QUERY LETTER CONTEST
success starts with a well-crafted pitch
Query letters are the backbone to screenwriting success, and our site is a testament to that. Unless you have a direct contact with a major studio or are represented by a top agency, a query letter is needed to make an introduction.
Screenwriting Staffing is an online organization that connects screenwriters with industry buyers and producers. With over 200+ success stories, our site has proven that query letter works.
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 are able to tell your story in a short amount of time.
-- You can properly 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, which is why we are launching our first query letter contest. Our goal is to find the best query letters out there so we can connect them with our large database of buyers and pros, as well as entertainment pros outside of our network, which is why we teamed up with some other notable screenwriting sites.
We believe, no matter where you are located, success is within reach. And we fully believe that a proper query letter is one of the first steps to getting your script made.
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
-- 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.
TOP 6 WINNERS IN ORDER:
1ST PLACE | TRUE STORY OF THE PERFECT 36 -- Two young sisters reluctantly join forces with a time travel expert and travel back to August of 1920. They must get to Nashville in time to stop an interloper from keeping the Nineteenth Amendment from being ratified. Sci-fi by Veronica R. Tabares
2ND PLACE | 21 DAYS IN PARIS -- While in a coma, an art professor dreams of meeting his soulmate in Paris, as well as Degas and other famous dead people. Upon waking from the coma, he goes to Paris to discover whether the woman he loves is real or a fantasy. Romance by Denis Mortenson
3RD PLACE | THE CHRONIC ARGONAUTS -- When a time-travelling mad scientist accidentally kidnaps a rugby-loving church minister from the 1800s, they both land smack in the middle of a last-ditch fight to save mankind from an alien invasion. Sci-fi by Dan Goforth
4TH PLACE | THE COMPOSERS -- After his wife's sudden death, Stephen, a washed up Broadway composer, must take his estranged daughter Emma to the funeral where they wrestle with their relationship even as they decide to blackmail Stephen's sister-in-law, a famed pop singer, into starring in his new show. Drama by Joel Fishbane
5TH PLACE | ARENA -- When the galaxy's toughest cop is framed for murder and sent to the dreaded prison planet Arena, he must battle heinous criminals on a gladiatorial game show in order to clear his name, clear his conscience, and come home. Sci-fi by Catlan McClelland
6TH PLACE | BULLY! (Teddy Roosevelt and the Panama Canal) -- Rough Rider President Teddy Roosevelt ignores the Constitution, orders American gunboats to sea, and bullies his way through Congress, Wall Street and Banana Republics to secure America’s right to build the Panama Canal. Drama by James B Saunders
9 FINALISTS (ALPHABETICAL ORDER)
HAUNT FOR HIRE -- After a family enlists the help of a ghost to save themselves from a vindictive neighbor, they start a haunt for hire business and learn that even ghosts can be haunted. Comedy by Veronica R. Tabares
HIT & RUN -- When the wife of a struggling businessman robs a pizza restaurant, to pay her husband's bills, they are forced into a hide-and-seek game of life-and-death with police and the mob-connected restaurant boss. Action by Hebron Simckes-Joffe
INKED IN BLOOD -- A tortured man returns to the town he ran away from as a child to exact his revenge on all those who wronged him and face the one man he fears the most - his father. Revenge-Drama by Paul Corricelli
LITTLE SISTER -- A professional paranormal investigator must return to his childhood home in order to save himself from a demonic entity. However, this involves also saving his estranged family who is reluctant to accept his help because he’s not the girl they raised. Drama by Tristan “Voss” Wold
M-OTHEЯLAИD -- A skeptical physicist and a former FBI-agent are enlisted to revive a Fringe Science Department at Homeland Security, where they investigate a series of crimes involving popular American conspiracy theories, Russian agents in our government, and a parallel universe leaking into our own. Sci-fi by Emily Ross
STONE WOMAN -- A honeymooner in Belize becomes a reluctant adventurer when an anti-American police chief frames her husband for murder, and the only one on her side is the silent ghost of an ancient Mayan woman. Adventure by Veronica R. Tabares
THE RELUCTANT SEXAGENARIAN -- A 60-year old woman’s birthday wish to get younger backfires, making her keep aging backwards until finding true love. Comedy by Rita Wheeler
THE SERUM -- After a biochemist is murdered, a reporter searches for the remaining dose of a serum that extends human life and which Big Pharma wants destroyed. Thriller by Thomas Thorpe
A STORM IN SEASON -- Six years ago, a slave earned his freedom. Today he will fight to free a nation. Drama by Paul Weidknecht
5 HONORABLE MENTIONS (ALPHABETICAL ORDER)
FATHER & FATHER -- Two tough priests are forced to go on the run and save a mob boss’ life and soul after he confesses mob secrets to them. Comedy by Steve Wisniewsk
HEARTLESS -- A nearly-retired FBI agent and his rookie partner are sent to the Midwest to stop a serial murderer who’s replacing his victims’ hearts with candy. Dark Comedy by Roy Phillips
STAR TRANSIT -- Mankind’s first interstellar passengers set off for Alpha Centauri, but only an empty spaceship arrives five months later. Four years pass before a distress signal is received at Earth where Captain Richter and a crew of fact finders blast off to find out what happened. Sci-fi by Thomas Thorpe
SUGAR -- A recently widowed, former university professor dates sugar daddies to help her family in dire financial straits. Comedy-Drama by Kerri Quinn
THE CHAMELEON -- An attractive animal rights activist must stop a serial killer, while avoiding becoming his next victim, to prevent an infatuated cop from discovering her dark secret. Thriller by Anthony L MooreTHE CHAMELEON -- An attractive animal rights activist must stop a serial killer, while avoiding becoming his next victim, to prevent an infatuated cop from discovering her dark secret. Thriller by Anthony L Moore
Here are some quick tips to writing a query letter. Following some of these tricks will elevate the strength of your pitch, which will then in return improve your odds of winning.
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 ask you that banal question: “What’s your script about?”
Why do we need a logline? Two reasons. 1) They help you, the writer, realize the true meaning and premise of your story 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 include a good portion of them.
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 should mirror the tone and style of your script script. 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 doesn’t succeed.
Do you reveal the ending? It’s up to you. There are those who 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 bio. This is where you let the pro know you are relevant and have had some success in the industry. 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 forgot. List your full name, email, phone number, and any links to your work.
Still have questions? Email us directly: email@example.com.
We also offer QUERY LETTER ASSISTANCE.