The moment I decided to start writing query letters I also decided something else: The only chance I’ll ever have at a career as a screenwriter, and the only way to be sure that I’m a hopeless cause (if there is a way to be sure), it to give it everything. I was scared of querying managers, agents, and producers because I didn’t want them to ruin my confidence.
With contests, or BL3.0 there is a wall between you and the reviewer(s). It’s easy to take a script down if it gets a bad review on BL3.0, or say that the reader did a poor job and ignore it. It’s even easier to write off contests. The competition was just too good this year. Contests are a scam anyway. My script isn’t marketable enough to win contests or my script is too mainstream to win this contest. I’m sure there are an infinite amount of excuses lean on, but I can’t personally rationalize such a rejection from a manager, agent, or producer. Especially since, in my interactions with a manager, if they do read your stuff and it is even vaguely interesting you will receive a thoughtful response. Maybe I got lucky my first time out. But I would like to think that’s how most “insiders” or “gatekeepers” operate.
Even though I was scared of querying because of the seeming finality to it the process has actually given me some confidence moving forward. I wouldn’t call it a homerun, not by a long shot, but it was a good start. I made a connection, proved that there is some semblance of talent beneath this insecurity, and learned a few valuable lessons that should help me in the future.
As I constructed my contact list I also realized that, much like dating, there are plenty of fish in the sea. If I don’t get any bites this go around the flaw is with the idea and/or execution and I need to do better next time. The door isn’t closed. Managers, agents, and producers surely talk to one another, but unless they read something horrifically bad (as in – offensively bad) I doubt they would gossip and blacklist some unknown writer that lives in Alexandria, Virginia by way of Buffalo, New York.
I’ve written a bit about knowing when to quit and worrying that I’ll be chasing this dream past the horizon, through the sunset, and into the vacuum of space where it’ll kill me, but there is solace in knowing I’m on my way to doing everything I can to make it a reality. It began with contests. Then it was professional reviews. Now it’s query letters. Next is the move to LA. Once there, if things don’t break, then maybe I’ll know for sure that this life isn’t built for me even if I feel like I was built for it.