I wrote what I believe to be a still useful Indiewire article, If You Want Screenwriting Career Tips, Ask A Literary Agent, in 2015. For those of you who believe writers need an agent in order to have a writing career, my advice, then as now, is the same: be open to learning about and appreciating agents as uniquely trained professionals. They’ve been taught to carry on basically the same work ethic and industry practices handed down to them since the Golden Age of Hollywood. No joke.
Every class I teach, I ask: “What does an agent do?” and then…
Entré into Hollywood is always a Cinderella Story.
Many advisers to writers advise that a writer must first and foremost be attentive to creating a brand. As defined by entrémeister Seth Godin, “a ‘brand’ is a shortcut for a whole bunch of expectations, worldview connections, experiences and promises.”
As a literary agent, I would argue a certain kind of behavior is a brand, like the ability to handle yourself as Cinderella did in denying her detractors the satisfaction of watching her fail. …
Many writers often mistake writing as a source of personal identity, instead of a job, a business or a product.
The original Greek dramatists celebrated the gods in their work, but they had no issue claiming ownership as authors. They were successfully self-promoting to the extent their work is still performed and still attracting profitable enterprise. If the Greeks are too distant a reference, let’s take a look at the king of all the writing gods: Bill Shakespeare.
If you find yourself asking this question, you might want to first list the qualities you consider to be “best” in addressing your particular needs as a writer. This inventory may be much more challenging than it sounds, but it doesn’t have to be.
You can start to figure out what your needs are by creating a list of book authors you not only admire, but even more critically, whose chosen writing type is similar to yours in some obvious way. Then do the research to find out who represents those writers, and you’ll have the kind of ‘best’ agents…
LA Times Calendar Letters
MAR 16, 2018 | 11:15 A
Regarding “Things Are Getting Better for Women Behind the Camera in TV” [March 11]:
Kudos to the current crop of prominent showrunners on their commitment “to break old habits” of gender-based bias by influencing their TV studio employers to hire more diverse directors. However, given my 23 years as a literary and talent agent, I was struck by the reference to industry gatekeepers as “typically agents with a tried-and-true Rolodex.” Hardly. In my experience, agents have always pushed back on the institutionalized mind-set to exclude women and minority clients.
Without the agent perspective on how hard won the recently open climate truly is, the story is incomplete.