Saturday, February 27, 2010

New Writer Blogs!

I wanted to alert you to some cool new blogs:

The writing staff of Syfy's EUREKA has a blog with a lot of behind the scenes info: Of particular interest to aspiring writers might be their new series of "Day in the Life" posts about what it's like to work on the show, and the first is by Ed Fowler, their Writers' Assistant.

Soon they'll also be posting a Day in the Life of a Showrunners' Assistant/Office PA, and various production positions. You can also follow the EUREKA writers on Twitter. Thanks to Kira for the info!


Margaux Froley has started a new blog called This is Your Pilot Speaking. (Ha! I just got it. It's early.) She last wrote on CW's PRIVILEGED, so she knows what she's talking about.

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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Genre-specific agents or managers?

Alicia writes: Do you know of any genre-specific manager/agent listings? I have been going alphabetically through databases, such as IMDB and Done Deal, for the past six months. I've sent out something like 200 queries and have come up dry, save for the auto-responses that let me know at least I've copied the email address correctly. I'd like to query more efficiently, and I think sending the appropriate genre to the appropriate persons would greatly expedite the process. A romantic comedy directory would be SUPER helpful. Do such directories even exist?

Good question. First off, let me play my broken record about how querying shouldn't be your only plan in terms of pursuing a writing career. Your problem most likely isn't HOW you're querying, it's that querying isn't that effective.

That said, most reputable agencies and management companies represent clients who write in all genres. They might seem to be strongest in one area (like how UTA and Kaplan/Perrone have a lot of comedy people), but I wouldn't use that kind of info to discount anybody. However, it is true that agents and managers themselves are sometimes more specialized. It makes sense that they'd have an expertise or favorite genre. (For what it's worth, though, my old boss represented writers of serious dramas, romcoms and animated comedies.)

I don't know of any databases or lists that categorize people this way, but you don't need one. Just look up movies or shows in your desired genre, find out who wrote them, and then find out who represents those writers using IMDBPro, Studiosystem, etc.

A warning: it's probably not a good idea to write in your query, "I know you represent Jason Reitman, so you're going to love my script." I read a few queries like that at the agency and they just kind of rubbed me the wrong way. You're not Jason Reitman yet, you know? Just focus on succinctly pitching your script.

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Reader Discount: "The Dialogue Series" DVDs

"Be that person who's stubborn enough to look in the face of the hurricane and not blink." - Sheldon Turner

"The Dialogue Series" DVDs feature interviews with Academy Award nominated screenwriter Sheldon Turner (Up in the Air) and Academy Award winner Paul Haggis (Crash, Million Dollar Baby). Check out their advice - and pearls of wisdom from 25 other top Hollywood screenwriters.

Go to for more info. If you enter the code "tvwriter15" at checkout, you'll receive 15% off.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Writers and optimism

I started reading Margaret Atwood's books in ninth grade, and she's still one of my favorites. I had to share a quote from a recent CNN interview:

"Anybody who writes a book is an optimist. First of all, they think they're going to finish it. Second, they think somebody's going to publish it. Third, they think somebody's going to read it. Fourth, they think somebody's going to like it. How optimistic is that?"

Same goes for screenwriting. :)

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Monday, February 15, 2010

Monday, February 8, 2010

Is interning enough?

Lindsay writes: I've had a few friends that got jaded working for an agency. Would you have honestly worked at an agency to begin with? Couldn't interning 2-3 days a week get you most of the same opportunities?

I wouldn't trade my agency experience for anything. It's turned out to be absolutely invaluable in both connections and knowledge. I don't think you'd get the same experience just by interning. Interning is great, but it's akin to dipping your toe in the giant ocean of Hollywood. Whenever I meet interns now, I always kind of laugh to myself because they don't even know how much they don't know. (I was plenty naive as an intern, too.) If you intern at an agency, you might get to do a lot of the same tasks as the mailroom staff, and I'm sure you'd learn a lot. But you wouldn't get to listen to an agent's phone calls the same way an assistant would. I didn't fully understand how Hollywood worked until I became an assistant.

If you've already completed some scripts, it's possible that you could get your supervisors to read them - and then maybe the intern connection would be enough. But I'm willing to bet that most interns don't yet have professional-level samples that would be seriously considered. I know I didn't.

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