View Full Version : Agents for TV writers
09-13-2002, 10:06 AM
Zoditch or any other TV pros,
Do you know of any good examples of queries targeting agents for tv writers. All examples of good queries that I have seen are tailored for selling a screenplay.
The only reason for looking for an agent for tv writing is to get a staff job, so how do you address agents in queries. Additionally, would a service like Venice Arts be helpful?
09-13-2002, 01:52 PM
I don't know much about query letters except the few I get to read scripts and the like. Maybe they don't seem like query letters because I never used them and just don't know the difference.
However, remember that what you are selling in Television is not a script, it's you. Your query letter should center around you, your abilities, your accomplishments and your contacts. You should mention the spec scripts that you have and lean every bit of it toward Television.
Don't, however, just look to a Television agent to get onto staff. First of all, you don't have a film agent and a TV agent. You have an agent. One. So you need to pick your direction and focus. Now the two types of agents are not exclusive. It's just that some agencies are known for strengths in Film over TV. Jim Preminger, for example (a class act in Agenting) is known more for their sit-com representation. Doesn't mean that they don't handle Film as well.
Also, to get onto staff, you need to have some work behind you. In other words, you need to get some freelance assignments. That isn't to say that you can't get a staff job right off the bat (I did it), but that is rare. Your focus should be to write TV, not just get on staff. If that happens, great. And you should certainly want to move in that direction. But don't be so specific in your query. Mention that your goal is staff and moving up the ranks.
As to Venice Arts, I'm suspicious of all these "short-cut" offers. Now their website says that it is only sent to "Over 150 agencies/managers and production companies interested in accepting e-mail pitches ". First of all, there's not a lot of info there. I'd want to know WHO is on their list before I agreed to it.
And hopefully it is only to people who WANT and have AGREED to receive this kind of e-mail. If I started getting this kind of stuff in my e-mail, I would consider it SPAM and delete it immediately.
The enticement is that it saves you all the work. But the down side is that even if it DOES work the way they say (and to reputable companies) it is as impersonal as a form letter. And those get tossed. No one wants to feel they are just a number. They want to feel as if you think they are the ONE to represent them.
YOU need to do research. That's part of the business. Target the agencies you want to query. Find out about them, who they represent, what kind of writers they like, which showrunners they have as clients. Find out the names of the agents. Address your queries to specific people, not to a bunch of them and not to the agency in general. Find out if these people might be speaking at a seminar. Go and listen to them, reference this in your query.
There is a book that I read once that I liked, called (approximately) "The script is finished, now what do I do?" by K Callan. If it has been updated, it has a list of agents in it and a little bit about each of the companies, what areas they focus on, the names of the agents and some of the clients (again, check to make sure it's current). But this isn't the only book or resource out there.
Again, be very wary of any scheme that gives you a "short cut" in the business. There are no short cuts to hard work and research.
09-13-2002, 02:10 PM
Thanks Zoditch. I made contact with a show that's beginning its first season and they agreed to look at my script, but only from an agent or attorney.
So I'm trying everything I can to get some type of representation.
Again, thanks for your wisdom.
09-13-2002, 04:38 PM
I did what you suggested for the query letter and changed it, from selling an idea to selling myself. It worked!
An hour ago I began sending my query via email and a few minutes ago an agent from William Morris responded with his address and told me that he was interested in reading my scripts and told me to forward them.
In my query I told him about 4 spec scripts. Should I forward all four?
I don't know what will come out of it, but I'm pretty happy and that gave me such a boost today.
Thank you for offering just the right advice. I and I'm sure others, appreicate you.
And I still have another 25 agents to query! I'll keeip you posted.
09-13-2002, 11:25 PM
What's keeip? is that like the noise you make just before you break a coupla pine boards with your fist? or the noise you make just before lifting something heavy? or is it the new model from Kia?
09-14-2002, 04:18 AM
Congrats! If you mentioned four scripts, send them all. Let him decide what to read. If you feel any of the scripts are weak, then just send the ones that you are comfortable with, but send at least two.
Keep us posted.
(and a Keeip is the thing that you use to unlock your ip)
09-14-2002, 09:33 AM
I sent 50 query letters and so far I've gotten 5 requests. Surprisingly, 4 are from the top agencies.
This weekend I'll go through my scripts to pick out the tightest specs.
Funny story: I spelled one agent's name incorrectly and he quickly replied letting me know that and passing on my scripts. I sent another email to apologize and also mentioned that my mistake was the result of being nervous because he reps a named writer who's work I like. Again he quickly replied and said "don't give up--send me one script that you love". That's an agent I want.
Zoditch I even re-visited the post you did regarding the "interview" you should conduct with potential agents, making sure there's a good fit. I would be happy with any of the agents that have replied thus far because they all did within 4 hours.
Thanks again and I'll let you know how everything goes.
09-20-2002, 05:44 PM
How did you come by the email configs for 25 agents? Did you call first or purchase a direc. that has email?
I'm also curious if you write screenplays too or just focus on TV? For TV -- did you have writing credits? I'm assuming when Zod says write something about yourself he means pro credits, not just any writing credits that might have been paid...?
Thanks, hope you don't mind my questions!
Zod> I read a book on TV writing but it wasn't very helpful on getting freelance work. K Callhans (sp?) book is decent but also dated.
09-20-2002, 07:01 PM
I did the 14-day inhollywood trial and did a search from there.
You asked about writing credits-- I have no screenplay or tv credits but other freelance writing credits which I mentioned in my query.
One of the major selling points is that I work for the parent company of one of the networks and have some contacts for VPs and creative folks there. One of those creative folks has two of my specs and I touch base with her every few weeks.
Agents may see this as a positive. I can live with that.
09-20-2002, 07:06 PM
You go girl.
09-21-2002, 06:29 PM
y, congrats, thanks for the info!!
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