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Old 07-13-2019, 02:18 PM   #11
AnyOtherName
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Default Re: Managers -- What Is and Is Not An Ideal Relationship

What would you like them to do that they do not do?
Have better studio relationships.


How often do you communicate with your manager?
A few times a week? Sometimes more, sometimes less.


How do they guide your career?
Mm, I've been burned too many times by reps "guiding" my career, so at this point, I've taken the wheel myself. But I tell my manager what kind of people I want to meet with, who (s)he should call/follow up with, what to stay on top of, what to let go, etc. and (s)he makes it happen.


What is a fair turnaround time to read your screenplay (any draft)?
A week is fair, though my manager rarely takes more than a day.


How do they communicate their notes on a draft?
I'll get a call and we'll chat, but again, I'm not someone who wants my manager to function as a development exec, so these are more "general impression" calls.


Do they have a strategic plan to develop your career in the first year, 5 years and beyond?
I think we both know where I want to go, but "strategic plans" are mostly good for guiding choices: do I pursue this or that, do I take this job or that job, do I write this spec or that one?


What are your biggest disappointments with having a manager?
I've had several terribly disappointing experiences with managers in the past, but I'm pretty happy now, the studio relationships thing aside.


What are the best aspects of your manager relationship? What are their greatest strengths and their greatest weaknesses?
My current manager does what I ask them to do, does what they say they'll do, doesn't lie or spin me, and tries to come up with ways to be helpful. Their "weakness" is really just that they don't know a lot of the people I know (my now-ex-agent did), which has made for some awkwardness in communication a few times.


What would you tell a writer who doesn't have a manager, what they should know and understand before going in?
In general, I am against managers and don't think writers, especially new writers, should sign with them. 90% of managers I've met are just random Joes who are wannabe producers, who like giving notes on scripts even though they have no clear qualifications to do so, nor demonstrable competence at same. They sign writers to essentially play roles in their Hollywood Producer Fantasies and tend to delay/damage/destroy careers. As near as I can tell, they only exist because there's an actual conspiracy to cordon off agents behind "management" gates. If you can get an agent without having a manager, that is far, FAR, FAR preferable.


Do they send you an active list of open writing assignments? Or is this strictly an agent's responsibilities?
In my experience, the only kinds of OWAs I ever get is when the studio/prodco has reached out to me, so I wouldn't find "a list of OWAs" especially meaningful. Obviously, my manager calls when (s)he gets an avail check on me or when an exec wants me to meet on something, but that would be like, really bad, is (s)he didn't.
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Old 07-13-2019, 02:50 PM   #12
GucciGhostXXX
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Default Re: Managers -- What Is and Is Not An Ideal Relationship

I have some thoughts/questions...

Quote:
Originally Posted by AnyOtherName View Post

What is a fair turnaround time to read your screenplay (any draft)?
A week is fair, though my manager rarely takes more than a day.
Wow! That's hella fast turnaround.


Quote:
Originally Posted by AnyOtherName View Post
How do they communicate their notes on a draft?
I'll get a call and we'll chat, but again, I'm not someone who wants my manager to function as a development exec, so these are more "general impression" calls.
Interesting. So, your manager is literally giving you no notes, it's just a "I liked it or I didn't" call? I'm curious if your manager used to be a writer. I think those types tend to want to dig in more, whereas ex-agents tend not to.

Probably a good place to point out that managers aren't one size fits all, some writers like/need/want their development notes, some writers don't wan't/need that. So you gotta find one who fits your style.



Quote:
Originally Posted by AnyOtherName View Post
What are the best aspects of your manager relationship? What are their greatest strengths and their greatest weaknesses?
My current manager does what I ask them to do, does what they say they'll do, doesn't lie or spin me, and tries to come up with ways to be helpful. Their "weakness" is really just that they don't know a lot of the people I know (my now-ex-agent did), which has made for some awkwardness in communication a few times.
I'm curious what you mean by this. Are you saying that you have certain relationships with people that your manager doesn't have a relationship with, so you take the lead on it? And why are these scenarios awkward for you?
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Old 07-13-2019, 06:35 PM   #13
finalact4
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Default Re: Managers -- What Is and Is Not An Ideal Relationship

first, thank you to everyone who has contributed to far, i am grateful for your contributions. all of them.

to new writers who don't yet have a rep, please jump in if you feel comfortable, it could be a great help to other writers in the same situation.
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Originally Posted by finalact4 View Post

since i had a manager/producer i thought i'd respond. you'll realize shortly some mistakes on my part-- mainly too trusting, and lack of confidence to question my manager at the appropriate times.
Writers With Managers:
  • what would you like them to do that they do not do?
i would have liked an ongoing updated list of who which scripts were sent to, what their responses were (ie copies of emails), and their email addresses. i only received some of the responses and rarely the email addresses as well.

