The Mail I Get – My Life is a Movie Edition

Everybody thinks their life is a movie or TV series. That’s why every screenwriter I know gets unsolicited emails from strangers urging them to write their life story because it’s so unique, tragic, bizarre or compelling. And then you get pitches like this from “Louis”:

Hello I hope you can help in putting my story into script,hopefully into film ,story starts 1970,to 2013
Story starts out in holland amsterdam  goes all over the world in the magic bus trade,,,if you know what I mean
Had real estate company family friends all over the world then paridise would tumble over the years
All with brotherhood and company of peace and love ,along the lines of mr nice ,,story our story
Has  more action  the good bad and unfortunate circumstances,, that’s life I hope to hear from you

Yeah, that’s life, Louis…but not one you’ve given me or any other screenwriter a reason to care about. There’s no hook. You haven’t sold the one thing a writer cares about — the story. Everybody has a life, what makes yours so special that a screenwriter would devote a year or more pitching and writing it, that would make a studio spend $30 million to produce it, and that would make a moviegoer to pay $15 to see it?

The Mail I Get

Louisiana FeverIn my “The Mail I Get” posts, I’ve shared dozens of examples of the lame pitches I’ve received from inept publicists and clueless authors about their books. Well, now I thought it was time to show you an example of how it’s done right. Here’s an excerpt of a very effective pitch that I got from a publicist today:

My name is Anna Ryan, and I’m representing a uniquely clever, and altogether fun, forensic medical mystery entitled, Lousiana Fever, written by forensic medical expert, DJ Donaldson.  Louisiana Fever is the latest in the Andrew Broussard mysteries. […]Donaldson is known for his medical expertise, and his meticulous attention to scientific detail within his stories. But he’s also known for his colorful characters too.  What I particularly love is how the protagonist–medical examiner Andrew Broussard–is not only an amazing forensic detective, but is decidedly obese and unabashedly loves food (almost as much as I do!) The interplay between him and his gorgeous counterpart, Kit Franklyn, make for a really fast-paced and uniquely clever mystery plot.  Add in the sumptuous New Orleans, LA backdrop and you have a really enjoyable read…

The pitch not only conveys what is unique and interesting about the book and its author, but its shrewdly written in a chatty, personal way that makes it seem less like a press release and more like a recommendation from a friend. The accompanying press release included a blurb from Tess Gerritsen and an punchy lead:

Andy Broussard, the “Plump and Proud” New Orleans medical examiner, obviously loves food.  Less apparent to the casual observer is his hatred of murderers. Together with his gorgeous sidekick, psychologist Kit Franklyn, Broussard forms a powerful, although improbable, mystery solving duo.

All in all, very well done.