I would rather get a rejection letter than nothing at all. For the most part. Most rejections aren’t the “I read your novel/screenplay. I hate it” type. They are more like “The idea doesn’t interest me so I’m not gonna read it in the first place” or something even simpler, like “our development slate is full” or “we don’t take unsolicited material”. No big deal.
I send out a lot of query letters to producers, agents, publishers, editors, etc. These letters take an awful lot of time, effort, and expense, so it can be frustrating to be completely ignored. Besides, it’s fun getting mail! Even a rejection. To me, a letter from a producer is like a scratch-off lottery ticket. You don’t know what you got until you look at it. It can be fun and exciting, even if you ultimately lose.
An empty mailbox is just straight disappointment. NO fun at all. And really annoying when you send them a preprinted, stamped rejection postcard where all they have to do check off NO and toss it back in the box. The idea of all that postage just going into the trash is irritating.
Right now I’m in between query letters. I sent out all the queries I could for several scripts (one of which is under option right now so I can’t query for it anymore anyway – wahoo!) and I am in the middle of writing another script, which won’t reach the query letter stage for a while now. I still want some fun mail – something to look forward to!
SO. I got the idea to send out a copy of my Wannabe Pride flyer – (just a little ad about the site I put together to post different places, send to college career centers, etc) – to famous people to try to get some cool autographs. I figure I have a decent shot at getting some of them returned to me signed. It’s not like a glossy 8×10 photo of a celebrity that I could ultimately sell and profit from. The Wannabe flyer only means something to me, so maybe they will realize my sincerity and autograph it. Cool celebs like Tom Hanks might actually sign it and send it back – even if it takes months or even years.
So far I’ve sent out about 30-40 handwritten letters with a copy of my Wannabe flyer asking people to give me their autograph and an inspirational “Don’t Give Up” kind of message on my flyer. Think it will work? Who knows?! But it gives me something to be excited about and to check the mail for every day. So far, I’ve sent out letters to various people, like screenwriter Callie Khouri, Ryan Reynolds and Shia LaBeouf (two of my favorite actors!!), Carl Reiner, Julie Andrews, Oliver Stone, the four hysterical guys from the Big Bang Theory, all the current members of SNL, and amazing soundtrack composers like Bill Conti, Alan Silverstri, and Thomas Newman.
I have included a SASE with each letter, of course, along with a warning sticker on the outside of the envelope (I also do this with my query letters to Hollywood, and let me tell you, it WORKS. I’ve gotten a lot of compliments from producers for succeeding in making my letter stand out from all the other Wannabes). The label for my fan letters says WARNING: Letter from a Wannabe. Contents: Sappy Letter and Autograph Request. Does not contain nuts, dairy, or a request to read my screenplay.
It’s been just under a month since the first letters went out. Stay tuned to find out if my little project works!