Form rejections sent out almost immediately
Widely regarded as one of the top agencies in Hollywood, CAA has not let the industry stature go to its head. Surprisingly, the representation powerhouse routinely responds to query letters in 48 hours or less.
“We like to get that form letter rejection in the mail as soon as possible,” said Judy Denton, an associate in CAA’s legal department. “We feel for unknown writers and realize the waiting can be hell. That’s why we’re committed to informing them (a) we have not read their query, (b) we will not consider their concept and (c) any similar ideas we get involved with in the future were developed independently.”
Adds Denton: “I think writers appreciate our expediency in the matter.”
The practice serves to remind aspiring writers that CAA hasn’t forgotten about the hardworking scribe still trying to get his or her foot in the proverbial Hollywood door.
“How could we forget about them?” asked Denton. “We send them close to fifty ‘status notices’ each day.”
The status generally being?
“Rejected. We have no interest in their scripts, thus the status of their project is dead on arrival.”
** This THR Classic was first posted in October 2008 **
‘Just easier this way’ he says
As long as there have been gatekeepers in Hollywood, determined writers and actors have tried every approach imagineable to get around them – and gain direct access to the town’s decision-makers. Screenwriter Mark Lahey recently developed his own unconventional approach when he snuck behind the CAA building and placed his romantic comedy script in one of the agency’s dumpsters.
“I just wanted to be able to tell other managers and agents that one of my scripts was currently at CAA,” he said. “But every time I tried to send them one in the mail, they returned it unread. It never even made it to the trash!”
Unfortunately for Lahey, CAA is so diligent about returning unsolicited material, their legal department combs the dumpsters every night in search of discarded scripts and query letters. It was during one of these searches that Lahey’s script ‘Friends with Benefits’ was found.
“This was a unique attempt by Mr. Lahey,” said CAA legal assistant Sherry Harpe. “But we were forced to send his script back to him, unread, and coated in caviar from one of our many lavish catered lunches. In the future, we look forward to receiving and rejecting his material through the proper channels.”