As I mentioned two weeks ago, I plunked down a very precious $100 to sign up with Script PIMP (Pipeline Into Motion Pictures), which gets me access to an online database of production companies, agents, and managers looking for new scripts. And they have a feature that allows you to submit queries through their site to companies who want them--I don't know if they're any more likely to be read than a traditional e-mail (I hope so, but have no idea).
Finally I've been getting my act together and going through the database and figuring out which companies are right for my work and which particular scripts they might like to see. So far I've sent 22 queries, so I'm down to less than $5 a shot. Not great, but it's getting better all the time.
I've heard absolutely no response yet, though it's only been a week or two at most for any of the queries. If this hadn't already worked for me about three years ago, I'd be wringing my hands in despair, wondering if it's all a scam. Since I know better, I just get to practice my patience instead.
Looking at my submission database, I can see a pattern for my screen work. I send out a handful of queries and then get an agent or manager. I work with them for a while, some scripts get submitted (maybe not as many as I'd like). And then the whole thing falls apart, and my screen work languishes for a few years. When I say the whole thing falls apart, I mean, the project that got them excited doesn't sell quickly and they get more interested in something else and stop calling me back. (Is this how it works for other people, too? I have no idea. Actually, one agent just went out of business.)
I'm not quite sure how to break out of this cycle, besides try to make sure that I get lucky and see one of these suckers all the way through, at least all the way until I have something to put in my bank account, but really I want to follow it until there's something to see on the screen.
In addition to sending out these queries, which feels like the minimum I should be doing, I should probably do a little assessment of who I know who might be able to give me a referral to an agent. I've found screenwriters to be pretty tight lipped with agent information. I understand why this is, because they're tough to get, and the relationships can be fragile. But I guess I still need to at least try.
(If any of you have tips on good screenwriting sites that go beyond the very basics, I'd be interested to know. (I've had agents, a manager, and had a script optioned, so I've at least gotten my feet wet.))