ONE AGENT, TWO AGENTS, THREE AGENTS, FOUR - Complications Ensue
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Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Q. How many agents can one writer have at a time? Do you send them the same material to pitch? Do you negotiate separate agreements based on the type of work you've written i.e. one agent for features and another for television or is it based on region and reach?
You can negotiate any sort of arrangement if people want you badly enough. The simplest way to split jurisdiction is by material. You might have one agent for showbiz and another for books. That's common; the world of publishing operates on different principles and at a completely different pace than showbiz.

Generally you'll have one agent rep you for showbiz everywhere. That's simpler for everyone. You might have one agent who handles you for TV and another for movies, but at the same agency; if you live in New York you might have an agent in New York who belongs to a bicoastal agency, such as Gersh. This works because the commissions all come home to the same agency (though I'm sure the individual agents fight about it).

My situation is idiosyncratic because I live in Montreal, which is a small but functional market for material, and I need to raise my profile in the rest of Canada. I've found that Toronto agents really can't grok Montreal -- what with the French language, and the French culture, and French producers' attitude towards contracts (they're a good basis for further negotiation). And likewise it is hard for Montreal agents to cover Toronto effectively. They won't bump into producers at the Spoke Club, or Starbucks, or the film festival, or the WGC awards. And calling isn't the same as meeting.

Agents don't like split jurisdiction; they're worried they'll do a lot of work to sell a piece of material and the other agent will sell it out from under them. I talked to a couple of agents who wouldn't let me carve off Montreal. So I didn't sign with them.

Another way to get more attention is to sign with a good manager, if you can find one that wants you. Then both the manager and the agent are looking for work for you. You're paying much more commission (managers take 15% on top of the agent's 10%) but 75% of something is better than 100% of nothing. Just make sure that if you've got both, they're both actively repping you and not just booking the commission.

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1 Comments:

This is a little off topic, but I want to get a professional's opinion.

What if you are a hip-pocket client to your agent but:

you sell a script, a b-film, but a legitimate script to a legitimate film company. You get paid a fairly decent amount. Most importantly, so does your agent.

And then you ask your agent to read a script of yours that an "in" you have at a huge studio wants to take a look at.

She doesn't.

She finally asks you to send in the script, she will call the "in" in a few days.

She doesn't.

But being nothing more than a hip pocket client, what do you do?

Kill off this relationship and risk no representation or;

continue with her (she does have a decent reputation in the biz)?

By Blogger fu-fu-man, at 9:33 PM  

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