QUERY LETTER CONTEST (Season 4)
success starts with a well-crafted pitch
Query letters are the backbone of screenwriting success, and our site is a testament to that. Unless you have a direct contact with a major studio or represented by a top agency, a query letter is needed to make an introduction.
Screenwriting Staffing is an online community that connects screenwriters with industry buyers and producers. With over 275+ success stories, our site has proven that query letters are effective.
When industry professionals post with us, they request a query letter first. A producer will not read a screenplay from someone they do not know. They want to make sure that your story matches their needs. A well-written query letter says the following about you:
-- You can tell your story in a short amount of time.
-- You can adequately compose a well-written pitch with no glaring grammar or syntax errors.
-- You understand and respect how the industry works.
-- You honor the industry pro’s time.
Will a query letter sell your script? No, although it has happened before. Will a query letter warrant a script request? Yes. You can’t sell your work unless someone reads your script. We want to reward and nurture the screenwriters who understand and respect the craft, so we are launching the 4th season of our query letter contest. Our goal is to find the best query letters out there to connect them with our extensive database of buyers and pros. We are also teaming up with other screenwriting sites so that you can access their industry network, too!
We believe, no matter your location, success is within reach. And we fully believe that a proper query letter is one of the first steps to getting your script made.
When you read through our featured success stories on our page and IMDb, you will find that every option and sell started with a query letter. View last year's winners.
HOW IT WORKS:
Each query letter must contain the following:
-- Introduction of screenplay
(for help and examples, please refer to the bottom of the page)
Query letters must be submitted in PDF, and can not be over one page in length.
-- TV pilot/Web
-- Short scripts
Scripts can not be currently optioned, in production, or produced.
Both WGA and NON-WGA writers may submit.
Writers from any location welcome.
Do NOT submit a query letter if you do not have a completed script.
All entries have the option to receive FREE written feedback.
Winning or placing in a contest should be more than just a "shoutout" or "certificate". Being successful in a competition should put you in direct contact with decision-makers. That's what Screenwriting Staffing does!
1st Place: The winning query letter will be sent to over 3K industry professionals and buyers. A 1-year subscription to premium membership. 3 pages of extensive notes/coverage on your screenplay. Logline uploaded on our logline board. Free screenplay entries to SWN Screenplay Competition, The Gold Script Competition, Filmmatic Screenplay Awards & Reno Tahoe
Screenplay Contest. A copy of Dave Trottier's The Screenwriter's Bible. Query letter will be hosted on our site for a full year. Logline will also be blasted out over our large social media pages and groups. Winner will also get consultation on marketing their script through Zoom with SS Founder, Jacob N. Stuart. Certificate & Laurel included. Announced January 9th, 2023.
2nd Place: Runner-up query letter will be sent to over 3K industry professionals and buyers. A 6-month subscription to premium membership. 2 pages of extensive notes/coverage on your screenplay. Logline uploaded on our logline board. Free screenplay entries to SWN Screenplay Competition, The Gold Script Competition, Filmmatic Screenplay Awards & Reno Tahoe Screenplay Contest Logline will also be blasted out over our large social media pages and groups. Certificate & Laurel included. Announced January 9th, 2023.
3rd Place: A 3-month subscription to premium membership. 1 page of extensive notes/coverage on your screenplay. Logline uploaded on our logline board.. Free screenplay entries to SWN Screenplay Competition, The Gold Script Competition, Filmmatic Screenplay Awards & Reno Tahoe Screenplay Contest. Logline will also be blasted out over our large social media pages and groups. Certificate & Laurel included. Announced January 9th, 2023.
Finalists (4-10): A 1-month subscription to premium membership. Logline uploaded on our logline board. Logline will also be blasted out over our large social media pages and groups.
Certificate & Laurel included. 4th and 5th place will also get a free screenplay entry to SWN Screenplay Competition & Reno Tahoe Screenplay Contest. Announced January 1st, 2023.
Semi-Finalists (11-30): Logline uploaded on our logline board. Certificate & Laurel included. Announced December 21st, 2022. (previously the 19th)
** Written feedback will be given before winner announcement (1/9/2023). Prizes will be given within 1 week after winners announced (1/9/2023).
