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Letters Are Important Too

Contributed By Kenna McHugh

After getting your resume honed and professional looking, letters are the second important phase of presenting yourself in writing to potential film employers and, like resumes, can make a lasting impression on their readers. Skilled letters involve more than demonstrating excellent writing style on flowery paper. For the most part, your letters need to be intelligently produced and directed to the specific concerns of your potential employer. Most important, they must be followed up with a telephone call.

Ignore any one of these letter-writing stages and you will have thrown away a lot of precious time and money. Just to give you an idea as to why it is so important that you follow these steps, here's an image of how things transpire in the real world of the industry.

When a production company gets final approval to start producing its film, the first thing -- well almost the first thing -- it does is open a production office. Every production office has a post office box, phone number and fax machine. Word gets around that Got-the-Dough Production is hiring gaffers, electricians, production assistants and so forth.

The resumes start flowing, and the post office box is jammed each morning when the assistant producer stops by to pick up the mail on the way to the office. And at the office itself, the in-tray of the fax machine has overflowed, sending letters and resumes drifting down to make a pile on the floor.

How do your get noticed in this far from shrinking paper trail?

The more professional the appearance of your letter, the better the chance you have of getting that coveted call from the production office. Furthermore, the film industry is also an artistic one, so it's not only important to show that you are a professional but also that you are a professional with flair. As harsh as it may sound, the people who get your letters will take about two seconds to decide if they want to call you or file your resume in the deep dark file cabinet know as the garbage can.

A professional graphic designer once suggested to communicate that special quality about yourself that will allow the receiver to know who you are, and make you a real person rather than just a piece of paper with a lot of words on it. One way of doing this is to communicate something about your interests. If you love water-skiing, for example, you can have a drawing of a water-skier on your letterhead. And, if you love orchids or rock climbing, use a graphic to show an orchid or rock climber. The ideas are endless as well as thought provoking.

Whatever you decide to create, it's important that you be imaginative, because the people who are looking at your letters appreciate creativity in others. Someone in that production office might like water-skiing or have an orchid collection. By showing her that you have a common interest you are encouraging her to read your letter and resume, and, hopefully, call you in for an interview.

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