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Saturday, September 29, 2012

The good folks at the Writers Store in LA were kind enough to send me a copy of their Fall 2012 Hollywood Screenwriting Directory. This is essentially a replacement for the Hollywood Creative Directory I mention in my first book. It's a list of almost every production company you would want to send your screenplay to, with the names of contacts, addresses, phone numbers and email addresses. (Also, weirdly, the permalink to their IMDB page.) They conveniently list genres that each production company likes, and how willing they are to accept queries from unrepresented writers. If you want to get your query out directly to as many producers as possible (which, if you're just starting out, you may need to do), this is the book for you.

It is a bit odd that it's a book. A treeware database is going to be out of date almost the moment it drops. It would make more sense to distribute this as an online directory. But, I guess, it's hard to sell an online directory in a store; and you can't buy your nephew an online directory for graduation. Hopefully they will follow up with an online directory.

I have a small caveat. There's a section up front about 25 page treatments, and how you need them because producers don't want to read a screenplay. Personally, I try to avoid sending 25 page treatment. 25 pages is way too long to hook someone. Three pages is enough to get someone to crack your screenplay; hell, if you have a great hook, three or four lines in an email ought to be enough to get them read the first five pages, and from there it's up tot he script.

Treatments communicate tone badly, and they almost always kill comedy. To me, treatment are a writer's tool for figuring out what to put in your scenes when you write your script pages. The only time I ever show treatments are (a) to funding agencies that demand them (b) if I haven't gotten around to writing the screenplay yet. And (b) is of dubious usefulness. I've never managed to option a feature film off a treatment.

The script is the thing that will make the sale. I give producers only what I need to get them to open my script. Usually that's three or four lines in an email after I've talked to them in person.

It is hard to sell a script by querying producers directly. It is ten times better to have an agent. But if you don't have an agent yet, you're probably querying producers. The Hollywood Screenwriting Directory just made your job a lot easier.


Does this book have addresses to agencies and management companies? Or just producers and studios?


By Blogger Sleight of Script, at 11:19 AM  

Does the book have addresses and info on agencies and management companies too?


By Blogger Sleight of Script, at 11:20 AM  

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