I hope you’re ready for a short holiday week! Anyone else already starting to ‘shut down’ in anticipation for a big Thanksgiving feast?
One of the most common questions I get asked ever, especially from writers is – how to get an agent or manager.
The thing is, I used to work at William Morris so I have somewhat of an inside perspective on this even if it’s not what people want to hear :) Normally what I tell people is that for the big agencies and management companies, when you’ve reached a point when you have a track record of work that merits and agent’s attention, the agents will find you, not the other way around.
However, last week I had the opportunity to sit in on some speed dating sessions between writers and agents and low and behold, every single writer asked the question – how do I get an agent without credits, when I can’t get credits without an agent? A seemingly catch-22 situation….
The agents’ response was two fold….
First they said, yes you can get credits without an agent so go out there and prove your meddle by actually creating things, making stuff, and if your work is so good that it rises to the top and gets noticed and into Tier 1 festivals, they will find you.
But the second answer I heard actually seemed a little more promising and that is to get a referral.
The agents went on to say that if they get a referral on a writer from a producer they know and trust, then they take it seriously. This route may seem more attainable to some, but not to others….depends where are you are in your career and if you’re actively seeking to work with producers who have more of a track record and/or relationships than you.
In my mind though, it boils down to this – don’t be so focused on getting an agent to help your career because ironically, they won’t really help your career in the way you think they will. Ultimately you need to help your own career by consistently putting out great work, making stuff, diversifying your project slate, and seeking out partnerships with those who can help get your work made and seen.
Sounds simple but I know it’s not easy. Takes perseverance and a whole lot of patience….
I’m working with a solid stable of EP clients right now that are hustling like nobody’s business to have a strong finish to the year and enter the new year already with momentum. And they are all focused on exceptional work, and getting into production rather than spinning wheels in development and wasting years of their lives.
So my advice to you is – whatever you do, don’t sit still. Keep moving and working and when it’s time to get an agent, it will happen – but trust me when I say, it doesn’t mean you won’t still be out hustling your own work because you will!
What are your thoughts on getting an agent or manager and for those that have one, has it helped your career?