A couple of months into my new role at Viva Films, give or take and with a bit of time off for paternity leave :)
But I can confirm the rumours are true.
Whenever you hear from people who work in development or even from agents for that matter, at say something like the London Screenwriters Festival, more often than not you will hear comic stories about how people have approached them to read their work.
They all swear they are not making them up. And why would they lie, what would they have to gain? So I assumed it was true, but in the back of mind I still felt deep down that surely people can't be that.... erm... misguided.
But it really does happen. People really do send emails, for example, with just the title of their script, a pitch paragraph and then a closing line saying something like if you would like to read the script please feel free to contact me - or something like that.
That's it. That's the email. Not even a Dear So and So. (Probably because it's been sent out to dozens of people)
That's just uncool. It's unprofessional. But more than that, you're not exactly doing yourself any favours. Because you are swimming against the tide. The competition is fierce. We should be doing everything we can to stand out, but not in a bad way (and not in a crazy, over friendly kooky way either I might add.)
Now. Here's the secret you may not have heard before.
If the pitch paragraph is blinding. If it completely blows you away, there's no way anyone would cut their nose off to spite their face and not ask to read the script just because the introductory email sucked. Because no one wants to miss out on the next big thing. No one.
But how likely is that? Even if the script is amazing; pitch paragraphs, a little synopsis, call it what you want, are incredibly difficult to write and/or do justice to a 100 page screenplay you have poured your heart and soul into.
So give it some help. Don't come across badly in an email that will mean if everything else is equal, and it's between you and the next email who took the trouble to personalise it and say a bit about yourself or whatever, and not seem like they are doing you the favour by sending you the email in the first place....
Well, you get my point. I'm sure none of you do that. But the rumours are true people. There are some out there.