Monday, December 13, 2010

The Writing Week (Vol. 3) part 154 - Be a Proactive Client

The agent/manager/client relationship is an interesting one. It's something that most of us new and aspiring writers dream about getting involved in. We often believe it'll be the solution to all of our (career-building) problems. Getting an agent or manager - at first, the idea is that any representative will do - is the first major goal of breaking into the film industry. Once that's been accomplished, they should do everything and drop everything for you. This kind of thinking can be misleading, can prove frustrating, and is in many ways just wrong. That said, once you have secured representation, there are a few key things you can do to ensure a more successful writer/representative relationship.

(Full disclosure: for anyone who hasn't been keeping up with me since day one - and apologies to people who have been - I currently have both an agent and a manager. Before that, I spent about four months with a manager who did not pan out, and a good chunk of time before that when I didn't have any representation at all. Take my advice, or leave it, with a grain or a cup of salt. All of this is based on what I've been told and what I've discovered through my interactions with my various representatives.)

As emerging talent, as my agent (who I secured in October) said, I have both a very easy and a very difficult job right now. I have to keep writing. Sounds simple enough, but the stakes have changed since I was just writing for myself. The future of my relationship with my representatives hinges on my ability to deliver product (scripts) in a timely fashion. That doesn't mean first drafts, either. The bar has been raised, and I'm charged with trying to produce two industry-ready scripts per year. It's a pretty mighty task, but this first year or two is really like testing period. Sure, the goal is to sell my post-Apocalyptic spec and set me up on other projects. But I also have to prove my ability to produce quality pages in a professional window. So, part of my job is to be proactive in terms of my writing - I have to come up with marketable ideas, and then be able to follow through with the scripts. In that way, I help my representatives and myself.

Being a proactive client doesn't end in just producing pages, though. While an agent or manager is supposed to set their writers up on meetings and get their name out into the industry, a dedicated client will try to do the same. This is where your contacts come into play. If you've held an internship or worked with someone before, and they have the power to read and maybe recommend a script, try to get that connection linked up with your reps. If you have an in at a production company, even if it's not the kind of company that does the work you're writing, let your manager or agent know. Make connections that they can follow up on on your behalf. The initial stage of your career is going to be used for building your visibility and gaining you some name-recognition. Be proactive in making connections, as well, and you'll help your representatives. After all, any help they get in marketing you, really just helps you in the end.

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