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"Okay, So I'm Not The Answer Man, but here's what I know."

Paul Buscemi's Column For Monday May 14th, 2001.

Well, so many questions from you all out there - it does a columnist's heart good!
Now if you've followed this column, then you know - I have questions too. Some of these questions have inspired some great columns here and even greater answers from the writers, producers, and directors we've talked with. Now it's your turn to ask the questions. Some of the most popular inquiries were:

1. What advice do you have on finding an agent?
2. What are the ground rules for collaborating?
3. After a production company or agent has your script, what do you do if it takes a long time for the material to get read?


Getting an agent in this town is a formidable task. If you look at the situation from the agents point of view - you might have some clarity on the subject. Agents are overworked as it is, handling the clients they already have. They are undertaking a certain amount of risk, signing an unproven or unproduced writer who may or may not pan out. Here are the tips I have learned that can help you in your search for an agent.

1. First of all, if you've already shopped your work to producers and production companies on your own, that tells an agent two things about you. One, that you realize finding work, especially if you're waiting for your first sale, is really up to you - not the agent. Second, you understand the key to finding work is nurturing relationships.
2. Sending letters or material, however clever, to agents who don't accept unsolicited material is an exercise in frustration. I had this great letter with a great gimmick to sell my great script to these agencies. I got a great amount of letters telling me "we don't accept unsolicited material." A better letter, is a quick review of your background, your writing experience and achievements, and a list of the people in the industry you have established relationships with or who are reading your work.
3. Getting recommended to an agency by someone they know is the key. Start asking everyone you know if they know anyone at an agency and would they be willing to introduce you to them. If someone does a great favor for you in this regard, then find a way to acknowledge them for it.
4. If no one you know, knows anyone at an agency - then you might need to network more and build on relationships. Join the Scriptwriter's Network. Take a writing class, stage a reading of your script and invite agents to it, attend one of the many writing seminars out there. The trades list events like these all the time - check ?em out! Network, network, network and look for ways you can help others in the business with their needs - it will come back to you.
5. Perfect your craft and enter contests. A dynamite script will impress an agent. If you win a writing competition with your script - that's a great selling point you can pitch at any agent.
6. Make friends with the agent's assistant - they usually go on to become agents themselves. Some people go as far as courting them. That is, they take them to lunch, they know their birthdays, and they also ask the assistants if they will read their material.

That's a good start for any agent search. Now, collaborating and the long wait for your material to get read after you have submitted it, are the subjects on next weeks calendar.

TO BE CONTINUED ...next week.


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