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Old 07-12-2019, 09:21 PM   #1
finalact4
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Default Managers -- What Is and Is Not An Ideal Relationship

these questions are for writers with reps and those without. if you have the time and inclination to respond i would be grateful.

Writers With Managers:
  • what would you like them to do that they do not do?
  • how often do you communicate with your manager?
  • how do they guide your career?
  • what is a fair turnaround time to read your screenplay (any draft)?
  • how do they communicate their notes on a draft?
  • do they have a strategic plan to develop your career in the first year, 5 years and beyond?
  • what are your biggest disappointments with having a manager?
  • what were you not expecting (good or bad) that impacted your writing?
  • what would you have liked to ask before you signed that you didn't ask?
  • what were your initial expectations of having a manager? which ones were realistic and which were not?
  • what are the best aspects of your manager relationship? what are their greatest strengths and their greatest weaknesses?
  • what would you tell a writer who doesn't have a manager, what they should know and understand before going in?
  • do they send you an active list of open writing assignments? or is this strictly an agent's responsibilities?

Writers Without Managers:
  • what do you hope a manager will do for you?
  • how often do you expect to communicate with your manager?
  • how quickly do you expect them to turn around a draft with notes?
  • do you have a plan for your career path?
  • do you have a strategy on how to execute your plan?
  • what questions would you ask a manager who offered to rep you?
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Old 07-13-2019, 05:10 AM   #2
Satriales
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Default Re: Managers -- What Is and Is Not An Ideal Relationship

Writers With Managers:
  • what would you like them to do that they do not do?

    More transparency. “I met with an exec at...” Give me a name. Tell me the people we’ve submitted a script to. Share your submission grid with me. I shouldn’t have to ask.
  • how often do you communicate with your manager?

    It depends on what we have going on. Average over the past year is maybe 3-4 calls per week.
  • how do they guide your career?

    Help conceive the idea for the next project on spec. Get me in rooms to pitch. Pitches me in his meetings.
  • what is a fair turnaround time to read your screenplay (any draft)?

    Usually within four days.
  • how do they communicate their notes on a draft?

    Mark up the pdf in red. Then we jump on a call and dive in going over the big stuff.
  • do they have a strategic plan to develop your career in the first year, 5 years and beyond?

    Not that he has conveyed.

  • what are your biggest disappointments with having a manager?

    The benefit of the doubt in knowing what to write next. I operate primarily in the true story/historical space. He has recently come around to two ideas I pitched hard a year ago. Two others things I tried to sell him on were recently mentioned in the trades. The latter isn’t huge deal because it was obviously likely too late on them but it at least speaks a bit to my instincts.
  • what were you not expecting (good or bad) that impacted your writing?

    The level of deep development has helped me as a writer.
  • what would you have liked to ask before you signed that you didn't ask?
  • what were your initial expectations of having a manager? which ones were realistic and which were not?

    How good am I? What’s my ceiling? What will our development process look like?

    On the whole, it was about what I expected. But he works harder than I imagined. I don’t think he’s working this hard for every client. That’s probably not possible. But he really tries to match the energy I put into this. I’m always thinking about story or about ideas. And we’re always texting about stuff.
  • what are the best aspects of your manager relationship? what are their greatest strengths and their greatest weaknesses?

    He’s a good person. We are both prone to being pleasers which is great but can lead to situations where we are too nice and what needs to be said doesn’t get said.

    His understanding of story, contacts, decency, and work ethic are his best qualities. The inability to deliver bad news immediately and playing things close-ish to the vest are my biggest complaints. I just think these people are so used to trading in a world where info is currency that it becomes second nature. He is also very risk averse on the page. And I get it. Chances lead to volatility and polarizing responses. But at some point you need to stop cutting down your swing and going to the opposite field and try to knock the fvcker out of the park.
  • what would you tell a writer who doesn't have a manager, what they should know and understand before going in?

