How To Write The Perfect Query For Your Screenplay

Inspired by a recent AMA on my Instagram Live sessions, I was asked about querying. Although personally I believe in networking and forming relationships first, querying is still quite popular and many writers first go to. Now like anything there is no one singular ‘Right’ way to query. Some managers and agents want to know it’s a query right in the subject line. Others want something more personal. Thus I will guide you through multiple different approaches to writing an engaging query letter, focusing on the logline, which is the heart of your pitch.

Why a Strong Query Letter Matters

A query letter is your introduction to industry professionals. It’s a concise and persuasive letter that showcases your screenplay’s potential. The goal is to intrigue the recipient enough to request your script. Remember, they receive countless queries, so yours needs to stand out.

Key Components of a Query Letter

  1. Subject Line
  2. Greeting
  3. Opening Paragraph
  4. Logline
  5. Brief Synopsis
  6. Closing Paragraph
  7. Contact Information

Writing the Perfect Logline

In my book best-selling book, The Guide for Every Screenwriter, I outline a structured approach to crafting a powerful logline. Here’s a summary of the key points:

The Logline

A logline is a brief one- to two-sentence summary of your script. The logline is an expression of your concept and must:

  • Convey the premise of your story
  • Sell the idea, not tell the entire story
  • Be a quick and efficient way to explain a script
  • Give an emotional “hook”
  • Create an interest in your script by grabbing the reader

How to Build Your Logline

Use my concept template to create your logline:

  1. Who is my Central Character?
    • Describe them, don’t use their name, e.g., a salt-of-the-earth mechanic, a stressed-out lawyer.
  2. What does my character need?
    • This can be found at the beginning of Act I, i.e., Plot Point 1.
  3. Who/What is stopping them?
    • Include what makes the Antagonist a real threat.
  4. What makes my story unique?
    • Make sure to hook the reader.

Stuck on your Logline?

Try Using our free Logline Builder

Tips from Industry Experts

Drawing from my interview with Marc Pariser, a veteran talent agent with over 25 years of experience, here are some additional tips for your query:

  1. Research the Recipient: Tailor your query to the specific agent or producer. Mention why you believe your screenplay aligns with their interests or past projects.
  2. Professional Tone: Maintain a professional yet engaging tone throughout your letter. Confidence and clarity are key.
  3. Hook Them Early: The opening paragraph should immediately grab attention. Briefly introduce yourself and your screenplay in a way that piques curiosity.
  4. Include Credentials: If you have relevant experience or accolades, mention them briefly. This establishes your credibility as a screenwriter.

Sample Query Letter Templates

The Story-Driven Approach

Subject Line: [Screenplay Title] – A Tale of [Theme or Unique Aspect] or try [Screenplay Title] – A Unique Take on [Brief Theme]

Dear [Recipient’s Name],

Imagine a world where [hook them with an intriguing scenario or question related to your screenplay]. This is the heart of my screenplay, [Screenplay Title].

[Insert your concise, compelling logline here.]

Brief Synopsis:
[Provide a brief but engaging synopsis that reads more like a story than a summary.]

With a compelling protagonist and a unique twist, I believe this story will captivate audiences. I would love to send you the full script.

Looking forward to your response.


[Your Name]
[Your Contact Information]
[Your Website or Portfolio] – Optional

The Classic Query

Subject Line: [Your Screenplay Title] – [Genre] or Query: [Screenplay Title] – [Genre]

Dear [Recipient’s Name],

I hope this message finds you well. My name is [Your Name], and I am a passionate screenwriter with a keen interest in [Genre]. I am writing to introduce you to my latest screenplay, [Screenplay Title], a [Genre] that explores [briefly mention the central theme or unique aspect of your screenplay].

[Insert your concise, compelling logline here.]

Brief Synopsis:
[In a few sentences, provide a brief overview of the main plot points, key characters, and major conflicts. Focus on what makes your screenplay unique and engaging.]

I believe [Screenplay Title] will resonate with audiences due to [mention any relevant reasons, such as timely themes, unique characters, or market trends]. I have attached a one-page synopsis and would be thrilled to send the full script at your convenience.

Thank you for considering my work. I look forward to the opportunity to share my screenplay with you and discuss it further. Please feel free to contact me at [Your Email Address] or [Your Phone Number].

Best regards,

[Your Name]
[Your Contact Information]
[Your Website or Portfolio (if applicable)]

Personal Connection Approach

Subject Line: [Screenplay Title] – Inspired by [Personal Experience/Connection] or [Screenplay Title] – Inspired by True Events of [Personal Experience]

Dear [Recipient’s Name],

My name is [Your Name], and I’m thrilled to present my screenplay, [Screenplay Title], a [Genre] inspired by [brief personal experience or connection].

[Insert your concise, compelling logline here.]

Brief Synopsis:
[Provide a brief synopsis, highlighting personal elements and unique aspects.]

Given your interest in [specific genre or themes], I believe this screenplay will resonate with you. I’d love to send the complete script for your consideration.

Thank you for your time.

Best regards,

[Your Name]
[Your Contact Information]
[Your Website or Portfolio]

Final Tips

  • Personalize: Address the recipient by name and mention why you’re contacting them specifically.
  • Proofread: Ensure your letter is free of typos and grammatical errors.

Remember crafting a strong query letter takes time and effort. Focus on writing a compelling logline and presenting your screenplay in the best possible light. But by following this guide and using the templates, you’ll be well on your way to crafting a query letter that captures the readers attention. Happy writing!

#Screenwriting #ScreenplayQuery #WritingTips #ScreenwritersLife #QueryLetter

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