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:
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.
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
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.
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
Pitch: A Sixth Sense-esque cop buddy
picture set in the Big Easy.
Alternative Pitch: Lethal
Weapon meets the Sixth Sense
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
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
Your worst enemy can one day become your best and most
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 /
Good luck and let us know if you get your script onto the Big Screen!