Screenwriting agents are to writers what news reporters are to the media. Every screenplay writer dreams of hiring an agent even before he has produced his masterpiece. A literary agent is a middleman who represents the writer and his work to publishers, producers or the makers of the TV serials, video games or theatrical plays. He conducts all the negotiations associated with sale of the script compiled by a writer. There are single agents operating individually or companies consisting of a number of members all working towards helping a writer to exhibit and sell his creation, of course for a slice of the money collected. This cut varies between 10 to 20 percent of the fees collected in the transaction.
The knowledge of what screenwriting agents can do for him, a script writer tries to hire the best one whom he can afford and the one experienced in handling the kind of script he has. The problem faced by a struggling writer is to find the right man to stand in for him. It is said that you require an agent to get a job and a job to get an agent. A few useful ways to break the vicious cycle and get the best agent include:
• Refer to the latest edition of two of the books, “A Guide to Literary Agents” and “The Agent Directory”. These books provide a list of agents for hire. Another way is to find the right person online, willing to accept the genre of writing that you do.
• Writers in the nascent stage will do well to settle for new screenwriting agents trying to establish themselves and win a long list of clientele.
• Investigate into who the agents were for popular screenplays and try to get them to handle your business as well. Check this out with Writers Guild of America. Interact with as many screenwriting agents as possible, learning how they function and what exactly they want.
• Your participation in script writing competitions will be noticed by agents big and small.
• Make a list of all agents of repute in the genre you are writing and send out letters of introduction to them. Also include a short synopsis of the script you have at hand. These will act as your sales letters. Do not forget to include a self addressed stamped envelope to prompt the agency to respond. A few letters of rejection should not pull you down. Regular follow up may become necessary without pestering the agent. There may be a few screenwriting agents who feel interested in your script and set you on the path to fame and fortune.