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Thursday, December 04, 2014

Let's say I've written 20 originals and 22 adaptations, yet despite all statistics, I still can't find a WGA/WGC signatory agent. What's wrong with me? What am I doing wrong? I am not this person, but it's interesting to think about. Is it a lack of a hook or an interesting concept? A lack of lucid thought? A need for more proteins in the diet? What?
If someone wrote to me to say they are this person, I'd ask:

a. Do your scripts all have strong, fresh hooks? When you recount said hooks to friends/strangers, do they say "I would totally watch that," or do they just smile vaguely?

b. Do they have strong stories? (A compelling main character; an opportunity/problem/goal; obstacles/antagonist/flaws; stakes; jeopardy)

c. Do they have fun roles for actors to play?

d. When you pitch their stories to people, do people seem interested all the way through?

e. Do they fit into an established genre? Do they fit into a section of a video store or Netflix? Or are they all arthouse?

f. Are you approaching agents at your own level? I.e. there's no point for a baby writer to hit up CAA.

g. Do you live within driving distance of LA or New York? It is hard to get representation if you don't.
However, if these are features we're talking about, then it should not be impossible -- after all, the agent is selling the script, not you.

 I mean, one possibility is you can't write worth a damn. However, even if you can't write worth a damn, if you've written 20 original scripts with strong stories, you ought to have an agent. If the story is good, and the hook is good, a badly written script will still sell.

 I'm not sure what to do with the "adaptations" part of this question. Do you have the rights to the material you're adapting? Is the material (or at least the author) you're adapting already really successful? The answer needs to be "yes" to both. If you don't have the rights, the script is unproduceable. If the material is not successful, then who wants to produce an adaptation of it? Unless the author is famous -- e.g. you have the rights to a long-lost Philip K. Dick short story, or an unpublished Stephen King manuscript.

 There is no set number of scripts you have to write before you get an agent. But most pro writers get one pretty soon. I had one for my third script, looong before I was making a living writing.

If you are writing and writing and not getting an agent, then I would say maybe you are not learning enough from your writing. Either you're not seeking out good feedback, or you're not taking the feedback to heart. Practice only makes perfect if it is mindful practice.

I would also suggest writing in a different medium. Maybe screenplays are not your forte? Why do you ask?


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