both of the option agreements (two separate scripts $50 mil & $100 mil) i received within a month or two of each other were due to my own efforts and high scores on The Black List. we were not able to agree on the final terms of either one. one option offer was from a moderate sized (non-sig) production company that had a action thriller come out that did well while we were negotiating. took a month of back and forth negotiating every couple of days. i had an amazing lawyer who reps A-list writers, and i was very involved in all the strikethroughs and language changes. still it was a no go.

i would have like him to set up some generals. get my name on a list of OWAs which were offered. he didn't seem interested in pitching me, or developing my career as much as he wanted to be a producer on my two specs. i had some personal things that came up and i wasn't able to write for about 18 months.

he didn't take my script wide enough. only a handful (a dozen maybe) studios and moderate prodcos that could handle the budget.
  • how often do you communicate with your manager?
it was 3-4 times a week if we were polishing a spec to market. otherwize touch base once a week. when negotiating a contract it was every day to every couple of days, for a month.
  • how do they guide your career?
he didn't. he told me to stop working on a crime noir with an anti-hero because he didn't think he could do anything with it. what i didn't like is he sent a first draft off to someone in the industry without talking to me about it first, and that person told him he didn't think he should pursue it-- but the writing was great!
  • what is a fair turnaround time to read your screenplay (any draft)?
he would turnaround a draft or section with notes in 24 - 48 hours. i would rewrite and return pages in no more than 24-48 hours. a week is fair, i think.
  • how do they communicate their notes on a draft?
i really enjoyed the way we worked together. i sent him a draft in FD in revision mode-- he was blue and i was pink. he would take a first pass add notes and questions throughout the script from a big picture.

we'd attack sections of the script in blocks of pages. 25 ish at a time. he never told me what to do, always left the execution up to me. he asked questions. commented on what was confusing and i'd send notes and comments back to him. then we'd hop on a call and go over it which is when i would pitch my take on the "fix."

when we agreed, i took it rewrote it (out of revision mode), he would read and if he had no further comments or Qs (which was almost always the case) we'd move onto the next section of pages. once we got though the entire script he did a read through, i made any final changes then it was ready to send out.
  • do they have a strategic plan to develop your career in the first year, 5 years and beyond?
no, and no.
  • what are your biggest disappointments with having a manager?
that i didn't understand soon enough that he wasn't really a manager. he was a producer.

that there wasn't enough transparency to his activities and that i didn't question him about it.

that he wasn't really helping me. and although he did get me an amazing lawyer, i'm not sure he is still my lawyer because i'm just getting back into it. we'll see.

i was disappointed that he could not help me secure an agent.

in Feb of this year, he asked me if he could send my two spec out to a new company that had financing. i said sure and that i was now able to write full time.

i was disappointed that he didn't follow up with me. i followed up and they passed on the $100 mil spec, but the executive loved TRACKER and was sending it to his upper management. never heard a fvcking word back. i won't bother to call him again. and if i sell TRACKER he'll see the notification on my facebook.
  • what were you not expecting (good or bad) that impacted your writing?
i was not expecting him to tell me not to write a spec i wanted write. i was not expecting that he had no idea how to help me convert
my epic into a TV pilot. no guidance whatsoever. and no input on which format it should take.
  • what would you have liked to ask before you signed that you didn't ask?
what can you do for me?

who do you know?

how many clients do you have?

what are your expectations?

how do you like to communicate?

what is your interest in my writing and where do you think i can fit into the marketplace?

what is your process for developing/readying a spec for the market?

can you handle a wide release?

what is your process for sending a spec out?

do you have contacts that can reach other talent? directors, actors
can you help me get an agent and who would you recommend?

are you interested in my writing to develop my career or to be a producer on the project?

  • what were your initial expectations of having a manager? which ones were realistic and which were not?
all my expectations were fulfilled with the exception of transparency and our combined efforts at closing the deal. or getting other deals on the table. a studio seemed close at the time.
  • what are the best aspects of your manager relationship? what are their greatest strengths and their greatest weaknesses?
greatest strength was understanding story and the need for the narrative to be clear and logical as well as striking a good balance of levity in a very dark tone.

he loved my writing 100% and introduced me as, "this is Lisa, that amazing (or great) writer i was telling you about."

we worked fast and efficient on rewriting drafts.

his response turnaround, until he started ghosting me.

his contact list, though strong with very big hitters (ie VPs and senior execs), was narrow.

unwillingness to tell me exactly what his intensions were and suggest that i find a manager who wanted to work toward an actual career.
  • what would you tell a writer who doesn't have a manager, what they should know and understand before going in?
do the due diligence and make a list of what you want and prioritize that list. sometimes you'll only have one offer to rep you. sometimes you might have more. take a look at the contributions others have made here to help formulate your list of questions and communicate your needs and expectations up front.
  • do they send you an active list of open writing assignments? or is this strictly an agent's responsibilities?
no.
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, 07:41 PM   #14
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Default Re: Managers -- What Is and Is Not An Ideal Relationship

