View Full Version : Best way to work off HCD's agent book?
09-09-2004, 10:19 AM
I just picked up the HCD for agents/managers and as I said in an earlier thread, I have plans to send out mass queries to find a TV rep. But this is one big, damn book. How does everybody work with it? How do you decide which agencies to query and more importantly, which agent within those firms? Also, if there are no specific submission instructions, how do you decide what method of query to use?
09-12-2004, 11:44 PM
Just my 5 cents...
I agree, HCD is substantial. First, maybe see who rep's writers in your genre. Next, you might want to consider what they've sold recently.
As to which agent you should address, I think it's better to submit material to people you've met (e.g. at pitch festivals), or have some mutual contact (obviously a recommendation from someone in the industry is the ultimate -- but most of us aren't in that position). Alternatively, give the agency a call and try to find out the appropriate agent.
I sent out a mailing to a number of prod co's and agents about a year ago. I had a very good response to the query letter. On reflection, though, I think that particular script was not strong enough (although I did gain a number of useful contacts, and I'm now developing a project for one of the prod co's who read this early script). My time might have been better spent further honing my craft.
That's what I've been working on since. Basically, following Prof. Richard Walter's advice -- worry about the writing.
Then, once your spec is great, fire off those queries to the companies that match your criteria.
09-18-2004, 08:27 PM
Elephant, I'm thinking about getting that HCD. Do you think you got your money's worth?
09-19-2004, 11:08 AM
Glad you asked, Uhuru. I think the best way to explain how useful it is it to tell you what I've done with it. Here's what my situation has been like. My plan is to pursue a TV rep now and if that doesn't work, pursue a film rep in the spring when my new spec is done. So I went through the book and highlighted all the people in LA who listed that they rep TV writers. I divided those names by category: people I would send a letter query, people I would send an email query, people that I have connections to through others (meaning I'll try for a referral), and people I wanted to call to try and get a specific name to address the query.
So far the results are this: Most mid to large firms said don't bother sending a query--they don't accept them. Many places just said address it to the Literary Dept., which seems to mean that nobody will read it. And the smaller one man places seem useless to me. There are a lot of bozos out there, many without real experience. So it's a crapshoot. I also cut some off of my list because of their webpages. A lot of small companies list their URL and it doesn't even exist. This tells me that they've either folded since the HCD came out or they're too unprofessional to make the page. Many had really crappy pages that had poor design and allow you to look at their clients scripts. I don't know about you, but I want a shark agent who's on the phone getting me meetings, not a firm that relies on the internet to get their clients noticed.
And that sums up the main problem with the HCD. There are a ton of addresses, phone numbers, agent names and their departments, but you don't know who they rep or if they are any good. So you still have to do your homework. The easiest thing is to just send out hundreds of letters and do your research on the companies that request a script.
Funny side note: I met with my former boss (and good friend) who is a very successful writer/director. The reason I'm doing this whole HCD thing is because he is too lazy to really help me get a rep. I asked for advice on this process and he told me don't bother--I'll waste time and money sending out letters and scripts that people will never read. So I'm still conflicted about this whole thing. I don't know if it's worth it or not. I guess that's up to each of us to decide on our own.
Finally, if you can, wait until mid-October when the new edition of the HCD comes out. Out of the few places I called, I already ran into about 5 address/number changes and 2 company splits.
09-19-2004, 08:55 PM
Thank you for the great answer!
09-20-2004, 03:05 PM
The HCD is worth the money for sure. What is really worth the money and what I use in conjunction with the HCD are the 2004 Agency Guide and 2004 Producer guide. They give specifics about who is looking for what and what the submission requirements are. I cross reference all the books when I'm putting together my plan. Go below to see the books...I do not work for them! lol...just a big fan of the books.
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