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What to expect from your screenplay query submissions

If you read this blog regularly you know that I’m a big proponent of marketing your own work. Check out my post How to Sell Your Screenplay (in a nutshell) to learn how to submit your work to producers, agents, and managers. In addition have a look at my post Getting your screenplay to producers and production companies to learn more about the actual submission process.

I get a lot of questions about what happens after you’ve made your query letter submission. So I’m going to try and answer those questions in this post.

I talk about response rates in my post Getting your screenplay to producers and production companies but suffice it to say when you’re making cold submissions to production companies and agents you’re doing pretty well if you can get 5% of them requesting your script, maybe a little higher with production companies and a little lower with agents/managers.

When submitting to companies in The Hollywood Creative Directory you’re going to get a certain percentage of companies sending back your query letter unread saying they do not read unsolicited material. Don’t worry too much about this, it’s normal. Rejection is a big part of this process so get used to it. I wrote this post which might shed some additional light on companies that don’t take unsolicited material: Submitting to companies that don’t take unsolicited material.

In addition if you send snail mail letters you’re going to get a lot of returned letters where the post office has written something like “not at this address.” Again, this is normal. Production companies move and go out of business all the time. Which is why the HCD updates their information 3 times per year. This can be as high as 5% of your total submissions. Just update your database so you don’t waste another query letter on this company and move on. But you should always be updating your database, too, with a fresh copy of the HCD. I would recommend either joining online or simply buying a copy at least once per year so you can check your database and see if you have the most up-to-date address for a company.

Of the companies that request your script probably half of them will want you to sign their release form. I wrote a post here about release forms: Signing a release form for your screenplay.