For most screenwriters, by the time they have completed one or more screenplays, they are already thinking about getting a writing agent or manager for their script. However, oftentimes, you may not be clear which you need or whether you need them.
Let’s go over the basics of what they do and which you might need. Let’s use the term “literary representation” to refer to either of them.
The basic benefits of having literary representation with an agent or manager is that they may do any or all of the following:
1. Get you meetings with producers to pitch your script.
2. Get producers to read your script.
3. Help package your screenplay with other talent in their agency.
4. Try to get you hired to do assignment writing, such as re-writing a screenplay or writing one from scratch.
Whether it’s an agency representing your screenplay or a literary manager, it doesn’t matter.
The biggest challenge is finding someone who believes in your script and you as a screenwriter enough to put real effort into helping you get established as a writer.
As for what sets the agent and manager apart, one aspect of it has to do with how they are licensed by the state — an agent is an official sales rep and a manager is not. But the real difference affecting you as a screenwriter is that the manager, ideally, gives you more attention than an agent can.
Literary managers work with you more closely on getting your scripts out and setting up meetings. They also work with you more on the long-term view of your screenwriting career.
In particular, when you are starting out, you may have more luck finding a small literary manager than an agent to represent your script. There are far more small lit managers who are willing to read scripts than agents. An additional benefit is that they can also easily help produce your script if they choose too.
If you are new to the business side of screenwriting and wishing to approach literary agencies, you might consider going the route of pursuing a literary manager instead. Although you can’t beat the power of the Top Hollywood Agencies, as an unproduced writer, you’re unlikely to be accepted by them. Some of the tops are:
United Talent Agency (UTA)
William Morris Endeavor (WME)
Creative Artists Agency (CAA)
International Creative Management (ICM)
Go on and take action and get in the game. Just start by considering a small management company.
Smart Girls Productions can help you with their long-time service of query letter mailings if you want to jump in right away. Most importantly… keep taking action and don’t let your concerns stop you.