Just received an e-mail from scriptwriting guru Adrian Mead, about item number 8 in my Cheltenham coverage, in which Casarotto Ramsay agent Rachel Holroyd said she wouldn't be interested in receiving three scripts (10 mins, 30 mins and feature-length) as a submission.
In his e-mail, Adrian reminds me about the purpose of his Agents Pack Paradigm. This, together with the ICM assistant's testimonial which he adds as a PS, is very useful stuff: even though I've continued to build the pack of three scripts as Adrian suggested, conversations with a few other people had recently begun to sow seeds of doubt. However, we'd forgotten a vitally important detail. Here's what the big man says...
Hope you're well and busy. Very kind of you to post all the stuff about the Screenwriter's fest for the likes of me who were unable to get there. Thought I should clarify some stuff re your headline - Adrian Mead denied.
You are absolutely right that agents want to read as little stuff as possible and only the very best. This is goes for all agents.
However, it seems you are getting confused slightly about the approach that I outline in the HOW TO GET AN AGENT handout. The pack is not for the agent.
If you read the handout again it states very clearly that this approach is designed for a very specific purpose. It is all about getting your work past the most important person in the equation. The agent's ASSISTANT.
The approach I outline aims to make it AS EASY AS POSSIBLE for the ASSISTANT to -
1. Figure out if you are a good guy or a crazy.
2. It allows them to RAPIDLY skim a variety of your work.
3. To ensure you are not a 1 script in 10 years kind of writer and can write for a variety of genres.
If you impress the assistant they then recommend your work to their boss. At this point they will hand over the 1 PAGE PITCH DOC and FEATURE SCRIPT along with your one-page CV and very short letter. Nothing else.
The HOW TO GET AN AGENT doc was put together after talking to a variety of agents and their assistants. This is the method I used to get an agent. It has been thoroughly "road tested" and approved and has been successful for a number of writers I know. Of course you also need talent!
If anyone would like a copy of the HOW TO GET AN AGENT HANDOUT I'll happily send them one. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Below is the response from an assistant that I got to look over the document. Makes interesting reading.
I must confess it is very funny to see this from this side of the fence so to speak. It is also rings very true, everything that you have mentioned.
What they have to do, is put themselves in the position of the assistant; imagine that they are sitting at the desk having just been given a enormous task list to compliment the already long to do list, and then have someone call who will only make your life harder... then the other line goes and they need to answer that etc etc.
I would suggest, the key is, somehow being remembered on the phone whilst still keeping the phone call brief. There is nothing more annoying than someone "hanging around" on the phone, outstaying their welcome and asking for advice on how they should build their career. Nor is it clever to be selective as a means of trying to sound important and say that you're only pursuing a couple of agents that you have hand picked. This is transparent and ultimately makes an assistant think the person is an idiot. Avoid comments like: "but this script really is good", "this will make millions", "i have interest in the script from a couple of investors/the Weinsteins/a producer".
In short, like you so cleary point out, be as little of an irritation as possible, somehow try and make the conversation a memorable one, and reek of polished prowess, whilst never actually stating that this might be the case. It will be comforting for them to know how people really can, and do, stick out as being different, more interesting and quite possibly very good screenwriters just from how they deal with the initial call. There are lots of very crazy people, some middle of the road people and a few that rise above both. Those scripts might not get read, but the treatments certainly will - and if it is good, then the script could well get read.
It should be noted that most of the reading takes place after-hours on "home time", so on top of what already needs to be read, it really has to be a cracking first 10 pages to persuade an assistant to carry on.
Hope this helps.
An assistant at ICM