It’s A Good Day! The Best Times To Send Screenplays and Emails
A prominent literary manager recently told me that he still reads queries. If they don’t come in late at night, in which case he rarely bothers. Or when he’s driving. Or early in the morning. Or when he’s at lunch. But when he’s at his desk, and not too busy… Sure, he’ll read them.
When sending materials to people in the industry, be it a screenplay, a coverage or even just an email, every day is not as good as the next. You have to know the advantageous times to send material in order to get your script or communications read. Of course, if you have a strong, pre-existing relationship with the receiving executive on the other end, the rules do not apply, necessarily. If you have something urgent to communicate with your agent, you probably don’t have to put too much thought into when your email is sent. If the person receiving your email just optioned your screenplay, you don’t have to pay attention to anything I say in the next 1,000+ words. But the less frequent, less consistent the communication, the more you should be cognizant of the best time to make those overtures of communication.
Here, then, are a few simple guidelines for when you might (or might not) want to hit SEND:
Mondays are ALWAYS bad!
In every industry, Mondays are generally the worst day to reach out with anything not urgent. In the entertainment industry? Mondays are even worse. Executives have to catch up on weekend reads, about box office figures, about any news that broke or events that took place, let alone have to tie up any loose ends from the previous week and set an agenda for the week ahead. Most executives don’t get to raise their heads from Monday meetings, not to mention the slew of incoming emails and news alerts until the day’s end. So unless they’ve been waiting for your screenplay or your email with baited breath, this is not likely the day you want to send any communication to them. In all likelihood it will get lost in the mounds of emails that have come in and accumulated over the weekend, and likely has the highest chances on that day of not getting read.
Leave nighttime and early morning to someone else
You finished your final read of your final polish of your industry ready script at 2am? Congratulations! But just because your script is finished, doesn’t mean 2am is the right time to put it in virtual mail. Between the time your email hits the executive’s inbox and the time he gets to his desk, a hundred other email will have gotten there. Maybe the executive will have glanced at your email on his smart phone first thing in the morning, but by the time he arrives at his desk, it will have likely been forgotten in favor of more pressing work.
Friday, Saturday and Sunday: NO SEND Days
Technically, you can send communication in to an executive on a Friday, but only through mid-day. From about 2pm their time, their eyes are on the weekend, and they are busy wrapping up any pressing work. Sure, an executive might see your email come in on Friday afternoon and think that he should respond next week, but in all likelihood, unless it’s of importance or you are a personal friend, your email will likely be forgotten and de-prioritized by the time the executive arrives at next week. Same goes for sending any communication on the weekend: Unless there is something about it that will make it stand out – you’re a client, a colleague, or you’re working on a project together – it is likely to be forgotten in the mass of emails that have come in over the weekend.
The best times to communicate, in general, are Tuesday to Thursday, when you anticipate the executive could be at his desk. That means: Don’t send anything early in the morning, when the executive is in his car heading for a breakfast meeting or driving to work, and avoid the busy lunch hour in which the executive is away, letting any number of unwanted emails accumulate. Executives, be they development, production or representation execs, generally work from about 9am until 6 or 7pm. So that’s the time you want to get in front of them, generally favoring earlier in the day.
The breakdown above is not an exact science. Each executive comes complete with their own unique work habits and quirks, and there is no way for you to predict that. It is simply deductive reasoning, to help give you, and your work, the best chance you can to get read. After all, once your screenplay is finished and ready to go, your most important job is getting it in front of executives, paving those all-important industry inroads, building your network, and, ultimately, getting your script read.