There are several avenues to getting representation and we’re going to cover them here.
If you’re already a seasoned screenwriter and have some real professional credits under your belt, you’ll want to get a literary manager in the film industry, you can start by networking and building relationships with industry professionals. Professionals will quickly identify a professional and it’s the easiest way to start “talking business.” Ways to do this are: attend film festivals and events, join film organizations and groups, and reach out to other writers and filmmakers to build a network of contacts. You can also consider submitting your work to reputable development agencies and submitting it to film production companies, agents, and managers to get their attention. Additionally, you may want to work with a script consultant or writing coach to help improve your work and make it more marketable. Ultimately, persistence and perseverance are key to getting a literary manager in the film industry.
You may be wondering, “what’s the difference between an agent and a manager?” A literary manager and a literary agent are both professionals in the entertainment industry who help writers and creators develop and promote their work, but they have slightly different roles. A literary agent is typically responsible for representing writers and creators and their work to publishers, production companies, and other potential buyers. They negotiate deals, handle legal contracts and manage the business aspects of their clients’ careers. They are also responsible for finding new writing opportunities for their clients. A literary manager, on the other hand, is a professional who helps writers and creators develop their ideas and projects, and guides their careers. They often provide feedback on scripts and other written material, help writers create pitches and presentations, and advise them on the overall direction of their careers. They may also help their clients find agents or other representation. In short, literary agents focus on selling and representing the material of their clients, while literary managers focus on developing and guiding the careers of their clients.
So now that we got that all out of the way, let’s tackle the most important question: WHAT DOES A LITERARY REPRESENTATIVE LOOK FOR IN A SCREENWRITER?
A literary representative, such as a literary agent or manager, looks for several key qualities when considering a new screenwriting client. Some of the things they may look for include:
Writing skill: The most important factor for a literary representative is the quality of the writer’s work. They will look for strong writing skill, a unique voice, and a compelling story.
Marketability: The representative will want to know that the writer’s work is marketable and has the potential to be sold to production companies, studios, or publishers.
Professionalism: They want to work with writers who are professional, easy to communicate with, and willing to take notes and make changes.
Passion: They want to see the writer’s passion for the material and the industry.
Network: They want to see if the writer already has a network of contacts in the industry, as it may help with getting the material sold.
Unique selling point: They want to see what makes the writer and their work stand out from the competition
Career focus: They want to see if the writer is looking for a long-term representation and willing to work on building a sustainable career.
It’s important to note that the standards for representation may vary depending on the agency, manager or the specific representative.
So many of you reading this are going to feel like you’re ready to be represented, so here’s a little bit on what you can expect once you get screenwriting representation:
A newly represented screenwriter can expect several things from their literary representative. Some of the things they may expect include:
Access to industry contacts: The representative will use their connections to help the writer get their work in front of production companies, studios, and other potential buyers.
Feedback and notes: The representative will provide feedback on the writer’s work and help them make revisions to make it more marketable.
Negotiations: The representative will handle negotiations for any deals made for the writer’s work, such as option agreements, script sales, and writing assignments.
Business advice: The representative will provide guidance on the business aspects of the writer’s career, such as contract negotiations, and advise on career moves.
Promotion: The representative will work to promote the writer and their work to potential buyers and industry professionals.
Networking opportunities: The representative will introduce the writer to other industry professionals, such as producers and directors, to help expand their network.
It’s important to note that each representation is unique, and the writer should communicate with their representative to set clear expectations and goals. It is also important to keep in mind that representation does not guarantee work or success, it is just a step in the right direction and the writer should keep working hard and developing their craft and career.
Now for the tough question… ARE YOU TRULY READY TO BE REPRESENTED?
Knowing if you are ready to be represented as a screenwriter can be challenging, as it involves assessing your own work and career goals. Here are some things to consider when determining if you are ready for representation:
Quality of your work: The most important factor to consider is the quality of your writing. Make sure your script is polished, well-structured, and has a clear and compelling story.
Professionalism: Representation is a business relationship, so it’s important to be professional in your communication and approach.
Career goals: Consider your career goals and whether representation is the right step to achieve them. Are you looking to sell your script, get hired for writing assignments, or option your work?
Network: Do you have a network of industry contacts? A good representation can help you expand your network, but having some contacts already can help.
Unique selling point: What makes you and your work stand out from other writers? A unique voice, a fresh perspective, or a compelling story can make you more attractive to potential representatives.
Marketability: Consider whether your script has commercial potential and can appeal to a wide audience.
Attitude: Are you willing to work hard and take notes and feedback? A good attitude and willingness to learn and improve is important for a successful representation.
Ultimately, representation is not a guarantee of success and it’s important to keep working on your craft and developing your career even if you are represented. It’s also important to remember that literary representation is a competitive field and rejection is a normal part of the process.
If you’d like to get into direct contact with bonafide literary representatives, Scriptmatix has forged partnerships with reputable agents and managers who will read your screenplay and give you an honest, no B.S. assessment.