Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Obtaining an Agent Within a Literary Agency

Obtaining an agent within a Literary Agency is one of the first questions presented to any screenwriter once he or she has finished writing their screenplay. It can feel a little daunting and perhaps a bit overwhelming. But you need not fear. It is all part of the process. Don't let the business side of writing scare you. That's where the most important part of your career happens.

The best way to approach a literary agent within an agency is through writing them a query letter. This is the method most preferred by agents. When researching a literary agency, make sure to ask what their guidelines are for submissions. Most literary agents have specific requirements on what they will or will not accept.

Being a screenwriter, one of the key questions you want to have answered is what genre the agent represents. And does your screenplay fit their criteria. The worst mistake you can make is to send a query letter and a copy of your screenplay to a literary agent who does not represent the market in which your screenplay falls. But don't let that frighten you. You might find an agent who has decided to branch out.

As a general rule, the best advice that anyone can give you is for you, the screenwriter, to do your research thoroughly on a literary agency before you start sending out query letters and copies of your screenplay. In the long run it will pay off. In fact, don't send the screenplay at all unless they ask you to send it. They do not like to received unsolicited screenplays, but many of the will accept an unsolicited query letter as long as it's good.

Another factor to consider before submitting your work to an agent is that your screenplay should be as polished as you can make it. Have a professional in the film business, preferably a legitimate script consultant, read your story and give you feedback. Another set of eyes is always a good idea. It can give you insight into how others will interpret your character's story line. Try to define any hidden weaknesses within your screenplay and resolve them. Are your characters distinguishable? Is your plot character driven? Is your screenplay compelling? Does it affect you emotionally? Have you woven the plot, characters and theme into a cohesive story?

Once you have done a final re-write of your screenplay and feel confident that it is the best that you can present you are now ready to begin advancing your career as a screenwriter by approaching the screenwriting agents.

With your research complete on a literary agency, start writing your query letters. Make sure to include a list of your credentials. If you have won any writing contests, these should be noted.

Remember your goal as a screenwriter is to obtain a literary agent within a literary agency. You want to find an agent who will represent you and your screenplay to producers and studio executives in the best possible light. Before submitting your query letters and copies of your screenplay make sure to pay special attention to each agent's preferences and guidelines. You will have a far greater response from your mailings if you do so.