We make films for NGOs internationally that are usually focused very much like documentaries and observational. Every day, I receive an email or two from people wanting to work for Sketch. And every day, the email is left unread or briefly scanned or binned immediately. We are a small company and we do need extra freelancers but not often. But what's shocking is HOW people get in touch and WHAT they say to you. So I've come up with some ideas that I've made into a brief list.
- Please bother to find out whom you are writing to. Don't just put HELLO or HI. Then I know that you're firing off emails like a spammer who's had ten coffees and doesn't even have time to see who they should be writing to.
- Keep it short. Don't tell me your life story. It's not that I'm not interested, I might well be. But I don't know you. I have nothing yet to tell me if we could work well together. What I need to know is what you can do - what your capabilities are - as quickly as possible. So give me the chance to see what you can do. Like decent script writing, SHOW don't TELL.
- TELL ME WHY. In the first sentence, explain why you're writing. Be specific.
- PICK UP the telephone. It's well known that people don't know how to make calls or leaves voicemails any more. I'm always impressed when someone calls on spec, even if I don't have any work for them. It shows they've got initiative. They're not going to sit there sending emails all day.
- GIVE EVIDENCE. I can smell a rat a mile off. Avoid the generic 'I love your work'. Be specific in order to show that you have actually bothered to find out what kind of films we make and what you like about them.
- Finally, tell me very briefly what the next step is. Give me an action, a link to check out and tell me how you want things to proceed. And keep it positive and friendly.