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Old 01-24-2020, 11:50 AM   #1
Satriales
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Default Even when you have reps...

Still hustle for yourself. It’s one of the best pieces of advice I’ve received on this board.

We took a spec out in late fall. Got some passes. A few places kept kicking it up the chain. I asked my manager if we had sent to Big Director’s prodco and he was like “ehhh I know the VP and I don’t think this is up their alley.” I’m like look, I have never once pushed back on anything - I’m asking you to send. I think it’s a fit. He sent.

And it very much is a fit. Nobody knows anything in this town. Don’t ever stop advocating for yourself, even if your reps are great like mine.

Last edited by Satriales : 01-24-2020 at 01:17 PM.
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Old 01-24-2020, 03:38 PM   #2
finalact4
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Default Re: Even when you have reps...

When i was at Austin this year, i went to a panel on the manager writer relationship and the writer was Henry Jones and he said the same thing. He said even though his manager busted his ass, he was out there hustling his work and sending it to and producer/exec that he had prior relationships to.

he's a force, that one, nothing is going to get in the way of his success, if he can help it.

Great advice, Satriales.
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Old 01-25-2020, 09:05 AM   #3
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Default Re: Even when you have reps...

My experience too.

I used to resent the fact they just waited until I landed something and then took their commision but I accept it now.

But not just with my reps, with producers too. I'm pushing, setting calls with financiers, actors agents, sales companies.

I can't wait around for someone to champion my work, I have to be that guy.

Just the way it is.
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Old 01-26-2020, 01:33 AM   #4
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Default Re: Even when you have reps...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Satriales View Post
Still hustle for yourself. Itís one of the best pieces of advice Iíve received on this board.

We took a spec out in late fall. Got some passes. A few places kept kicking it up the chain. I asked my manager if we had sent to Big Directorís prodco and he was like ďehhh I know the VP and I donít think this is up their alley.Ē Iím like look, I have never once pushed back on anything - Iím asking you to send. I think itís a fit. He sent.

And it very much is a fit. Nobody knows anything in this town. Donít ever stop advocating for yourself, even if your reps are great like mine.
The corollary of this is, don't get swept along on the current of whatever your reps are doing.

If left to their own devices, reps will put you up for projects you're not in love with, and some will send you around town to meet with 50 junior execs who have no power to hire writers.

Learning to say "no" is hard, but it's essential if you want to preserve the time you need to develop your own ideas.
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Old 01-27-2020, 08:42 PM   #5
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Default Re: Even when you have reps...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Incognito View Post
I'm pushing, setting calls with financiers, actors agents, sales companies.
Let's be clear that I am not saying sit back and do as your told and shut up but consult your reps on this. Last thing you all need is inadvertently undermining a strategy. So you (not specifically you, Incognito, the broader you) got it to Netflix and they passed. In the meantime your rep got it to a big producer who wants to take it to Netflix where they just made a successful movie. But you have already killed Netflix, potentially made the producer look foolish ("dude, we passed on this already") who then is mad with your rep.

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If left to their own devices, reps will put you up for projects you're not in love with, and some will send you around town to meet with 50 junior execs who have no power to hire writers.
That's not how it works. Reps don't ask you to put you up for a job, it just happens, then if you are lucky enough for them to say "yes, let's go to your team Joe Done & Jane Deal for this rewrite" you can always pass. You want to be put up for jobs and there's power in a pass - "so they passed? damn, well what are they looking for" and it keeps your name in the general conversation, reminds the exec you exist etc.

Also, go and meet 50 jr execs. Every head of a studio was a jr exec at one time. You want those relationships. When you're a multi-credited or otherwise higher end writer then you can get picky. There are ridiculously few people in this town who have the power to directly hire writers. Even big producers have to go to the studio and get them to sign off on a writer. And some jr execs are better positioned than a sr exec depending on the situation. Who has the bosses ear, the sr exec or the jr who was the bosses assistant for the last few years and knows them inside out? And so on...
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Old 01-29-2020, 03:44 PM   #6
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Default Re: Even when you have reps...

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That's not how it works. Reps don't ask you to put you up for a job, it just happens, then if you are lucky enough for them to say "yes, let's go to your team Joe Done & Jane Deal for this rewrite" you can always pass. You want to be put up for jobs and there's power in a pass - "so they passed? damn, well what are they looking for" and it keeps your name in the general conversation, reminds the exec you exist etc.
I can't parse most of this, but the part I do understand is obviously incorrect. You write, "That's not how it works. Reps don't ask you to put you up for a job, it just happens." Like... no? If an OWA comes up in a staffing meeting, etc., reps will usually ask "Hey, are you interested in...?" and you either say yes you are interested, or no you're not. If you're interested, they'll submit you for the job, and if you're not interested, they won't.

