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Old 06-12-2014, 11:48 AM   #1
mistersifuentes
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Default How to become a Manager for screenwriters?

Hello Community,

This is my first post and it's ambitious but I come with humility, respect and candor.

I am an independent film producer. I have two films in distribution, two in negotiations and one in post. One of the features won the prestigious Platinum Award at Houston World Fest and its on the film festival circuit. Mind you that these films are in the $100k to $250k budget ranges. The distribution deals and negociations are the result of taking three of our films to AFM last year. The next feature film we are working on will be in the $500k budget with notable actors.

As with all things I want to continue evolving not only as a producer but as a cultivator of great screenwriters! Currently, I have access to six phenomenal scripts in diverse genres by three talented screenwriters. In order for these films to be properly produced they need to be in the $5.5 million to $25 million budget range.

I tend to be drawn to material similar to the screenplays like; The Rover, Drive, Fargo, Memento, True Detective, Homeland, Three Colors: RED, Lone Star and Mulholland Drive.

Now I'm not to familiar with the business and legal structure of being a professional screenwriter manager other that what I have research and spoken to a few colleagues about.

So I have a few questions?

1. In order to be a talent agent or agency you have to be licensed. Is this the same for managers?

2. What is your definition of an ideal manager? Besides getting you in contact with an agent, helping you negotiate the best contract, expose you to independent production companies, what else would you need from your manager?

3. What would be the perfect balance in a contract between you and your manager? 10% is standard but what about the expectations, timeline to see productivity, etc.

4. I'm familiar about optioning a screenplay as a producer but would it be similar for a manager? Would I have to option the script for a period of time so I can sell the script to an agent or independent studio?

Here are a few things I will continue to focus on;

1. Studying WGA regulations
2. Getting an Entertainment Lawyer who specializes in script options
3. Attend screenwriting workshops, seminars, networking events
4. Build a rapport with talent agencies
5. Continuing to build rapport with independent studios, producers and directors

Special Note; I live in San Antonio, Texas.


Thank you for your time and I look forward to learning, networking and contributing!

www.mistersifuentes.com
http://www.imdb.com/name/nm3005621/

Last edited by mistersifuentes : 06-14-2014 at 02:07 PM.
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Old 06-12-2014, 02:12 PM   #2
ducky1288
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Default Re: How to become a Manager for screenwriters?

You don't have to be licensed to be a manager.

Most managers/agents work their way up after being an assistant because as an assistant you get to see the ins and outs of the company and you learn the ropes as you go.

I'm not sure how to go about it any other way. Even those who used to be producers or execs were at some point assistants and interns starting out.
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Old 06-12-2014, 02:23 PM   #3
mistersifuentes
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Default Re: How to become a Manager for screenwriters?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ducky1288 View Post
You don't have to be licensed to be a manager.

Most managers/agents work their way up after being an assistant because as an assistant you get to see the ins and outs of the company and you learn the ropes as you go.

I'm not sure how to go about it any other way. Even those who used to be producers or execs were at some point assistants and interns starting out.
Hey Ducky,

Thank you for your input. An important thing I forgot to mention was that I am in San Antonio, Texas. Two of my screenwriters live in San Antonio and another one lives in Dallas. Austin, is the closest city to any real direct connections to LA. New Orleans being another city. Not living in LA would make it a bit more challenging for presenting and selling. For the most part it would be email, phone and Skype meeting and once there is some serious traction then take a flight to LA for a few days.

I do have some contacts and resources in both LA and NY that I can finally start using. I just would hate to have these screenplays just lingering on a computer with out giving them a good fight.
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Old 06-12-2014, 06:18 PM   #4
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Default Re: How to become a Manager for screenwriters?

Get business cards printed.

Bill
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Old 06-13-2014, 07:28 AM   #5
EJ Pennypacker
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Default Re: How to become a Manager for screenwriters?

"2. What is your definition of an ideal manager? Besides getting you in contact with an agent, helping you negotiate the best contract, expose you to independent production companies, what else would you need from your manager? "

My definition, aside from having a keen sense of story and what is selling/what is not in the market place, is obviously contacts at the right places (agencies/prod companies/studios) and a track record of actually selling material to studios/indies.

Do you have trade announcements on these recent deals?

Being based in LA is also important (IMO).

EJ
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Old 06-13-2014, 09:37 AM   #6
Geoff Alexander
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Default Re: How to become a Manager for screenwriters?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mistersifuentes View Post
Hello Community,

This is my first post and it's ambitious but I come with humility, respect and candor.

