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Monday, July 10, 2006

Today I came on board a new agency. Vanguarde Artists Management is Tina Horwitz and Amy Stulberg; Amy will be my responsible, repping me everywhere outside of Quebec.

I was really, really impressed with Amy and Tina. We met at Banff, where they were working the festival hard, talking with producers and network execs. So first of all, major points for shelling out to fly to Alberta whenall the producers and network execs were there, rather than spending the week catching up on their reading at home in Toronto. I only noticed one other agent at the festival (though there may have been others; not like I know them all on sight). We had a meeting Sunday afternoon at the Rundle Lounge (a hotel bar everyone hangs out at) and then, because we didn't get all our talking done, again at breakfast the next day. Points for being willing to meet early in the morning. Points for meeting twice because a producer dropped into the first meeting and it stopped being a meeting about representation.

And good meetings, too. Showing their knowledge of the market and the industry. I particularly liked that when we were talking about my show Fallen, they didn't just run through the five Canuck networks, they also mentioned Lifetime. I like the idea of agents that have a sense of the US market.

But what impressed me most was that when I talked with Amy, she had a game plan. She took the trouble to read most of my stuff, and she'd thought about who to pitch it to and how to pitch it. I didn't know half the companies she was naming, which is part of my frustration with previous reps: after six years in the Canadian TV industry, I oughta know these people, right? Ought to have met them, ought to have been read by them.

I liked that she was on top of which shows are hiring, which shows are looking for someone with my type of credits (i.e. ready to step up to showrunner), which shows might have some free lance scripts. Because hey, not too proud to do free lance scripts.

I loved that she thought of sending out a press release. I've never been the subject of an agent's press release. It makes perfect sense -- it's an excuse to remind people that you're alive. You always want to be in the forefront of people's brains when they're thinking of whom to hire or whom to read.

I liked that she'd checked me out -- talked to people I've worked with, to see if I'm the kind of client they want. It means they're discriminating agents and won't take just anybody with an eye to collecting as much commission as possible. Many agents coast on their clients' connections; they're really just negotiating agents. You get the work, they negotiate the deal. They're still better than no agent. But they're only doing half the job.

I liked that she talked about branding. If you want to be the go-to guy for X and Y, then you need to focus on X and Y, which means not doing Z and U and W. My dream job is running a live action show for a mainstream audience. Could be comedy. Could be drama. Depends on the characters and the show. That's my focus then. Not animation for 4-8 year olds, for example.

The thing I liked best was that Amy spent time with me before I became her client. She knew I was talking seriously with at least one other agent -- a guy with a very go-getting style, very hard worker, starting his own agency, which means hungry, which means motivated. She could have tried to see which way I was going to jump before spending the time. Instead, she invested time in reading and thinking. And her thoughts were smart and informed.

So, Amy's repping me now. If you have projects for me, she's not hard to find. Thanks for having me on board, Amy!



Thanks for sharing that, Alex. I'm going to need an agent soon and they sound like good people.

By Blogger Kelly J. Crawford, at 1:34 PM  

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