Lindsay Mendez, star of the Broadway revival of Godspell, once said “Getting an agent is hard, and I also think people rush to get an agent too soon.”
We love a bit of sage advice from our TheaterMaker family, so before we dive into our Tips for Acquiring An Agent, let’s start with the question most literary agents want you to ask yourself before beginning your quest:
Why do I need an agent?
According to Literary Agent Max Grossman, most writers find themselves in a similar predicament- you’ve sent scripts, gotten great feedback, plateaued, and now need someone on your team to help you move forward. However, before offering up a dotted line, there are other questions Grossman inquires of his prospective clients:
“I ask ‘What is your priority – what does your script need?’ You say, ‘it needs a production’ – everyone needs a production. What haven’t you done yet that will help your show, a reading? Have you heard your show out loud?”
Productions are a sure-fire way to get your work in front of an agent- even if you have to self-produce. Theater is an event, an agent may not be as quick to sit down and read a full script, but can easily pencil in an event on their calendar.
Using your invite as an introduction is one of the most important parts of acquiring an agent. Your introductory email to an agent will also be an introduction to your writing. Craft your email just as meticulously as you would any story, injecting your letter with your personal writing style.
*BONUS* Did you know we have an entire INDUSTRY INVITATION EXECUTION PLAN available to Studio Members?
First, click on our RESOURCES tab and select the EXECUTION PLAN LIBRARY:
A quick scroll down the page, and voilà!
Agent-seeking TheaterMakers should also make sure they are attending as many industry events (ie: readings, openings, talkbacks, etc.) in an effort to continue building your industry contacts. We are in the business of “who-you-know” and agents are drawn to clients who are immersed in the theater scene and have solid reputations amongst their peers. Don’t just stay at home and write, put yourself out there and build that contact list!
“Networking is key, don’t be shy about what you want to do and start talking to people who also know about it.”
Once you’ve acquired that initial meeting, Grossman offers these two questions to be prepared to answer:
1.What script are you working on?
2.What does it NEED to get to the next level?
Again, refrain from stock answers. We all want a production. Have a clear vision for your script’s trajectory and be as detailed as possible about what you think the show needs to get to the next level. As for you TheaterMakers with potential projects across TV, Film, and Theater, Grossman says that is a-ok too.
“When we’re signing people at the agency, our hope is to sign them for all skillsets.”
Finally, don’t let your location hinder you from pursuing an agent. It’s so easy to reach people nowadays through any number of channels, so it’s no longer crucial to be in NYC to have a successful career as a writer. If there is one thing we learned after a year of quarantine, TheaterMakers can get the job done wherever they are!
Are you ready to begin your quest to find a literary agent? Need ONE MORE BONUS TIP to get you started? You got it!
Studio Members should head back over to our WRITING TOOLBOX for a full list of literary agents!
Remember, many agents don’t accept unsolicited materials, so make sure you do your research before sending that brilliant new script.
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