Dear Atlas, How Do I Be a Screenwriter?: 3.02
Today, I will pluck a pearl of wisdom from my email correspondence and share it with you.
I'm getting more and more email along these lines, so in attempt to head off duplicitous, er, um, duplicated emails, I thought I'd just share my thoughts on the matter with all of my lovely readers.
This email was from The Supreme Idiot over at OC Idiots. Otherwise known as Tom McCormack, C-List blogger.
How's it going? OK, so you've officially become my insider in the
wondeful world of Hollywood agents. You cool with that? I hope so. Been
reading your blog quite a bit lately, I like it. Except for when you mentioned
that you were more popular than me since you are on Blogebrity's b-list and
I am sadly a c-lister. Way to rub it in coolguy.
Anyway, I had a question for ya: If someone were to be thinking of
trying to get a literary agent, since he may or may not be writing a sitcom
script, what would you propose as his best method for doing so? I've been
working on a little idea, and it might suck, I don't know. But I figure it's
worth a shot.
Any suggestions for landing an agent, and or getting the script into
the right hands. I have a few contacts out there, but from what I can
gather, getting an agent is step number one.
How much work do I need to have on hand before I can even meet with an
agent. Any ideas you can help me with are greatly appreciated.
-The Supreme Idiot
Josh Schwartz rode the OC trend all the way to a third season.
What I write back. . .
Okay, here's the basics:
Yes, getting an agent, preferably a reasonably decent one, is the first step.
But you're probably not ready for a lit agent until you have one really good screenplay and hopefully several others [like 3-5]. If you want to be a tv writer, you have to have a good script for a show that's still in production. All scripts should demonstrate that you're a flawless, consummate professional.
If you're trying to write your own original sitcom idea, forget it right now. The odds of you landing an original series without any experience-- well, unless bloggers suddenly become uber-popular, I wouldn't count on it, let's just say that.
Tips on landing a lit agent:
Good combo of patience and persistence is necessary.
The more you can bring to the table, the more a good lit agent will have to sell.
Develop a hook for yourself as a writer. OC Idiots is a good start for you, Tom. It's more than most people have, anyway. Yes, this will perhaps give you a niche, a 'ghetto' sometimes, but it will help get you work.
Write F**KING PROFESSIONALLY. If you don't know the proper style, learn it now. Don't worry as much about the details but get it pretty friggin' close so it doesn't strike a reader as bizarro format-- which will cause the reader to go 'amateur' and send your script to the circular file.
Do your homework. Don't just listen to this anonymous blogger if you want to make it. There's material out there-- articles and such--that can take you step-by-step through many of the processes.
Enter Contests. If you think you're so good, why not compete? Don't underestimate the value of a win in a decent contest. For a rather small fee, it's something positive to put on a resume.
And also, it's so so hard to make it as a screenwriter. If you're not 80000% sure it's what you want, don't try. Even if you make it, it won't be worth your time and anguish.
Hope that helps, kids. And good luck out there. You'll need it.
Hugs and Air-Kisses,