Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Reps: How To Keep In Touch

Last month, a rep agreed to read my screenplay. A major milestone for any emerging screenwriter -- but then what do you do next?

Well, dear readers, let me fill you in on the few Follow-Up rules I know:

1) Patience -- If a rep agrees to read your script, email that script over immediately... and then wait three weekends before saying anything.

Reps are tremendously busy, wrangling phone calls and emails from dawn till well after dusk, reading piles of scripts, juggling dozens of projects... and in the midst of this jam-packed schedule finding paid work for dozens of clients, this rep is taking the time out of his/her personal life to do you a favor and read your script.

The industry standard is that it takes three weekends to have a new script even enter the queue of Material To Read. So after those three weekends, the next thing to do is...

2) Write a brief, warm check-in email -- After three full weekends, send a very short, to-the-point, but friendly email that shows you care about this rep and his/her agency with a gentle, if not hesitant reminder about your script.

Let me share with you the rough structure of the email I sent:
Dear [Rep's First Name],

How are you? How goes everything at [Insert Agency Name]? I came across this article in the trades about your [big script sale/signing a new client/box office smash/other Hollywood success story]: [insert link here] Congrats on all your success!

I bet you're pretty busy but I wanted to check in on [
Name of Your Script] and if you've had the chance to give it a look. Anyway, I hope all is well with you and once again thanks for meeting with me.

[Your Name]
[Your Phone Number]
One little note: Your email's subject line should be clear and simple like "Follow up on [Name of Your Script]"

3) Pleasant Persistence
-- If the rep doesn't respond, do NOT take it personally. They don't hate your script, they're just swamped and haven't read it yet. So make a note to yourself to write the rep another email every three weeks, and in the same warm, professional, and brief format from before. Oh, and keep all these emails in the same conversation/email chain so the rep has all your correspondence info in one place.

Sometimes the rep doesn't get back to you... and sometimes they do.

As for me, lightning struck:

The rep emailed me back on the same day. He did read my script. He wanted to talk about it. Then the following day, he called me back.

Which leads to the next week's edition, How To Take a Notes from a Rep. Stay tuned!

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