Query Letters, Cover Letters and the One Page Sell

Discussion in 'Screenwriting' started by Youngy, May 17, 2013.

  1. Youngy

    Youngy Bronze Member

    Hello everyone, me again.

    I don't know whether it's my current crisis of confidence in my own ability that's making me feel a little dumb today, or whether I am actually dumb. But I have a few questions...

    Firstly, what is the difference between a query letter and a cover letter? I've tried using google to solve this question but I just keep getting directed to blogs and things that just confuse me, could anyone simplify this for me?

    Also, what is the best way to write a Query Letter or a Cover Letter?

    And as for the One Page that many production companies ask for, what goes in it? Is this a one page outline of my story? Do I tell them everything that happens?

    I appreciate that, to many of you, these questions may seem naive but if I could get some help I would really really appreciate it so much!

  2. spinningdoc

    spinningdoc Bronze Member

    A query letter (or more likely, email) is basically pitching your script so the recipient will ask you to send it. So it doesn't include your script.

    A cover letter (again, more likely an email) goes with your script (which is an attachment, generally a pdf), and pretty much just says 'here's my script, thanks for reading, and I look forward to hearing from you'.

    There's lots of stuff in the Query Letters section of this forum about query letters.
  3. HollywoodScribe

    HollywoodScribe Bronze Member

    The "query letter" is a letter of inquiry also known as a letter of interest. It is asking if someone (an agent, producer, actor, director) is interested in reading the script. As 'doc said. That might be why your search was confusing. Use "letter of interest" or "letter of inquiry".
  4. Youngy

    Youngy Bronze Member

    Just a couple of little side questions:

    Should the cover letter mention anything about my script at all? A little synopsis or anything?

    Also, should the cover letter be attached to my script in one document (if sending over an email)? Is there even any way to do this in pdf?

    Thanks again.
  5. spinningdoc

    spinningdoc Bronze Member

    Generally I just write something along the lines of 'Thanks for agreeing to read my script, [title], which is attached as a pdf. I look forward to hearing from you and please don't hesitate to contact me if you need any further information'.

    It's just an email saying 'here's the attachment' in effect, like any other email with an attachment.
  6. Youngy

    Youngy Bronze Member

    Thank you so much spinningdoc, I appreciate these questions are a little newbish..

    one last question, and (hopefully) I mean last!

    When you have to submit a treatment, or long synopsis, and you have to detail what happens in your script, do you have to give away the ending/twists/spoilers? Or do you save things for the actual script itself?

    Once again, thank you!
  7. HollywoodScribe

    HollywoodScribe Bronze Member

    If you are asked to send in a treatment that means they want to know the entire story - everything. A treatment isn't a "tease" to get someone to read the script.
  8. spinningdoc

    spinningdoc Bronze Member

    In general, just tell the story - showing you've got a good ending will be more persuasive than being a tease; producers and execs read so many stories that they'll just assume it's mediocre otherwise, as most are. Other factors like the premise, commerciality, its clarity, and how it fits with their state will count for a lot more too.

    A one pager *might* hold off the ending, if it was a particularly 'selling' one, rather than a synopsis. Some of them are more like book blurbs than synopses, but they tend to be done by producers.

    Loglines tend not to give the ending, mostly because they're too short. I've found the format 'When [inciting incident], [Protag] must [do main quest of story] or [bad stakes] will happen'.
  9. Ares

    Ares Bronze Member

    Just curious. Are the producers, agents, etc, prefer scripts with endings that have potential for a sequel/prequel or not?

    If they do, do you write this on the letter?
  10. HollywoodScribe

    HollywoodScribe Bronze Member

    Each producer is looking for something a little different - there is no, one answer that will cover all producers, agents, etc. But no, you do not need to mention the sequel potential in a letter. If your script is well written and has sequel potential the reader who covers the script will make a note of that in their coverage.

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