Querying – Finding Contact Information

Some of this is going to sound a lot like stalking. Because it’s a lot like stalking.

As you may have noticed – if you’ve visited a few Hollywood agency or management company websites – there’s not a lot of information there. This means to query them you not only have to figure out the individual you want to contact, you have to figure out that individual’s email address.

Chew your pride well, this is going to be hard to swallow.

You have to dig. Through the dumpster that is the internet. Through other people’s garbage like the desperate, shameless, lowest rung on the ladder that you are. I’ve linked to many websites on this blog that are good starting points. Industry trades where you can familiarize yourself with the reoccurring names. Start building your contact list. I built three lists: Managers, Production Cos, Agents. I alphabetized. I used a four star rating system to denote which companies were the biggies and which were not. Within those companies who were the juniors and who were the seniors. Lots of notes about genre preferences, approachability, and any useful news I could find. There’s no escaping it. No avoiding that side of the business at this stage. This is work. Ongoing work since things change constantly.

Film company names are terrible. Usually some terrible pun like In Motion Pictures. Either that or something so generic that a dozen other companies exist that can confuse Google. Cross reference your company names with the names of employees who work there. That way you’ll know whether you’ve found the right company.

Learn about search engine operators. How to use quotation marks, the + and – symbols, etc.

Often there won’t be a Google result for a given company or even a website. But this doesn’t mean a domain name hasn’t been registered. Or that email accounts don’t exist. You can search registered domain names at Network SolutionsGodaddy or other registrars. Just watch out you don’t go too deep down the rabbit hole. Business email addresses are fair game, but stumble upon someone’s potentially private Gmail address and you may want to think twice about using it.

Ditto places like Facebook and even Twitter. Agents and managers are just people. People who don’t understand Facebook’s privacy settings any more than the rest of us. Don’t think you’ve won the lottery because you found a top agents FB profile. There’s a line there you don’t want to cross.

Back to data mining on the less creepy side of the spectrum: You will soon find that most companies have an email structure. A uniform way all employees are issued email addresses. Ex: jane.doe@bigagency.com or jdoe@bigagency.com. This means once you know the name of the person you’d like to query at that agency, you just need to figure out that agency’s email structure. And there are only so many permutations. Google can also help in this department.

You can subscribe to IMDb Pro or other websites that have this type of information. Those will probably go a long way to helping you get started. But remember they’re only as current as their last update.

Sadly, I’m not going to walk you through every horrible soul crushing, what-the-hell-am-I-doing? tactic. I think there’s more than enough here to get you started and / or thrown in jail. And that’s more than I had when I began. This is not for the faint of heart. It’s got nothing to do with writing or filmmaking. But then so little of what we have to do to earn our stripes in this business does. I started and gave up compiling my contact list many times. Swore I’d never waste my life on such a degrading task. Tried every other way to scale the wall. But in the end, the dumpster is where I had to start paying my dues. It’s also where things eventually paid off.



Filed under Querying Tips

3 responses to “Querying – Finding Contact Information

  1. Why isn’t their an internet bussiness directory for people “in the biz” ? ……. Someone should fix that.

    • T

      IMDb Pro has a lot of contact info, but as stated, it’s only as updated as the expansive or updated as the people running it. There’s also the Hollywood Creative Directory which I’m pretty sure they only still print to make it that much harder to copy. Numerous other books have published info. Some pages of these are even available as samples on Amazon. Good sources all for names but not always for current email addresses. In a business where companies set up, merge or fold all the time, and execs bed-hop more than the cast of a primetime soap in it’s third season, you really have to stay on top of your own list.

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