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Really, these inhuman qualities are a good sign for us, though. Whether you're unrepresented (like me) or have been a working screenwriter for years, the fact that an agent sticks with you in any sense at all is validation. It means she sees money in you.

And money, around here, is what we're all about, right?

E.C. Henry

Sorry to hear about the delays you're experiencing getting your manuscript sold, Billy. Hope to be reading a post soon, where you detail the sucess of your sale.

Got to meet some Hollywood agents at last years Screenwriting Expo in L.A.. One agent of note was especially brash and arogant -- he even bragged about hanging out with women in pornography -- in front of about 200 aspiring screenwriters!
While in his presence, I remember thinking to myself, "If if ever did buisness with this guy, I'd have to shower after each conversation." There was NO WAY I could fuction with him as my agent.
Most agents I heard speak at last year's Screenwriting Expo in L.A. sounded nice, BUT none of them seamed to be looking for new, undiscovered talent to represent. Maybe you could shed some light on that. Are the agents who attend Screenwriting conventions looking for new clients, or are they just going through the motions because they're paid to be there?

- E.C. Henry from Bonney Lake, WA


I see so many aspiring writers on the forums and such asking questions about how to get an agent, as if that is the magic key to breaking in.

Which always makes me think the same thing: be careful what you wish for.

At least you get some good jokes out of it...


Marry your agent. (If your agent isn't female, get one who is).
The element of shared financial reward, aided by fabulous sex sending her out the door every morning will drive the motivation level way way up.


Dude, you have an agent. How cool is that.

What can I say, I'm a schoolteacher - I'm easily impressed.


I originally heard that story as the viola player coming home to find out that his conductor had been to the house...
Gee, marry (or just sleep with) someone to get ahead in the business, as Ruth suggests? So THAT'S where I've been going wrong...!
Don't worry about the agent. When he finally figures out (on his own timetable) that you will make him some serious bucks he'll come a-callin'. In the meantime, let it go (yeah, right. I know. It's hard). Move on to the next project.


Great post, Mernit. I'm having blog envy.


Glassblowerscat: You're right. And of course it's about the money. What else could it possibly be about?

E.C. I can't speak for "all of them," but I'd wager that it's a mix -- some are there with a sincere interest, and some are going through the motions -- kind of like the rest of the biz...

Melanie: Exactly.

Ruth: Interesting notion. Now if only I was bi...

Brooke: Way to put things in perspective... Yours is still the coolest gig.

Actually Binnie, to a large degree I have LET IT GO; instead of bitching and moaning and making myself miserable, now I write humorous blog posts about it. You see?

Silly Babs! Your blog is Totally Groovy. (Readers can check it out at


Wow, I can't wait until I can use the phrase "my agents" in a sentence.

Just busting your stones! I know where you're coming from. I've been waiting seven weeks to hear from a friend whose reading my latest script for me. I just keep telling myself he's very busy, it's better than it sucks so bad he's afraid to call.

Hang in there! Seven more weeks of writing summer.


Great perspective: One's agent as a weapon.
I liken the whole agent thing to this - s/he should be the kind of person that you wouldn't want to face on the other team, as someone whom I'm relieved is batting for my team.

Thanks for your comments on my blog :-) I do get a little too amped up for Wimbledon, but I can't hide it - I love the tradition, the all white preppy clothing, and the excellent tennis. If you can't tell, I've become a bit addicted to the sport. In fact, excuse me, I have to go hit some balls. There has got to be a better way to say that.
Cheers, Billy.


Wait, wait ... you have an agent?

Seriously, anything I've ever heard or read about agents, traditional publishers etc. sounds like such a huge and tedious sinkhole of time and energy I can't help thinking ... surely there's another way?

This does seem to be the age of doing an end around the traditional ways of doing things. So might there not be another way of getting a book bound and out on the market?


Funny how despite them being such repulsive creatures, we all want one - I think you hit the nail on the head with the "my gun's bigger than yours" argument; we want someone on our side who's just the sort of person we wouldn't want against us.

Re your comment - too rich, no; too thin, definitely


Agent schmagent, I hear that managers are the newest predatory creature to woo.

Of course with an agent and a manger you're paying out around 25% of your fee, but "some" people think that it's worth it if they can get you more work/better name recognition. What's your take on having all these peredators surrounding the poor writer?


Craig: Yes, and writing well is the best revenge...

Scribe: "Bat some spheres" doesn't have quite the right sound...

Bill: Well, sure, there are small/indie presses and such, that don't require reps to look at material and/or deal with writers. My particular situation is a result of my having partnered with a young producer who wants to get the novel set up as a movie -- and them movie folks need to see a prominent agent's name attached to take such a project seriously (either that, or a star director/actor).
This particular phenom isn't shifting with the winds of change, so far as I know...

Sal: the phrase "necessary evil" comes to mind...

WriterGurl: It seems like those who have managers already have fairly active careers, i.e. requiring a more personally involved person to manage their affairs (so to speak), while their agents deal more exclusively with deal negotiations. Tho I don't hear of that many writers requiring managers...

Generally these days, the idea of hiring a manager who'll manage to keep your agent involved with you seems to make sense, sad as that may seem. Having whomever get you what you need is worth, I suppose, giving up those percentagess; there's also more security in feeling you have a team ("my people").

Truth is, it's still up to the writer (actor, etc.) to be pro-active and seek out jobs. This is the thing not often understood by people seeking representation -- hmmm, feeling another blog post coming on...

alisa kwitney

May I suggest that an agent with indifferent social skills and ADHD is actually a pretty crummy agent?

I don't know squat about Hollywood, but I''ve had more than one literay agent, and think that the relationship is kind of like dating, looking for the right fit. My current agent lets me know when she will get back to me, and always does, right on time. If she's going to be busy traveling, she warns me. And since you're not exactly Joe Shmoe, Billy, no need to put up with this treatment.

If I were you re lit agent, I'd send an email that says, I sent the revisions six weeks ago. In future, please send me an email confirming receipt of my ms, and let me know when you will be getting back to me.

With film agent, I'd ask for periodic updates, even if it's just an email saying, Still out at Studio X, awaiting response. Have just called reminding Sid that he said he'd look at it.

But again, I don't know from Hollywood.

Re the lit agent, tho, I'd consider getting different representation. Because if you're not important enough to warrant an email, how hard can he or she be working to sell your novel?

I spend a lot of time telling new writers not to expect too much hand holding from agents, but in your case, I think you're expecting too little.



Alisa: Yes, I've had the better and more responsive type of agent in the past. My producer partner and I are already strategizing to deal with the film agent situation (moving on) and the lit agent seems to be finally coming round, so... tune in later...

Langdon Bosarge

I feel like I just watched the MOVIE version of this post. IT was so dramatic and hilarious. First, gotta say kudos to your bravery. Cuz even though joked about your agent seeing...he might see it! (And not get the wit.) Also, a new Angelino (from New York City) it was great to see my own fears projected on the page. Thanks. Langdon


Welcome, Langdon: Well, that's me all over -- risk, risk, risk... ;-)

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