Thursday, August 11, 2005

How Not to Write an Inquiry

Received a letter to day from Michelle (last name withheld for obvious reasons) which was addressed to my old address, with the name of my former publication mispelled and the following brief note:

"I have a symopsis of the Story Alien Nation : Who Will Rule? written for an alternative sereies , a miniseries , a sinoff serie s, a cindema movie or a direct to video movie. May I pelase have a list of names, addresses and telephone numbers of Canadian SCI FI film companies . Could you also send me over your magazine too. The date is July 29, 2005 A.D. My telephone number is 1-(***)-***-****. could you please write back to me by August 15, 2005 A.D. They you very much alot."

*Sigh* Typos and spelling errors in original, of course, though I could not reproduce the many typeovers (It was produced on a typewriter by someone obviously lacking typing skills and desparately in need of a new ribbon). It was accompanied by a one page (!) synopsis, half of which is a character list, the other half a completely incomprehensible summary:

"The story is about four stories in one. The first story is about Bucks, confrontation with Marlon over his Old Gang members, support of Marlon in which Mathew teams up with Buck to get Vessa back from them. The Second story is about Byron wifes, dissappearence..."

And so on. Mind you, Buck and Mathew don't actually appear in the provided character list, and I frankly have no idea to what any of this refers. Are these characters in someone else's TV series?

So let's see, how many errors do we have here? Besides the obvious errors in the text, we have a demand for a free copy of my magazine (why would a publisher send out a freebie?) a demand for an address list (why would I be motivated to compile and mail at my expense such information? Why would they think I know? Why does this person not look it up for themselves at the public library or online?) for Canadian SF film companies (well, I could probably stretch a point and claim the producers of "White Skin" a 'Canadian SF film company', but I mean reallly) so he can send a one page treatment (absurdly incomplete) to the studios (NO studio accepts unsolicited treatments -- precisely to avoid these sorts of letters) for a series whose copyright is owned by somebody else (pretty much a non-starter all by itself) and then gives me a deadline!

Amazing. But not altogether atypical.

So what do you think? Is this an ambitious 8 year old, or a mental case? Should I write back, or trash it?

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