I’ve written a lot on query letters for your screenplay on this site – and I’ll mention them again below, HOWEVER, I want to briefly discuss four OTHER ways to get an agent to read your screenplay.
Of the five methods below, the first three assume you know an agent or encounter one online or in the so-called “real” world. If you live in Los Angeles, and take screenwriting classes, meet other writers, odds are you’ll be running into representation.
If you don’t live in in LA, you can connect with a lot of these folks over Twitter and other social media platforms. Tweet me – @scriptdreric – and maybe I’ll point you in their direction if you ask nicely…or use any of the other methods detailed below.
This isn’t the be-all, end-all list, but IT IS based on my experience working at an agency, freelance reading for agents, managers, and production companies, and going through this as a screenwriter.
Here goes nothing.
5 Ways to Get an Agent* to Read Your Screenplay
1. Ask them nicely
Would this actually work? Yes. Sometimes.
If you meet an agent in a restaurant, coffee shop, online, in a class, at a party, WHEREVER, if you want representation, you have to not be afraid to breach that slightly-embarrassing question. So step up and ask nicely.
Sure, there is a chance they’ll be annoyed – choose your situation wisely. That’s also where the “nicely” comes in. You might want to say something like, “Could I send you the first 10 pages of something I’ve been working hard on?”
If they say “no,” don’t push it, BUT you might ask for their advice on where you might send it instead. Do they know someone looking for clients?
2. Befriend an agent
Scared to ask the agent you just met to read your work because you’re getting along and it might make the relationship awkward? No problem. Don’t bring it up for the next few months. Make an effort to just plain “be a good friend.”
Does this seem silly? Perhaps it doesn’t need to be said. However, I get the impression that aspiring screenwriters are often intimidated by folks they meet in the entertainment industry. Don’t be. They’re just people.
If you like movies and screenwriting, you’ll have a lot to talk about with most agents. Make a friend. And when you’re comfortable, start talking about that screenplay you’ve been working on.
3. Ask them repeatedly
I am not sure I would recommend this method, but I have seen it work many a time. The agent will read your work just so they can answer that guy who keeps asking them every week in the cafe…
If you do decide to go the route, try not to ask more than once a week, and be sure and BE POLITE!**
If you don’t happen to know / meet an agent, never fear! Here are two more ways to get an agent to read your work:
4. Get recommended
Don’t know any agents but know someone who knows someone? Don’t be bashful – ask them to read your script. If they like it, they might VOLUNTEER to pass it along to their contacts. Their recommendation will give your script a little bit of social currency (hey, two people like it…) and you’re not a total stranger – just one step away.
If your friend doesn’t like your script? Don’t take it personally! Keep that connection! Stay positive! Now you have something to talk about when you buy them lunch!
And if they kinda-sorta like it? Well, you might either take their notes OR see how they’d feel about passing it along to their agent connection.
5. An Old-Fashioned Query Letter
Yes, many places do not read queries, but you’d be surprised at the number that do. A well-written letter could open the door to an agent, and if not, perhaps an assistant who LOVES your idea. Keep in touch – you never know where they might end up.
Not sure how to write a query letter? You may want to read a little post called How to Write a Query Letter
Hope that helps! Remember, if you do land representation, you’re not out of the water! Keep writing and pushing until you’re working steadily.
Best of luck, and…
* This could easily by “manager” or even “producer” in some cases…
** If you’re funny or good looking, then you can probably get away with being slightly less polite. Kidding! (Sort of…)