14 easy steps to finding representation

In late June or so, right after Cole wrapped I decided to make my first concerted effort to find a literary agent to represent me, firmly believing that I was ready to send my new scripts off the world at large.

I bought a Hollywood Creative Directory, circled 62 potential agents I could send queries to (crossing out agencies that only represent child actors and animators, underlining small boutique agencies), polished my writing resume and had a friend design a poster to go along with my one-sheet for my latest spec script.

I packaged the a query letter bragging about myself, a resume (resumes are brag sheets, always), and the one-sheet (which bragged about how great my new script was) with the poster on the other side (the poster is posted at the top of this page--thanks Laura Walker!). So here is what happened after I sent out my 62 query letters with SASEs.

  1. Early July... I get my first return letter... it is from Creative Artists! I rip open the thick envelope... It contains a letter: "Sorry, our lawyers forbid us from opening unsolicited materials. We DID NOT READ your query." The envelope contains my envelope unopened. I save my unused SASE. Maybe for later.
  2. Later early July. I receive my first hand-written response: "Sorry, we are not taking on new clients."
  3. Later, later early July: "Sorry, your logline did not grab me."
  4. Later, later later early July: More unread queries: "We PROMISE WE DID NOT READ YOUR QUERY LETTER." More SASEs and stamps to salvage.
  5. A brief hand-written note, a glass of water in the middle of the desert: "Great idea. Give me a call when you have it registered." I call the agent's number. She informs me that she does not often get down to LA, but if I find a buyer for the script, she would be happy to make sure the contract is legit. Awesome.
  6. Finally, a response that seems legitimate: "Dear Adam, Change of Fate seems interesting, please send a copy my way." This one is from an agent at a boutique, so I print out a copy, use my saved up stamps from the returned SASEs and send out the script. Three weeks later, the agent calls me. Here is a rough outline of what was said:
"Hi, Adam."
"I read Change of Fate."
"Thank you for taking the time to do that."
"I wasn't really grabbed by it."
"What do you mean?"
"I'm looking for something more like Wedding Crashers."
"Okay, but Change of Fate is a coming of age drama. Is there anything I could do to make it better, maybe more marketable?"
"I'm really looking for something like Wedding Crashers."
"Do you have any other scripts?"
I pitch him the script I'd been working on, a post-apocalyptic romantic comedy.
"Okay, send it to me when you're done. Sounds promising"

Second Act:
  1. A month later, the agent I have sent my new script to, a post-apocalyptic romantic comedy, calls me. We have the same awkward intro conversation, and then he cuts to the chase: "Your script didn't really grab me. I'm really looking for something like Wedding Crashers, but original, and with depth." Awesome.
  2. A couple of weeks later, I meet with Northbridge producers Dylan and Kimani and director Lynne. We have lasagne and then go hang out in a Chinatown nightclub and chat with Terry Chen, who played Ben Fong-Torres, the editor of Rolling Stone in Almost Famous. He expresses interest in seeing Cole. It was a goofy night.
  3. The next morning Lynne and I go over notes for Northbridge. She mentions that her agent in Toronto has read my scripts and might want to talk to me about representation.
  4. I turn in the re-write for Northbridge, Lynne says her agent is interested in talking with me. I make sure he isn't interested in only reading scripts like Wedding Crashers, but different.
  5. I send Lynne's agent, Carl Liberman from Characters in Toronto, my post-apocalyptic romantic comedy.
  6. He loves it. The characters grab him.
  7. Carl calls and says he wants to represent me.
  8. It's just that easy.


jbaker said...

Thanks for posting your real experiences with trying to find an agent. I feel overwhelmed trying to figure out how to submit comedy scripts to television shows. Good to hear that it worked for you, it's inspiring. Hope it goes well for you man, joe B

Anonymous said...

Hi Adam,

Well that was a wild ride! And who says all the happy endings are outcall? ;)

Hey which agents wanted another Wedding Crashers? Cuz, that's what I've got, but different. I had never even seen the movie, and had no idea it was such a hit.

I actually had no intention of ever writing a romcom - this just popped into my head. Freaky.

It's not finished yet, and I'm not slinging it anywhere until it is, but I'd love any heads-up on where this sort of thing might fit.

You can email me at: highamplitude(at)gmail

Congrats, thanks, and Cheers!