Screenwriting : Finding managers and agents who will actually take on new clients! by Sage de Beixedon Breslin

Sage de Beixedon Breslin

Finding managers and agents who will actually take on new clients!

We have been at this awhile now and have a good portfolio of screenplays but still have yet to find an agent or manager who will "accept unsolicited submissions." We've been working our asses off but truly need someone else's help moving things forward. Any names of managers or agents willing to consider new clients?

Bill Costantini

You should expect the "unsolicited submissions" policy in an industry where the supply is much greater than the demand, and also for legal reasons. On the plus side are the Pitch Sessions available through Stage 32. Just over the last couple weeks, you could have pitched reps from every big agency in L.A. and New York. That's a great opportunity, and you should definitely take advantage of it if you're looking for representation and think you have some salable material. And if someone in L.A. wants to meet with you, you're just a couple hours away. Lucky-lucky. Good luck!

Regina Lee

The Hollywood Representation Directory used to be the go-to book for newcomers. It indicates whether a company accepts unsolicited submissions. The digital age has sadly ended the reign of The HRD. You should check to see whether the 2012 edition still seems fairly up to date. I believe that query letters still work (though you'll get many "no's" for every "yes"), and I know first-hand that some of my past script consulting clients have been read after getting in the door with a query letter. S32 and Virtual Pitch Fest are also great platforms to reach reps.

Tshepo David

Follow and register (if you register for a trial period but delete the account before 14 days trial period expires), search for agents, get their contact info and send query letters to them may be you might get lucky and somebody responds to your emails and you get representation. For another options, use sends its users email notifications on weekly basis. With those emails, you'll find free codes to send your logline to an exec.

Katharina Suckale

Hi Sage, we are a production company in Mumbai and Berlin. We are actually looking for stories. But we are looking for stories which could take place in India and which are more commercial. There are art house films in India, but they rarely go into the cinemas. Also for you to know, in India the budgets are much much lower than in Europe and the US... This may not be interesting for many writers in the West.

CJ Walley

Firstly Happy Writers is your friend. Keep on eye on this page for opportunities pitch to managers and agents; Done Deal Pro, Script Pipeline, and Screenwriting Directory all offer databases with fields stating if the recipient accepts unsolicited submissions. However I found the data very poor quality and out of date considering the price. Plus in the case of Screenwriting Directory (The Writers Store) they took an additional payment from my card without warning. Virtual Pitch Fest is another to look at.

Sage de Beixedon Breslin

Thank you all for your suggestions. We actually purchased the Screenwriting Directory at the encouragement of a former talent manager but discovered that after sending hundreds of query letters most of the information was out of date and none of the companies accepted unsolicited material. What it did for us was to help us realize that our stamina was going to be a great benefit!

Christopher Jolley

I have encountered the same problem in the UK. I have found that some agents won't want any new writers whatsoever. I have had success writing low budget fare for VOD type companies. It isn't ideal and creatvely isn't rewarding buy the money I have earned I could then put into my own work sorry for the bad grammar trying to write thus on my phone

Regina Lee

Laura Scheiner is 99% right. Follow her lead. Hope that your query letter is so strong and credible that you turn a "default no" into a "yes please." Prestigious screenplay contest wins can help turn a "no" into a "yes." The only technicality I disagree with is that the "unsolicited submission" is not re-categorized as "solicited" nor is it treated like any standard submission. Technically, it remains "unsolicited," and typically the sender will be asked to sign a submission release agreement to prevent "you stole my idea" lawsuits. Technically, when the manager/agent agrees to review the unsolicited submission, it becomes an unsolicited submission for which the sender has signed a release agreement, and it stays in the unsolicited stack so to speak, but it will be reviewed because the reader has agreed to take it in with a release. The submission will be reviewed, then handled as an unsolicited submission. What that means is that you will usually get a very formal pass letter (to establish a paper trail should the reader ever be accused of "stealing your idea") after your unsolicited submission is reviewed and is either passed on or moves up the chain. Your sub is still being treated as a potential lawsuit, which is the reason that unsolicited submissions are such a difficult thing to handle. (We have to treat every unsolicited sub as a potential "you stole my idea" lawsuit, and that is why there is a high barrier to entry for unsolicited subs. That's not because we're jerks. No one wants to go bankrupt fighting a lawsuit or to get fired because you took in a script that resulted in a lawsuit.) If it were a standard submission from a WGA agent or a reputable manager, there is typically no well-documented paper trail or highly formal response; there's no need for a precise paper trail for submissions within "the system" because we assume these will not result in a "you stole my idea" lawsuit. Submissions from WGA agents can be handled much more casually in terms of a paper trail.

W. Keith Sewell

Regina, one question? What if you're invited by the reader/VP of dev that it's okay to send material their way.. but not a specific script. Would that be considered a solicitation or "permission" to submit projects or does it still go into the 'unsolicited' pile?

Regina Lee

Hi Keith, it depends on what the VP wants to do. She may invite you to submit, but she may still ask you to sign a release form when you do, and she may still want to keep a very formal paper trail of your submissions. It sounds like she will be reading your submission though, and that's what counts! Good luck!

William Martell

Equery. Costs you nothing. Some management companies have websites with submission info.

Sage de Beixedon Breslin

Hi, Eric- Thanks for your response. My partner and I have made sizzles for two of our projects, but would prefer not to reinvent the wheel... we have considered shooting one of our features ourselves (ultra low budget) but will likely look for a partner who's shot and sold films successfully. Hint, hint... anyone?

Sage de Beixedon Breslin

Hi, William! Is this the EQuery to which you're referring? Looks like there's a charge for this service, though it looks quite inexpensive given the reach...

W. Keith Sewell

I have to agree somewhat with you Eric, I still believe in the query process - but it's all about the pitch - and has little to do with the script because, like you mentioned, no ones reading them.. Since the world is being conditioned to receiving 99% of information and mis-information through visual mediums from Social Media outlets, to the networks news - it's all visual. Even on Twitter, you get more impressions with a jpeg or video... So, like yourself, I am in the process of producing my 30 min show, because it's doable on a mini-budget... My film projects are not. And I've heard from some, (no names), that sizzle reels can be limiting in their reach. While a 'short' can at least stand on it's own merit and be shopped around to festivals...

W. Keith Sewell

C.J. Walley, I'm glad you mentioned that additional charge on your CC for the writers store... I'd better check my account ;).

Sage de Beixedon Breslin

Oh, Victor...we're showing our age! We may have to rename it the $640,000 question!!!

Sage de Beixedon Breslin

Katharina, we actually have two scripts that could easily be modified for Berlin and Mumbai. One is a reality TV show and the other is an edgy Coming of Age feature (this is likely better in Berlin). Let me know if you're interested!

Sage de Beixedon Breslin

Victor, at 51, flattery will get you everywhere ; ) Great day to you, too!

Dan Guardino

It really depends on how bad someone wants one. I wrote a lot of screenplays and when I finished one I would get on the phone and start calling production companies and the the different Agencies. When I sent out query letters maybe one or two percent would request a script. When I called it was closer to 10 percent so even though I hated making cold calls that is what eventually paid off for me. Also, like Laura said if they request a script then it's not "unsolicited material" and you should write in big bold letters "REQUESTED MATERIAL" if they agree to read your screenplay. on your envelope or in the subject line if sent electronically.

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