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Old 07-12-2017, 12:26 PM   #1
jeanpaul
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Default Can I get an agent with only spec pilot or must have spec of existing?

Ultimate goal is to get staffed. I have a spec pilot drama, a spec pilot sitcom, and a feature. While I can certainly muster up the creative strength to write in anothers voice once staffed (and paid), I don't really have the desire to write an existing show. Is this a deal breaker?
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Old 07-12-2017, 01:20 PM   #2
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Default Re: can I get an agent with only spec pilot or must have spec of existing?

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Originally Posted by jeanpaul View Post
Ultimate goal is to get staffed. I have a spec pilot drama, a spec pilot sitcom, and a feature. While I can certainly muster up the creative strength to write in anothers voice once staffed (and paid), I don't really have the desire to write an existing show. Is this a deal breaker?
Depends on agent, but I'd say if your three properties are strong enough it won't matter at all. Writing specs on existing shows isn't nearly as common as it used to be, and several clients of mine who recently became staff writers landed the job with original material.
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Old 07-12-2017, 02:59 PM   #3
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Default Re: Can I get an agent with only spec pilot or must have spec of existing?

EvilRbt, follow up question if you don't mind. In your experiences do agents, execs, etc.. look at writers, holistically or best submission? Put another way, is it better to have three good scripts than to have one killer script and two ok ones?

I imagine the answer is it depends on the agent, but I am totally new to this and am trying to put together a portfolio before I head out there. Thanks!
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Old 07-13-2017, 11:03 AM   #4
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Default Re: Can I get an agent with only spec pilot or must have spec of existing?

I mean, the reality is that they're looking for something great, and enough supporting material that they can believe the great thing isn't a flash in the pan.
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Old 07-18-2017, 12:47 PM   #5
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Default Re: Can I get an agent with only spec pilot or must have spec of existing?

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Originally Posted by jeanpaul View Post
EvilRbt, follow up question if you don't mind. In your experiences do agents, execs, etc.. look at writers, holistically or best submission? Put another way, is it better to have three good scripts than to have one killer script and two ok ones?

I imagine the answer is it depends on the agent, but I am totally new to this and am trying to put together a portfolio before I head out there. Thanks!
Reps are more likely to read multiple scripts because they are signing you as a writer and want to know you can consistently put out strong material.

Once you're submitted to a studio, network, or any exec, it'll likely only be one script that either fits some particular show or just your best because that's all the time that exec will have time to read -- if they even can get to it.

So have one great sample for sure, but a couple of other strong ones to get a rep is ideal.
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Old 07-19-2017, 01:53 PM   #6
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Default Re: Can I get an agent with only spec pilot or must have spec of existing?

Thanks to all for replies. One last question, assuming I have three good specs to show, what are the odds of getting a rep? What I'm trying to gauge is whether you need to be good to get rep or whether you need to be good and damn lucky.
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Old 07-19-2017, 02:34 PM   #7
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Default Re: Can I get an agent with only spec pilot or must have spec of existing?

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Thanks to all for replies. One last question, assuming I have three good specs to show, what are the odds of getting a rep? What I'm trying to gauge is whether you need to be good to get rep or whether you need to be good and damn lucky.
If you want to be a TV writer, reps will likely look beyond the material before they sign you. Let's not pretend writing a good script is easy and even getting it read from cover to cover is easy. BUT, if you do those things, then the rep will probably want to meet you and assess whether you are "good in a room". That means comfortable, personable, interesting, etc if they put you in rooms with execs and writers in Hollywood.

And as of the last few years, sometimes gender and race factors in. If you're a white guy trying to get in on the ground floor of TV, that's going to be hard and a lot of reps won't take them on because they are near impossible to break unless they have connections or are already an assistant on a show. If you're diverse and/or female, they can look at those lower level slots left open for a diversity writer which gives them a better chance at getting you staffed.

So really it's a long way of saying, it depends on several factors. Sometimes it's luck. Sometimes it's the stars aligning with the right material, right rep, good meeting. And sometimes it's out of your control - gender/race.
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Old 07-20-2017, 01:03 AM   #8
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Default Re: Can I get an agent with only spec pilot or must have spec of existing?

if you want a tv agent, you need to already have a staff job. Unless you are also writing professionally in another medium, like theater or journalism. Being diverse may also get you in the door at an agency, but is more likely to benefit you in one of the studio or network programs.

Managers will be more receptive to taking on new clients.
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Old 07-20-2017, 05:50 AM   #9
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Default Re: Can I get an agent with only spec pilot or must have spec of existing?

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if you want a tv agent, you need to already have a staff job. Unless you are also writing professionally in another medium, like theater or journalism. Being diverse may also get you in the door at an agency, but is more likely to benefit you in one of the studio or network programs.

Managers will be more receptive to taking on new clients.
I'm confused. I understood my route (I'm unconnected and in law now) to be query agents, get specs read, sign, then they get me staff job. Don't most with staff gigs already have agents?
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Old 07-20-2017, 10:24 AM   #10
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Default Re: Can I get an agent with only spec pilot or must have spec of existing?

the practical reality is that most agents aren't interested in breaking new writers.

When it comes to lower level jobs, the "entry" level position of staff writer, the competition for those positions is between assistants on shows looking for get promoted, writers from programs (particularly if they are diverse), and writers who have some personal connection to a showrunner who is willing to hire them.

Agents are far more inclined to see how all that shakes out and then look to sign people after they've gotten hired, rather than sign people and do the arduous work of getting them a job.

Being a lawyer is a huge plus, and having material that speaks to that experience would be smart. Finding a manager who is willing to try and sell a spec pilot of yours would be a great way for you to get yourself and your material out the community at large and lead to the kind of meeting that will get you put of for jobs. There may be agents at smaller agencies willing to go along for this ride.

A strong and unique idea that speaks to your personal experience is going to be the best way to get reps excited about you and your work.
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