Approaching agents/managers

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  • Approaching agents/managers

    I would appreciate if you could shed some light here regarding finding representation. I very recently started submitting my high concept/commercial/ sci-fi script to contests, but after a very good feedback from a professional reader, I am wondering if/how I could approach agents and managers in the meantime.

    Here are few questions that come in mind.

    Is it possible for a new screenwriter not residing in the US to find representation?
    Do they accept unsolicited material?
    Is there an order regarding who to approach first?
    Does it make sense to approach a big company or better with a small, perhaps more personal one?


    Thanks beforehand.

  • #2
    Re: Approaching agents/managers

    Is it possible for a new screenwriter not residing in the US to find representation?

    In theory, with a truly great script that they could sell, yes (I personally know a Canadian writer who is on this path right now). In practice, the more common answer the writer is likely to get is that reps really want to work with LA-based clients for a host of reasons.

    Do they accept unsolicited material?

    Some do, some don't. Send a query and they'll tell you.

    Is there an order regarding who to approach first?

    Not that i've ever seen. See who's repping writers on the annual lists (Black List, Hit List, etc.) and start there

    Does it make sense to approach a big company or better with a small, perhaps more personal one?

    query managers, not agents.

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    • #3
      Re: Approaching agents/managers

      thanks. that's great info.

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      • #4
        Re: Approaching agents/managers

        Following up:

        I did find the Black List reps and intending to query all of them. Just curious is there a reason why it's better to start from here as opposed to another list?

        Also, sending a generic email seems a bit impersonal. Would it make a big difference to find personal emails? Is that even possible? I mean finding the specific manager in the company who represents x person, etc. Does it make any sense to do this kind of research?

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        • #5
          Re: Approaching agents/managers

          Some companies are staffed with 5-50 managers in which only 2-3 are really prolific. This leaves the rest with only a handful of clients. Sometimes just one, whose email is possible to find. Is it still worth contacting them, or should I only aim to the prolific ones?

          Is it a bad idea to contact several managers from the same company?
          Last edited by nostromo; 01-13-2018, 04:05 PM.

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          • #6
            Re: Approaching agents/managers

            Originally posted by nostromo View Post
            Following up:

            I did find the Black List reps and intending to query all of them. Just curious is there a reason why it's better to start from here as opposed to another list?

            Also, sending a generic email seems a bit impersonal. Would it make a big difference to find personal emails? Is that even possible? I mean finding the specific manager in the company who represents x person, etc. Does it make any sense to do this kind of research?
            Yes, of course it makes sense to do that research. I'd go as far as to say that it's the only research that matters.

            Look: it matters hardly at all which "management company" you're with; what matters is the specific manager who represents you. Find out who reps writers you admire, and query those reps-- or, far better, see if you have a mutual contact who can refer you.

            And the advice above-- to look at who reps the writers on this year's Black List-- makes some sense to me, though I wouldn't stop there. The rationale behind the advice is that the best thing that can happen to a newbie writer is to get a spot on the BL, and part of the way you get a spot on the BL is to have a highly effective rep.

            So it's not far-fetched to assume that the ppl repping the writers on this year's Black List are both a) open to new-ish writers, and b) highly effective.

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            • #7
              Re: Approaching agents/managers

              Thank you all. great info. I finished sending 40 query emails. fingers crossed.

              I also replied to another thread regarding Scott Carr who asks for a fee for reading.

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              • #8
                Re: Approaching agents/managers

                By the way, how long should one wait for an answer and when would it be a good time for a follow up email?

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                • #9
                  Re: Approaching agents/managers

                  Originally posted by nostromo View Post
                  By the way, how long should one wait for an answer and when would it be a good time for a follow up email?
                  On an initial query? I wouldn't follow up at all. Either they read it and passed, or they ignored it all together.

                  Typically they'll respond that day. Sometimes you'll get one responding the day after or later in the week. But I wouldn't hold my breath. Fire them out and move on. If you get a 10% response rate, be happy.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Approaching agents/managers

                    After browsing at the virtual pitch fest website and the sample queries over there, I realized the one I sent out was very poorly written.

                    Following advice from a thread on this forum, I kept it ultra short, giving just one sentence info about me and the script's logline.

                    Like that, I missed the chance to expand on the script's idea in one more paragraph, giving a mini synopsis. Now, this mistake will cost me a lot, because I decided to send queries through that platform, after reworking on my logline and after creating a short synopsis, following the samples of that website.

                    I understand this is a forum for professionals, but I was wondering if it would make sense to create a sticky post that would contain 2-3 samples of query letters for new writers.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Approaching agents/managers

                      I'm not going to hunt for it, on your behalf, but there's a substantial list of "what we want in a query" on the VPF site. It's a long list of their "pro's" talking about how they like to be approached in a query, and what it should contain. Some of them are videos. Check the VPF site.

                      I'd ignore their stock query feature; it's fairly new and was probably just set up for those who don't know any better (and didn't find the "what we want in a query" section on their site). That is, there are probably newish producers who are totally prepared to accept such stock queries, but most are looking to be blown away by the originality of a query as much as they hope to be blown away by the script you've written.

                      I feel for you, though. $10 per pitch is an awful price to pay. I always compare that to lottery tickets, which in many cases are well under that price and you have perhaps as good a chance of winning.

                      Oh, and I do believe (keep hunting) there are sample queries on this site (DDPro), too. Because if you simply ask members here, you're going to get 100 different answers.
                      Last edited by catcon; 01-19-2018, 07:58 AM. Reason: Oops, rereading your comment, I see that you may not have actually paid for the VPF thing, but had just referred to it. What

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                      • #12
                        Re: Approaching agents/managers

                        Any suggestions on nudging managers or producers who've had my script for 4 or 5 months, with no response?

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                        • #13
                          Re: Approaching agents/managers

                          It's the new normal for the writer to receive no response, ever, if they pass on your script.

                          If you haven't sent a follow-up yet to check in, still not too late to do so in case they just forgot or set it aside. That unfortunately is about all you can do to "nudge" anyone.

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                          • #14
                            Re: Approaching agents/managers

                            Only TWICE have I followed up and found they'd lost track of a submission, to which they promptly asked me to resubmit. (On neither occasion did they respond after that, FYI).

                            So, twice. Among 250 read requests over 8 years. I suppose that still makes it a worthwhile thing to do. As part of that "relationship-building" thing, there's nothing wrong with keeping your name in front of people who've actually requested one of your scripts, and following up... ONCE only, per read request.

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                            • #15
                              Re: Approaching agents/managers

                              Thank you much. damn the new normal.

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