WRITER’S EDGE: Getting an Agent – The Impossible Dream?

Steve Kaire is a Screenwriter/Pitchman who’s sold eight projects to the major studios without representation. Follow Steve on Twitter @SteveKaire.

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WRITER'S EDGE: Getting an Agent - The Impossible Dream? by Steve Kaire | Script Magazine #scriptchat #amwriting

The question writers constantly ask me over and over again is “How do I get an agent?” The truth is that these days, it’s extremely difficult to get a good agent to represent you. Living in Los Angeles myself, I heard the situation described this way – Agents are not taking on any new clients. All their time is being devoted to servicing their existing client base and trying to steal top clients from other agencies.

So what do new writers do given that bleak outlook? I would approach the situation this way. Avoid going to the top three agencies. The big three are the William Morris/Endeavor agency, International Creative Management or ICM, and the Creative Artists Agency or CAA. They’re too big, and don’t have the time to devote to a new writer without credits. I would also avoid the one man agencies who lack the access to decision makers and are not connected enough to set projects up.

I would approach the mid-level agencies consisting of: United Talent Agency or UTA, the Gersh Agency, Paradigm, Agency for the Performing Arts or APA and Benderspink. Although still difficult, these places would be more likely to consider new talent and they all have the clout to make things happen.

When your material is ready to be sent to an agent, it’s better to pass yourself off as a writer who specializes in one genre only as opposed to multiple genres. They want to think of you as an action writer or a comedy writer but not both. They need to understand your strength not your versatility.

Keep in mind that the vast majority of writers are either looking for an agent or are unhappy with the agent they have. The common complaints are that their agent hasn’t sold their scripts or gotten them assignments and doesn’t return their phone calls.

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One thought on “WRITER’S EDGE: Getting an Agent – The Impossible Dream?

  1. tibdog

    UTA became one of the big three a while ago and is firmly ahead of ICM now. And Benderspink is a management company, not an agency. I also know a few agents personally, and they’re ALWAYS looking for fresh talent. Perhaps this article represents the author’s own personal experience about 20 years ago than any advice that would apply today. That said, it’s always been hard for the untested writer to land an agent and it always will be. Keep writing and getting your stuff out there. Real talent will almost always be noticed eventually.

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