Tuesday, September 18, 2012

What happens after you get the Manager?

How I feel about a certain someone
After my last post about what a relationship with a manager should look like, Paul asked a question:

what happens once you're signed in terms moving forward? Do you just need one good script?...or do they expect you to follow up with another right away? Are you working with producers to do a free spec...or do they have you go out and try to do assignments? Most of the info out there is about how to get in...but not a lot explains where to go once you get a rep and become a working writer, not just a repped non-working writer.


Everybody's career trajectory is different, and everybody's relationship with their rep is different. You can land a rep with one script, but they certainly don't expect that to be it. You should always be working on the next thing.

Most reps will want a list of ideas you're working on. I've heard of reps who demand X number of ideas per week. I don't know how common that is, but I do know that once you're signed, your rep is going to want to choose the perfect next script. He may reject everything you've ever thought of. If he truly loves your first idea and tells you to go write it, I envy you.

While you're working on your next project, your rep is likely doing two things: 1) Trying to get your movie made. This is where agents are extremely useful. And 2) Setting you up for meetings.

You will do a crapton of general meetings. At some of these meetings, you will be pitched an idea. If you like the idea, you will send the producer a treatment for your take on that idea - sooner rather than later - and then chances are good you will never hear from that producer again.

Will you have to do free work? Depends. It depends on your rep and his relationship with the producer, depends on how much you love the idea, depends on the likelihood that there's a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. It's really up to you. The rep gives you advice, but he's not your boss. You make the choice of how much free work you're willing to do.

It's a hustle, pure and simple.

Some people *cough* John. *cough* walk into a room, open their mouths, and land a job. I've been to so many meetings where a certain someone's name comes up and every fucking producer is like He was just here and he sold me a project it was so great OMG isn't he fantastic don't you wish you were him I love him so much blah blah blah fuck off. Seriously, I've been to THREE meetings where he was literally on the same couch like half an hour earlier and pitched something for like a bazillion dollars. I've started to feel like I'm just following that guy around picking up his leftover water bottles.

That's extremely rare, and if you meet a person like that, you should knock him out and steal his identity.

Anyway, the important thing is to ask your rep for advice. That's part of his job - to guide you so that you make both of you look good. And then make your decision. You have to figure out what's best for you.

One piece of advice, though: I don't recommend doing anything behind your rep's back. If he doesn't like the script you want to write, either write what he wants you to, tell him you're going to write it anyway and see if he is willing to help under protest, or find a new rep. But don't deceive him. He can't help you if you don't trust his expertise.

Good luck.


  1. Hey Emily,

    Great topic! :) Thanks for the well-thought out insightful post. It must be an exciting time for you... it's like one of those adventures where you set out and aren't sure how it's going to go but everything's new and fun.

    My concern has always been delivering under a deadline. Say after John comes back with his 5 jobs....now he has to come up with 5 good drafts, which he will do because he's brilliant. But for the rest of us mortals, you kind of worry about being able to deliver under (2 months?). The appeal of the spec is that you can control how many drafts and how long you're going to take on it. From what I heard, most screenwriters get drummed out of the system at this stage. Getting an agent is just the beginning.. Also, with writing treatments for producers, wouldn't they just be collecting ideas for free from different writers and then go with the named writer they wanted anyway?

  2. I say, worry about that when you get there. There's always a possibility a producer will take your ideas and run with them to someone else, but most of the time they want the one with the idea to do the work. Most of the time your treatments won't go anywhere. You just keep at it until something sticks, then do your job.

    As for the deadline? I haven't gotten there yet. Can't answer that question, but I'm sure I'll figure it out when the time comes.

  3. Knowing what you now, would you advise having two good scripts going in or can you break in with just one good script?

    Congrats by the way on finding a great management/client relationship. Not everyone has had that experience, even with some of the bigger managers in town.


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