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The Playwrights Forum > The Art & Craft of Writing > Synopses and Cover Letters > Cover Letter

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 Posted: Mon Mar 26th, 2007 02:01 am
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LeesuhBee
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Mana: 
Hi Everyone,

This is the cover letter I have been using, but I have never been able to compare it to others. Does this have everything in it that is necessary? And I'm not certain about the synopsis

Thanks so much for all your help!

 - lisa

 

Hello XXX,

 

Enclosed you will find my submission for XXXX. I have also included a self-addressed stamped envelope.

 

My full length play, On Thin Ice, is about a charismatic church leader and faith healer named Mary Jacobs. Mary Jacobs is forced to deal with the possibility of losing her international healing ministry as well as the possibility of a sickness that could take her life. Fleeing a pushy reporter, Mary seeks out Andrew, her estranged nephew whom she raised, and who is the sole heir of her ministry millions. Mary needs to convince Andrew to take up his role as her only heir, but Andrew has his own problems.  Andrew’s problems include a tempestuous and decaying relationship with his mentally ill, live-in girlfriend whose greatest dream is to marry him. Andrew is overworked and on edge, but is making secret plans to escape. The reporter is lurking on the scene and wants to know: Is Mary Jacobs a fake and a fraud? Or is she truly blessed with a heavenly gift? Only Andrew may know the answer.

 

On Thin Ice received a staged reading early on in its conception at City Lights Theater in San Jose, CA in 2004.

 

Best Regards,

 

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 Posted: Mon Mar 26th, 2007 02:58 pm
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in media res
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Leesuhbee,

I like this very much, short and to the point. I have a couple of opinons.

No need to tell them it received a staged reading "early on in 2004."

Only say: On Thin Ice received a staged reading at City Lights Theater in San Jose, CA.

Everyone knows the process of a play to the stage takes time. WHEN it happened is not so important as THAT it happened.

If you are submitting for a competition, do not mention the staged reading. No one will care. If you are submitting for a theatre to read it, mention it. Someone might care, given the reputation of a particular theatre.

"Hello" in the salutation is not good. Still "Dear Mr. or Ms. so and so" is still best followed by a colon: means formal business letter/query. Formal Heading shows respect and professional acknowledgement of the people to whom you are writing.

Edd has/had a good post somewehre on the Forum of the contents of a good query/submission letter.

Your synopsis, while thorough, may give away the store. It is yor choice, and a matter of personal style, but I would provide a little less information. Less is more. if you have any awrds or producitons of other plays, just mention the amount, you do not have to go ito detail in a one page cover.


I have set off what I would change. Keep the nutty girl friend out of it. Let them discover it if they read it. Sell the sizzle and the mystery and intrigue, not the facts in a short synopsis.

My full length play, On Thin Ice, is about a charismatic church leader and faith healer named Mary Jacobs. Mary Jacobs is forced to deal with the possibility of losing her international healing ministry as well as the possibility of a sickness that could take her life. Fleeing a pushy reporter, Mary seeks out Andrew, her estranged nephew whom she raised, and who is the sole heir of her ministry millions. Mary needs to convince Andrew to take up his role as her only heir, but Andrew, who is overworked and on edge and has his a compelxity of hidden problems. The reporter is lurking on the scene and wants to know: Is Mary Jacobs a fake and a fraud? Or is she truly blessed with a heavenly gift? Only Andrew may know the answer.

It is all a matter of your choice and taste. But that is how I weigh in.

Locate Edd's guidelines.

best,

in media res.

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 Posted: Wed Mar 28th, 2007 03:30 am
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LeesuhBee
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In Media Res,

Thanks for the feedback. Definitely helpful. I will check out Edd's Guidelines,  I haven't been able to locate them yet, but I will poke around here some more.

 Thank you!

Lisa

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 Posted: Sat Mar 31st, 2007 01:45 pm
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theatralite
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Mana: 
Covering letters are a tricky one and I'm no expert.
Sometimes the submission guidelines will include information that must be included and it's obviously
important to take account of this. Some do clearly state
you should mention any production history, for example.
We're also getting a creeping in of Equal Opportunities
stuff over here which may have to be included or require a separate form to be completed. Maybe you're being spared this?
I certainly agree with the idea of keeping any synopsis
in a covering letter fairly brief. After all you want to get them to read the play itself not be able to judge on a synopsis. Again sometimes this is unavoidable as they demand a full synopsis with the submission plus the covering letter.
I suppose in the end you have to accept that you're selling and hoping they'll buy.

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