A few people have asked how I got a manager. I've been kind of scared to post any specifics of what's happening in my writing life, because I'm afraid I might jinx it or look like an idiot or something. So let's hope neither of those things will happen.
When I was working at the agency, I made friends with an assistant at a management company. When you're an assistant, you'll spend most of your day talking with other assistants via phone and email. Sometimes you'll talk to the same person over and over if you're trying to set a meeting that keeps getting rescheduled, and that can lead to small talk and maybe even drinks or friendship. A lot of studio, network and production company assistants find agency assistants to be annoying, since agents and their assistants are constantly bothering these other people to give out information and buy things. (Many agency assistants are also aggressive 22 year-old whipper snappers who haven't really learned how things work yet, so I think that's another part of it.) But management assistants are generally nice to agency assistants, since they're both in the same boat, dealing with the same kind of stuff. And if your boss shares clients with the management assistant's boss, you'll probably talk ALL the time. You'll need to CC each other on every meeting set and submission sent, and your bosses will frequently need to talk strategy.
So this one management company assistant was a master of writing hilarious emails, which is the kind of thing that impresses me. I asked him to drinks, and by drinks I mean going to Baskin Robbins 31-Cent Scoop Night and waiting outside for an hour with the other cheapskates. We finally got our cones and sat on the only free chairs, these tiny plastic things clearly meant for children, talking about our grandiose dreams of not answering phones for a living. He actually wanted to be a lit manager and wasn't another aspiring writer. Crazy! (Keep in mind I wasn't trying to get a manager out of this meeting. I was trying to make friends with funny email guy, and eat some unusually cheap ice cream. Done and done.) He asked to read my stuff, so I sent him all my scripts. Over the next few months he kept checking in with me to see if I had anything new, so that made me feel good. (I've posted before about how you don't want to have to pester someone into being your manager or agent.)
After I left the agency, I found a producer who was interested in a feature script of mine, and it seemed like a good time to secure representation. My management assistant friend had gotten promoted, and he found another manager (with a bit more experience) at the company who liked my work too. Now they're both on my team.
So like I always say, personal connections will get you farther than query letters - and getting a job as an assistant can be a great way to make personal connections.