I am an independent film producer. I have two films in distribution, two in negotiations and one in post. One of the features won the prestigious Platinum Award at Houston World Fest and its on the film festival circuit. Mind you that these films are in the $100k to $250k budget ranges. The next feature film we are working on will be in the $500k budget with notable actors.

As with all things I want to continue evolving not only as a producer but as a cultivator of great screenwriters! Currently, I have access to six phenomenal scripts in diverse genres by three talented screenwriters. In order for these films to be properly produced they need to be in the $5.5 million to $25 million budget range.

I tend to be drawn to material similar to the screenplays like; The Rover, Drive, Fargo, Memento, True Detective, Homeland, Three Colors: RED, Lone Star and Mulholland Drive.

Now I'm not to familiar with the business and legal structure of being a professional screenwriter manager other that what I have research and spoken to a few colleagues about.

So I have a few questions?

1. In order to be a talent agent or agency you have to be licensed. Is this the same for managers?

2. What is your definition of an ideal manager? Besides getting you in contact with an agent, helping you negotiate the best contract, expose you to independent production companies, what else would you need from your manager?

3. What would be the perfect balance in a contract between you and your manager? 10% is standard but what about the expectations, timeline to see productivity, etc.

4. I'm familiar about optioning a screenplay as a producer but would it be similar for a manager? Would I have to option the script for a period of time so I can sell the script to an agent or independent studio?

Here are a few things I will continue to focus on;

1. Studying WGA regulations
2. Getting an Entertainment Lawyer who specializes in script options
3. Attend screenwriting workshops, seminars, networking events
4. Build a rapport with talent agencies
5. Continuing to build rapport with independent studios, producers and directors

Special Note; I live in San Antonio, Texas.


Thank you for your time and I look forward to learning, networking and contributing!

www.mistersifuentes.com
http://www.imdb.com/name/nm3005621/
Why would you want to be a manager? Why not just be a producer?
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Old 06-13-2014, 09:42 AM   #7
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Default Re: How to become a Manager for screenwriters?

Quote:
Originally Posted by wcmartell View Post
Get business cards printed.

Bill
Took your advice and found that they were running a two for one special. So, not only am I now a manager but I am also a Space Travel Agent.

Booking flights to the Moon of Endor soon.
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Old 06-13-2014, 12:17 PM   #8
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Default Re: How to become a Manager for screenwriters?

It sounds like you have a plan... your path sounds a bit similar to mine, but I am based out of Dallas.

90% of what I have accomplished has been through hard work to earn the connections and proving myself at finding quality material to these connections. From what I have seen so far the successful managers represent the best writers/material they can find. As a producer it is a virtually identical process to secure funding as in selling a script-- it's selling. The best sales people get the writers and get the deals. Who you know is important, but being known is even more important.

Mark
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Old 06-14-2014, 02:04 PM   #9
mistersifuentes
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Default Re: How to become a Manager for screenwriters?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Geoff Alexander View Post
Why would you want to be a manager? Why not just be a producer?
Great and fair question, Geoff. Just like the majority of anybody who makes their living in the film industry I have to diversify my income. Even screenwriters need multiple sources of income; options, buyouts, consultations,rewrites, workshops/seminar/school lectures, how to books etc.

As mentioned I have access to six phenomenal screenplays. I personally don't have the financial resources to produce them all, so why not expose them to the market. Considering they would need financing in the 5 million to 25 million dollar budget range.

I'm about to break ground on pre-selling a feature film I am producing were I will take a visual pitch deck with me for my second round at AFM. Even then I am looking for financing at the 2.5 million dollar range budget. It's a process but for the time being why not expose these other screenplays instead of them just lingering on a computer.

Thank you for your input, Geoff.
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Old 06-14-2014, 02:14 PM   #10
mistersifuentes
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Default Re: How to become a Manager for screenwriters?

Quote:
Originally Posted by EJ Pennypacker View Post
"2. What is your definition of an ideal manager? Besides getting you in contact with an agent, helping you negotiate the best contract, expose you to independent production companies, what else would you need from your manager? "

My definition, aside from having a keen sense of story and what is selling/what is not in the market place, is obviously contacts at the right places (agencies/prod companies/studios) and a track record of actually selling material to studios/indies.

Do you have trade announcements on these recent deals?

Being based in LA is also important (IMO).

EJ
Hey Penny,

At the moment I am in the "development stage" of being a manager. Gathering information, regrouping my contacts, setting up the LLC, finding an entertainment lawyer, studying the WGA regulations and business plan.

No doubt living in LA would make it easier. At the moment just testing the waters so to speak.

Once those goals are lineup I will make my announcement on the trades.
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