He's My Agent (slap!) He's My Producer! (slap!) He's My Agent!Complications Ensue
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Friday, October 22, 2010

Q. I've been contacted by an agent in Agoura Hills in response to a script query letter that I sent and I'm pleased as usual, but this is the first time an agent has responded with a 2-year exclusive producer agreement instead of the standard submission release form. This agent operates as a producer and lit manager, but I don't know if contracts like this are industry standard. Do you have any experience with a situation like this? I'm still trying to break through, so I'm open to trying different avenues as long as I'm nit abused or cheated in the process.
First of all, Agoura Hills? Bzzzt. No.

There's some confusion of terms here. "Agent" is a job that is highly regulated by California law. Agents cannot produce. There would be too much conflict of interest. The producer's goal is to pay you as little as possible. The agent's goal is to get you paid as much as possible.

Moreover, a typical deal with a producer covers only one script. An agent is supposed to represent all your material, and also find you jobs.

Managers are unregulated, and can produce. There are major players who are manager/producers. However, if you are managed by, say, Echo Lake, you also have an agent, not at Echo Lake, who will be the person negotiating on your behalf. In fact, by law, technically, managers can't negotiate your deal, although practically, they discuss it a lot. You must be represented by an agent or a lawyer; your manager is only supposed to set up the deal.

Incidentally, if someone comes along claiming to be a producer, check out their credits on the IMDb. If they haven't produced a movie -- not Associate Produced, not Co-Produced -- then they're an aspiring producer. I tend to think there should only be one aspiring person in any one deal, if you want your picture to actually get made.

I don't think your first representative should be a producer. I would try to find a real agent first.

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