Q. As I write my agent query letters, is it worth including academic credits if they come from a state school outside of California or New York? (For example, "I graduated with a B.A. in Drama from the University of Arkansas...") Is there such a thing as Academic Snobbery in Hollywood and can it hurt me?
I don't think any academic credits, whether impressive or not, mean much to agents, and they just make producers nervous. It's all about the hook -- whether you can write a simple, catchy query letter. If you can do that, then where you learned it is beside the point, and if you went to Harvard and you still can't come up with a hook, mentioning your credentials will just make people want to laugh and point.
There is a fair bit of reverse academic snobbery, and a lot of insider snobbery (e.g. say "L.A." not "Hollywood"), but I think very little regular academic snobbery. People who went to top schools -- and there are a lot of them -- don't usually mention it.
The exceptions would be (a) if you know that you went to the same school as your victim, er, intended recipient ("PS: Go Razorbacks!"), and (b) if you're mentioning not so much an alma mater as an institution at that university. If you were on an acclaimed comedy publication such as the Harvard Lampoon
, that's worth mentioning.
I went to Yale undergraduate and got my MFA from the UCLA School of Film and Television. They used to be on my resume, of course, but I have never put either of these on a query letter; and I even hesitated about mentioning them here.
Yale, eh? Pepe's or Sally's?
See what I'm talking about?
Actually, I went down to Pepe's about once. But I went to Naples many, many times.
What I really miss is the place around Elm and Dwight that served the great Philadelphia cheese steaks. I don't think I've ever had a cheese steak that good since. Though the truck on 110th and Broadway is pretty good.
I graduated from UAMS (University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences), then ranked as the number one ranked paramedic program in the US.
I still remember the 1979 homecoming game at War Memorial, when we kicked Texas's sorry good-for-nothing ass. The entire city shut down afterwards. Cold beer and hot women flowed freely through the streets all night.
God, it was wonderful.
Oh, and my first screenplay - has a moment when the Lead ends up in the hands of a paramedic. Because on your first screenplay, you write what you frigging know.
Class of 1980, UAMS
Go Hogs Go!
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