Agents, Managers, Attorneys and Your Career as a Writer

I’m delighted that The Writer’s Store and Script are allowing me to teach a webinar called “What Literary Agents Can, Cannot and Will Not Do.” It’s a course I have taught before and, as a writer of books, film, TV, theatre and other forms, I cannot overemphasize how important it is to understand how to get the most out of your representative.

Listen, I’m with you. It’s much more fun to deal with craft, with plot and character construction, to discuss the pros and cons of films and TV shows. But guess what? The writer who says, “Oh, I don’t want to deal with any of that business stuff” is the writer who is ensuring limited financial and professional success.

The fact is there are good relationships with agents (and managers and lawyers) and there are bad relationships. When you read an interview with an agent or see one talk at a conference, that agent will tell you what is expected of you, the writer. “Don’t do this; make sure to do that.” That’s fine and necessary.

But they will never tell you how to deal with an agent who professes interest and then does not get back to you. They’re not about to inform you that when you are offered a representation agreement, it is one of the most negotiable contracts you will ever be offered. They have no interest in discussing guerrilla tactics in getting more than one agent interested in the same project. I do. And so should you.

We’ve all heard stories about writers who acted dysfunctionally when someone offered to rep or make a project. Ho-hum. There is no course that I know of that takes the side of the writer when discussing attaining representation. When was the last time you saw a workshop that discussed when it is appropriate to fire your representative? Or how to use the interest of a third party to get an agent?

I’ve dealt with agents, managers and lawyers in all fields of writing and I am passionate about being an advocate for fellow writers. There are enough challenges to optioning and rewriting and selling your work. I don’t want to see any writer out there sign an agreement or waste his or her time with someone who does not help that writer. I want to teach writers how to get that busy, competent representative to spend more attention on you and your project, in this high stakes, attention deficit disorder world of show business that we love.

Get Brad’s webinar, What Literary Agents Can, Cannot and Will Not Do.

Brad Schreiber has written six books, including the humor writing how-to, What Are You Laughing At?  He has worked as a TV writer-producer at PBS, sold and optioned screenplays and was director of development for film/TV director Jonathan Kaplan. He was VP of Storytech Literary Consulting, founded by Chris Vogler, for 11 years. Schreiber now handles consultations for clients worldwide at www.bradschreiber.com. He has taught at the American Film Institute, Gotham Writers Workshop in NY, UCLA, and in Canada and Mexico, among many others.

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