Q. In your book, "Crafty Screenwriting", on page 226, you say that agents can charge you for photocopies and postage for your script. If your agent gets your script sold to a production company say for $250,000 and he or she gets 10% of that, does the charge for the photocopies and postage come out of the $250,000 too?
If you sell a $250,000 script, your agent better stop charging you anything. And start taking you out to some very fancy lunches.
Agents only nickel and dime you, if at all, when they're not sure they're going to make any money off you. But really, it's only the bottom tier, not very successful agents who charge you for anything. My first agent charged me postage and photocopying. My second agent charged me for photocopying, but not postage. My third agent and later agents never charged me anything.
Generally, the more successful (i.e. better) agents never charge you for anything. They will either make money off you or, after a while, fire you as a client. But any (Guild-signatory) agent (in LA or New York) is better than none, so if the only agent you can get wants to charge you postage, you'll have to write a small check.
As you know from reading my book, any agent that charges for anything else -- e.g. reading fees, script analysis fees -- is breaking the Guild rules. You should report them to the Writer's Guild, then never talk to them again.