Q. I am a US citizen living in Sydney, Australia for the next two years I am hoping to land an Australian agent, but would it be wise to get an American agent as well? And if it is possible, how would I go about doing it?
You get a US agent the same way you always do, by sending in samples. Get a Gmail account, and no one really has to know where in the world you are until they want you to come in for a meeting.
(I know a rather successful agent who spent a whole LA heat wave in Aspen with calls forwarded to his cell phone. He would check the LA weather report every day so he could commiserate with people about how hot it was.)
I'm not sure how productive a US agent would be, though. They'll want to send you on meetings, and you're not available. They can't staff you on TV shows, obviously. They could sell your spec feature script, but they'll be disinclined to do that work if there's no additional upside by getting you rewrite jobs.
I haven't pushed to get a US agent because I wouldn't be able to hold up my end of the relationship very well. I'm not going to be there for staffing season. I'm not available for meetings in LA. And I'm too busy to prepare a "take" on a potential rewrite.
(I actually am
talking to a couple of agencies here at TIFF, primarily to sell my US-flavored specs, and on the off chance someone does want me to do a rewrite without meeting me. But I might be a bit more of a known quantity than you.)
So, while it is possible to have dual representation, I think you're better off working the Australian angle for now, until you have built up your craft and your credits and your portfolio of specs. Then when you actually plan to come to LA, you can hit the ground running.
How much of a barrier to writing features would living in Vancouver be? It's less than 3 hours away, by air, so I could conceivably set up a meeting and and get there in the same day.
You wouldn't have to get there in the same day, you can always be "busy this week, but how about next week"? It's more the expense. Agents will want to send you out on a slew of meetings. Most are a huge waste of time. But at least you could fly in to meet the agent, and spend a week down there from time to time. That could work.
I am an Australian writer as well, without representation, and what i have heard is that your best bet is to make yourself known here first before going over to the US. You are much more likely to get representation, and meetings with producers, if you can point to having success in your home country.
One thing I will say is that there does not seem to be alot of agencies that represent screenwriters. Most agencies only represent novelists, so keep that in mind as well.
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