    Go with your gut. The name on the building matters only if they are going to work as hard as you will. Understand what the development process will be. Ours is: Idea->research/breaking story->four page outline->20 page treatment->draft. Generally 6-8 week process depending on the project.
  • do they send you an active list of open writing assignments? or is this strictly an agent's responsibilities?

    No. It’s strictly based off of their meetings and producers who are fans reaching out.

Last edited by Satriales : 07-13-2019 at 08:14 AM.
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Old 07-13-2019, 08:35 AM   #3
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Default Re: Managers -- What Is and Is Not An Ideal Relationship

Okay, let's see...

what would you like them to do that they do not do?

I'd say put me up for OWAs, though those seem to be few and far between at this point in time. Also put me in the room with some heavier hitters.

how often do you communicate with your manager?

Really depends on what's going on. If we have a script out, then every day and sometimes more than once. If I'm working on something, he'll leave me alone (unless he's asking where's the draft). The more irons in the fire, the more you talk if there's something to talk about. And there's random stuff that pops up. I recently had an agent from one of the big three reach out in a not-too-subtle attempt to poach me, so we talked about that. And yesterday he randomly sent me a YouTube video that related to one of my scripts.

how do they guide your career?

See my answer for strategic plan below.

what is a fair turnaround time to read your screenplay (any draft)?

Mine's great at reading fast, especially when he's excited about something. I usually try to get something ready for the weekend, and he'll typically reach out by Sunday to set a call for that week.

how do they communicate their notes on a draft?

Always on the phone. Notes calls on a first draft could take a few hours. We might break that up over a couple of calls. Subsequent drafts take less time on the phone. And once we get to touch ups and slight tweaks, he'll just send an email.

do they have a strategic plan to develop your career in the first year, 5 years and beyond?

I've come to the realization over the years that this is best answered by the writer, and your manager helps get you there. Too many writers expect their managers to come up with PowerPoint presentations that detail every step of the way to a sale. Honestly, you can't let your reps lead you around by the nose. And if they're trying to dictate what you should write, then that's really the basis for a relationship that will ultimately end badly. I've been in those writer/manager situations before more than once, and it always ended the same way. Writers need to have a clear idea of what they want to write and what direction they want their career to go, and then hook up with reps who will help fine tune your goals and then push forward.

For example, I went to my manager early on and told him explicitly that I wanted to write a Black List script. Reason being, I wanted to get on the Black List and give myself a much-needed boost. So we went ahead and did just that. Now I'm writing an original script that we hope has a great shot because it's commercial, and I have a little more heat/clout because of the BL. This is a path I thought of and he's helped me move it along.

Also, it's perfectly okay to have a manager help you pick an idea to write. You might think that you have a killer idea, but they'll have the more objective view and will tell you it's not that killer, or that there are three other competing projects out there, or that another one of their clients is working on something similar and there's a conflict of interest. You want your manager to be 100% invested just as much as you are.

what are your biggest disappointments with having a manager?

I don't have any major disappointments. I really like my manager and we work well together. I do wish he was stronger in TV, but I'm happier working on features right now anyway. I'm pretty jaded with the TV world at the moment (and if you've read my other posts recently, you'd know why!)

what were you not expecting (good or bad) that impacted your writing?

I don't understand the question.

what would you have liked to ask before you signed that you didn't ask?

Can't really think of anything, to be honest. I did my due diligence this time around, largely because I didn't do it in the past. I researched online, found interviews, I came up with a list of questions and asked those when we spoke on the phone and met in person, and I reached out to 3-4 clients to get their opinions. That was a crucial step, imo, and really helped me make my decision. They all sang his praises, so I was confident when I agreed to sign. And so you know, this process took a couple of months. I was meeting with other managers, which he knew about, and took my time to weigh my options. That's also a key test, seeing how they react to you meeting other managers. If they're pushy or trying to pressure you in anyway, that's not a good sign. Mine was chill, and he told me to reach out whenever I came to a decision and he'd be there. And he was.

what were your initial expectations of having a manager? which ones were realistic and which were not?

