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QUESTION: do you give insight on how I can improve my query letters and where to get script coverage?

ANSWER: Raymond,

Writing Query Letters

The best article I have ever read on query letters is at The Writers Store -

http://www.writersstore.com/writing-successful-query-letters/

I use the advice that Ms. Kouguell wrote every day.  What I can add to the article is that you must be concise and brief in your letter.  Producers/agents, whomever only have a short amount of time.  As most query letters are now sent via e-mail or through on line submittal, brevity is very important.  Don't waste their time.

A suggestion - keep writing and re-writing your synopsis so that you can encompass your story in one paragraph (five to seven sentences).  That takes patience and practice, but it can be done.

A note - your logline does not really have to be one sentence, but never more than three sentences.

Getting Script Coverage

As someone who has done coverage for 17 years, I can tell you that script coverage is using someone, like myself, to evaluate your script and write up notes for you to improve the script.  Like in all things, you get what you pay for.  Script coverage usually starts at $50 for a one page evaluation and 1/2 hour conversation that just hits the high points.  Coverage can go all the way to $1000 for mentor-like assistance in re-writing the script.  Good coverage can be found for around $200.

For $200, you should get a three or four page evaluation with an hour long conversation about the scripts weaknesses, strengths, and marketability.

Beware folks who want to immediately sign you up to long term coverage or their agent/manager, etc.  Also, beware folks who promise immediate results by getting your script in front of 'the right people.'  Run, don't walk, away from those people.

Coverage, like all advice, is only useable if you are willing to listen.  Coverage of any kind is not going to be helpful if you get defensive, argue, or disagree with the evaluator during the discussion.  You can take their advice as you see fit, but the choice to take or not take their advice is yours.

The Writers Store offers coverage at

http://www.writersstore.com/services/

I have heard good things about their coverage.

Good luck

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: "Hello there, I am currently working on a story that involves historical figures such as FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE, I have an idea regarding her in todays world. How do I get a nurse from the 1800's England into a 2013 American hospital? Do I necessarily need to stick to the facts of history? I already have a recreation idea, but what are your suggestions about my concept? I am also developing another one about AMELIA EARHART and BESSIE COLEMEN in WW2, can I just go complete fantasy fiction?"

Answer
Raymond,

I am not sure what you mean by the statement, "How do I get a nurse from the 1800's England into a 2013 American hospital?"

I believe what you are writing about is called a macguffin in fiction.  In other words, a story device that adds nothing to the story but is the thing that moves the story forward.  The Maltese Falcon in "The Maltese Falcon" is a good example.  The plot device could have as easily a purple duck.  The plot device is what it is.  If you want a good example of a time 'machine' process look to Jack Finney's "Time and Again" or Richard Matheson's "Somewhere in Time."

So, to answer your questions no you don't need to stick to history, that's why it's called fiction, and whatever method you want that sounds dramatic is enough to bring anyone through time.  You could try a Delorean going 88 mph.  Wait, some amateur named Speilberg already did that.

As to your story about Earhart and Coleman, it's your story so make it as phantasmagorical as you want.  Personally, I believe a story about the WASP pilots would be more interesting and timely.

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John M. Lovett

Expertise

I answer questions regarding film production and screenwriting. I will answer questions dealing with screenwriting style, ideas, film production, format, and agents.

Experience

Sixteen years working in the motion picture and television industries as a screenwriter, producer, and military technical advisor. Have two produced movies TWO WEEKS and CATHY MORGAN. Worked with Digital Ranch Productions, Warriors Inc, and Nichols Productions.

Education/Credentials
CSUF, BA, 1980 UCLA, Certificate in Screenwriting, 2009

Past/Present Clients
Warriors, Inc.
Dreamworks Interactive
Legacy Interactive
Silvertouch Pictures
Synergy Group
Nichols Productions

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