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Originally Posted by Northbank View Post
Also, go and meet 50 jr execs. Every head of a studio was a jr exec at one time. You want those relationships. When you're a multi-credited or otherwise higher end writer then you can get picky. There are ridiculously few people in this town who have the power to directly hire writers. Even big producers have to go to the studio and get them to sign off on a writer. And some jr execs are better positioned than a sr exec depending on the situation. Who has the bosses ear, the sr exec or the jr who was the bosses assistant for the last few years and knows them inside out? And so on...
Look, to each their own, but going around meeting CEs who were assistants 18 months ago is usually an enormous waste of time. It's not just that the meetings themselves take time (though, in 50 afternoons, you probably could have written a good chunk of a spec, which would be waaaay more valuable than 50 water bottles); it's that, in order for a meeting to turn into anything more than a complete waste of time, you really have to engage on something-- which is to say, you'll have to read some IP they own and write a polite pass, or you'll have to soft-pitch something (which will invariably lead to a request that you write up a couple pages). Then, if they get excited about something, they'll want you to pitch their boss (since remember, none of these people can actually hire writers), which will lead to more writing, more pitching, more development... with a near-certainty that none of this will lead to a job (since ideas brought in by newbie CEs go nowhere ~99% of the time).

This is a great recipe for mortgaging a year or more of your life, with nothing to show for it but some relationships with low-level execs (who will, in all likelihood, move on to other jobs at places with which you're not a good fit). I personally think that's a bad recipe for advancing your career long-term, but mileage will, of course, vary.
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Old 01-29-2020, 05:34 PM   #7
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Default Re: Even when you have reps...

Quote:
Originally Posted by AnyOtherName View Post
If an OWA comes up in a staffing meeting, etc., reps will usually ask "Hey, are you interested in...?" and you either say yes you are interested, or no you're not. If you're interested, they'll submit you for the job, and if you're not interested, they won't.
To quote Sir Ben - No; no, no, no, no, no. Maybe your rep does, that's super bizarre. Reps are not waiting for approval on this. If an OWA comes up in a staff meeting they fight to get your name in there right now, if they are on the phone with an exec who says "I've got an OWA for x type of writer" do you think your rep says nothing then waits to connect with you so they can then get into phone tag to get the exec back on the phone in order to put you up the job 24/48hrs after they first heard about it? No. They put you up for it right away, on the first call.
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Old 01-29-2020, 05:55 PM   #8
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Default Re: Even when you have reps...

My feature rep handles it like AnyOtherName says. He'll call and say "Hey, I'm sending you a short film/novel/old script that so-and-so wants to adapt/rewrite. Let me know if you spark to the idea and I'll set up a meeting."

And then I can say either yes or no. (But I always say yes, and so maybe the whole conversation is merely a formality.)

But my TV rep handles it like Northbank says. He'll call and say "Hey, I got you a show runner meeting with so-and-so on Pilot X. It'll be in Santa Monica on Thursday." He never asks for my interest level.

Maybe that's a difference between the feature world and TV world. Feature development tends to move slower, unless it's a big, studio franchise property.

TV spots, meanwhile, have an opening and then there's a mad rush to fill them. First in often wins.
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Old 01-29-2020, 06:09 PM   #9
Satriales
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Default Re: Even when you have reps...

Of the 15 or so CEs I met with on my first go round (remaining 5-7 were higher) I think 11 had moved on a year later, to totally different companies that werenít fits for me. That said, one CE was a huge fan and pushed me enough to her boss that they bought my pitch.

I just look at it as a long game. Itís a relationship business. Iíll still email folks whoíve moved on to places that arenít fits for me just to say hello. YMMV.
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Old 01-29-2020, 06:44 PM   #10
Northbank
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Default Re: Even when you have reps...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bunker View Post
My feature rep handles it like AnyOtherName says. He'll call and say "Hey, I'm sending you a short film/novel/old script that so-and-so wants to adapt/rewrite. Let me know if you spark to the idea and I'll set up a meeting."

And then I can say either yes or no. (But I always say yes, and so maybe the whole conversation is merely a formality.)

But my TV rep handles it like Northbank says. He'll call and say "Hey, I got you a show runner meeting with so-and-so on Pilot X. It'll be in Santa Monica on Thursday." He never asks for my interest level.

Maybe that's a difference between the feature world and TV world. Feature development tends to move slower, unless it's a big, studio franchise property.

TV spots, meanwhile, have an opening and then there's a mad rush to fill them. First in often wins.
The first paragraph is exactly what I am talking about, your rep already got the material in for you so the exec wants a meeting, it's then your choice. Reps don't send clients material, wait to see if they like it, then call the exec. All assignments have criteria that a rep doesn't know about until they call - we need a high end comedy punch up, we need someone the studio already knows and likes, we're out to Aaron Sorkin already, we only have x amount so no one with a quote higher than that, we need a character pass, someone who will relocate to New York for 6 months (Blue Sky writers) and twenty other versions of that. How do you feel if you read a book (a big one like LOTR!) and say yes to your rep who calls and then the exec passes on you for whatever reason. So you just wasted that time and are mad at your rep - "why couldn't you get me in there? I could have met 50 CEs in that time!" etc. That's not how the vast majority of reps work.
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