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Old 01-14-2018, 06:31 PM   #1
hockeyjason
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Default Agent Question

Hi everybody,

Iíve had managers in the past, but this is my first agent. Also, all the paid work Iíve ever done I found on my own. Most of it has not been union.

My agent only wants to send out a feature of mine that was once optioned by a studio. It reverted back to me a few years ago. Iíve always heard previously optioned scripts were unsalable for the most part. My agent has told me that there are never paid writing assignments available for a writer at my career level. Additionally, heís told me I will not be able to sell a TV pilot. He has not read any of my pilots. Iíve recently wrote a few pilots with a partner. Does this sort of thinking seem normal for an agent? Heís from one of the smaller signatory agencies. Iím considering ending our relationship, but it took me several years to find an agent. Is no agent better than a bad one?

Thanks,

JD
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Old 01-14-2018, 07:29 PM   #2
AnyOtherName
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Default Re: Agent Question

If I'm reading this correctly, this "agent" wants to do nothing except try to sell a spec that everyone may have already read and that may have a lien against it.

What, in your mind, is the value of this agent? Like, if you're making a pros/cons list, what are the pros?
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Old 01-15-2018, 08:34 AM   #3
Jake Schuster
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Default Re: Agent Question

In publishing, such a work would be considered "soiled," i.e. it's been read and rejected, and as such would be unsellable by a new rep. One possible way to work around this is to retitle it and devise a different pitch for the material.
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Old 01-15-2018, 12:36 PM   #4
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Default Re: Agent Question

I disagree that a script which has been optioned before is somehow soiled. Blumhouse just produced a movie I wrote, the script for which was 8 years old and had been optioned at two other places before. We should all be so lucky to have an agent who doesn't give up on projects just for being a few years old.

However your agent saying you can't get assignment work or sell a pilot - that's hogwash. Difficult but certainly not impossible. Your agent not wanting to read your pilots could be A) they're written with a partner, and your agent wants you focusing on something new that's yours alone, or B) More likely it's because he's a feature agent, and a pilot means him asking a TV agent to read it instead. The sad truth is, a feature agent asking a TV agent to read a pilot by a client at your level that was also written with a partner - that's not only a favor he's asking of the TV agent, it's going to the bottom of that TV agent's pile. That's probably why he's not that interested.
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Old 01-15-2018, 11:26 PM   #5
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Default Re: Agent Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by ProfessorChomp View Post
I disagree that a script which has been optioned before is somehow soiled. Blumhouse just produced a movie I wrote, the script for which was 8 years old and had been optioned at two other places before. We should all be so lucky to have an agent who doesn't give up on projects just for being a few years old.

However your agent saying you can't get assignment work or sell a pilot - that's hogwash. Difficult but certainly not impossible. Your agent not wanting to read your pilots could be A) they're written with a partner, and your agent wants you focusing on something new that's yours alone, or B) More likely it's because he's a feature agent, and a pilot means him asking a TV agent to read it instead. The sad truth is, a feature agent asking a TV agent to read a pilot by a client at your level that was also written with a partner - that's not only a favor he's asking of the TV agent, it's going to the bottom of that TV agent's pile. That's probably why he's not that interested.
^^ this ^^

I wrote a script 18 years ago. Over those 18 years it was optioned 8 different times by 8 different entities. One studio, a couple of big production companies, and the rest independent producers. Never got made... until last year when it did. Comes out this year. Happens all the time.
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Old 01-16-2018, 06:11 PM   #6
hockeyjason
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Default Re: Agent Question

Thanks everyone, The producer that optioned that script told me that it has a turnaround fee of 25 thousand. The more I speak with my agent the more I get the sense he does not do TV. And he would have to do what ProfessorChomp said. I'm just frustrated that this guy likes my writing, but he's concentrating on a script that I don't think people would be interested in anymore because of its controversial content. Plus that it's been all over town.


JD
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Old 01-16-2018, 06:30 PM   #7
Northbank
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Default Re: Agent Question

"The producer that optioned that script told me that it has a turnaround fee of 25 thousand."

Were you paid 25k to rewrite your script? If so, that is part of turnaround. Option fees are not a part of turnaround, they had their 12/18 months.

Also, talk to your reps, ask why things are happening the way they are. If you can't/don't feel comfortable doing that, you don't really have a rep.
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Old 01-16-2018, 07:20 PM   #8
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Default Re: Agent Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by EdFury View Post
^^ this ^^

I wrote a script 18 years ago. Over those 18 years it was optioned 8 different times by 8 different entities. One studio, a couple of big production companies, and the rest independent producers. Never got made... until last year when it did. Comes out this year. Happens all the time.


EdFury, could you possibly share the "Cliff Notes" version of what those 18 years looked like with 8 options, or just share a little more about that experience, if it's not too difficult? I mean, that sounds more than a little crazy. How typical is this?
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Old 01-16-2018, 07:26 PM   #9
hockeyjason
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Default Re: Agent Question

Hey, Northbank. Yeah, I was paid to rewrite it. That was the amount. I'm going to bottom line it with the agent. Find out why he's doing things this way.

JD
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Old 01-16-2018, 07:49 PM   #10
catcon
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Default Re: Agent Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by EdFury View Post
...I wrote a script 18 years ago...
What a great story! I've always suspected there had to be situations like this, but it's great to get a confirmation.

I've written 50 screenplays from here in the boondocks of London Ontario. My average is only 5 requested reads for each, but the range is all the way from 1 to 14. By the way, the "1" isn't for my latest, nor is the "14" for my oldest.

These reads have not been "all around town" through the traditional route, but instead have been to small- to indie-sized producers from direct cold pitches.

I have never really had the money for Black List or any other paid hosting site, or to do a really concentrated effort on the contest route.

Nor have I ever had a rep. I've always estimated that, given my productivity, I'd be a good prospect for an agent to consider, but I accept the reality that my age, location, and the unusual content/genres that I write will be hard for a rep to sell as a writer - that my story has to sell all on its own.

However, regularly - and I mean like every year or less - I polish my stuff and WHEN (not if) something ever happens, I'm going to have a lot of material ready to be considered in addition to the sold or optioned item. My stuff certainly doesn't go back 18 years, but 8 years is still quite a while ago.

You need a positive attitude at every stage of this journey. Ed's example proves that somewhere sometime a fit can be found for every well-written tale, and that there is always hope for every project - if not every aspiring writer.
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