Writing Plays/Screenwriting/getting an agent


Hello. I am a screenwriter. I wrote a screenplay that was made into a short film. I sold it to Movieola, through OUAT Media Inc. I have a script listed with InkTips. I acted in the movie I made. I do stand up comedy. I want to get an agent. I have tried everywhere.

Mr. Hofer,

A standing joke that Syd Field tells in his lecture when someone asks this same question is, "when you get an agent tell me how you did it then we'll both know."

The point here is that there are no sure fire methods to getting an agent except through writing, writing more, making connections, writing some more.

A question for you is what is it that you expect the agent to do for you?

An agent accepts you not only for your saleability but that that agent knows that he/she can find you sources in which to market your material.  The agent gets you the meetings.  You attend.  You pitch.

An agent is not an editor, life coach, buddy, and is certainly never going to be your friend.  You are a business prospect for the agent.  Nothing more.  Keeping your relationship in that perspective means that you are responsible for your career, not them.

Also, most agents are contracted for 90 days never more than 180 days.  If they cannot get you that meeting in 90 days, fire them.  If you have not sold your story in 180 days, in most likelihood, they will fire you.  Don't ever sign with an agent that wants a 'lifetime' contract.  Also, you have the right to see all the companies in which the agent had tried to set up meetings with.

What does the agent do for you?  As stated earlier, they have the contacts to get you the appropriate meetings in which to pitch your story.  They may be able to negotiate the contract with the prodco or producer.  However, if you have doubts about the contract pay for an entertainment attorney who has knowledge and experience of motion picture/TV contracts.  Your agent should know a couple he/she trusts.

Back to your question -

Go to the WGAW site, or the Canadian equivalent, and check out the listing of guild agents.  Each of the agencies should have a website in which they want you to pitch.  A guild agent will never take more than 10%.  A non-guild agent - well, the sky is the limit.

There are also pitch sites on the web that offer agencies accepting unsolicited material.  Do your research and don't get scammed.

Oh, please if someone hands you a laundry list of all the employees of an agency and all their email addresses DO NOT start emailing everyone on the list.  That is stalking and will get you blocked by the agencies.

I have had agents over the years to sell specific pieces.  I have had about a 50/50% experience.  Meaning only about half the time was an agent successful for me getting a pitch meeting.

Hopefully, all that information helped you.  

Writing Plays/Screenwriting

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


John M. Lovett


I answer questions regarding film production and screenwriting. I will answer questions dealing with screenwriting style, ideas, film production, format, and agents.


Sixteen years working in the motion picture and television industries as a screenwriter, producer, and military technical advisor. Have two produced movies TWO WEEKS and CATHY MORGAN. Worked with Digital Ranch Productions, Warriors Inc, and Nichols Productions.

CSUF, BA, 1980 UCLA, Certificate in Screenwriting, 2009

Past/Present Clients
Warriors, Inc.
Dreamworks Interactive
Legacy Interactive
Silvertouch Pictures
Synergy Group
Nichols Productions

©2016 About.com. All rights reserved.