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GINA'S QUESTION: Is it okay to thank someone for NOT accepting my script?

Categories: Career Advice, Reader Questions, Writing TV.

Today’s question comes from Gina, whose email got buried in my inbox weeks ago (so sorry, Gina– I know this answer is ridiculously late… but if it can’t help you, hopefully it can help somebody else).  Gina writes…
 
Recently I sent an email query to an executive at a TV Network regarding my TV pilot that I found in HCD.  It didn’t say anything about “no unsolicited submissions.”  The next day his assistant emailed me back and politely told me of their no unsolicited submissions policy.  Is it okay to respond to the assistant and apologize and thank him/her for even responding to the email even though they didn’t have to, or is it better to not respond at all?
 
Well, Gina… the truth is, either way is probably fine.

If you don’t write back: no harm, no foul.  These networks get thousands of submissions– solicited and unsolicited– a year, so if you don’t write them and say “thank you,” it’s not like they’ll remember you as some rude writer who didn’t write them back.

If you do write back: sadly– they still probably won’t remember you, so it probably doesn’t make much of a difference. 

Having said that… there’s never any harm in being friendly and polite, and every positive interaction can help form a foundation for a relationship… and, in this business, there’s nothing more valuable than relationships.  So there’s certainly no harm in shooting back a short, friendly email to say thanks.  It will probably get deleted immediately from the assistant’s inbox… along with your name from his/her brain… but so what?  In a best case scenario– if you live in L.A.– maybe you and that assistant will meet at a party, or a bar, or in a job interview sometime soon… and, thanks to that polite “thank you” email, he/she will remember you… and that’s just one small thing to help you curry their favor!

If you do choose to write them back, I’d just keep it SUPER short… literally, something like– “No worries, thanks so much! – Gina.”  Or, “Cool… I appreciate you getting back to me! – Gina.”

Hope that helps… and again, sorry it took me a while to get back to you, Gina!

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One Response to GINA'S QUESTION: Is it okay to thank someone for NOT accepting my script?

  1. SWM says:

    I’d take it a step further – you could send a thank you note and possibly even ask if they’d be willing to read just for their "expert" opinion (even if they’re only an assistant, they’ll have a professionally informed opinion and will be flattered to be thought of as an expert). Maybe they’ll flat out say no, but maybe they’ll say yes – while you may not get your show on the air, at the least you could get good suggestions for the next rewrite.

    If you live in LA, I’d even suggest going over board on the thank you – tell the assistant no one has taken the time to be so considerate before and would the assistant be willing to have drinks – your treat of course. Most assistants go to enough drinks that it doesn’t even matter who asks, they’ll say yes. Then before the meeting you can ask if they’ll read – if they do, notes, if not, tell them you understand how busy they are, you appreciate that they’d take the time to meet, and that you want to pick their brain about the business. You never know what tidbit you might pick up. Heck, even if you’re not in LA, maybe you could just set up a quick call – it’s surprising what a little flattery can get.

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