A Herd of Horses, a Gaggle of Geese, a Haggle of Agents - Complications Ensue
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Friday, May 14, 2010

Q. Can a writer have more than one agent? For instance, one agent that specializes in children's programming and another who does comedy? Or an agent for a writing team and another who represents one of the writers solo?
No. Agents rep all your writing endeavors. It would be too confusing to rep you for kids and not comedy. Where's the dividing line? What if they work hard to get you a kids job and you turn it down for a comedy?

Bigger distinctions are possible. I have lit agents, but I also have a nonfiction book agent. For a bit there I had a fiction book agent. A dear friend of mine has an acting agent, a standup comedy agent, and a literary agent.

Geographical divisions can work. Sometimes you can get a US agent to rep you in the US and a Canadian agent to rep you in Canada. I have agents in Montreal and Toronto. Québec is its own market. Most of the producers here are French Canadian, and only a Québec agent can speak the language, in both the literal and metaphorical sense. On the other hand a Québec agent can't completely cover you in Québec because English language TV shows tend to staff out of Toronto regardless where they shoot. And a Québec agent really can't cover you outside Québec. So I need both.

Likewise US agents will always claim that they can cover you in Canada, but this is rarely true. Alpern Agency manages this but they have people in both countries. I have a friend who ditched her US agent because she missed out on jobs he didn't know about.

As in the US where some people have an agent and a manager, having multiple reps costs more. You usually wind up having to pay more commission so everyone gets paid. But if your second agent gets you even one job, they've paid for themselves. So if the situation warrants it, it's worth it.

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4 Comments:

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

By Blogger 貞宣, at 10:33 PM  

Hi Alex,

I have a question - can I ask it in here?

I want to ask your advice about "re-pitching" agents. About a year ago, I sent out a script to a few agents, got a couple of no's and a handful of no-responses-at-all. (No problem, it happens.)

Now, I've written a couple of new scripts, and re-worked the first one I sent. I still believe that the first script is my "best" one - and that the revisions I've made have made it even better. (and it isn't actually my "first" script, because that one's in a drawer.)

If I were to approach these agents again, can/should I re-pitch the same script? (Worry here: they'll think I'm a one-trick pony... if they even remember the first submission at all), or should I pitch something else, and bring up the first script later if I'm lucky enough to get a meeting?

And further to that, *should* I remind them that I've submitted it before, or forget the past and live in the now? On one hand, I want to remind them of any previous connection that we might have had if it will help open the doors, but I kind of don't want to remind them that they weren't actually interested in me.

Thanks a lot!

By Blogger Joanne, at 12:19 PM  

So a follow up to that question, if one were to manage to get a children's entertainment agent interested, by signing with them are you cutting yourself out of the rest of the industry as long as you are with them?

By Blogger just some guy trying to write, at 7:08 PM  

There's no such thing as a children's entertainment agent. There are TV agents and feature agents -- and you might have one guy covering you on TV and another guy in the same agency covering you on features. There are a few agents who specialize in animation -- and therefore wouldn't be the best for your primetime fiction career. But most agencies handle all work.

By Blogger Alex Epstein, at 8:35 PM  

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