My very first expectations were to develop a feature and then have it go wide, complete with a listing on Tracking Board. I really wanted to finally have that experience of seeing my script go out into the world and have multiple producers "walk it in to the territories." And my expectations were filled.

what are the best aspects of your manager relationship? what are their greatest strengths and their greatest weaknesses?

Best aspects are developing material and getting it out far and wide. He's great at getting his writers attention, he makes sales, and he hustles his ass off. Biggest weakness is not having connections to the bigger financiers, but that will get better. He's always hustling, in a good way!

what would you tell a writer who doesn't have a manager, what they should know and understand before going in?

Just do your due diligence and know exactly who you're getting into bed with. Take your time and make the right decision. Don't feel like you have to rush into signing just because someone's taken an interest in your work. And if you have only one interested, but you're getting a bad vibe, just walk away. Better to have no manager than a bad one.

do they send you an active list of open writing assignments? or is this strictly an agent's responsibilities?

I haven't seen one yet, but I'm guessing my agent would have better access to that stuff.

Hope this helps!
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Old 07-13-2019, 10:05 AM   #4
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Default Re: Managers -- What Is and Is Not An Ideal Relationship

docgonzo - Interesting, seeing as we have the same manager. I'll do my list in a sec.
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Old 07-13-2019, 10:57 AM   #5
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Default Re: Managers -- What Is and Is Not An Ideal Relationship

docgonzo - re: heavier hitters. Are you talking within an organization (ie: not CE or Directors of Development, but the head of production or the principal) or a more prestigious production company? Or both?

For me, it's a mixed bag - a few places I'm in with former studio heads turned producers, another place with a guy who was a driving force on a couple of Oscar winners and an action franchise, but the vast majority of places with a POD deal I'm pitching to the CE...then the director...then the head of production. From what I can tell, that is the norm at my level...I guess?
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Old 07-13-2019, 11:54 AM   #6
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Default Re: Managers -- What Is and Is Not An Ideal Relationship

Actually, having read both lists again, I think mine would just be redundant. Mine is a mix of docgonzo and Satriales. And I can't really think of anything useful to add in addition.

I'd say my biggest gripe is: Show me the submission grid. He did that with my first script so I could keep track of who's passing. But now, not really. I think I was a bit spoiled when my ex repped me for a bit, she'd tell me everyone it's going to and just blind CC me on all emails (this was when I was at Resolution, then Gotham). I knew exactly what was going on, good and bad.

But, agents can be the same way (i.e not share intel). With a pilot I wrote when I was at CAA my agent was like "Cool, I'll take a look at the new draft." I don't hear sh!t for weeks. Then: "Hey... there are 4 producers who want to attach, I'm setting meetings. What's you're availability?"

I'm like "WTF?!? I didn't even know you sent it out." I like to know who it's going to, and I like to know individual passes. WHO didn't like my sh!t?

With this new one it's gone out incredibly slow. Maybe he's more focused on docgonzo. LOL.
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Old 07-13-2019, 12:08 PM   #7
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Default Re: Managers -- What Is and Is Not An Ideal Relationship

Recalling that Iíve seen docgonzo reference his manager all I can say is that heís friends with my manager and they learned the business at the same place and itís only one letter removed from CIA but way more paranoid so that explains some of it 😊
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Old 07-13-2019, 12:31 PM   #8
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Default Re: Managers -- What Is and Is Not An Ideal Relationship

reading these, I feel like I need a new manager.

The reason being is that these managers seem way more motivated than mine.

I have a very detached agent at one of the big three and my manger only reacts to my pushing. The problem is he's a pretty big guy and he and his place have connections, so a little of his attention can mean a lot.

Still though my agent is a partner and he is super connected too. Maybe I need a younger manager with a little more hustle.

I've been resisting the move but I think it might be time.

