Critiques and Agents - Complications Ensue
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Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Q. I have just been offered a contract from Sherry Fine of the Screenplay Agency in New York. They want me to have my screenplay critiqued and mail that back with the contract. Have you ever heard of them? is this common practice?
I've never heard of The Screenplay Agency. But any time an agency asks you for a critique, my feeling is that they are not a real agency. Real agencies read the scripts themselves. Why would they rely on someone else to critique stuff they're supposed to feel passionately enough about to represent?

My suspicion is that they will refer you to someone to do a critique, and get a cut of the action.

The simple test is: are they WGA signatory? (In this case: nope.) If an agency does not appear on the Writers Guild of America's list of signatory agencies, don't bother with them.

UPDATE: Shawn writes: "Warren at The Screenwriting Life investigated this company last year using a fake name/script. Check out his posts before doing anything.

I did. Wow. Excellent, and hilarious, hatchet job on what certainly appear to be a bunch of fraudsters. The Interweb is full of these guys. Patricia Nielsen Hayden is always railing against similar scam artists working in the lucrative field of novel publishing. To reiterate: the WGA is there to protect writers. If an agency is not signatory with the WGA, do not bother with them.



Just a minor correction - being a WGA signatory is no guarantee that they aren't out to rip writers off.

Simply put, an 'agency' can make a living from charging wanna-be's 'reading fees' .. and still be a WGA signatory.

The rule for being a WGA signatory is simply that they are not permitted to charge fees to WGA members - they are still permitted to exploit non-members!

I confirmed this with the membership co-ordinator of the WGA a few months ago.

To quote from their email to me:
The [dodgy agency] has been a signatory since 1994 ...

The agency charges fees to non members. Non members are not under our jurisdiction.


By Blogger Mac, at 6:25 AM  

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