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Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Q. I am currently being pursued by Yersinia Pestis [not her real name], a Toronto-based agent. I am an American and currently have an agent representing my work in fiction and comics; however, I do not have screenwriting representation (thus, Yersinia's interest in me). I was wondering if you were familiar with Ms. Pestis and, if so, could pass along your opinion of her. Because of her location, as well as the fact that she is not a WGA signatory, I am inclined to pass on her offer of representation.
My first question is: is Ms. Pestis WGC-signatory? If she's not signatory with either guild, forget it.

My other question is: how on Earth is a Toronto agent going to get you work or sell your material? You're not Canadian, so she can't get you any work in Canada. The Canadian film and TV industry depends on government subsidies for "Canadian Content" output. If you're not Canadian or a permanent resident in Canada, you're useless to Canadian producers, except as a paperweight. And she's in Toronto, so how's she going to get you work in LA? Agents sell to people they have lunch with. Occasionally my Toronto agents will go to LA. But I'm not holding my breath for them to sell me in LA. It can happen when people are high enough profile, e.g. you have just made the highest grossing Quebec film ever and Ho'wood wants to know who you are. Then you go down to LA with your agent and take meetings. But it's rare. Not you-actually-see-some-net-profits rare. But rare.


I think I know who you're talking about. I forget her name at the moment but I was asked by a genre fiction/comic book writer friend of mine to check her out because she'd been pursuing him by email for weeks and he just had a bad vibe about her.

You can see why.

By Blogger Kelly J. Compeau, at 2:42 AM  

Would this mean, as a Canadian who'll probably start out my career in Toronto, I shouldn't get an agent if I want to eventually make it to L.A? Or are you saying that you shouldn't get a Torontonian agent if you're 'currently' trying to make it in L.A?

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:30 PM  

If you're in Toronto, and you're Canadian, get a Toronto agent. If you're in LA, get an LA agent.

I have never heard of a Toronto agent getting someone US work. Certain LA agents can get you Canadian work, but only if you're a Canadian writer and you're already a known quantity.

By Blogger Alex Epstein, at 12:36 PM  

I was just reading another one of your posts, Alex, which spoke about Canadian writers and so forth. Someone left a (long) comment about how nobody wants a Canadian writer, unless you're an American immigrant into Canada.
Since I live in Toronto and wish to one day make it in the L.A business, what can I do apart from full-blown moving to California right away?
Moving to L.A at the start of my carer wouldn't be practical for many reasons.
I'm just not sure how to go about my career as a screenwriter. Of course, I need to write, but else then that, is the only other step moving all the way to L.A? Shouldn't I only do something so big as that when I've got some credits under my belt and so forth?

Etc etc and so forth. I'm sure you catch my drift.
Aspiring writer in Toronto wants to be a screenwriter.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:11 PM  

"No one wants a Canadian writer"? That's absurd. You think the whole Canadian TV industry is made up of Americans? It's not.

If you don't want to go to LA, then stay in Toronto and break in there. Many posts in here about how to do that.

By Blogger Alex Epstein, at 1:35 PM  

Don't shoot the messenger. :P
I was referring mostly to a canadian writer moving down soouth to L.A, but I'm just curious is all.
I was just wondering, since I'm interested in writing features, what I could do by living in Canada and if I should be aware of certain directions I could possibly be steering my career in.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:48 PM  

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