Read these 7 Artist Representation Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Screen Writing tips and hundreds of other topics.
Per Brooke A. Wharton's excellent 1996 book The Writer Got Screwed (but Didn't Have To), “An agent is usually a person who is licensed to obtain work for individuals who are working within the entertainment industry.” In Hollywood, the agent's fee is 10-percent of the writer's compensation for the work obtained.
Managers work to build careers for aspirants to the entertainment industry. (Many people in entertainment have agents and managers.) Typically, a manager has fewer clients than an agent, which allows more time per client for interaction. Managers are not supposed to obtain work for writers because—unlike agents—they are not regulated. That said, many do obtain work for writers. Managers' fees vary, also due to their being unregulated.
Like any act related to advancing your screenwriting career, self-promotion is key to obtaining an agent. Research and contact agents that interest you for their submission guidelines. Follow those guidelines! Many agents only look at scripts on a referral basis. Seek people—other writers, anyone in the industry—who might refer you. Always follow up on your submissions. Above all, be constantly professional.
Some managers obtain work for their clients (though obtaining work is technically agents' territory). As a result, some writers use managers instead of agents. Writers who do this may save money they would pay agents for obtaining work, depending upon the percentage their manager takes.
Stories float through the screenwriting community about writers signing with agents and then feeling overlooked—forgotten even—by their new representation. Agencies can carry client loads that make individual new writers feel small. The atypical small, driven agent (or agency) with just a few clients may be a better fit for unproven, but talented writers.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|