Tuesday, January 10, 2012
A few general thoughts on reps
Having a rep is amazing, but as I learned last time I had a manager, it does not guarantee any kind of success. Their job is to give you opportunities. Your job is to make the most of those opportunities.
Reps sign you on because they think you can make them money. They can get your career going. The few I've dealt with have struck me as people who love getting excited about working with someone they believe has talent, and that excitement is contagious. Your job, as an unrepped writer, is to get that excitement going over you.
But there are different kinds of reps. If you don't know about hip pocketing, that's when the rep doesn't do any work on your behalf, but if you need someone to submit for you, they'll do it. So let's say you're at a party and you meet a studio exec. You pitch him an idea, he likes it, tells your rep to send it over. That's when you call your hip pocketing agent to send that requested script over. And maybe if he likes you enough, or if you show signs of promise, he'll decide to fully represent you.
Any "agent" or "manager" who wants money up front is a fraud. Period. I don't care how much they gush over you. They are full of shit and you shouldn't do business with them.
There are plenty of stories of reps who sign a writer then forget about them. It happens quite a lot, actually. But as a very successful A-lister once told me, a rep who never calls is not a rep. If you end up with a rep who hasn't contacted you in months, break it off. They're not interested in you. Remember the excitement the like to feel? As soon as they lose that sense of excitement, you've lost them.
But it's not the end of the world if you have to fire a rep, even if you have to go back to being without one for a while. Sometimes it's not a good fit. I know plenty of successful writers who've been through three or four reps until they found the right one, and I know successful writers who stuck with the first one they landed. It's different for everybody.
But the important thing is, no matter who is representing you, keep working. Bust your ass, do what they say, and maybe you can keep that excitement going. That's where I am now: busting my ass to take advantage of the opportunities I'm being given.