Screenwriting Blog
Posted on by Tyler M. Reid

I Finished My Screenplay, What's Next: Finding a Manager

After completing your first screenplay the next thing you dream about is getting your story turned into a movie. Oftentimes it is easy to think that you need an Agent for that, but really you should be looking for a Manager. I like to say, you find the manager, the agent finds you. So what does that even mean?

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I am sure one of the most googled questions for new screenwriters is “How do I find an agent?” The answer you will always get is that agents find you. Of course that seems insane! How can an agent find you if you just started writing screenplays? The answer to that is always - get your work out there and produced. That is even more insane! If I don’t have an agent then how can I get my work out there and produced?!

That is where the manager comes in. Managers are like coaches, they are there to support you in your journey as a writer, while giving you advice, and guiding you through your career. An agent is more like a sponsor - they get you a one off job, you make money, they make money. A manager on the other hand will help you find various assortment of jobs, maybe in a writers room, maybe doing some ghostwriting, as well as producers or studios to look at your writing. As the manager helps you get your stuff out there, then the agents will come calling.

I Finished My Screenplay, What's Next?
Finding a Manager

How Do I Find a Manager?

There is no one singular way, which is great. There are managers that are active on social media, talking about their jobs and giving advice. Just searching for managers on the internet will bring a plethora of results. You will find them at film festivals and events.

If you want to spend some money you can use various directories like IMDbPro. There you will find email addresses to managers. Finding the name and contact of a manager is the easy part.

Emailing a Manager

The harder part is getting them to read your email. A manager has two main tasks in their week. Their first task is reading the hundreds of emails they get from writers wanting a manager, those emails will include a screenplay that also needs to be read. Their second task is sending hundreds of emails on behalf of their clients so they can ensure their clients will get work.

A query letter is another name for your first email to a manager.  Your query letter should briefly introduce who you are and your background(is there anything unique? Are you a military veteran? Did you use to work for a traveling circus? Are you a mother of 6? Something that stands out and represents you). Then you want to briefly describe your screenplay, a logline and synopsis are best for that. When sending a query letter to managers, it is OK to put your screenplay in the email. You want to save them as much time as possible, so give them everything they need in that email. You do not need to include any reference visuals or a pitch package. The screenplay is enough.

Remember how I said managers receive and send hundreds of emails a week? Well that means you need to be patient. If you send an email to a manager, do not expect a reply the next day, next week, or maybe even the next month. Not only are they incredibly busy, they are also human too and take sick days and vacations. Be patient. If it has been a few weeks, you can follow up in a kind and gentle way. Keep it brief.

Do not follow up with another screenplay. It is easy to think that the lack of response means they were not interested in your screenplay, so your course of action may be to follow up by sending them another screenplay. Do not do that. Wait until you hear a response. If they say no to your first screenplay, you can let them know you have another one they would like you to consider.

Be Kind

It is easy to get upset when you get a rejection. Do not get upset and take it out on the manager, you will instantly kill your chances of any kind of career with them. Take a step back and get back to work writing another screenplay or rewriting your current screenplay. If you are kind, get back to work, and then reach back out with an updated draft that you put effort into - they will respect your efforts and your professionalism.

If you want to take your career to the first level, find a manager. They will be with you for the whole journey, they care about you as much as the work you create.

Tyler is seasoned film and media professional with over 20 years of diverse experience, specializing in production management and creative direction, with a rich portfolio spanning music videos, films, and documentaries, and a global network from the US to Sweden. Reach him on his website, LinkedIn, and X, and gain access to his free filmmaking templates when you sign up for his newsletter here.