Question from Chris Van: I write to you from Johannesburg, South Africa. I have finally completed my screenplay after a six-year haul. Thanks to Writers Store I have used many of your publications on my path to success.
I have a powerful email logline and message which I would like to send to agents etc. Please, can you advise whether you have a book of names and addresses of agents etc., so that I can email my message to them. Is this the method that you recommend? The movie is called William and is about the amazing life story of William Shakespeare -- the Man of the Millennium.
Howard Maibach Responds: Congratulations, Chris, on completing your screenplay. Now the real fun part begins by letting Hollywood know about it.
E-mailing loglines to agencies should be part of your campaign, but don't make it your entire campaign. You should use regular mail, fax, phone, etc. and whatever else you can think of that is legal and moral and will set you apart from the fifty million other writers out there.
Some e-mail addresses are listed in the two must-have Hollywood Creative Directory books -- one for producers Vol. 47 and the other for agents and managers (see below for ordering information). Sending e-mail is a low-percentage way to go but it has worked for some. Agents and producers are inundated with e-mails to these public boxes, which means that lots of mail sent there goes unread.
The other must-have book is the one I publish, the Spec Screenplay Sales Directory 2003 Edition, Vol. #6, just out (see right sidebar for ordering information). It documents the sale of over 1,200 spec screenplays since 1995 and information is cross-referenced several ways. Many sales have not been published anywhere else on or off the Internet. This one-of-a-kind book will help you figure out exactly who you need to reach, which will save you time and money going down blind alleys.
For instance, there's a section in the book that lists first-time sales by writers. All you have to do is check out the agents who made these sales and contact them. Mention in your query that you're aware they sold scripts from first-timers and possibly they could sell yours. This shows that you've done your homework (perhaps the same diligent work went into writing your script). If this doesn't work, try contacting agents who have sold historical drama. The Spec Screenplay Sales Directory is perfect for this type of search.
Good luck and let us know when 'William' will be playing at a theater near us.