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How to Write the Best Query Letter

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Do Query Letters Work?

When it comes to screenwriting, pitching your script is as important as writing it. This is where query letters come in. Introduced in the 1980s-90s, query letters are still relevant in determining who’s script gets seen by the right people. Writing a query letter can often cause much anxiety to screenwriters, especially considering its importance. If you’re facing the same worry, this article is for you. Here, I’ll be dealing with how you can write the best query letter for your script.

Wait, What’s a Query Letter?

A query letter is used by screenwriters to get a manager, studio, production company or agent interested in the work you’d like to send them. Simply put, it is a sales pitch for your script – a brief email that talks about why your script should be turned into a movie. Your logline will be critical in communicating your story's concept in a query letter.

The purpose of your query letter is to:

  1. Open the door and establish a professional relationship
  2. Request permission to submit your screenplay legally
  3. Serve as a paper trail so that you have a record of everywhere your script was submitted

How To Approach Writing a Query Letter?

You need to consider three things before writing a query letter– targeting, researching, and specificity. You need to thoroughly understand who you’re writing to and tune your letter to cater to the recipient’s tastes.

This is where researching your recipient plays a crucial role. It is also essential to keep your query letter succinct and to the point.

A query letter follows a general structure:

  1. An opening statement or greeting that includes the title,
  2. A logline,
  3. An optional brief mention about your background if it helps your credibility
  4. A closing sentence inviting the person to read your script.

They don't need to be in the same order, but these components are essential to every screenwriter’s query letter.

Keep in mind brevity is key. The folks you send it to get hundreds of these things weekly.

Now, let's do a deep dive into query letters, and I'll give you some templates below you can use.

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Jay Carver

Jay Carver is a screenwriter, director and producer. Through his production company J-Style Films, he has done work for companies such as Turner Broadcasting. In the past, he has worked with Hollywood actor Omari Hardwick and won several film festivals including "Best Director".