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How to get an Agent or Manager


For screenwriters this eternal question is right up there with "The Meaning of Life". Fortunately, having recently climbed to the top of the mountain and spoken to the Guru of screenwriters everywhere, we recommend the following tips when attempting to get an Agent or Manager to read your screenplay or television script:

1. FORMATTING

The first thing you need to get right is the formatting of your screenplay. Hollywood follows fairly strict rules when it comes to the presentation of a script so you must make sure you adhere to them.

You can write your script on a typewriter or any regular wordprocessor but this approach can be extremely time-consuming and frustrating when trying to get all the margins and layout correct. The Guru's advice is to invest some money into professional script formatting software, such as Movie Outline.

2. PROOFING

Once you've finished your script and spell checked it then read it over a few more times, until you've found every single spelling and punctuation error. No sense wasting anyone's time with shoddily written material.

3. TEST READ

Give your finished - and proofed - screenplay to a friend or relative and ask them to read it in one sitting. If they can't finish in less than 2 hours then you probably need to trim some fat.

4. LOG LINE & PITCH:

Write a captivating, mouth-watering One-liner (Log Line) and Pitch for your script. NOTE: These are the most important two lines you'll ever write in your life so take your time!

Log Line / One-liner:   This is a one-sentence summary of your screenplay that must seize the attention of any Hollywood executive the second he lays eyes on it. Ideally it should only be one sentence, but you can get away with two in a pinch.  Usually it's structured as follows:  A man/woman who is blank, does something, somewhere and something exciting/hilarious/gut-wrenching/romantic/scary happens.

Pitch:  This is a quick, short-hand way to describe your screenplay by referencing an existing (usually successful) feature film or TV show. Try to reference modern films as executives are getting younger and younger and comparing your script to Fellini might put them off.

FOR EXAMPLE

Title:  "Crescent City Boogie"

Log Line: Eddie Kraus, a British expatriate turned New Orleans Police detective, begins to suspect that his Creole partner may already be dead as the two lawmen pursue a pair of kidnapped college students on a reckless crime spree across the Crescent City.

Pitch: A Sixth Sense-esque cop buddy picture set in the Big Easy. 

Alternative Pitch: Lethal Weapon meets the Sixth Sense

5. SYNOPSIS:

Write a short 1 - 2 page synopsis of your script. This seemingly trivial 1-page synopsis is actually indispensable when it comes to selling your script. Why you ask? Well, it's because Hollywood Executives and their script-readers are very lazy.err, over-worked, yeah that's what I meant to say. Over-worked!

Thus they need to be able to do a basic assessment of your project as quickly as possible. If they like your synopsis, then there's a very good chance they will request your script! If you don't have this document ready, you'll probably rush it when it is first requested and then blow your big break.

6. QUERY LETTER:

Armed to the teeth with your awesome one-liner, tantalizing teaser pitch and jaw-dropping 1- page synopsis, it's now time to start writing some captivating query letters.

What is a query letter? Well that my friend - if written well - is your ticket to ride. This is what you will initially send to an agency, management firm or production company introducing yourself and your project and inviting them to read your script in the near future.

Ideally it should be short and to the point, utilizing only your Log Line and Pitch to get their attention.

  • Do not submit the synopsis unless they have specifically asked for it.
  • Do not add a resume either. If they want it, they will ask for it!
  • Click here to read an example of a Professional Query Letter

    You should post or email your query letters. If you need some Hollywood agency, manager or production company leads to get started, click here to view the Guru's personal Rolodex!

    .. He likes to stay well connected on his mountain.

    7. SUCCESS!

    Yippee! An Agent called and wants to READ MY SCRIPT!

    Err. now what?

    Now what?!  Don't just stand there you fool!   Race to your computer, log on to HollywoodScriptExpress.com and SUBMIT your script for printing ASAP.

    And remember to protect your work through our Copyright Service.

    Time is of the essence.

    You want to follow up with this Agent or Manager as fast as you can to keep him/her excited, and more importantly, to keep him from falling in love with other material in the meantime.

    Speed is the key!

    This is why Hollywood Script Express exists! We're here to give you a fighting chance on the mean streets of Hollywood.  Ideally, providing you with that crucial Edge Over The Competition!

    Once you submit your script our Printing Partners will print and bind it and guarantee to ship it from Los Angeles by the next Business Day... if not sooner! And for urgent shipments, we also offer Overnight delivery and Same Day Courier!

    8. FOLLOW UP:

    I sent an Agency my script as they requested, but I still haven't heard anything back? What should I do?

    Relax, my friend. Give the company some time. This is the biggest thing in your life, but to them it's just another day at the office.  Give 'em about 4 - 8 weeks before following up with a second letter or email. I wouldn't recommend calling until you've established a relationship.  If you still don't hear anything after that, you should assume that they have passed and that the material is just not right for them at the moment.

    Hey now, cheer up buddy. You can't take rejection personally. You have to have thick skin to survive in this cut-throat game.  Just pick up that paper and pen - alright, keyboard - and write another letter to a different company.

    If the rejections start to pile up on a specific project, then consider a rewrite of the script. Perhaps write back to one of the agents that passed and ask them for feedback. Most likely a junior agent or assistant was the one who actually read your script and often they will send you their coverage or notes so you can improve your next draft.

    Occasionally you'll find that they'll even offer to read a rewrite or encourage you to contact them when you have a new script ready to go.

    Remember, never burn a bridge in Hollywood.

    Your worst enemy can one day become your best and most lucrative friend.

    Guru's Tip: If you do write a new draft and take it back out to market, a good trick to improve your odds of a re-read is to change the title of the new draft to prevent it from being flagged by the agency's submission log as already having been read / covered.

    Good luck and let us know if you get your script onto the Big Screen!

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