Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Misconceptions About Hollywood - Getting An Agent

Well, I was planning on having an interview to share today, but... people are taking their time getting back to me. No worries, I've always got something on my mind to share. Today, I wouldn't mind talking about a misconception that most people have about Hollywood.

So, life isn't exactly black and white, but it's so much easier to explain when you break it down to one side versus the other, so I'm going to do just that. Let's look at Hollywood as those who are "IN" and those who are "OUT". People who are "IN" get work from studios, they have agents, managers and can get stuff done. They get meetings, they get paid and people know who they are. People who are "OUT" have day jobs that may or may not be related to what they want to do, but it certainly isn't where they want to be, they'd kill to have an agent or a manager work for them and they don't even care if they get paid for what they create, as long as it gets their name out there. Black and white, right? So, how do you go from the "OUT" to the "IN"? Really, that's what we all want, isn't it? First off, let me just say that the transformation won't happen over night. It can take years, decades, to slowly move from an "OUT" to an "IN". However, I figure once you're an "IN", it's yours to lose. When you're an "OUT", well... you're out. Not to tough to maintain that status. Now, there are lots of ways to get from an "OUT" to an "IN" and most people think the first move is getting an agent or manager to represent them.

Alright, so... I've just finished the first draft of my most recent screenplay. I've sent it off to a few trusted sources, then, after that, what do I do? Well, most screenwriters would write up a query letter to any and all agents that accept query letters and hope that someone gets back to them. Either that, or they'd submit their script to one of those online submission sites... spray and pray. Well, not only have a just finished my script, I'm also continuing to read "The Writer Got Screwed (but didn't have to)" and I just happened to come across an interesting chapter on how to get an agent or manager. In order, this is what they recommend: 1. get a recommendation from someone who knows you. 2. Submit to a screenwriting contest. 3. (and least recommended) submit a query letter to an agent.

I was halfway through my generic query letter to any and all agents when I read that. Then, I thought back... you know, I have had numerous agents and managers read my previous work, granted it was all to no avail, but I did get them to read it. How? Friends, friends of friends and networking. It really is the best way to get your shit read. I had even forgot about some of the people who read my stuff, I'm going to have to go back through some old emails and rediscover them. Really, if you ask anyone that you know who's in the industry, chances are you'll get lucky. "Hey, know any agents? I'd love to get my work in front of someone" Keep asking, it'll work, even if you're asking your Mom's friend, who's cousin works in catering for "The View". The second thing, the screenwriting competitions, is an interesting one. I didn't know it, but if you place in a contest, you'll probably be contacted by some young, aggressive agent. They're always looking for the next big thing and the competitions are a great place for them to search. I've never entered one of those competitions, but I may be with this most recent script.

Anyhow, there's some ideas for fellow members of the "OUT" crowd. Hopefully I'll have an interview ready for you on Friday. If not, I'm sure I can come up with something to blather on about.


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