Getting an Agent

This pages lists advice about contacting screenwriters agents. If you are searching for a list of actual agents and found this place instead, please click to my A-Z UK Screenwriter Agents List

If you are a film-maker looking for a writer, or an agent seeking new talent to invest in, please take a look at my Résumé and my Writer's Database.

Looking for a list of ACTORS AGENTS?

This page is purely advice from my own experience to give you a free helping hand, success is not a guarantee, this knowledge is not set in stone, it's my personal opinion from my own experience and does not constitute legal advice and should not be treated as such.

Use your own common sense and seek legal advice if you are unsure about anything. Yes, you have to take responsibility for your own actions! The only price of admission into this site is you accept this statement and agree to these terms.

Why do you need an Agent?

I have worked in the industry for over fifteen years, and literally grew up in the industry, so I am well aware of the ups and downs and joys and hazzards of working in the industry. I have not felt the need for representation before, but since Istarted writing, I realised that with the complexities of the buisness side of writing I think it is prudent to get professional, experienced support. Writers in this business seem the most abused and undervaluedof all the professions, which is bizarre as the writer is the start ofthe whole process and without their vision, there would be no film at all! The abuse of new talent is particularly appalling. I personally would lovefor someone to be watching my back, particularly where complicatedcontracts are concerened. For me the ideal Agent would be one that islooking for a solid working partnership, based on mutual trust and easy communication. It's funny, as when I think about getting an agent, I feel a little like I'm looking for a husband to marry. It's a long term commitment in which each individual in the partnership needs to thriveand not be stifled. I don't want to rush into it , and they have to be right for me, not just any old agent will do, I have to feel excited when Imeet them and feel that we have the same values and vision. I want arelationship that will develop and grow as I develop and grow as a writerand not get stagnent, stale and resentful. Unfortunatley, there is not aninternet 'dating' site for writers to find their ideal agent, so I suppose I willhave to do it the hard way and hope fate is kind to me. I will let you all know if I find 'the one'... the agent of my dreams.

Great Links:

Talking Pix: Leonore Wright's Screenwrites' Column, offers some great advicefor an american slant on agents. Highly recommended.

WriterNet UK: The best advice I have read about agents on the net. UK specific.

Agent tips!

• Research and write to several and compare.

• Most agents seem to charge 10% for domestic, 15-20% overseas

• If an agent wants an up front fee, they are dodgy - Just say no!

• Don't send in a full screenplay without writing first.

• Write a simple brief letter introducing yourself, a CV and brief synopsis (no more than two pages 1 & half or double spaced in plain/readable text). Always enclose a stamped, self addressedenvelope. If they don't reply, just move onto another agent that appreciatesyour value and potential. (Sometimes they don't reply straight away as they are busy, so hassling them wont help.)

• If they want to see your work, make sure it is neatly typed (Courier New size 12), correctly formatted and bound. See my SCREENWRITERS GUIDE for details.Always enclose a pre-paid stamped, self addressed envelope if youwant your work returned. Don't forget to copyright your work beforesending it to anyone!

• Don't call and hassle them with "Have you read it yet?" I worked in a busy production company as a Reader and not only did we have ourusual work to contend with we had a veritable script mountain to get through.Film companies get thousands of screenplays sent to them to read andthis process of reading and evaluating a screenplay and it's potential takes time and to get through a script mountain may take months.

It really does take a lot of time. This is normal because of the competition and sheer volume of material they have to get through. It's best just to get on with your next script. Whatever you do, do not hassle the reader, it will just piss them off (believe me it really does!). It wont get your screenplay read any faster and if you seem like you are a pain in the ass they will probably just say no and not even read your work. The best thing to do is send it with a postage paid, self addressed note or postcard that states they recieved the screenplay, you could also ask on the postcard a rough estimation of how long it will take to process your submission. These things do take time, so if you are in a hurry, maybe you are in the wrong business and should think about doing something else.I just start on my next screenplay.

• I would advise not to sign any contracts with an agent unless you have been to their premesis and met them in person. Use your instincts. Read through the contract carefully and query anything you don't understand. I was once invited to join an agency in London and I wentout of curiosity. I was interviewed by someone that had only worked in theindustry for three months and didn't really seem to understand it or beable to answer any of my questions. The Agent that was going torepresent me was in the room, but didn't even have the courtesy to walkover and introduce himself, let alone look me in the eye and shake myhand. The contract they offered seemed a bit suspect and they wanted to 20%, which is double the usual 10%. My interviewer was unable togive me a good reason for this rise. He said something about service, butfrom what I'd experienced on the premesis was far from it. You want tobuild a solid working relationship with an Agent, not just "be on their books"... of course, I declined their "offer", Later, reading the contract theyhad given me to sign, I realised I had made a good decision. Unfortunatelythough it seems many people didn't as the Union B.E.C.T.U. had many complaints about them and their dogey contracts and working practices. So be warned!!!