The Query Letter All Writers Want to Write … But Don’t Have the Squareballs
February 15, 2012
One particular day, after receiving a rejection letter (the first among many that I’ve never acknowledged) I got a little ticked. I mean, c’mon, I just spent three months banging out 120 pages of the best screenplay America has never seen.
A classic. A real beaut.
A quick sale for sure.
I’ll be fair and take mid-seven figures against eight. Win-win! That’s my motto. But … what do I get?
A form letter.
But not just any form letter. A little, personalized, scribbled note was attached.
“You’re a good writer, but no real producer would touch this. Too much spirituality at the end. Think more commercial. How about bankers ripping off some people? And chases. Car crashes. Viruses. Diseases. They’re big right now. Oh – special effects. Magic. Need that too. Movies are all about special effects now. Don’t be such a smart writer. Dumb it down some.
Get some reviews from someone too – someone with a title would be great. Define what demographic market your film appeals to, what merchandising opportunities and ancillary revenue streams could be available.”
Okay, reasonable advice. Right? It was followed by this little mentoring tidbit.
Cartoons as Structure
“Watch cartoons to guide your story structure – they do it best. And watch movies where animals are the stars. Those are great dialogue-reducers. Relate it to movies you know. Something you can make a snap judgment on. Like “Legally Blonde” meets “Gandhi.” I am busy you know. Send me another query when you think you can meet my needs.”
Squareballs (that’s me) Ponders Reasonable Advice
Meet his needs?
Dumb it down?
Basement Balcony Beckons
I stifled the urge to hurl myself off the basement balcony. It was tough. I bit my tongue, but did not overdose on 33 cheese coneys with extra onions, peanut butter, chocolate jelly (my favorite), mayonnaise, jalapenos and nuclear hot sauce.
But, being the consummate professional, I felt the need to follow up on his kind offer.
Here’s what I wrote back … and just for yucks, sent out to 50 other producers. (You think I’m kidding?)
Dear Omniscient, Omnipotent, Odorivectorous Producer:
I have a recently completed screenplay titled “Pig and Turkey” – a classic como-drama that I would like to submit to your company for consideration.
Dialogue Reducers Introduced
Think Babe and Woody Woodpecker freeing Willie.
A pig and a turkey join together to save their farm from an unscrupulous banker who is trying to foreclose on the property because he wants to turn it into a non-profit gambling casino.
Brings in the Banker and Disease Simultaneously (and brilliantly I might add)
The banker leaks to the press that “Mad Turk’s Disease” has infested the animals on the property.
Mad Turk’s Disease is an awful virus that makes your hair and nails fall out, causes you to get really disgustingly big facial warts, engenders disgustingly bad breath and uncontrollable flatulence.
The Dastardly Banker
The banker tricks them into jumping the Grand Canyon on a tricycle with two wheels saying he will stop foreclosure if they complete the leap. The leap is televised worldwide (Pay Per View).
The dastardly banker saws the ramp in half and Pig and Turkey are hurled head and beak-first into the Grand Canyon to a certain death.
A terrible, gut-wrenching moment, sure to bring tears to anyone with the least bit of a heart.
Magic and Special Effects Covered
Just when Death opens its jaws wide to receive them, Turkey finds her wings and transmogrifies like a caterpillar into … … a bald eagle, but not just any bald eagle.
saving Pig and their farm.
Brings in Joseph Campbell
Pig and Turkey fight heroically to save their home and way of life while exhibiting upstanding morals and fulfilling the heroes’ mythical journey.
Pig and Turkey Fast and Furious (see the sequel potential you visionaries?)
Pig and Turkey zoom toward an unbelievable climax in a 32-car chase scene throughout 58 states (including Puerto Rico and Los Angeles).
My great-grandmother, Elsie Grunewald, a retired English teacher and author of 11 unpublished novels, thoroughly reviewed the screenplay and thought it was the best thing she’s read since “War and Peace” By Leonardo Coldstoy.
She has prepared in-depth critiques and analyses for your review, and she has also meticulously choreographed the camera shots. POV by POV.
Tremendous Opportunity Spelled Out
To whom may I send this terrific, sure to be a runaway Academy Award winner nominee, 297 1/2 page screenplay?
Oops – Almost Forgot Demographics and Ancillary Revenue Streams
And … did I forget to mention that it will appeal to the family audience and has great ancillary market revenue potential utilizing dolls, toys, bacon, lettuce, and turkey sandwiches sold through … probably McDonald’s?
P.S. Contact me at my Grandma’s house.
Now is that a piece of work or what?
Sucks doesn’t it?
I got 10 requests to read the damn thing.
About Steve Kayser
Although Steve has won multiple screenwriting awards and publishes an award-winning B2B e-zine with 150,000 subscribers. Currently Steve is busy recruiting handsome, intelligent, bilingual pigs to audition for the lead part in “Pig and Turkey.”
If you are a handsome, intelligent, bilingual pig and are looking to break into acting, this may be your big chance. Contact Steve at email@example.com
NO EGOS! Must be able to get along with a turkey who saves the day … at least until next Thanksgiving!