Screenwriting Blog
Posted on by Courtney Meznarich

Screenwriters Don’t Always Need an Agent, and This Pro is Proof

“I think people put too much stock in getting an agent at first."

That's how Ricky Roxburgh began, as we asked him a question that he must receive regularly. How does a screenwriter get an agent?

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Well, the old adage comes into play in Ricky’s answer: If you want something done, you’ve got to do it yourself. In this interview with SoCreate, the Disney Animation Television writer-turned-Dreamworks story editor reveals the secret sauce to finding and selling work. Spoiler alert: You’ve already got everything you need.

“I don’t have an agent. I’ve never had an agent,” Ricky told us. “I have a manager, and I have an attorney. To this day, my managers haven’t gotten me work. I still have gotten all of my jobs myself.”

Managers can help shape your work, and attorneys can help negotiate your contracts. We get into specifics about the difference between screenwriting agents, managers, and lawyers here.

But Ricky is proof that success is attainable without representation. Of course, it depends on what you want your career path to look like, but the advice remains the same: you have to put in the work to get work.

“I think people aren’t necessarily ready for an agent,” Ricky continued. “Agents will come to you once you’ve gotten yourself some work.”

I think people aren’t necessarily ready for an agent. First concentrate on writing great material and just getting to know other people in the industry and finding yourself a place where you can get yourself some work.
Ricky Roxburgh

Everyone’s journey to getting work in the entertainment industry looks a little different. Still, there are some common denominators: for every screenwriter we’ve interviewed, hard work and screenwriting skills were key ingredients.

Take Adam G. Simon, who wrote “Man Down” starring Shia LaBeouf, and Netflix’s “Point Blank.” Simon also didn’t have an agent when he scored his first professional scriptwriting job. He made cold calls until he got someone to listen.

Screenwriter Ashlee Stormo doesn’t live in a screenwriting hub, so she uses this IMDb technique to seek out people who can support her on her screenwriting journey.

Jonathan Maberry, a New York Times bestselling author and writer of “V Wars,” which also got its own show on Netflix, recommends building a solid list of potential literary representation matches so you can be precise in your search and querying.

And Jeanne Bowerman, former editor-in-chief at Script Magazine, says that perseverance is the key to success in finally selling your writing work, not necessarily an agent.

If you’re dead set on this representation route, of course, it’s possible to find representation if you’re ready, and we’ve got that guide for that, too.

Just don’t put too much into getting representation, Ricky concluded.

“First concentrate on writing great material and just getting to know other people in the industry and finding yourself a place where you can get yourself some work.”

Let’s go job hunting,

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