Screenwriting : How do I get an agent or manager? by Skyler Chase

Skyler Chase

How do I get an agent or manager?

I have no connections, so I need help finding an agent/manager to help get a meeting to pitch my pilot.

Danny Manus

Look, there is no secret sauce to finding an agent. But first, you have to write numerous commercial, polished projects. Not just one pilot. You need at least 2 original pieces of material, and usually as a TV writer, you should have one spec of an existing show in your pocket as well. You need a character/series bible for your original project, and it would help if you had some major contest wins or finalist standings so that you have something that stands out. I'm not sure how old you are, but if you're under 19, you're probably not ready to look for reps yet. Keep writing, enter contests, network, go to events in your area, and if you're young - Move to LA and get a job in the industry. Writers should look for managers first because an agent is only there to sell and most new writers aren't at that stage yet.

D Marcus

Okay, your pilot is finished and really excellent. Not just good but really marketable (a KILLER logline) and will attract top talent in front of and behind the camera. And you have half a dozen episodes written. And you have several writing samples - episodes of other shows to show you aren't just a "one hit wonder". In that case you're ready to look for an manager. What city are you in? I might be able to help.

Skyler Chase

I live in a small city in North Carolina. Not the big cities, so I'm at a disadvantage.

D Marcus

But you have everything else Danny and I have mentioned?

Skyler Chase

I am going to follow your advice and see if I can write six episodes including the pilot (assuming the season is twelve episodes), so that I have half the season and show where it's heading. I am going to start working on them as soon as I get a review and some notes on the pilot.

Danny Manus

You don't need to write 6 episodes of one show. that's a waste of your time. any more than 2 is overkill. what you need is a SECOND original pilot. you need more than 1 project to approach reps - not many episodes of 1 project. because they'd be rewritten anyway. so, don't waste your time. come up with your next great idea.

D Marcus

You seem to be misunderstanding Skyler. An agent is looking for someone who demonstrates that they see writing as a career. Not a writer who has one idea. You want a body of work before you are ready to approach an agent. They don't just help you get a meeting to pitch - they need writers who can write whatever assignment they are given. Are you a one project writer? Is that all you have?

Skyler Chase

Okay, thank you guys for telling me before I wasted my time. Now for another project does it have to be another pilot or can it be a movie script instead?

D Marcus

Skyler, you should read Danny's and my posts again. We both told you what you should have before looking for an agent.

Skyler Chase

Alright. And for those saying I need to move to LA, yea that's not an option right now as I am only 16.

Danny Manus

Lisa and Ron are also correct. Once again, Alle doesn't really know about writing for TV in Hollywood. its different. the proposal outline Lisa listed is actually pretty damn good as far as the bible goes. And yes, your 2nd sample can be a feature but if you want to be a TV writer, you will need to move to LA. features...not so much. but TV? yup.

Skyler Chase

I want to write for both tv and feature films. What would you say is easier to make it in?

Amanda Toney - Stage 32 Next Level Education

Hey Skylar, have you looked at the Happy Writers Pitch Sessions? Seems like exactly what you are looking for.

D Marcus

TV is far easier. Not as the Show Runner but as a writer. More TV scripts are needed than feature scripts. so it's "easier" just for the odds. You're 16. You don't need an agent yet. You need to build you experience as a writer. You do not need to move to LA you need to build your experience as a writer. Over the next three years write five episodes of a TV series each year. That will be 15 completed RV scripts by the time you're 19. Of those you might have 3 to 5 good ones. If more than that are good (really good) you may have what it takes to be a TV writer and work your way up into creator. Move to LA when you're 19/20 with half a dozen excellent writing samples and your amazing pilot and you'll be employable.

Danny Manus

Hmm, I actually disagree and think that as far as breaking in, Film is easier in many ways. First, you don't need an agent or manager to get sold in film. Second, you dont need a showrunner. Third, you don't need to live in LA. Fourth, there are many small production companies making low budget films that can get you a first credit if you're writing the right kind of material. In TV, the best way to break in is from the inside. Move to LA after college or for college. Get a job as an Intern or PA, and work your way up to the writers room. Otherwise, while there are TONS of new networks, distribution models and places to go to sell your stuff, you still need an agent and a showrunner to make it happen 98% of the time. But like D Marcus said - youre 16. You're 3 years away from really thinking about agents and managers. Just write, watch, learn, rewrite, etc.

D Marcus

Well we all come with out own experience, don't we? I found TV much easier. Not easy - easier. There are far more episodes of TV being written than low budget films. With my writing samples and willingness to write anything I found an agent and my first assignment six months after I moved to Los Angeles. I'm not trying to change anyones mind. So few features are made each year and so many episodes of TV are sold each year that I found it much easier when I moved to LA. Add new media to that and there are even more episodes needed today than five years ago. But maybe for a 16 year old who cannot move to LA selling a low budget feature is easier.

D Marcus

And then there is writing freelance episodes and being on staff. Not all TV writing is creating the show.

Mark Sanderson

Do you have a solid body of work to offer an agent? They are not interested in breaking new writers with no credits. Many beginning writes spend too much time worrying about getting an agent when they should be focusing on becoming an excellent screenwriter who can write at a professional level. Agents like work horses and not divas so don't be a one script or one idea wonder.

Egypt Reale

You will get an agent or manager when you start producing. Until then don't worry about it. Just get out there and get working and producing and they will flock to you.

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