I have the opportunity to sign with one of two agents: one deals strictly with screenplays and supposively has good connections and the other seems to be more geared towards novel and book authors but has several screenwriter clients.
The first one doesn’t seem all that interested and seems to just want to have me signed on should lightning strike but the second one seems very enthusiastic about working with me. Both have offered me contracts but the kicker is, neither is in L.A. or New York. Should I sign with either and if so, if you were in my shoes, which one would you prefer?
Thanks for the site and thanks for much inspiration.
— Brad R.
Orchard Park, NY
Tell each agent you’d like to speak with two of their clients. Just a phone call. If they’re real, above-board agents, they won’t have a problem with this. I’ve spoken with potential clients on behalf of my agent several times, and it’s no great hardship.
When you talk with these writers, here’s what you want to know:
- How quickly does the agent return phone calls?
- What meetings has the agent set up for you?
- Have you sold anything? Been hired on any projects?
- On a scale of 1-10, how satisfied are you with this agent?
I suspect Agent #2 will score better on these criteria. The fact that he/she doesn’t live in Los Angeles, and isn’t exclusively a screenwriting agent, are certainly big minuses. However, enthusiasm gets you a lot. If you think Agent #2 passionately believes in your talent, go for it.
And now for the standard disclaimer: You are still responsible for your career. Signing with an agent guarantees you nothing. You will need to hunt out work, develop pitches, and generally scramble until you get your first few jobs. Your agent can help point you to the lake; you have to catch the fish yourself.