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05/21/2001
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"Okay, So I'm Not The Answer Man, but here's what I know." Part Two

Paul Buscemi's Column For Monday May 21st, 2001. Buscemiarts@hotmail.com

Last week, as promised, we began examining YOUR questions regarding writing and selling in Hollywood. The first question addressed was:

1. What advice do you have on finding an agent?

As fate would have it, I had a meeting with an agent the day that column posted. The column had already been written before the meeting was scheduled but it was ironic to see it post the day of the meeting.

In preparation for the meeting, I called upon several key screenwriters, television writers and producers I have met over the past year for some last minute advice and tips. Their insight was extremely helpful and I wanted to share that with you here.

Again, This is advice for the "meeting" itself:

1. First of all, you want to see if you and the agent are a good match.

Several of the people I talked with reiterated the notion that, however tempted to sign with an agent you might be - you want to make sure the two of you are compatible. Remember, it's all about the AGENT not the agency. Research the agent's you meet with. Know their backgrounds and whom they've represented. Respect the agent's experience, intelligence, and advice, but keep in mind, you are interviewing the agent too.

2. Make the meeting a win-win event.

Beyond the usual "meet and greet" aspect of the meeting - have your agenda in mind. If you like the agent and they haven't offered to represent you, ask them:
a. What else are you looking for from me, as a representation candidate?
b. Are you willing to hip pocket me?
c. Are you interested in representing one specific script I have?

3. Have a Five-Year Plan.

I used to hate those things. Another lifetime ago, a producer asked me, "Where do you see yourself in five years?" I youthfully said, "Uhhhh..." I've since learned how valuable a five year plan is for MYSELF. How can you get where you are going, if you've never been there and don't map out your route? Tell the agent where you'd like to be in five years.

4. Use the meeting to get more meetings.

Remember; you are interviewing the agent too. You want to find a good match and agencies are extremely competitive. If you have a meeting with one agency - you should make it a meeting with three or four agencies. Compare agents. Do you buy the first car you see on the lot? Do you shop at more than one store? Okay then. Don't waste anybody's time but definitely do some comparative shopping.

NEXT WEEK: YOUR questions on collaborating and what to do while you wait for your submitted script to get read.

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