So, London Screenwriters’ Festival 2013 happened! And what a great one it was, too. That year it seemed everyone was on a high and the positive atmosphere made it seem like anything was possible.
I was particularly impressed with the HUGE amount of LSF delegates who told me they’d gained script and one pager requests from agents, producers and execs, not just at the pitchfest but from working the marquee and rooms too! One lady apparently managed to pitch a stonking ELEVEN people in and around the pitchfest in one day **and** get eleven requests! Amazing.
With the next LondonSWF either round the corner (or just passed, depending on when you’re reading this!), here’s my top tips on submitting & following up:
As we all know, getting that all-important read request is half the battle in this screenwriting lark – but unfortunately we’re not out the woods yet!
HOW you submit something can make all the difference too, which is why I write the Submissions Insanity column for Scriptmag … There really are some crazy submissions about!
So, to avoid putting your foot in it and getting your submission written off like this, make sure you check these things out:
- Keep your accompanying email concise and to the point. Here’s a model email: http://bit.ly/query_2
- Make sure you’ve attached the RIGHT attachment and named your actual file, including your contact details. Here’s a checklist (PDF download) http://bit.ly/V1r8cK
- Copy your email to yourself, so you know it arrives safely.
- Follow up in 6-8 weeks MINIMUM; 8-12 is better. http://bit.ly/SH4tXq
Oh and here’s a great article with Ten Things To Do Before You Submit A Script: http://bit.ly/18yg8LS
For more submissions advice, check out The Submissions Bundle at The B2W Required Reading List, which you can find and bookmark here: http://bitly.com/bundles/o_4h0h9gl8st/h
Writers often ask me **when** is a good time to follow up. And here’s the bad news again: generally speaking, it’s 8-12 weeks AFTER making a submission. So in other words, with LSF not even two weeks ago, DON’T DO IT NOW. More on following up, here: http://bit.ly/SH4tXq
Keep emails short and to the point. Asking if you can “enquire about the progress” of your submission is absolutely fine. Really. Don’t be too familiar, make demands or go on and on. I can’t stress this enough.
Attachments. A few LSF delegates have asked me about attachments, especially one pagers and wondered if they should or shouldn’t attach them to emails. My take? If your one pager or script was ASKED FOR, then by all means attach it. If you’re making a simple follow up enquiry, attach NOTHING and do not paste anything into the body of the email.
Standing Out. Some delegates were wondering how to stand out in a sea of follow ups. Generally speaking, don’t worry about trying to grab someone’s attention all over again. If you made a good impression at the festival, they will remember you … And they will remember you if you didn’t, as well! Try and avoid being too jokey or seeming too familiar via email, even if you got on well at the event. Obviously people’s brains get fried, so if you were somewhere in the “middle” then they may not remember you, but this is not a massive problem that a warm and concise email cannot fix. Have faith in yourself.
Email subject lines. A couple of people asked me about these at the festival and generally speaking, I recommend subject lines like “LondonSWF – Thanks from [NAME]” if you’ve not met the person in question before. But basically, don’t stress out. No one is going to NOT open your email just because of your subject heading! (Unless it’s something completely crazy of course, or selling them Viagra).
Facebook. If someone said to look them up and connect with them on Facebook, DO IT. If they didn’t, then it’s probably wise to NOT do it! Lots of people keep Facebook for personal photos etc and don’t like connecting to people they do not know personally in real life.
Linkedin. In comparison, Linkedin IS for work connections, so by all means attempt a connection with someone you’ve met at the festival. They can just ignore you if they don’t want to.
Twitter. By the way, Tweet follow ups are usually fine, but as ever make sure you don’t kiss arse too much, are too formal OR informal or just plain weird! Also, AVOID enquiring about the progress of your submission on Twitter.
Best of luck!
BIO: Lucy V Hay is a script editor, novelist and blogger who helps writers via her Bang2write consultancy. Lucy is author of the book, WRITING AND SELLING THRILLER SCREENPLAYS (Creative Essentials).