Here are some tips from Hal Croasmun on query letters. Producers are generally looking for something with commercial value.
Stories, characters, situations and dialogue in can be considered in these terms:
- Familiar, yet different
- Different, yet familiar
The first category might be construed as cliched, while the last one, alienating. Aim for the second or third categories.
WHAT DO RESPONSES TO YOUR QUERY LETTER MEAN?
- Query letter or pitch with few requests: Problem with concept or query letter. Improve it.
- Script passed without comments: Concept is good. Improve the writing.
- Script passed, but they ask what else you have: Writing is good, but the script is not right for them.
- Script passed, but they ask you to do writing assignment: Writing is great. Take the deal.
When you apply these interpretations, please don’t add any negative connotations. Even top writers get these responses. Strangely enough, this is a business in which you can have 30 production companies turn your script down and the 31st will make it into a blockbuster.