4 Routes To Getting An Agent

By Elliot Grove

From his book: WRITE AND SELL THE HOT SCRIPT

Write and Sell the HOT Script by Elliot Grove1. Make Friends With Someone In The Agency

Get your script to them and ask them to read it. If they like your screenplay, they will recommend it to someone else. The theory of this technique is that this employee wants to move up the ladder and will use your screenplay as a demonstration of their ability to discover hidden talent, and expand the revenue of the agency.

2. Research Existing Agencies

See if they are looking for new writers. Find an agency that is willing to consider new writers, submit three screenplays - a half-hour script for episodic TV for an existing show; a ninety-page script suitable for a low-budget production; and a two hour script whereby you really let loose. A reality check, please. Put yourself in the shoes of the agent. You are very busy. You don1t have time to read scripts at the office, so you bring them home. Despite your intention to read them during the week, at night, you haven1t. Now it is Saturday morning. You have three scripts to read by an unknown writer, plus a new script by an existing client. The existing client's previous script was sold for three times Writers Guild minimum, earning you a hefty commission. Which script would you read first? And one more thing - you have to get ready to go to a family wedding in three hours. The film industry is fiercely competitive. Back to your three scripts. Suppose the agent has time to devote to you. The three scripts are lying on a pile, next to the wedding clothes you have to put on. Which script would you read first? Of course you would read the short script. And if it were great you would read the ninety pager. And if that were fantastic, you would probably read the two hour script in the back of the taxi on the way to the wedding. Any agent in the world would want to work with you. Not only are you prolific, but you are versatile and the agent can see getting you work (and earning money) from your television as well as film scripts. If the first script the agent reads is boring, if it has clumsy descriptive passages, or dialogue without moral argument, do you think they will bother with your second script? Of course not.

Hint Never send a script out until it is as good as you can get it.

Write and Sell the Hot Script screenwriting class, London3. Specialize In Other Areas

Many screenwriters start in dramatic radio, especially in Britain where the BBC produces about 1,000 hours of drama per year. Radio doesn1t pay as well, but it does pay. Once you have been produced, you can add that to your CV when you approach agents you would like to represent you. Another route is theatre. This is accessible to anyone with a stage play. Simply hire a room and put on your show. Invite agents to your show, and see if they see a spark of talent there that they can sell. If you write a stage play that is produced by an established company, then you will almost certainly get an agent on the strength of that.

4. Start Your Own Agency

I don1t recommend this route but I know several people who have started their own agencies. In the UK you can start an employment agency by paying a £50 ($75) fee to the local municipal government office. You get a license to run an employment agency - in this case, for screenwriters. The theory of this route is that the agency will allow you to get around the barriers put up by film companies who will only accept screenplays from agents. The difficulty is that your agency is still unproven. A tactic to combat this is to get someone already in the industry to be a patron - someone who will agree to allow you to put their name on your letterhead but who has no legal or financial responsibility for your company. Another tack would be to team up with other writers, directors and actors and form a co- operative agency. The drawback here is that as the company grows in size someone has to raise operating capital to pay for an administrator, computers, office rent and so on. But it still is an interesting proposal. Why not start the next United Artists?

Fade Out:

Remember that an agent does NOT sell screenplays. An agent negotiates on your behalf. Don't shrirk the task of finding producers and directors interested in your work.

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About Elliot Grove

Elliot GroveCanadian born Elliot Grove founded Raindance Film Festival in 1993, the
British Independent Film Awards in 1998, and Raindance.TV in 2007, the Raindance Postgraduate Film Degree in 2011 and Raindance Raw Talent in 2013.

He has produced over 150 short films, and 5 feature films incuding his latest feature film, Deadly Virtues: Love.Honour.Obey. He has written eight scripts, one of which is currently in pre-production. He teaches writers and producers in the UK, Europe. Japan and America.

He has written three books which have become industry standards: RAINDANCE WRITERS LAB 2nd Edition (Focal Press 2008),  RAINDANCE PRODUCERS LAB (Focal Press 2013) and 130 PROJECTS TO GET YOU INTO FILMMAKING (Barrons 2009). His first novel THE BANDIT QUEEN is scheduled for publication next year.

Open University awarded Elliot and Honourary Doctorate for services to film education in 2009.
He is regularly interviewed. Here is an interview for Canadian television


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4 Routes To Getting An Agent