Screenwriting : You Don't Need an Agent by Kevin T. Morales

You Don't Need an Agent

Unless you have a deal that needs to be negotiated, or you have a body of paid work that justifies a studio or showrunner considering you for a writing gig, you simply don't need one yet and it shouldn't be the focus of your writing. Write three scripts a year. Enter quality contests. Get better. Get read. Pitch your stuff to anyone listen. Too many writers focused on representation are putting the cart before the horse. If you think "but if I had an agent they would get my stuff read and then there would be a deal," then you're going to be increasingly frustrated and risk burn out.

Jason Dennis

If you are doing things right, agents come to you right before you are about to sell something.

Robert Remy

I second Lisa's comment. It's good advice for newbies just getting started but once you reach a certain level, representation is invaluable in getting doors open and your material read.

Lauran Childs

I like this post. I'm just finishing my script 'The Cleaner' about a female contract killer in Miami and will do the marketing myself rather than go to an agent. Not that I wouldn't go with an agent but I know from being a ghostwriter in the book writing world that getting an agent is said to be as tough as getting a publishing deal.

Kevin T. Morales

I'm not against agents. Quite the opposite. It's just sad seeing new writers claiming they are finished with their first script and now need an agent. Mentality should be: I'm entering into a deal with a producer -- I need an agent.

D Marcus

I agree with you Kevin. However, I don't think it's sad seeing new writers asking about agents after they finish their first script. I feel it's a major part of the learning process. Far from sad it is (to me) a good sign that the writer is thinking about selling . I grew up in the days before the web (gasp) and didn't have anyplace to ask the question. I think it's a great question and with places like Stage32 these new writers have a (hopefully) safe, encouraging place to get the answers.

Jen Govey

Most gigs will come through your network. Agents will come when your network and reputation grows. Agent's aren't the magic answer, but developing a quality network is. You want them fighting over you, not the other way round. The industry loves a buzz. Cultivating a network of genuine friendships and contacts is what opens most doors. Most scripts get passed through networks. People will find you if you have a confident brand and a well developed online presence. Develop your craft and know your value. Be the queen bee with the honey pot, not the fly.

D Marcus

Very true, Dan. The producer and the agent have very different goals and needs. The producer is looking for a great story and characters that will attract talent. An agent is looking for a writer who has the potential for a long career.

Jen Govey

I agree with you Dan. Most people try for Agents too soon though, where they're much better off developing their craft and building their own networks. Also many think Agents are the magic bullet and expect them to do all the work and it really doesn't work like that. A writer has to be proactive and self sufficient and it works more like a partnership where you both bring things to the table. You can't really rest on your laurels in this industry and to a certain extent we have to make our own luck. The more genuine friendships we make in this industry, the luckier we get. Which is kinda ironic as it's the most fickle industry ever. lol :)

Anton West

Hmmmm. That feature was a co production with your ex (and in fact written by her according to IMDB) based on your own lives. It screened at some fringe event at Cannes and caused a minor stir in Australia. That was almost FIFTEEN years ago. You have never had a commercial success with a film, and have never worked with a pro crew. You haven't made a film for quite some time now and find it difficult to get people to work with you. Apart from the prize money from a couple of film competitions, you have so far as I can tell never made a single cent from film-making. Where's the career growth?

Anton West

I'd also love to know the exact details of who resigned and when and where following the release of your film. I can't find any references to those events apart from what you yourself have stated. You'd think something would show up on Google.

Anton West

What an imagination! You should be a writer, CJ!

Anton West

You're right Dan of course, but I just can't stand the bullshit.

Crystal Diane Stevens

Many writers realize that running around trying to be discovered is a true long shot and that the fact it is, most producers are busy producing their own projects or working to develop scripts of those who are close to them, etc. An agent is also really not the answer, there is no shortcut. Intelligent people realize running around trying to get scripts to people is essentially a waste of time and produce their own material. I hate to sound cynical but the reality is, but agents want writers who have a track record and make money, if not, they face spinning their wheels and not getting paid. The real world demands that we, writers, understand that this is a business and few people care about the art and only first care about a potential paycheck.

Richard Welch

I agree with Dan and Lisa. I have seven of what I have been told by people in the business are all high concept and well-written scripts. A producer at Paramount said that she loves my characters, but my comedy is not crude or rude enough for today's television. My comedy stories are "laugh-out-loud" funny . They are written for families and they also educate and inspire... and I don't use the "F" word in every sentence, so that limits my comedy writing. My adventure stories are great and many people agree, but that's as far as they will go. Unfortunately, they are not the people who make the decisions. I've tried several routes, including query letters, but all I get from studios/producers/development people is either that they don't accept unsolicited material, or I get no response whatsoever. Same with listings on Stage 32, LinkedIn, InkTip and ISSA. Would you believe that I actually received a rejection letter from a producer whose helper said that she didn't know what a query letter is and to please not bother them again.

Patricia Santos Marcantonio

There are lots more routes to get your scripts into hands of producers such as pitch fests, Stage 32, Inktip, IMDB, etc. When I first started writing screenplays, I went to a pitch fest in Hollywood and pitched to a producer at New Line who asked for the script, gave me notes and asked for a rewrite. They passed but it was cool and I believe if I had more experience I might have sold (It's a dream at any rate). To me the thing is to keep writing and write the best you can.

Anton West

Hey Robert, I'm no fan of Alle's but that story is untrue and you should delete your post immediately.

Amanda Toney - Stage 32 Next Level Education

Hey Anton, I deleted Robert's post. While we're all for debate on Stage 32, we ask it is done in a positive and light hearted manner. In no way should a member ever be singled out or made to feel uncomfortable. Thanks for bringing that to my attention.

Mark Sanderson

Totally agree, Kevin. Too many aspirants worry about 'getting an agent' when they should worry about becoming a better screenwriting and turning out a solid body of excellent work. If it's time, you will find an agent/manager or more importantly, you will make enough noise for them TO FIND YOU! But even if you do have a rep, it does not mean you will immediately work or become 'HOT.' Agents like work horses not divas and your "ONE" script will not do it. You have to show them you can handle a job if they find one and you won't be fired and can deliver the goods on time. Once you score a rep, you must KEEP THEM INTERESTED: http://scriptcat.wordpress.com/2012/05/31/how-to-keep-your-agent-or-mana...

Kevin T. Morales

Yes Mark. I am not arguing against them. They are invaluable when it's time to have one. Too many writers think if they had one then their work will get read. Imagine an artist trying to get a gallery showing with one painting and it's their first one.

Mark Sanderson

Indeed. My friend always says, "If you're out there LOOKING FOR THEM, you're in the wrong place." You need to have them LOOKING FOR YOU because of the work you are doing. Have them chase you –"Why don't I know about this writer?"

Patricia Santos Marcantonio

Well said Mike Sanderson. How often do we ask ourselves what we can sell instead of how well we can write.

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