Early Bird Deadline - September 1st - $11.99
Regular Deadline - November 1st - $14.99
Extended Final Deadline - Dec 13th - $19.99
Here are some quick tips for writing a query letter. Following some of these tricks will elevate your pitch's strength, which will then improve your odds of winning. You also read our article on query letters here: WEAK QUERY LETTERS MAKE FOR WEAK SCRIPTS.
Introduction: Establish the GENRE & TITLE. Don’t waste the pro’s time. If your script has won awards, received positive coverage, been optioned, or has attachments, this can also be included in the intro. This should be no longer 2-3 sentences.
What is a logline? A LOGLINE is a one to two sentence version of your 100+ page screenplay. Many experts describe it as the mini description in the TV Guide. Since the Guide is now dead, think of it as the blurb you find under the poster on Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, and Redbox. Your logline should resonate and reverberate in every single page of your screenplay. Your logline is the answer when someone asks you that banal question: “What’s your script about?”
Why do we need a logline? Two reasons. 1) They help you, the writer, realize your story's true meaning and premise in its simplest form. 2) It opens doors, plain and simple. Industry professionals can’t read through 100 screenplays a week, never finding the right script. But they can read 100 loglines, and narrow down their search, utilizing their limited amount of reading time before requesting to read a script.
What your logline should include:
— PROTAGONIST. This is your main character. The person we are cheering for. This should be established right off the bat.
— ANTAGONIST. The person standing in your protagonist’s way. The person we are supposed to loathe.
— GOAL. This is what your protagonist is trying to obtain, accomplish. This is the goal that drives the 2nd act, the meat of your story.
— OBSTACLE. This is where you list the central problem your character will face when trying to achieve their goal.
— WHAT’S AT STAKE. If your hero doesn’t overcome their obstacle, what’s on the line? Will the world be the same? Will your hero lose the love of his/her life?
— OTHER. Brilliant loglines also, while sometimes subtly, include GENRE, SETTING, THE HOOK, and CONFLICT.
EXAMPLES (courtesy of IMDb):
Note: not every logline will include EVERY bullet point above, but they should consist of a good portion.
THE BOSS (2016): A titan of industry [PROTAGONIST] is sent to prison [SETTING] after she’s caught insider trading [CONFLICT]. When she emerges ready to rebrand herself as America’s latest sweetheart [GOAL & GENRE], not everyone [ANTAGONISTS] she screwed over is so quick to forgive and forget [OBSTACLE & THE HOOK]. 36 words.
THE REVENANT (2015): A frontiersman [PROTAGONIST] on a fur trading expedition [GENRE] in the 1820s [SETTING] fights for survival [GOAL] after being mauled by a bear [CONFLICT] and left for dead [OBSTACLE] by members of his own hunting team [ANTAGONIST]. 30 words.
TITANIC (1997): A seventeen-year-old aristocrat [PROTAGONIST] falls in love [GENRE] with a kind, but poor artist aboard [CONFLICT] the luxurious, ill-fated R.M.S. Titanic [SETTING & THE HOOK]. 22 words.
MAN ON FIRE (2004): In Mexico City [SETTING], a former assassin [PROTAGONIST] swears vengeance [GENRE & GOAL] on those who committed an unspeakable act [ANTAGONISTS] against the family he was hired to protect [THE HOOK]. 25 words.
A SYNOPSIS is a more in-depth look at your script. It should be written in 3rd person, present tense, and mirror your script's tone and style. Remember to start with your main character. Here are some more thoughts:
Do not get bogged down with clutter and detail. Get to the point fast. Try to keep your synopsis at ONE-TWO paragraphs, THREE at the very max.
Take us on the hero’s journey. Hit the major turning points, and convey VERY clearly what’s at stake if your hero fails.
Do you reveal the ending? It’s up to you. Some say not to, while others expect you to.
A synopsis is not a treatment, be sure you know the difference.
BIO: Do not underestimate the biography. This is where you let the pro know you are relevant and have had some industry success. Quickly talk about current projects and past ones. Don't have any prior experience? Talk about your connection to the story and why you are the right person to write this script. Like the intro, try to keep this under 3 sentences.
CLOSING: Pretty simple, but often forgotten. List your full name, email, phone number, and any links to your work.
If you need inspiration, be sure to check out 2021's, 2020's, and 2019's winners.
Still have questions? Email us directly: email@example.com.
We also offer QUERY LETTER ASSISTANCE.
SEASON 4 SPONSORS: