Screenwriting : Funny Thing About Agents by Kellie Burke

Kellie Burke

Funny Thing About Agents

I was searching for a literary agent in NYC and every time I look them up for unsolicited material, either they don't accept and/or they don't accept screenplays. Did anyone ever had this problem or do I have to post my copyrighted materials on places like Inktip? Thanks.

Craig D Griffiths

The first foot in the door is always hard.

I use Script Revolution rather than inktip. But yes. You must start self promotion. Plus I wouldn’t worry about an agent till you know you need one.

I am look for a rep in the USA (half hearted I will admit) because I have some contacts. Skype calls at strange hours are a pain.

Pete Whiting

Sending a query letter or email is different to sending unsolicited material. All my positive interactions, leads and foot in doors and submissions have come from query emails and letters.

Had a small studio state how much they enjoyed one of my works and writing but it wasn't for them. But guess what, I asked if I could quote them or get a referral letter or a contact for someone who may be after something like my work. And they did. And I have done this a few times now and I my network has grown. Nearly even got a small writing assignment out of it.

But yes, you can use ink tip, script revolution, ISA and many other platforms to get your work out there.

We all know the odds are against us. But if you have solid work, you are a master of the craft and you persevere and put in the yards, a door may become slightly ajar.

The time and money I have spent I prob should have gone to Vegas and put it all on red. Same outcome.

Phil Clarke

Pete Whiting "The time and money I have spent I prob should have gone to Vegas and put it all on red. Same outcome. " <----- The journey isn't as much fun though. ;-)

Stephen Floyd

I wouldn’t be so worried about the “copyrighted material” aspect. Anyone who can write better than you would just write better than you, they wouldn’t steal your idea. And if some schmuck is dumb enough to steal it as-is and pass it off on their own, you really don’t need to be worried about their chances of success.

Jerry Robbins

I use Inktip and Script Revolution; I've had luck on both - a sale for a horror screenplay on Script Revolution, and just this month an option for my western and also a shop agreement for a holiday script on Inktip.

Damion Willis

From what I've researched agents tend to only deal with people who are already known. What you need is a script manager. Where agents tend to just deal with paperwork and legalities behind selling a script, managers promote you and try to find you work. They will actually read your script and work with you on getting it right. An agent will probably never read your script. I did come across a list of literary managers who take unsolicited material. From what I understand it may take awhile for them to get to you as they are generally flooded with new writers.

Eric Christopherson

Kellie literary agents in NY are in the book industry. (A small percentage rep the film rights of books to Hollywood.) If they say they don't accept screenplays it means they are book agents. Most lit agents for the film industry are located in Los Angeles. (But there is a little bit of overlap between NY and LA.) You sure you want to target agents? It's easier to obtain a manager than an agent if you are a new writer.

Christopher Phillips

Agents aren't like they were 20-30 years ago. You only need an agent if you have a deal pending. They don't do development anymore.

Tasha Lewis

Here are some resources for you. and (Source Funding for Internship and Scholarship Programs)

Kellie Burke

Thank you all for the advice and thank you for the education that I needed years ago. Now I'm ready.

John Ellis

I've said this elsewhere and here it is again: make your own stuff. Start small, no budget, and go from there. Here's some advice from Beck/Woods, the guys who wrote A Quiet Place. People (agents, managers, producers) will start to take notice once you've done a few things. This is the route I'm taking, after a few years of schlepping my writing around and getting nowhere (but some empty promises). BTW, I love the path these guys have taken, and their honesty about it!

DL Stickler

From what I have seen Screenwriting as a Career Choice is extremely demanding and requires perseverance and "luck". Luck defined as time and chance coinciding in such a way that you meet the right people at the right time and in the right way to move forward with a Project and actually get paid for it.

That begs the question for me at least; "How do i make my own luck?"

Preparation and Opportunity.

"How do I create opportunity?"

It is a numbers game. The more people you meet and connect with, the more likely you are to meet the right person at the right time with the right project.

Inktip and Script Revolution as well as ISA help you to increase the number of eyeballs you get on your work.

"How do I prepare?" Learning about every facet of the Process from Inception to Post Production and Distribution.

At the end of the day, getting paid is the idea. Getting Paid for a Project that you created or co-created. And Wrote.

A Lit Manager will help you get there. But the paths to getting there may be as numerous and diverse as all the people who have finally been paid for something they write.

Each step taken is an opportunity to understand your own journey.

As long as you continue to enjoy the journey, you may reach the goal of working as a Screenwriter. Or you may find something that is better for you.

Michael L. Burris

Wgaw is better than Wgae.

Without knowing people it doesn't make a difference though.

Use practice /learning sites that may or may not get ya an experience or perhaps better said... a worthwhile experience.

Pod casters might be able to get you an in too.

After a few years someone might say... eh, what you got?

You better be ready to "pitch" on the drop of a dime giving a pennies worth of thought carrying a least a nickels worth of weight.

I'm the hopeful opportunistic too.

The real realities will make you say... f this.

Matthew Barker

I was at a 2 day screenwriting and development class with Screenworks Australia and one development guru I was talking to said a lot of people do try to produce their own work to start with, to pool resources, pull in friends and acquaintances, to share talent on a small project (short film, online) as a calling card to make people notice. It's tempting, but I'm frightened I could sink my own money into it and lose out. Has anyone else tried this?

Damion Willis

@ Matthew Barker. I've been giving consideration to this as well. The trick seems to do something that is manageable. I tend to dream big so that is somewhat of a problem for me when the budget is limited. However I have decided to develop a small 5-10min script that I can put into production with little to no funds. I think this will be something I want to do on a regular basis. At the very least can try to make some of that money back as a youtube content creator.

John Ellis

Matthew Barker, the question that might be asked (has been asked of me) - if you don't believe in yourself enough to commit, why would anyone else believe in you? Also, the money spent on the classes/workshops/conferences could easily pay for a short.

Damion Willis, you'll probably never make your money back as a YTer - for every one of the "big" creators you hear about, there are literally a million who don't break even. But that's not the point - the point is to develop skills, perspective and connections, so the next project is a little bigger, better. Then the next and the next , etc...

And I'm not just preaching at you guys. I've taken this path. When I decided to produce the first Ep of No Tomorrow with my own money, it was a wonderful, scary experience. A couple of things happened: I met great, talented people I can now call on for other projects; once I put my own money in, several people were encouraged enough to invest, too; and having that one episode to show landed us a distro deal (small one, but still) for the entire first season! When we finish it.

But one proviso - I made a decision some time ago to not be just a writer. I want to produce (I've also learned to AD, which has garnered me outside gigs). This decision defined the path I needed to take. If your goal is different (writer only, director only, DP, a combo, whatever), the path will probably be different. So the first step is to decide what the goal is for you in this business. That will inform your next steps.

And don't be afraid to take that first step!

Tasha Lewis

Some resources about the personal testimony are (Entertainment, Foundation, Publications, Studio). I read two of his books (Tyler Perry's America, Higher is Learning) during a 30 day Screenwriting Challenge which we had to read a script each day.

Tasha Lewis

Some funding resources are Stage 32,,, and Some film festivals to showcase your work are, and When I completed the music video on my profile page, I had to reinvent my life due to unexpected changes in my personal and professional life. However, now here at Stage 32 and on some other platforms (MLM Gateway, Ideaconnection, social media), I'm able to show the music video to the world and it may help impact the lives of millions of people around the world. Don't give up!

Bob Eckhard

Hi Kellie, I'm not sure about agents in US but I believe its the same as agents in UK who are overwhelmed with more scripts than they can handle and so refuse to read anything other than those that come from credited writers - for no other reason that they believe the standard will be very good and the writer has a proven track record of getting things made. All of which is a catch22. My advice (not that you're asking for it) is to develop your cv by producing your own work - this is not as hard as it seems as a stage play credit or podcast or short film will all show you can get things made and will eventually open doors. I tell you this as I put on 2 plays last years and had requests for scripts as a result. It also opened doors to being offered work. All the best

Dan Guardino

Agents want to rep screenwriters they believe can write well written screenplays on a regular basis. They know that finding a first screenplay that is marketable would be like find a needle in a haystack. They know it takes a lot of practice so the more screenplays you have under your belt the better your chances of landing one. It is easy for them to ignore a query letter so calling them up ever time you finish a screenplay will increase your chances. I've noticed some here say agents don't sell screenplay they just negotiate deals which is not true. Good luck to those people trying to land an agent.

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