If you have a manager and attorney, do you absolutely need an agent?

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  • #16
    Re: If you have a manager and attorney, do you absolutely need an agent?

    Originally posted by Satriales View Post
    DM a link to your script. I'll take a look and see if it is something I would refer to my manager.
    Link sent! That's so nice of you to spend some of your holiday time on my script, thank you!

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    • #17
      Re: If you have a manager and attorney, do you absolutely need an agent?

      Originally posted by finalact4 View Post
      I think it's possible that the big four may not rep writers at all in the future and that mid-tier agents may collaborate and create a new agency altogether, but it's difficult to tell.
      On the one hand, I suppose business will always snake a way to charge a monthly statement fee and such; on the other hand, that would be categorical spit in writers' eyes, wouldn't it? It's going to be a strange game when everyone needs writers, but the big four won't rep them... but, as you say, it'd be a big opportunity for the mid-sized ones. I wonder if the WGA is being a touch quixotic; wasn't there a counter-proposal to share packaging fees with writers? Is the WGA going to come out of this with a stronger hand? Time will tell...


      Nope, I'm not. I sent some queries out a couple months ago. Had a few reads. Not nearly as many responses as a couple years ago, so that has changed. One script being hip pocketed.

      I haven't sent out the sci-fi epic, we'll see.

      My newest script, my rom-com, I sent to my previous manager who is now only producing. I'm fortunate that way, because he has very strong contacts and we're looking to take it to studios after we develop the script a bit. It is exciting, but I've also been here before.

      Once Tinder is ready to go out, I'll query managers at that time. It should do well and help me find a home with a manager. I also have a referral from a good friend. So, we'll see. It's a very commercial, high concept spec, so fingers crossed, you know?

      Shopping agreements have their own troubles. They are typically shorter in duration and limit the producer to some degree. They are not necessarily an "easy sell."


      Thanks for the well wishes, but you never know. **** falls apart more often than not, so...


      Well what I mean by a contained thriller, is one that has only one, or very locations and only a few characters. It's not the same as a low budget. I'm thinking in the post-apocalyptic sub-genre and maybe set in the woods.

      Think 19 Cloverfield Lane, Panic Room, Flight Plan, 127 Hours, Red Eye, Identity, The Mist, that kind of stuff-ish.



      I'm in a couple writer's groups and I can tell you people get their projects optioned without having any reps at all. I had two option offers for two scripts at about the same time and I had a manager and an entertainment lawyer. Agents are important when you want to get something packaged, but prodcos can get that done, too.

      I refused to $ options and writing for free. This was just a couple years ago, not I think it's even more challenging to money down on an option. I'd be okay with a low or no option as long as I was paid to rewrite.

      best wishes to you, as well...

      FA4
      Even if you're not repped yet, it sounds like you're taking the right steps, each is a step closer. And thanks for your well wishes.

      RE contained thriller - I was automatically thinking low-budget, but of course you're correct. I remember reading the box office numbers for Paranormal Activity, now that was breath taken.


      Two questions for anyone:

      1) Suppose you have a manager who is either a producer, or has a working-relationship with a single producer... how does everyone feel about getting a market("fair") price for your spec, even if only setting the price in an option contract, if you can't take it out to the market? Is that a conversation you'd have with your manager, even if they have that working-relationship?

      2) Are there such things as milestone payments in script contracts for box office performance? I've heard about the nominal profit sharing from Scriptnotes, but I mean actual payments indexed to box office milestones.

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      • #18
        Re: If you have a manager and attorney, do you absolutely need an agent?

        Originally posted by guywithascript View Post
        On the one hand, I suppose business will always snake a way to charge a monthly statement fee and such; on the other hand, that would be categorical spit in writers' eyes, wouldn't it? It's going to be a strange game when everyone needs writers, but the big four won't rep them... but, as you say, it'd be a big opportunity for the mid-sized ones. I wonder if the WGA is being a touch quixotic; wasn't there a counter-proposal to share packaging fees with writers? Is the WGA going to come out of this with a stronger hand? Time will tell...
        From what I've read, especially and because of, IPs are already getting packaging deals without the writer attached yet. So, when writers come on board later the entire creative team is already assembled and a writer will have less control over their vision-- they won't have a say in which director, or talent, because it will already be decided-- this is for features.

