getting an agent? -long-



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  • getting an agent? -long-

    seems to me like there are alot of fundamental misunderstandings regarding aquiring an agent.

    caveat: i do not have one, i am not ready for one, i do not play an agent on tv.
    the following statements are supposition, but make sense to me and may help you.
    if you don't like it, toss it. if you do, work with it.
    a little bit of monica in my life.
    end caveat

    ok, forget the monica part.

    now, we need to undersand that agents want scripts.
    no, scratch that.
    they NEED scripts.
    good ones, that is.
    no, scratch that too...
    GREAT ones.
    really really really really great ones.

    they NEED you if you have a great script.
    they do not make $money$ without you.
    agents like money.
    their job is not to bust your chops. it is to find a great script.
    and make money from it. and from you. and for you.

    if you are not the brother of the guy who walks the dog
    of the guy who cleans william morris' or mike ovitz' pool
    and have no other contacts in the biz,
    you need a query letter to go along with that great script.

    said query letter makes them aware of the existence of said script.
    said query letter should be snappy. savvy. aware. and short.
    on white paper in a white envelope without fancy packaging.
    said query letter should be addressed to a specific agent.
    and spell the agent's name properly.

    it breaks the ice. it does not tell your whole story and certainly does not tell your life story.
    it does not include the synopsis of the story either. if it does they won't read the letter.
    and that letter is the flirtation - the wink across the room. the hair tease.

    don't tell them how great the script is - let the script, when they request it, show that
    don't tell them the film will be a money-maker.
    be confident, but do not oversell it.
    don't tell too much, but not too little either
    forget the "this meets that" stuff... what if they didn't see 'this' or hated 'that'
    spell check and grammar check the letter mercilessly - if you can't write the letter perfectly, chances are the script won't be great and chances are it won't be requested

    the letter is what gets them interested.
    if it is a good letter.

    if an agent does not answer your query letter, maybe there is something wrong with the query letter.

    if a synopsis was requested or you feel you must include one with the letter, make it short and sweet - just like gig. (ok ok i dunno if she is short - but she is sweet (gentle cough))

    if the letter/flirtation works they will ask to see the script.
    to consider it.
    from then on the script stands on its own.
    if it sucks you will never hear back from them.
    and probably not get a second chance with that particular firm.
    but if it does not suck - if it is indeed great - then they will want to do something with it.
    because they need great scripts.

    when they ask (note: when, not if), send that script.
    if it is ready.
    are you/is your script ready? if you have to ask then no, it is not.
    is it finished? rewritten? revamped? renovated?
    do you have a second one ready (big word that: READY). they may want to see a second one.
    if it is ready, send that script.
    with no request for it to be returned.
    with no postcard for them to mail to tell you that they received it - get the address right and it will get there: the usps does deliver to the correct address.
    don't call to make sure it got there (see above point)
    don't call to ask what progress they have made with it: remember, it is a great script. if so, they will call (write it and they will come - after you tell them you are there, that is, with a query letter)

    you want validation? feedback? don't look for it in the wrong place.
    that is not the job of the agent.
    he doesn't care about you.
    unless you have a great script.

    check out query letter stuff at and other sites.
    write a great letter.
    after all, you've got a great script that deserves it.

    the above was my 2 cents worth. nothing more.

  • #2
    Pretty good 2 cents.



    • #3
      Here's my plan.

      Go on "Survivor 2: Australian Outback" and try to mention my unsold screenplays as often as possible.

      Your pal,


      • #4
        Plan sounds good, but...

        where do we find your loglines/synops?

        And please, Steeves is already in Qatar. He doesn't need to go through the Bush thing too (but I'll bet he'd handle it better than whoever they get...) But getting him to the Great Barrier Reef is a nice thought...

        Hmmm. Steeves doing an underwater version of the Croc Hunter, using that to get his scripts sold... Thinking...


        • #5
          Sounds like you have your bases more than completely covered Steeves. Good show!!

          I would add that the Wordplay website, has a great column on query letter writing called "Breaking the Ice"...

          Also, there's a great series of essays at (I hope they're still there) by a "Wendy Moon" about query letter writing. Her philosophy is slightly different that Wordplay's Terry Rossio (she believes in being a wee bit more "straight to the point", short and sweet, than he)...but combine the advice of the two, and VOILA!! you have...well you have a pretty darn good start.



          • #6
            A query letter should do four things:

            1) Tell someone, briefly and succinctly: title, genre, and what the story is about.

            (In Hollywood terms, "what the story is about" translates to what the plot is about, not theme or deep underlying meaning, that is important to remember.)

            (Plot boils down to, in plot driven scripts, who is the protagonist -- or are the protagonists -- what must they accomplish, and what terrible thing will happen, if they fail?; and in character driven softer pieces, who is the protagonist -- or are the protagonists -- and what situation are they in that is causing them difficulty? And that is about all you write and you are done.)

            2) Tell someone reasons you are someone they should consider reading, i.e. you won such and such award or are published, something to suggest you actually can write.

            3) Ask someone to read the script.

            4) Tell someone how to get ahold of you, if they want to read the script.

            That is what a query should do. And anytime you write a query, you should be asking yourself, did you accomplish the big 4? If you don't have number 2, you leave it out and just don't even talk about yourself. But 1 thru 3 need to be in there.


            • #7
              So you're of the Wendy Moon frame of mind: short, succinct, to the point. Get 'em interested, but by God, don't bore them by telling them your whole life story, why you write, what you hope to accomplish "in the biz", etc. Don't be cutesy with them. Get in and get out with your letter as quickly as possible. Sounds good.