Friday, April 4, 2008

What is "unsolicited" ?

Alex Epstein, another professional writer with a blog I love, was nice enough to link to me on his site. He also posed a question in response to my post about unsolicited material:

Okay, Amanda, but define "unsolicited." Because even Big Five agents will read a baby writer if they for some reason think you are the Next Hot Thing.

I guess the real question is, "How do you get solicited," short of wearing hot pants and hanging out on Sunset Boulevard after dark?

Dude, let's be this town, you need hot pants more than you need Final Draft. :)

Unsolicited, to me, means that the agent does not know you and did not ask you to send your script. Yes, surely big five agents want to read the Next Hot Thing. But the Next Hot Thing according to whom? You may think you're crazy awesome, but they're not going to take your word for it -you need to be referred. If a manager, studio exec, producer, client or another agent recommends your script, they'll read it. If you're lucky, maybe a relative or friend or hairstylist's ex-fiancee could get you in this door (we've all heard the stories)...but generally we work off of industry referrals. An assistant might recommend something to his/her boss, but this is tricky; it takes a while to develop the relationship necessary to ask your boss to do this. And you'd better be sure you're recommending something good, because if your boss thinks the script is crap, they're probably not going to trust your judgment or read any of your referrals again. Some agency assistants (especially aspiring agents) certainly want to impress their boss by finding the Next Hot Thing - but they want to be confident about it.

There are a couple other ways to get noticed by agents, like winning the Nicholls or making a film that's screened at a USC or UCLA event that agents are invited to. But generally, big agents are not scouring the earth for great undiscovered talent.

Please keep in mind that this blog is all my observations as I try to carve a path towards TV-writerdom. I'm still learning and I'm not an expert by any means, but I'm happy to share what I've found. I promise I will get to all of your questions and emails soon!

1 comment:

joshm said...

Amanda - I think it's great that you're providing people with this kind of information, and in such a direct way. The only thing I'll add is that to get an agent to move, you usually have to create some kind of heat on your own. Having a great script is good, but it's better to get a reading, or a screening, or blogged about, or whatever. You have to manufacture a moment...a starting gun...something to let reps know that you're going to get signed in the next week, and they should probably get off their ass.

For me, my play was in a festival and I had the coordinator email maybe two dozen agents. A handful showed up, but nearly every one requested the script. I met with two that week and both offered to rep me. I'm absolutely positive that neither would have done so on the strength of the script alone. It was the event, the reading, that forced them to make a commitment. Create some heat for yourself, do it publicly, and take back some of the power.