Not Even a Hip Pocket - Complications Ensue
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Friday, March 07, 2008

Q. I have a producer in London requesting my movie for television script through an agent/agency. But it's the old story of a new writer having trouble getting an agent to even "hip pocket" my project for me.

Am I putting a foot wrong by asking the producer to name an agent he knows to do the submission? Or should I simply submit the material through an entertainment attorney?
You're having trouble getting an agent to "hip pocket" your project AFTER someone has asked to see it?

("Hip pocketing" is when an agent reps you, or one piece of your material, without bringing you into the agency formally. If your material sells, you'll be brought in; if not, the agent doesn't have to look stupid at the Monday morning meeting.)

Normally you shouldn't need an agent until the producer actually wants to buy or option the material. Just to submit, you can usually sign a release form. (That's a daunting-reading document saying essentially that you can't sue if he later produces a movie with a similar idea.)

I'd be careful using an agent recommended by a producer. The rule in Hollywood, as elsewhere, is dance with the one that brung ya. So if your producer brings in an agent, it may be hard for that agent to take your side 100% against the producer who brought him on. But if he merely gives you a few names, then you're probably okay. An entertainment lawyer is fine for negotiating a deal, but they won't then beat the bushes looking for more work for you.

Have you tried calling the less grand agencies in the Hollywood Representation Directory, and asking who'd be willing to rep your material that a producer wants to read?

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3 Comments:

You could try emailing every UK agent who has an email listed and see if you get a bite that way - or even just ring them. Some one some should be willing to take a look...

By Blogger Eleanor, at 11:02 AM  

HI there, I was asked to write a spec pilot for a TV series. How much of a perecentage should I ask if the pilot gets bought? should i ask for an upfront pay? how much would that be?

thanks,
JL

By Blogger JL, at 4:21 PM  

Just blogged the answer; see Sunday's entry above.

By Blogger Alex Epstein, at 5:33 PM  

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