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Writer's Edge: Creating a Powerhouse Contact List

What I am about to tell you was the most significant reason for my success as a screenwriter. I came up with a clever, hands-on approach to creating a contact list of producers, agents and entertainment attorneys that I would later target.

What I did was follow the Hollywood trade papers and websites (like that listed the names of all the principals who were responsible for getting a particular movie made. I’d write down the names of the executive producers, producers and associate producers who were involved in the project. I would also include the names of the people who negotiated the deal, including agents, managers and attorneys. After six months of compiling my list, I noticed the same names would recur over and over again. Those were the people that I was going to contact.

contact list

The big advantage of using this approach is that you’re creating your own unique list known only to you. In effect, you are tracking insiders who are the movers and shakers in the industry. These are the people who are in the narrow selling loop as evidenced by the fact that their names keep coming up in deal after deal.

This approach will yield a lot more dividends than blindly writing to any and all production companies. That’s the route most writers take and it’s rarely successful. So is getting the list of agents from the Writers Guild of America. Any agent that would take on a brand new writer without any credits is not well connected in the business.

By creating an original list of Hollywood’s power players and then targeting them, you’re bypassing the overused and unproductive methods that don’t serve you well.

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