I'm going in to meet an agent. What should I say?
Just go in and be charming and funny and smart.
But also be businesslike. You want her to know that you're working your career, not just stumbling through it.
Be ready to pitch whatever you just wrote, whatever you are writing now, and what you'd like to write.
Ask businesslike questions, e.g.
a. If you rep me, where would you see pitching me / sending me?
b. What do you see as my strengths and weaknesses?
c. What should I work on next? Should I write another spec? Or a spec pilot? What shows should I spec?
d. Tell me about your agency. How many writers do you rep at my level?
Write down the answers. You might want to remind her later on if she forgets any of the people she thought of. It's always a good idea to follow up with agents. They have to keep a lot in their heads, and they have many clients, so the client who helps them organize their work will get more work done for him.
Agencies will often have feature people and TV people. If you write both, make sure you're talking to both.
You don't have to like your agent personally, though it's always a plus (and my agents are both adorable). If you're a quiet, unassuming person, you probably won't like an agent who's arrogant and full of hustle and spin. But that might be a good agent for you.
My rule of thumb in evaluating agents is enthusiasm x enthusiasm x clout
. Clout is their ability to get people to read and see you. Enthusiasm speaks for itself. Agents can blow a lot of smoke, though, so make sure there's actual fire.
And be enthusiastic yourself. Agents are human. They want to feel you appreciate them. And agent who doesn't feel appreciated is unlikely to work her hardest for you, even if she's seeing nice commissions. Make clear that you consider the relationship to be a two-way street: if you can reward your agent, whether with goodies or by directing good clients to them, or just by remembering to thank them, you'll deserve better treatment, and get it.
Labels: agents, breaking in