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Submitting to companies that don’t take unsolicited material

I got this question recently:

“When the Hollywood Creative Directory section for a producer/agent says ‘no unsolicited material,’ does that include query letters?”

Yes, it includes query letters. These companies official policy is that they do not want to see any unsolicited story ideas, not even a query letter. There are some companies that say and mean “no unsolicited submissions.” You’re wasting your time submitting to them. All you’re going to get back is a letter saying they didn’t read your submission and aren’t allowed to take unsolicited submissions.

Now with that said, I personally don’t think you need to worry about this because most companies, even if they say “no unsolicited submissions” still might read your script if your letter hits the right person at the right time. I know this from first hand experience. I’ve gotten many companies who’s official policy is “no unsolicited submissions” to read my scripts by submitting a query letter to them and having them request the full script. You really don’t know until you’ve submitted if they’re serious about their “no unsolicited material” policy or not, and even then you really don’t know because even if you get a form letter back saying “no unsolicited submissions” you never know about the next query letter. Who knows, maybe your next query letter will hit the right person at the right time. So the answer is yes, many companies say and mean “no unsolicited submissions,” but I would just submit anyway and see what happens. The worst they can do is throw your letter in the trash unread. Rejection is part of the game. With enough submissions and assuming your query letter is top notch, you will eventually get through to a few companies. Just keep submitting.