Screenwriting Blog
Posted on by Courtney Meznarich

Two Tricks to Get a Literary Agent That We Hadn’t Heard Before

If there’s one question that we’ll never tire of answering, it’s this one: How do I get a literary agent? There are as many answers as there are writers who’ve managed to land one, and writer Marc Gaffen’s response to the question was yet another method that we hadn’t heard before. He has two specific approaches that he’s seen work for his writing friends, and below, he’s sharing the secrets with you!

To preface, there’s no “easy button” to get an agent. If you want one and are ready to get one, we’re going to assume that you’ve already put in a significant amount of work to get your writing portfolio in an awesome place. Otherwise, the advice Marc gives won’t work for you.

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And don’t get it twisted: Marc is not suggesting that either of these approaches will be simple. But, they’re two new approaches to try if what you’ve been doing so far is not working.

Marc wrote a few episodes of television himself, has a graphic novel to his name and another on the way, and works full-time as a script coordinator on top shows such as “New Amsterdam” and “Mare of Easttown.” He’s been part of the entertainment industry since he moved out to L.A. (knowing no one) in the early 2000s. He’s seen and tested several strategies for getting an agent. Below, you’ll find two that he’s seen work that both require you to get a specific type of job first.

1. Get a Job in the Writers’ Office on a TV Show

“If you don’t have an agent when you move out here, the best way to move forward is to get a job on a T.V. show. If you get a job on a T.V. show in the writers’ office, and then you’re able to pitch an idea to the showrunner, and they say, ‘Yes, go write that episode.’ Once you have that episode, then you can get your friends to refer you, or get the showrunners to refer you, or you can just do cold calls to agents that you might happen to know and say, ‘Hey, my name is Marc. I have an episode of “Grimm,” or I have an episode of “Law and Order” premiering on this date. I’m looking to get repped.’ By them seeing that you actually have an episode of T.V., they’ll take notice of that and read your stuff and meet with you and hopefully rep you based upon other material that you have. The best way to have an agent is through either networking, or through a friend that can recommend you, or starting to work on a T.V. show and build your way up so your resume or your material gets big enough where an agent might be interested in joining forces with you.”

2. Get a Job at an Agency

“Another good way if you’re a writer and you want to become a staffed T.V. writer, you can move out to L.A. and work for an agency. If you work for an agency as an assistant for a year, you get to see how the agency world works. As you continue writing, you’ll start building up material, then you can start going off to your friends who you’ve worked with and saying, ‘Hey, I’m also a writer. I really want to be a writer. Can you take a look at my material? Because I know you want to be an agent, and if you sign me as one of your first clients and help me get a job, that will help you elevate you to becoming a better agent.’ I know a lot of people who did that route. I know a lot of writers who went the agency field and the agency assistant field first to help get their feet on the ground and meet agents, which have eventually led them to work as a writer in television.”

So, there you have it – two new strategies to try to find writing representation! As I mentioned, there are endless ways writers can land a literary agent, and we’ve written about many of those options. Continue reading the blogs listed below to find what works best for you:

As our founder likes to say, “There’s always another way” …

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