Great topic. I would just add one question that I had when I listened to an interview of a manager. Which is better for a writer - going after one of those Super-managers at the big firms; junior managers at a big firm; or a manager that works for herself/himself or in a 2 to 3 person shop. The reason I am curious is because often a writer is not in an ideal situation where they have every super manager chasing them, so they might get who they can get. Is it better just to wait for one of those bigger managers? The manager in the podcast had mentioned that there's a big difference with who you land with - like the managers following up; the amount of hustle of hungry manager versus someone more established with bigger clients. The lack of clout that maybe a junior manager has, who is operating off the prestige of the management firm, but doesn't have their own direct relationships. Or someone with clout that gives that promise, but doesn't actually use it for you. And of course, there's also the question of how to start off a relationship on the right foot and not p*ss off your manager.
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Old 07-13-2019, 07:54 PM   #15
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Default Re: Managers -- What Is and Is Not An Ideal Relationship

Quote:
Originally Posted by Friday View Post
Great topic. I would just add one question that I had when I listened to an interview of a manager. Which is better for a writer - going after one of those Super-managers at the big firms; junior managers at a big firm; or a manager that works for herself/himself or in a 2 to 3 person shop. The reason I am curious is because often a writer is not in an ideal situation where they have every super manager chasing them, so they might get who they can get. Is it better just to wait for one of those bigger managers? The manager in the podcast had mentioned that there's a big difference with who you land with - like the managers following up; the amount of hustle of hungry manager versus someone more established with bigger clients. The lack of clout that maybe a junior manager has, who is operating off the prestige of the management firm, but doesn't have their own direct relationships. Or someone with clout that gives that promise, but doesn't actually use it for you. And of course, there's also the question of how to start off a relationship on the right foot and not p*ss off your manager.
From big writers you'll hear sh!t like "Managers are worthless, I don't have one." From mid-ish level writers you'll hear sh!t like "Choose VERY carefully."

Bruh, if you ain't got one and are brand new... Take anyone (legit) willing to rep you. Meaning, if you ain't got choices. I don't care what anyone says, at least that sorta gets you in the game. It's more than nothing. But, you should ALWAYS continue to manage/agent yourself.

You can always hopscotch managers after you get some momentum if it's not a perfect fit. I mean, you'll likely do that anyway (So far I've been with CAA, Resolution, Gotham, new place).

Your specific questions are (for me) a very layered question to answer. But I'd always go with the dude/chick who's gonna hustle the most for you. What does it matter if you're with CAA if they don't return your calls?
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Old 07-13-2019, 09:29 PM   #16
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Default Re: Managers -- What Is and Is Not An Ideal Relationship

I had 3 managers and most communication was through email. Phone calls were rare. I wasn't well repped I guess.

My question for the writers who seem to have these strong relationships -- was it that way from the jump? Did you sell something?

Because it seems when I talk to writers who sold a spec, the way they talk about their relationships with managers is night and day to what i experienced.

I wanted just 10% of what some of the posters had. They always say "they work for you" but I always felt like they were doing me the favor and until I made money, I'm nothing to them really.

So seeing this list of questions, my question is back is "How common is this?"

Because I know I'm not crazy because I knew many writers on this board who had similar situations.

Someone I did not get treated well at all at these 2 places (can I blame my writing partner) and I'm thinking the people on this thread could be with those reps right now and have a 100% different experience.

That's a big thing. Just because Manager X does great for Johnny Writer doesn't mean they will do **** for you because well they are too busy helping Jane The Writer who already has a career going.

Man, I have some depressing Hollywood stories and I was barely in the machine. Damn.

Sorry, Gucci but can you get back together with the ex and put in a good word for me and the rest of the gain at 3arts? I mean we don't all have to go to her? I can go to my ex manager who works there who I think hates my guts. Ha ha ha ha... sad face.
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Old 07-14-2019, 06:33 AM   #17
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Default Re: Managers -- What Is and Is Not An Ideal Relationship

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Originally Posted by Satriales View Post
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?
AnyOtherName said what I wanted to say better: studio relationships. That's basically what I meant.
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Old 07-14-2019, 06:37 AM   #18
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Default Re: Managers -- What Is and Is Not An Ideal Relationship

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Originally Posted by GucciGhostXXX View Post
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.
LOL, I didn't get submission grids for my last spec either. But I did get them for the first one we went out with. Maybe he's just not doing them anymore? I should ask him when we go out with the next one in late Aug/Sep.
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Old 07-14-2019, 09:53 AM   #19
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Default Re: Managers -- What Is and Is Not An Ideal Relationship

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LOL, I didn't get submission grids for my last spec either. But I did get them for the first one we went out with. Maybe he's just not doing them anymore? I should ask him when we go out with the next one in late Aug/Sep.
hmm... what are submission grids?
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Old 07-14-2019, 10:40 AM   #20
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Default Re: Managers -- What Is and Is Not An Ideal Relationship

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hmm... what are submission grids?
It's basically a list of companies that have the script, who's passed, who hasn't, etc.
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