Steve on Screenwriting: Getting an Agent – The Impossible Dream?
The question writers ask me over and over again is, “How do I get an agent?” The truth is that, these days, it’s extremely difficult to get a good agent to represent you. Living in Los Angeles, I heard the situation described this way: Agents are not taking on any new clients. All their time is being devoted to servicing their existing client base and trying to steal top clients from other agencies.
So what do new writers do given that bleak outlook? I would approach the situation this way. Avoid going to the top three agencies. The big three are the William Morris/Endeavor agency, International Creative Management (ICM), and the Creative Artists Agency (CAA). They’re too big, and don’t have the time to devote to a new writer without credits. I would also avoid one-man agencies, who lack the access to decision makers and are not connected enough to set up projects.
I would approach the mid-level agencies consisting of: United Talent Agency (UTA), the Gersh Agency, Paradigm, Agency for the Performing Arts (APA), and BenderSpink. Although still difficult, these places would be more likely to consider new talent and they all have the clout to make things happen.
When your material is ready to be sent to an agent, it’s better to pass yourself off as a writer who specializes in one genre only as opposed to multiple genres. They want to think of you as an action writer or a comedy writer but not both. They need to understand your strength not your versatility.