I just sold my first screenplay to an independent production company. I have no agent, so I’d like to get one off of this, if I can. I have other completed screenplays, one of which this company is going to help me set up as a director. What else can I do to best leverage this situation?
First, congratulations. Second, thank you for proving a point I often stress when talking to aspiring screenwriters: an agent is not mandatory. You sold your script without one, as have many other writers.
You’re right in assuming that setting up your script will help you get an agent. My advice is to sit down with the executives at the production company, and other smart Hollywood friends you have, and make a list of which agents and agencies might be a good fit for you. (Generally, newer writers tend to be served by newer agents, who are looking to expand their client list.)
We usually think of agents selling to producers, but it works the other way too: see if the producers would be willing to call the agents they’re friendly with, and send them your script. If you have an attorney, he or she may also be able to help.
If there are any other agents you’re interested in, but don’t have any easy connection, simply write them a letter. Explain that you’ve sold a script and are about to set up another, and that you’re looking for an agent to help represent you.
Some agents will pass on you. That’s life. But in general, agents want writers who work. That’s you.