Saturday, September 29, 2007

Which Agent?

Most companies ask for submission via agents and I'm not sure where to start re: knowing who's legit / decent. Could you recommend an agent?? I'm desperate to make it!!

Your best bet would be to go through the Artists' and Writers' Yearbook 2007/08 (or buy last year's copy on eBay) where there's a full list of agencies, and who to contact. Approach those you think are the best fit for you (they may have clients that you like/admire for example) and take it from there. Most agencies have websites so you can check out their details on a more detailed and informed level.

The big agencies are companies like Curtis Brown, PFD, The Agency, Independent Talent Group (formerly ICM), while there are many reputable agencies like Linda Seifert, Sayle Screen, Micheline Steinberg etc.

If you're desperate to make it, then start getting in the know. Read 'Broadcast' magazine or 'Screen International'. Or both. Start attending seminars/workshops. Write down the production companies/producers/writers/directors of your favourite shows. Write to them. Try to meet them. Anything. Get ahead. A lot of what you do will come down to your writing ability but that doesn't mean that if you write a great script, your career will begin. There's a lot of luck and networking involved as well as total commitment and focus from yourself to making your career happen. It's difficult, and at times soul destroying, but it's not impossible.


Anonymous said...

The Agency and PFD don't accept unsolicited material, i'm not sure if that helps either way.

Anonymous said...

Hi Danny,

Have you been affected by the decimiation at PFD, is it true a new agency will be rising from the ashes soon (and would they be looking for new blood?)

Does being with the big hitters help at all? i.e. a script would be more likely to get read? Also would an agent be able to significantly raise the asking price of say an episode of Doctors, or would there not be much difference in what a writer might get negotiating him/herself?

Sorry for all the questions, getting an agent is harder than getting laid.


Danny Stack said...

Business as usual for me. It does help being with a bigger agency 'cos they hear of opportunities that others might not, but that's all they are: opportunities. Not guarantees.

Fees for Doctors are set, so no big shot agent is going to raise the bar there. Agents are always looking for talent, always, but a shiny newcomer should have some angle/heat/award/shutzpah to make agents take notice.

Lapa said...

Do you know one of the best portuguese writers ever: CRISTÓVÃO DE AGUIAR?

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

I don't know if I'm going about it the right way, but I've always said that I want 5 credits of some description (script being optioned/ writing on a sketch show) before I approach an agent.

I'm up to 3 at the moment (all additional material for sketch shows) and I've got a couple of scripts (one for radio, one for television) that I'm really pleased with, so I'm in two minds on whether I should just approach an agent now or hold back till I get a bit more success.

adrian Mead said...


I have a handout from the class I teach that lays out exactly how you should approach an agent. This worked for me and for a number of
other writers I know who have employed this approach.

Happy to send you a copy, and anyone else who would like one.


Best wishes
Adrian Mead

Lucy Dee said...

This is sound advice and really inspiring. I'm a stand-up comedienne in NYC and writer (which is probably a redundant statement), but it's nice to hear positive words coming from someone who is already within the ranks.

Currently, I'm working on a blog for prospective stand-up comedians--call it a "guide", if you will. I'm profiling what it is like from "behind-the-scenes" of a stand-up comedy career.

Anyway, since you are in the business, I would love to interview you just to hear your UK insider p.o.v, which may/may not vary from an American p.o.v.

Great coming across your blog!!
You can feel free to reach me at my blog or via email.

My Blog:
Quest For Comedic Stardom:

standup101 (at) gmail (dot) com

Thank you, again!

Danny Stack said...

Er, do you mean me, or Adrian? But yeah, sure, happy to answer a few Qs.

BloggersDelight said...

"at times soul destroying" - PERFECT description. takes away a good bit of one's writing time, but we plug away!

Anonymous said...

Agents don't make all that much difference. Where they can be useful is in getting you read faster and perhaps at a slightly higher level. Bear in mind that PFD, The Agency, Curtis Brown et al have lots of clients who don't actually making a living at this.

Also, as Danny rightly said, most contracts are standard. An agent who chivies away at a producer to get a bit more for their client risks losing their client the gig.

Writers starting out place WAY too much emphasis on getting an agent rather than learning the craft and writing fresh, original material. If you want to spend time on that side of the business you'd be better off trying to establish contacts with lower level development people and script editors.