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Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Email


Today's post is not actually about the Hanks / Ryan film. As we all know this wasn't a new idea at all, but rather a remake of The Shop Around The Corner. Instead today's food for thought is around sending out emails. Why? Only because I've done so many recently (around 250 leading up to Cannes) and because I've had some great feedback about their strength. In fact some people admitted they had already 'stolen' some of the formatting and structure ideas. Of course this isn't stealing - its all part of the Projector Films Blog vision of sharing these ideas!

A typical email is below. If you remember the main goal with the meeting is about having a conversation and ensuring that any meeting is a two way event. The email is the same. It mustn't be a begging letter nor a bragging session - but a foundation for a meeting of people with shared goals and aspirations. It must also say why you're writing. There must be a specific reason for picking this person to email. So say it! As with a lot of things its easier to see it rather than talk about it.

Below is an example email as if I was writing to Pete and Chris, the guys who made Small Town Folk (read their Cannes round up here.)


Dear Mr. Musselwhite and Mr Ward,

I see from the Cannes database that you will be at the market this year.

I am writing to arrange a meeting to discuss how we can help each other with future productions.  Over the past year I have been extremely busy helping companies by bringing in new ideas. New scripts and stories obviously as I am first and foremost a scriptwriter, but also new ideas that have helped them move their projects forward.  I am writing to you specifically as I also love dark stories with a comedy twist and am following the progress of Small Town Folk avidly. As local film makers I'm sure we'd have a lot in common and a lot of information we could share.

You can read about my ideas on how we can help each other on a simple one page website: www.timclague.com

Who am I? I am a writer / director with over 10 years experience.

  • Winner of the Jerwood Film Prize in 1998 for the short script "Eight".
  • Emma Thompson said "The screenplay has a huge heart" while Richard Curtis said it was "Tremendously evocative".
  • BAFTA nominated after script was directed by Stephen Daldry through Working Title.
  • Written and directed of a string of shorts commissioned by the Film Council and terrestrial TV. 
  • Commissioned to write and direct material regularly for HSBC, Siemens, Nat-West and others - budgets up to £300k
  • Commissioned by RKO Pictures at Cannes last year to write feature script - first class feedback upon delivery


Let’s talk about how I can help you. I specialise in cross-genre ideas and unusual narrative structures. This means I can breathe new life into projects that require that 'little bit extra'. I am used to working to tight deadlines and delivering a good script. If I feel that I can't effectively help I will say so up front.
Let’s talk about how you can help me. Circumference will go into production in 2007. This post-modern love story features a traditional boy meet girl story with a structure designed for the Google generation. In addition I also have a medieval western (perhaps similar in style to Knights of the Cross) and a road movie documentary in development.  Can you help me move these exciting projects forward?
Let’s talk about the future of film. New distribution models, new marketing ideas, new ways of writing and new ways of funding a film are coming and have all been discussed on my blog. Projects such as Quartz Shorts (the documentary sketch show) and 365films (a film a day for a year) are just the beginning.  Are you interested in exploring these new ideas together?

If that sounds like a worthwhile trade then we should meet.  If you'd rather hear 'more of the same' then I'm not really your man.  I'm in Cannes from the 20th to the 28th. I suggest we meet 'after the rush' - let's say Friday 26th. 

Tim Clague
Writer / Director
PROJECTOR FILMS



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5 comments:

Danny Stack said...

Yesterday, I sent emails to the people I *didn't* meet in Cannes...

Dom Carver said...

You send a lot of emails when you're organising a wedding.

Paul Draper said...

Yesterday I sent an email to my mother.

This helped curtail the guilt that i haven't called her in two weeks, albeit only for a short while.

Tim, if you don't mind a little constructive criticism, your email does come across a bit like a wheeler-dealer estate agent. This may well appeal to your target, I know the population of wheeler-dealer estate-agent types at Cannes must be high.

Just makes me think a bit too cool for school.

Anonymous said...

Yes Tim seems a bit too long and too many options. I hit them with praise first 'congratulations on the recent/forthcoming whatever...' Then hit them with the 'myself and why I'm emailing' them bit (hopefully all in one sentence)plus a pitch...

Tim Clague said...

Agreed. Perhaps a little bit too long. And Paul is probably right about the 'wheeler dealer' element. But perhaps this is the right approach for producers - my target audience in this specific case. I'm not sure. An open email is always the hardest to do as you're never really sure about the person you are about to approach. It is 10 time easier when you know them.