I've got to tell him though before I start looking right?
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Old 07-13-2019, 12:52 PM   #9
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Default Re: Managers -- What Is and Is Not An Ideal Relationship

Quote:
Originally Posted by Satriales View Post
Recalling that I’ve seen docgonzo reference his manager all I can say is that he’s friends with my manager and they learned the business at the same place and it’s only one letter removed from CIA but way more paranoid so that explains some of it ��
Hmmm... I can probably guess who your manager is seeing as my ex was at CIA for 15 years... but I won't [guess].

Bruh, I got nothing to lose at this point, so here's the true story of how I got my new manager:

I was the lead on a huge sale, huge movie with my ex. She got her name splashed across Hollywood off that sale (I was anonymous, no one knew I was the key player who actually made the deal. I told her everything to say and do. I was the puppeteer.). She got all the credit, but I got half the money. Probably a stupid choice on my part, my name should have been in the trades right alongside my ex, she knows full well that it was MY deal and she was just the face of it.

So, we get divorced. We close our shop and she goes to a real shop. (Literally, we were running ours out of the backyard. She asked if she could convert a bedroom into an office and I said "NO! That's where my music gear is... not happening." LOL.)

Anyway, so she's repping me at this new shop. Then says she wants distance now that we've split, but doesn't want me to leave the company so will I give a young and hungry manager a shot. No prob. I do. He's excited, hustles. I'm fine with it. Gets me a bunch of meetings. Once that happens she demands he drop me. No goodbye email from him, nothin'. She's telling me herself that I'm dropped as of this phone call. "What about my meetings? These shows are keeping me on the list moving forward." She doesn't care, I'm dropped. WHAT A DEVIOUS B!TCH.

Whatever... I walk. My staffing season intentionally screwed in order to fukk me over. Too late for me to rep up in time to reset meetings.

I go off and write a feature. It's pretty good. One problem, I can't call ANYONE myself. I tried to think of ways "Could I call/email and say, I have a writer you should read and use a fake name on the script once more (yeah a second time, that's how I got repped the first time). Then if they like it, admit I wrote it?

Fukk that, too many steps, I called her and said "Listen, I made you a fukk ton of money and you still owe me money, and you demanded I be dropped to INTENTIONALLY fukk up my staffing opportunities. You said you wanted the divorce to be classy and you're acting like a child. The least you can fukkin do is reach out to people about my new script. You owe me that!"

She did...

That's how I got repped a second time. True story.

So there ya go... that's one way to get repped. LOL
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Old 07-13-2019, 01:07 PM   #10
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Default Re: Managers -- What Is and Is Not An Ideal Relationship

Quote:
Originally Posted by Incognito View Post
reading these, I feel like I need a new manager.

The reason being is that these managers seem way more motivated than mine.

I have a very detached agent at one of the big three and my manger only reacts to my pushing. The problem is he's a pretty big guy and he and his place have connections, so a little of his attention can mean a lot.

Still though my agent is a partner and he is super connected too. Maybe I need a younger manager with a little more hustle.

I've been resisting the move but I think it might be time.

I've got to tell him though before I start looking right?
I would first give him a heads up that you're not happy and why. Maybe he'll shift gears and be more active. If he's like "Meh..." Start the search. He's been put on notice.

But, I do think every (EVERY!) rep should check in once a week. "You good? Need anything?" It's an easy email. And every so often, 2 months? "Is there anything more I could be doing for you?"

I told my ex to do this. I said "Look, I'm a creative, I know what we want. Do what I'm telling you or you're gonna lose clients. In fact, ____ within the agency is trying to poach your client and be the lead agent. Trust me!" She wouldn't do it. Guess what happened, several clients left. And that agent became the lead and she was cut out. She was surprised. I wasn't AT ALL. Dude... I told you exactly what to do! Now look, you've lost some big clients. One of these clients was making 100k a week on doctoring. WHY would you not check in with them?

BTW - That's one thing that pisses me off now. I puppeteerd this chick's entire career and I get zero credit for it. The town thinks it was all her. FALSE! Had I known we were gonna get a divorce I would have fought to have my name on some of these deals.

-BACK TO TOPIC-
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