Friday, April 17, 2009

Managers and Agents

Everyone wonders how to get an agent. It’s probably the #1 question asked by aspiring writers and directors and I’m here to tell you a secret: if you’re just starting out, I’m not sure you really need one. The real reason for having an agent is OWA’s and ODA’s, that is, Open Writing Assignments and Open Directing Assignments, which I’ll get to in a minute.

I don’t have an agent…yet. But I do have a manager. Wanna know how I met him? I went to the dentist…in Seattle. His mother was my dental hygienist. She asked about me and I said I was a filmmaker and I just won an MTV Movie Award (it helped that there was an article about me on the front page of the Seattle Times Entertainment section) and she mentioned her son was a manager. She gave me his number, told him about me, we connected and there you go. Easy, right?

Now, my manager is a great. He did what a manager should do, he spent three years with us developing two of our screenplays. Our scripts are better for his involvement but he hasn’t gotten us an agent and he hasn’t gotten a project sold for us. And this is not to knock him but it just didn’t really happen through him.

So how then did we get into development with Guy Walks Into a Bar? I happen to meet D___ and assistant at a production company who read Glory Days, gave it to his friend E___, an assistant at a major agency who read it, they both loved it and attached themselves as producers. Then, they gave it to a contact at Guy Walks who read it, loved it and took it to the producer who read it, loved it and wanted to make it his next film.

If and when our producer sells the script, we’ll have agents calling us. The thing about agents, is that they’re not interested until you don’t really need them. However, once you have an agent, once you’re a sold writer, agents can be beneficial in getting you those assignments I mentioned earlier. They’ll get you into the meetings; sell you to the studio execs. In that way, they’re beneficial.

But don’t worry so much about it now. Concentrate on writing. And put yourself in a position where you can meet people, either through an internship, or a job. Production jobs though, aren’t really the best place; you’re better off meeting people in development, a production company or an agency, because those are the people who are going to help you get a script sold.

Remember, Hollywood is built on relationships. It’s all about who you know. Don’t forget that people on the lower rung don’t plan on staying there and they know people too.

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