th, 2018 at 4:56 am

    Who knows, are you asking them to snail mail you back? People use email.

  3. V. Gosav Says:

    February 17th, 2018 at 12:39 pm

    I keep avoiding your website, because this WHITE WRITING ON BLACK BACKGROUNG, makes me tired and irritates my eyes.
    Why don’t you change it, as you did with your news letter?
    You will get so many more people visiting and reading your website !

  4. BlueCat Says:

    February 18th, 2018 at 7:34 am

    New website coming this year! Thanks for your patience and we apologize for the annoyance!

  5. Antony Berrios Says:

    February 18th, 2018 at 11:49 am

    The Infamous Query Letter can be such a daunting task. Thank you for laying it out here. Writing the screenplay is one triumph in itself. But the idea is to have others embrace the world you created is another animal. And to do that in a small and concise way isn’t always an easy exercise. You have to capture the lifeblood of what you created so that those that read the query want to devour more.

    Thanks, BlueCat.

    “You can’t force a thing to grow. You can’t interfere with it. It’s all hidden. It’s all unseen. You just gotta wait till it pops up out of the ground. Tiny little shoot. Tiny little white shoot. All hairy and fragile. Strong enough. Strong enough to break the earth even. It’s a miracle.”

    -Sam Shepard

  6. Andy Wertner Says:

    February 19th, 2018 at 9:39 pm

    Great article! Is there any harm in including a link to the full script in your query letter? Since a link won’t put any burden on their mailbox, this seems like a more efficient way to allow them to access your script (and read as much or as little of it as they would like), as opposed to waiting for them to reply and then sending an attachment with only 5-10 pages. Any thoughts on this approach? Thanks!

  7. BlueCat Says:

    February 19th, 2018 at 9:43 pm

    Sounds like a nice idea, Andy.

  8. Tamir Says:

    February 21st, 2018 at 1:39 pm

    Great points. Do you have a sample of a query letter that has worked or even one you would use for let’s say your own produced script?

    You have daily/weekly script suggestions, a query letter example would be amazing!

  9. BlueCat Says:

    February 23rd, 2018 at 6:28 am

    Why don’t you try out one of your own and let’s see how it looks!

  10. Tamir Says:

    February 24th, 2018 at 2:19 pm

    I already did. Thanks for the push

  11. marcperlmichel Says:

    February 25th, 2018 at 2:09 pm

      So, first and above all – be polite!

  12. BlueCat Says:

    February 25th, 2018 at 5:54 pm

    That’s always a good idea!

  13. Logan Says:

    May 9th, 2018 at 9:50 am

    I got a response from my query letter and the company requested to read my short film’s script. I sent it to them, but now I have a question: when (if at all) should I follow up?

  14. BlueCat Says:

    May 9th, 2018 at 9:51 am

    Email them back after two weeks if you don’t hear anything.

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