View Full Version : Breaking in to Hollywood... from Australia!

The Amazing J
10-06-2004, 07:27 PM
Hi guys (and girls)!

This is my first post here so be gentle!

I have been writing for a few years (a bunch of shorts and two features done) all while being buried in an unrelated 50 hour-a-week job. That is in the process of changing now, so it's about time I got this career off the ground.

The only thing is I have NO contacts and, more problematically, live in Melbourne, Australia. Research has shown me there appear to be ZERO agents here who will rep screenwriters, so I am forced to go overseas.

What I really want to know is if there are other non-US writers out there who have got a foot in the door and if so, what worked for them?

Thanks for your time.


10-07-2004, 09:13 AM
Well, the mainstream industry is only going to be interested in features, so start expanding those shorts into features.

There have been plenty of non US people who hade made it in all aspects of the US film industry. Most of them moved here to make it in said industry.

The Amazing J
10-11-2004, 07:10 AM
Thanks, Justino!

No-one else out there got any sage advice?


10-11-2004, 12:22 PM
The Amazing J -

I think the thread entitled: How Can You Pitch If You Live In The UK, will be helpful for you.

Here's the link:

p068.ezboard.com/fdonedea...1537.topic (http://p068.ezboard.com/fdonedealquestionsandadvice.showMessage?topicID=15 37.topic)

10-11-2004, 06:21 PM
Welcome Amazing J. I'm an Australian-based writer who also dreams of cracking the US market and retiring to Byron Bay one day. There are a few ways you can go about it. The most important thing is to be sure your work is the absolute best it can be before sending it out and burning any of these potential contacts you want to build. I can't stress enough how important that is. Once you are satisfied that's the case, I have a couple of suggestions. First, there ARE some agents in Australia who deal with screenwriters. If your features are aimed at the Australian market, this is probably where you want to go. If it's the US market you're aiming at, this avenue is still a possibility as several of the larger Australian agencies have affiliations with US-based agents. Most of the Australian agents are based in Sydney (clustered around Surry Hills) but some have offices in Melbourne such as Stacey Testro International, who I believe repped James Wan and Leigh Whannell of Saw fame. Try www.sti.com.au for further info on that agency. Other Australian agencies that handle writers are the Cameron Creswell Agency, Rick Raftos Management and HLA Management. Try googling them or go through the white pages, give them a call and ask about their submission policies for new writers.
If you want to go straight to US agencies, the thread mentioned above will be helpful. You're basically in the same boat as every other writer outside of LA, except your boat is a lot further away and will be treated as such unless your work is truly amazing. That's the key really. If you have a great script, the distance becomes much less of a problem if a spec sale is all you're after. Distance will work against you for assignment work where regular meetings are called for. But that's all way down the track after you've (a) got an agent and (b) made a sale. And for the record, I'm yet to do either - so take my advice with a fairly big chunk of salt. (Although I'm about to embark on a fresh offensive to try to land a US-based agent.) Try the methods you hear talked about over and over here for new writers from wherever. Get a list of agencies willing to take queries from new writers, polish up your query letter and send it out. Enter contests. Keep at it and expect to get rejected an awful lot before you eventually succeed. And good luck!

10-12-2004, 07:52 AM
Seems as though I have run into a certain Australian web site very industry connected in U.S.

Try a google on "the spec script library" and see what you come up with. These folks have a site, or did, where where you could post logs and scripts for free and they knew just about every industry related entity in Australia.

I think they sponsored a contest also and perhaps even featured chat sites.

That's all I have.:smokin

10-12-2004, 09:28 PM
It's not impossible, but it will cost you a lot of money and take a lot of patience. And, of course, you're going to have to have an extra dose of talent to get recognized as worth the time and energy for a long-distance business relationship.

It was two years from the time I seriously concentrated on getting an agent until I actually got one.

In that two years, I sent hundreds of emails just to get ten requests for each new script. Then I'd buy a bulk pack of Express Post International envelopes and send out the scripts. I'd usually only hear back from one or two, but it did start the ball rolling and I made a few good contacts and gained some great referrals.

I got hip-pocketed at Gersh LA in 2002, and got some very positive feedback from some major prodcos.

My agent and I parted ways late last year and I spent the next 6 months concentrating on putting together a portfolio of specs in a wide range of genres and budgets.

Because I'd been with Gersh, it opened up a lot more doors for me when I went out with my scripts the second time.

I'm with a boutique agency at the moment and we're preparing a number of specs to take out in the next few months. Both of my agents have said that my first sale is definitely a case of "when" rather than "if". So that's encouraging.

Here's my advice:

Query like a madman. To anyone you can.

But don't send out the standard query letter -- spice it up and make it sound like they HAVE to read your script.

My second round of queries back in 2001 -- after my first round of polite standard queries failed -- were along the lines of "I've heard good things about your agency, so I'm coming to you first for representation before I go to anyone else. My career goals are big and I think we'd be a good match. Get back to me soon and I'll send over a sample spec. Then we'll talk."

This can be taken as either confidence or arrogance. But either way, you're going to make an assertive impression.

Then you just need to send them a bloody awesome script and close the deal.

If you don't deliver on your hype though, your name is mud throughout town for the next 6 months.

The Amazing J
10-12-2004, 10:31 PM
Nice advice! I'm beginning to get the idea...

Thanks, but keep it coming!


P.S. Any bigtime agents reading this who wanna rep the next big thing (me!) feel free to contact me! It'll save us both a lot of hassle! :p

10-26-2004, 02:46 PM
Use the sources listed for film/TV scripts;

www.mandy.com www.craigslist.org www.hollywoodlisales.com www.screenwritersmarket.com www.imdb.com www.hcdonline.com www.indieclub.com www.moviebytes.com . Also use the Blackchurch Message Boards(screenwriters).

Good Luck, Mate!


10-27-2004, 11:13 AM
Go to www.wga.org/agency/AgencyList.asp (http://www.wga.org/agency/AgencyList.asp) Query all the agents in California.