In the last few weeks I have been sending out queries for my latest screenplay, Stutthof, to managers and producers. Here’s the logline:
A survivor of Stutthof, a Nazi concentration camp, finds himself torn between his family and his past when he discovers that his dying friend, and daughter’s father-in-law, was an SS guard at that very camp.
One of those managers replied thus:
“We cannot accept a script that is not submitted by either an attorney or agent we are familiar with for potential legal reasons. Sorry. We wish you success.”
So, in response I asked this:
“I appreciate that, but I have to ask — and I know this is the ol’ Catch 22 — how do you go about getting a manager/agent if legal departments prevent you from reading scripts?”
“You try agents first and small agencies where you have a better chance.”
So, being the Pollyanna that I am, I did just that. I sent queries to agents in hopes of garnering representation. Here are some of the responses I received:
1. “sorry, too large a project for our agency.”
2. “Sorry Michael. This is a near impossible sell in this ever downsizing movie market…”
3. “Although we appreciate your interest, we have a firm policy of returning all unsolicited material unread.”
To agents #1 and #2 my response would be: Fine! Okay! You can’t sell it, but can you at least READ the damn thing to see if you might want to represent me and my other projects?
To agency #3: How the hell you going to find new talent if you don’t read their writing samples?
You can’t get representation without representation.
Agents won’t read your script-their policy is to return unsolicited material unread.
Managers won’t read a script if you don’t have an agent, who you can’t get without an agent.
Is there a Secret Handshake or Password? Pssst! Spielberg sent me.
Question: What’s a screenwriter to do?
Answer: Persevere and always