- DO I NEED AN AGENT, A MANAGER OR BOTH?
- Note: in upcoming posts we will discuss how you can get noticed by representation and where you can MEET these elusive people!
- AT WHAT POINT IN MY WRITING CAREER AM I READY FOR REPRESENTATION?
- HOW DO I KNOW IF I'M AT THAT POINT?
Now you may be thinking forget these questions, I just want to know how to FIND one, but remember, you need to be knowledgeable of what you want before you go out and get it!
So there is your overview of what we will be discussing. Let's get started!
1) First and foremost, let's answer the MAIN QUESTION: AS I THINK INTO THE FUTURE, WOULD I NEED AN AGENT, A MANAGER OR BOTH?
Here is my opinion, short and sweet:
If you are at the beginning of your writing career, a manager may suit you best at first. And here is why:
- Managers will give you more attention in the day to day progression of your career by helping you network and by helping you to develop your brand as a writer. They will be thinking long term and not just in terms of a sale.
- If you DO get an option or a an offer on a project, you can ALWAYS find an entertainment lawyer to negotiate on your behalf (as opposed to an agent) AT THE BEGINNING!
So, once you have established yourself as a dependable writer, it is great to have both an AGENT and a MANAGER who can work in tandem to help you advance your career and move things along.
- The agent will field offers and negotiate contracts on your behalf, with your best interest in mind.
- The agent and manager will work in tandem to bring you awesome projects and continue to develop your network of creative professionals.
2) AT WHAT POINT in my WRITING CAREER would I be READY FOR REPRESENTATION and...
3) HOW DO I KNOW IF I'M THERE OR NOT?
Here's the deal- many aspiring writers meet an agent or manager and ask them to manage them and the representation turns them down because there simply isn't anything to manage or represent yet. So, how do you get started? How do you get yourself into that position?
You are MOST LIKELY ready for representation (usually with a manager if they are willing to take you) when any of the following occurs:
- You have entered your screenplays into multiple contests (such as Nicholl, Page, Script Pipeline, Screencraft, Final Draft's Big Break) and have placed MULTIPLE TIMES! If you consistently place year after, you WILL get noticed as the lists of the winners go out to agents, producers and what not. You could potentially be ready. I know many people who have been signed from winning screenwriting competitions....this is a viable way to break in or get "discovered."
- You have been accepted into a TV Fellowship (such as NBC's Writers on the Verge, Nick Writing Program, the WB Writer's Workshop, etc) and you end up getting staffed.
- You have cold queried a production company or garnered interest at a Pitch Event and have many entities offering you options or sale agreements.
- You've written a screenplay and then believed in it enough to make your film a reality on your own. I know people who have made their screenplays a reality by writing and producing the film themselves, entering it into film festivals and winning awards. This certainly will get you attention.
And while it's always hard to know if you're really ready (many people feel they are never ready for representation) here is something for certain. It is easy to know when you are DEFINITELY NOT ready...and you need to be realistic about this. Otherwise, you are wasting your time trying to get represented if you simply aren't there yet.
So, you most likely aren't ready for representation under the following circumstances:
- You have written a few screenplays but said screenplays have never left your computer.
- You have entered screenplays into competitions but have never placed.
- You have queried or pitched agencies or production companies and have heard nothing but crickets.
- You have never received an option or garnered any interest.
You simply need to continue to practice your craft, go to classes, get a mentor, get your screenplay looked at by professionals in the industry who can give you valuable feedback and keep on writing, And working. And re-writing. Make friends with other writers. Go to industry events. MEET PEOPLE! If I've said it once, I've said it a bajillion times. This business is just as much about who you know and the connections you have as it is about the content you write.
A final word to the wise: Many writers put so much emphasis on "getting repped" but hear this:
Having representation is NOT everything. Yes, it is validating and yes it is nice to feel like you have a team. But even with representation, your work as a writer is not over. You still have to network like crazy, you still have to churn out great work. And honestly, I believe you can get quite far on your own IF you educate yourself on the business of writing in Hollywood (through reading blogs like this one, or others such as ScriptMag).
Keep plugging away, and keep on keeping on. But remember, don't write for the money. Write because you can't not write. Only then will you be happy! Just speaking truth!
So, in our next installment, we will talk about where you meet these elusive agent/manager types (for both screenwriters and novelists) so please come back!
"Everyone has a story. Write yours."