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TV Industry/How to find and pick an agent


Hi Marissa, I have written a few Treatments for a couple reality shows, But after that I am lost. I tryed a few months back just making a list of agents and tryed calling them, most of them are either not looking for new clients or they dont return calls. I want to find an agent who is established. How do I go about finding an agent to represent me and help me get my ideas out there? Do you know any good agents? I also read that if an agent is trying to charge you up front then they are no good.... Is this true? Thanks

Hi Jeff.

Thanks for the question and congratulations on taking positive steps for your future.

Many of my previously answered questions address using IMDBPro to research and target agents, so I'm going to address some of your other questions.

What I'm finding is that treatments aren't enough any more - especially for newcomers.  Buyers and agents require "proof of concept" - a minimum of a sizzle reel, and in many cases, sample episodes. It makes it extremely difficult for someone new to get into the system, but as reality shows became popular (and profitable), the system became more difficult to navigate.

If you're near a major college or university, check into their film & television departments to see if you can find people who will help you develop your material more fully. has a lot of information on individual stations, buyers, syndicators, and production companies.  Or grab a camera and

Agents will not charge you up front, though I suppose some might ask you to reimburse their expenses.  There are a lot of companies that will charge you to produce a sizzle reel and pitch, so be very careful with that sort of thing.

I hope this gets you started.  Please write me again if you encounter other questions.


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Marrissa O`Leary


Happy to help with your questions about the business of television. I've been a TV Business Affairs, Talent and Comedy executive for over 10 years after starting out as a child actress. I've been a VP at two studios, and consulted for others. Because we get so many questions about reality shows, please take a look at the "Previously Answered Questions" first (you'll probably find what you need there!). Also - please bear in mind that budgets & license fees are considered to be proprietary information and I can't share them here. Thanks!


20+ years in entertainment, ranging from child actress to studio vice president.

MBA, Pepperdine University / BA, Theatre Arts, Occidental College / AA Mass-Telecommunications Technology, Unites States International University

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