GIVING GOOD EMAIL
OR how to get around the 'no unsolicited material' barrier
Even as a repped writer, I'm constantly sending out emails to new contacts to hustle some work. During the first lockdown last year, I mined an industry database, emailed about 200 people, got about 50 replies, and 2 led to actual work (one of them I'm doing now, a year later, so it's not an instant win or anything).
I put down this hustle to 'giving good email'. I don't have a set query letter at all, but maybe a basic structure, like:
Quick apols for cold emailing them if applicable, then quick intro of me (any notable credit/achievement/bio) & why I'm emailing them. I might include a logline if I want them to read a script. Or just send them links to IMDb or anything relevant, as that's better than sending attachments unsolicited.
So, say if you were a producer I wanted to get in touch with, I might go:
Hi Producer (use their actual name, obvs) - sorry to doorstep your inbox. My name is Danny, I'm an experienced writer in kids' TV (Hey Duggee, PJ Masks etc) but away from this genre, I have a passion for supernatural thrillers, and I love your body of work in this genre. With that in mind, I thought my latest script would be of interest to you. It's called Origin and it's about a struggling mum who's trying to keep her family together but when her son gets bitten by a mysterious creature in the woods, it's the beginning of a devastating spiral that tears her world apart. I made a short film version of Origin, and it won Best Horror at the London Independent Film Festival. You can watch it here (link). But the feature script really gets into the meat and crunching bones of the story. Would you like to read it? (ending on a question is good) Kind regards, Danny
If you're an unrepped writer with little or no experience, it's still important to craft your email with succinct and impressive detail, whatever it may be. At the very least, complimenting someone on their work, telling them you have something they might like, and hitting them with your logline, is a good way to open up the possibility of correspondence.