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A 1934 Query Letter to Hollywood worth Considering

Robert Pirosh's letter to Hollywood executives in 1934 is notable for its creativity, boldness, and eloquance. Pirosh was a copy editor in New York and wanted to be a movie writer, so he gathered up addresses of every executive and producer he get his hands on and sent all of them the following query letter seeking employment.  Remember this was the "Studio System" era and you didn't need a screenplay as a calling card necessarily. You worked with a team of writers and often times newspaper writers were picked without a spit of experience in screenwriting.

The letter worked as MGM hired Pirosh and it's a good thing. He would go on to a long career writing feature films and then primarily a TV writer. However, he did take home an Oscar for his screenplay BATTLEGROUND (1949), which was based partially on his own experiences during World War 2; he saw action during the Battle of the Bulge. Pirosh was the go to writer for war movies throughout his career.

Dear Sir:

I like words. I like fat buttery words, such as ooze, turpitude, glutinous, toady. I like solemn, angular, creaky words, such as straitlaced, cantankerous, pecunious, valedictory. I like spurious, black-is-white words, such as mortician, liquidate, tonsorial, demi-monde. I like suave "v" words, such as Svengali, svelte, bravura, verve. I like crunchy, brittle, crackly words, such as splinter, grapple, jostle, crusty. I like sullen, crabbed, scowling words, such as skulk, glower, scabby, churl. I like Oh-Heavens, my-gracious, land's-sake words, such as tricksy, tucker, genteel, horrid. I like elegant, flowery words, such as estivate, peregrinate, elysium, halcyon. I like wormy, squirmy, mealy words, such as crawl, blubber, squeal, drip. I like sniggly, chuckling words, such as cowlick, gurgle, bubble and burp.

I like the word screenwriter better than copywriter, so I decided to quit my job in a New York advertising agency and try my luck in Hollywood, but before taking the plunge I went to Europe for a year of study, contemplation and horsing around.

I have just returned and I still like words. May I have a few with you?

Robert Pirosh




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