Agents Hide Out
by Lenore Wright
Can't find an agent?
Once you know where to look, you'll discover they're hiding in plain sight. The trick is to sift through the information with an insider's eye.
Agents The Pros Use
The best list of agents for the American film market resides on the Writer's Guild of America website (http://www.wga.org/agency.html).
DON'T CLICK on that hotlink just yet! To derive the most benefit from the Guild's list, you have to know how to process the information the Guild gives you.
Why is their list the best?
1) They target agents who specialize in film and television writers.
2) They list agents geographically.
3) The WGA staff vetted each agency for criteria vital to aspiring screenwriters:
~ Is the agency a Guild signatory?
Guild Signatories are members of the Society of Authors Representatives. They have agreed to abide by the Guild's regulations and uphold the WGA's Minimum Basic Agreement. This is IMPORTANT. These agents cannot charge you a fee for reading your script; nor can they encourage you to accept a non-Guild contract.
~ Will the agency consider new writers?
The WGA list puts an asterisk ( * ) by those agencies that will consider new writers and an ( L ) by those agencies that require query letters from writers BEFORE submitting a script.
Agencies marked with two asterisks ( * * ) will ONLY consider writers with endorsements from film industry professionals they know personally. Unless this applies to you (Lucky you!), do not waste your time pursuing the ( * * ) agencies.
Pay attention to these vital details and you will save yourself work and
heartache. More importantly, you will give yourself the best chance of finding a reputable agent who can help you achieve your Hollywood dreams.
Outside The Hollywood Loop
Should you consider pursuing agents beyond the Hollywood loop? Yes, however, most agents representing screenwriters working in the American market reside in California or New York.
The Writer's Guild of Great Britain, the Australian Writer's Guild and the Writer's Guild of Canada share many of the same ideals and goals for writers as the WGA; however these sites do not post local agent lists. Don't worry, I found some helpful lists elsewhere.
If you live in the UK, Author-Network.com offers several helpful pages:
~ http://www.author-network.com/agents.html (list of agents)
~ http://www.author-network.com/litagent.html (what an agent can do for you)
Another UK site - Readmywriting.com - offers an agent list with details on their special interests and areas of expertise. Here's the link: http://www.writersworld.tv/authors/ukireliteraryagents.htm
If you reside in Australia or New Zealand, try this option: http://home.vicnet.net.au/~ozlit/agents.html
In Canada: The Canadian Authors Association suggests aspiring writers use their publication - The Canadian Writer's Guide (http://www.canauthors.org/pubs.html) -to research agents.
Selling a new writer's work is difficult. Only a small percentage of agencies want to hear from new writers - 10% of the agencies on the WGA list. Don't be discouraged, some agents hide out under other names like Manager or Entertainment Attorney.
Managers and Entertainment Lawyers
Managers and Entertainment Lawyers often submit scripts to film industry pros on the behalf of screenwriters. Established managers or lawyers with active film clients - directors, stars, producers, and studio contacts - will have access to the talent you need to get your script read by the right people.
Script Rep offers an extensive list of Managers and Entertainment Lawyers (http://www.scriptrep.com). Click on the Industry Info tab to get a menu listing separate pages for Managers and Entertainment Attorneys.
The Script Sales Agency List, compiled from the Hollywood Creative Directory, includes many managers (http://www.scriptsales.com).
Once you've found an appropriate agency to target, you might want to pursue an individual agent for particular projects or if your career needs special handling. Finding detailed information on individual agents will help you choose the best ones to query. These sites offer the juicy details you need.
~ Author Link
The agency list from Author Link (http://www.authorlink.com) targets book agents primarily, but many indicate they handle screenwriters as well. Look under Writers Resources on their homepage and click on Agency Directory. Some listings reveal helpful details: the writers or books they've represented, what they've sold recently, what they like and what makes them cranky.
~ Movie Bytes
Movie Bytes (http://www.moviebytes.com) has introduced a service called WHO'S BUYING WHAT. For a modest subscription fee, you can access a database that pairs up agents with the deals they've brokered. You can search for information about a particular agent or a particular script sale.
Don't Spin Your Wheels
Some aspiring screenwriters attract an agent who helps open doors for them; others attract serious interest in their scripts without using an agent and later employ an agent or lawyer to negotiate the contract. Most ambitious screenwriters try both these tactics.
Insider's tip: If you decide to pursue agents, don't just spin your wheels, get where you're going!
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