Top Tips on Choosing an Agent
January 26th, 2015
Many screenwriters share something in common. Is it the agony and ecstasy of writing? Well, for some yes, but for most --it’s about finding an agent, and when you do, finding the right one for you.
Indeed -- finding an agent can be considered a full-time job. Not only have you written a brilliant screenplay but now you must write and submit queries, network and then network some more, and research agencies and agents that are the right match for you and your work. Added to that is the endless time involved and sleepless nights, waiting for a response. This journey can be challenging, often frustrating, nearly impossible, clearly nerve-wracking and nauseatingly gut-wrenching.
But then – alas. You get the call. The email. The response. An agent is interested in representing you! Hallelujah. Congratulations! Break out the champagne. Do the happy dance. But don’t lose your common sense!
Yes, it’s wonderful that an agent has expressed interest in representing you, but do not jump into a relationship without making sure the agent is a good fit for you and your work.
Tips on Choosing an Agent
Always trust your instincts when determining if the potential agent is the best person to champion your work.
Choose an agent who is signatory to the Writers Guild of America (www.wga.org).Guild signatory agents must abide by guidelines that will best protect you.
Agents who represent clients who are working steadily, is a positive reflection on the agent’s ability and clout in the film industry.
The prospective agent should share your sensibility and vision.If he or she doesn’t really understand you and your work, this relationship will likely not benefit either one of you.
If the agent represents many writers (maybe too many writers) whereby the ratio of writers to agents is high, (for example more than fifty writers to one agent), than you might want to question whether you’ll get enough attention.
Research the agent to confirm his or her real film industry connections.
Remember, the agent / writer relationship is a business relationship, not a friendship. You may like the prospective agent personally, but honestly consider if he or she is truly the best person to represent you.
About the Author
Susan Kouguell, award-winning screenwriter and filmmaker, is the author of THE SAVVY SCREENWRITER and SAVVY CHARACTERS SELL SCREENPLAYS! A comprehensive guide to crafting winning characters with film analyses and screenwriting exercises (available at $1.00 with DISCOUNT CODE: G22GAZPD: https://www.createspace.com/3558862 ). Susan is a regular contributor to Indiewire/SydneysBuzz, Script Magazine and The Script Lab.
Kouguell teaches screenwriting at Purchase College, SUNY and presents international seminars. As chairperson of Su-City Pictures East, LLC, a motion picture consulting company founded in 1990, Kouguell works with over 1,000 writers, filmmakers, executives and studios worldwide. Recipient of many grants and fellowships, including the MacDowell Colony, Jerome Foundation, New York Foundation for the Arts, and the Edward Albee Foundation, Kouguell’s short films are in the Museum of Modern Art’s permanent collection and archives, and were included in the Whitney Museum’s Biennial. Kouguell worked with director Louis Malle on his film And the Pursuit of Happiness, was a story analyst and story editor for many studios, (Paramount, Viacom, Dustin Hoffman’s Punch Productions), wrote voice-over narrations for (Harvey Weinstein) Miramax and over a dozen feature assignments for independent companies. www.su-city-pictures.com. Follow Susan at Su-City Pictures, LLC Facebook fan page and SKouguell on Twitter, and read more articles on her blog: http://su-city-pictures.com/wpblog/.