Last week we spoke to Lori Evans Taylor, a screenwriter in Los Angeles, about the realities of writing scripts for a living and needless to say, we were very impressed by the life she’s crafted for herself. But what if you’re at the start of your own career as a screenwriter and are itching to go pro? There’s one great asset to have in your arsenal: an agent. Getting an agent might sound like an impossible task, but Lori’s come to our rescue and demystified the process with her five tips on how to make a move to finding representation.
1. There’s no set path
“There’s no set way to do it,” says Lori. Now, on the surface level, hearing that there’s no standard way of getting representation might be stressful, but don’t fret just yet. Because there’s no standardized procedure, it removes the pressure of looking at your peers and worrying that since your careers are moving forward in different ways, it won’t happen for you. Just cause someone took the highway and you took the backroads doesn’t mean you won’t both make it to the same place. So don’t waste your energy comparing yourself to others, but instead…
2. Focus on creating content
The only recurring theme in getting an agent? Make sure you’ve got good work to show when you start looking for reps. Lori recommends “Having a body of material that you can show at the drop of a hat. Building up that body of material is important.” That means putting in the effort now to attract the agents and managers you’d love to be repped by later on. And making sure you’re writing leads right into point number 3…
3. Create your network
Join a writing group. So many benefits come from being a part of one—not only will it help you work on your body of work to show agents, but it will expose your writing to other writers who might have representation themselves. About her experience in a writing group (hers had 14 members), Lori says: “Through these conversations with other members of the writing group, I’d say ‘Well, I’m trying to look for a manager, I’m trying to look for an agent.’ A couple of the members who knew my work said, ‘Here, why don’t I pass your script or your pilot (first episode of a TV show) off to my agent or my manager.’ [My material] got passed around from there and luckily it landed on a few desks. I got some meetings, and I was able to find my reps.”
4. Enter contests
Once you’ve written up some of your ideas (and maybe they’ve been honed by your writing group…!) it’s time to get your work out there. Contests are a good way to share your work because, as Lori explains, “Reps are always looking at that material as well. I know a lot of people have found agents or managers that way.” Don’t shy away from submitting your work. You’ve put the effort in, now it’s time to let it shine so that others can appreciate your hard work and creativity, too.
5. Trust your work
Writing is a creative enterprise, but it’s easy to feel like creativity and good ideas take a back seat to the business side of the industry. Lori, instead, has some comforting thoughts: “Idea is king here in Hollywood. If you have a really good script, people are going to notice for sure. It’s just trying to get it into the right hands.”
Thank you so much, Lori! Well—I don’t know about you guys, but we feel ready to get back out there and make it happen for ourselves! So we’ll keep it short: come back next week to hear all about following your instincts and acting on your passion, regardless of what the rule-book says.