        For TV it's a different animal because content creation comes from the writer, for the most part. It'll be interesting to see whether or not writers are locked out of the packaging process. We're coming up on pilot season, the AMPTP negotiations, and hopefully it doesn't result in a strike, but it could.

        I don't think the WGA should give in and I don't think that's on their radar, but I'm on the outside looking in like everyone else.

        Even if you're not repped yet, it sounds like you're taking the right steps, each is a step closer. And thanks for your well wishes.
        Well, I was repped and it's a really great relationship to have, since the producer I'm working with WAS my manager, at least there is a familiarity with working together.
        RE contained thriller - I was automatically thinking low-budget, but of course you're correct. I remember reading the box office numbers for Paranormal Activity, now that was breath taken.
        Paranormal Activity is a great example.

        Two questions for anyone:

        1) Suppose you have a manager who is either a producer, or has a working-relationship with a single producer... how does everyone feel about getting a market("fair") price for your spec, even if only setting the price in an option contract, if you can't take it out to the market? Is that a conversation you'd have with your manager, even if they have that working-relationship?
        Unless someone signs an option agreement, it's yours to do with what you will. If he's your manager it's THEIR JOB to get your work seen by everyone that might apply, not just one producer. That would be a very bad manager.

        And again, until that you sign an option agreement, your manager should be sending it to everyone that it applies. Now your manager might give someone a 24 hour period of time to see it first, but no manager should be "holding out" for one opportunity, imo.

        The OPTION agreement establishes the purchase price and everything else: the sale price, the FLOOR and CEILING, the rewrite fees, the steps, the sequels, prequels, reversion rights, etc... all of it. That's the point of the option, to lock everything in. You should establish the purchase price at 2.5% of the bonded budget (their expectation) and a reasonable CEILING to cover the possibility that the budget comes in significantly higher.

        So, if they think the budget is going to be $10 million, your FLOOR is $250,000 and let's say the cap is $20 mill which means your CEILING IS $500,000, but if the budget sky rockets to $50 million, all you will ever make is the $500k. The payout will vary depending what your team negotiates on your behalf.

        2) Are there such things as milestone payments in script contracts for box office performance? I've heard about the nominal profit sharing from Scriptnotes, but I mean actual payments indexed to box office milestones.
        The option agreement is a fluid document until it's signed. That said, it's unlikely that a new writer would have a position to negotiate box office performance bonuses, but if that's important to you, your Entertainment Lawyer and Agent would know what to negotiate for and will absolutely let you know if you're being too ambitious or threatening your own success at signing an option/purchase.

        What you should really do, is look at the MBA on the WGA's website. It covers a lot of what you should know, and you shouldn't rely on information obtained by members on a writer's forum, mine included.

        Good luck.
        FA4
        "Reserving rights to comment and make changes."
        Hollywood producer

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        • #19
          Re: If you have a manager and attorney, do you absolutely need an agent?

          Originally posted by finalact4 View Post
          I don't think the WGA should give in and I don't think that's on their radar, but I'm on the outside looking in like everyone else.
          Same, outside, looking in, but I can see the interests of the agencies are clearly unified, but when I read about the WGA there is a spectrum.

          1. If the WGA is truly representative of its members, that factional divide makes me feel that there might be some legitimacy to a negotiated packaging deal.
          2. It sounds like the agencies are in a stronger negotiating position.
          3. I think a strike, or the big four cutting out writers, would be harmful to everyone.

          Although I agree in principle with what the WGA is saying, does it all have to happen in one fell swoop? Can't they make meaningful gains even if it's not the whole agreement? I don't know, it all sounds very intense and complicated. But it makes for good reading to see what's going on in the industry.

          Well, I was repped and it's a really great relationship to have, since the producer I'm working with WAS my manager, at least there is a familiarity with working together.
          That's certainly an important caveat; since my queries can't get past the threshold I've understood just how important it is to have someone on your side. Who better than a producer with connections!

          Thanks for sharing your wealth of knowledge, obviously you have a great working knowledge base. I'll see if I can't cut through the MBA this holiday season.

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