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Getting Signed By An Agent

Table of contents for Advice

  1. Advice From The Experts
  2. Getting Signed By An Agent

I will occasionally post questions sent to me about the business, along with my answers. This one came from a new, unproven (and unpaid) writer. Keep in mind that there are no rules in Hollywood, so for every answer given here there will be glaring and inconsistent exceptions.

Q: I was wondering how inexperienced writers get signed with agents? The treatments that I have sent out all get me the same answer of “not interested.” Part of me says stay consistent but I’m left at a loss because I don’t know if its just a numbers game and I have to sell myself or if one truly needs to know someone to get a chance.

A: An agent will only be interested if A) you have a job or sale prospect, or; B) you have a personal connection with someone they know. Unfortunately, cold-calling (or blindly sending manuscripts, scripts, treatments or outlines) probably won’t get you anywhere. Most writers start on staff at shows as writer’s assistants. Eventually they get liked by someone they’ve worked with and maybe then get a staff writing job. All the while they are writing spec scripts and continually working the relationships. It all comes down to relationships. Once they get a credit for a script they’ve written — with 12 other people in the writer’s room — then, maybe, they can sell original stuff. And of course, there is the one-in-a-million guy who writes one script which is immediately sold for $3 million in a bidding war, who skips all the previous steps. But that’s not very likely to happen.

Don’t get discouraged. But you’ll probably have to: quit your job, move to L.A., get a low-level job on some show you love… and start working your way up.

Hope that helps and is not too bleak!

Posted in Career Advice, Hollywood.

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