Getting a good agent these days is almost an impossible dream for writers. The reason is that they’re just not taking on new writers unless the writer somehow managed to make a big sale on his or her own.

There are distinct differences and some similarities between literary agents, managers, and entertainment attorneys … and what they do.

Agents are registered with the state and can only charge 10% for their services. They send out their client’s material, get them meetings and writing assignments, and negotiate deals. The top three agencies are William Morris/Endeavor, International Creative Management (ICM), and Creative Artists Agency (CAA).

Managers also send out material and try to get their clients writing assignments. What managers can not legally do is negotiate a deal, so they work with entertainment attorneys for that. Managers can charge whatever fees they want and they range from 10 to 50% with the average being 15%. A manager can be anyone from a former agent to a cousin, and will often act as one of the producers on the project as well.

Attorneys don’t usually send out material or get their client assignments. They can also acquire rights, litigate, and deal with all legal and contractual issues.

The trend these days is for a writer to hire an entertainment attorney to negotiate a deal.  Attorneys charge an average of $300 an hour for their services or 5 to 10% percent of the entire deal.

Now you know the differences. Best of luck in your search for representation!

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Read Steve on Screenwriting by Steve Kaire, High Concept Screenwriting, on Write On! Online. Check Steve’s website for is query letter service.



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