Ready to be repped? This guide will take you through interviews with four high-level agents and managers in Los Angeles, to give insight into what they look for in writers they’re considering for representation. (Hint: it’s more than just good writing!) You’ll want to set aside at least an hour to get the most out of this guide and these exclusive classes and interviews. This guide is created specifically for TSL 360 members. Get ready for a big dose of inspiration!
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What you’ll learn:
- Qualities agents and managers are looking for in clients
- What reps are looking for in scripts they take on
- How agents and managers usually find prospective clients
- What writers can do to attract an agent or manager
Ready to dive in? Sign up for your TSL 360 membership, and then let’s get started:
1. VIDEO: Chris Coggins, Manager
Chris Coggins is a manager at Heroes and Villains Entertainment, representing writers, actors, directors, and wellness professionals. She has over a decade of experience in feature, television, and digital series development and production, working at Escape Artists/Sony Pictures, EuropaCorp, and Allison Shearmur Productions at Lionsgate, procuring projects such as Burial Rites, Endangered, and Nerve. She also developed Pride, Prejudice, and Zombies and Cinderella.
In her interview on TSL 360, Chris dives into what brought her into management, how she finds her clients, and what particular types of clients she likes to represent.
9:23-10:09 “…I’ve found my clients mostly through referrals, either friends of friends, or other managers in the company who haven’t been able to take on somebody because they’re just full…I found one from a query letter. I think that’s the hardest [way to find a manager]. It’s ‘who do you know who will vouch for you?’”
10:12-10:46 “…I want to find clients who are first of all good people. I don’t want people who have a bunch of drama, who are rude. I don’t want to work with people who don’t want to put in the time… who aren’t willing to hustle themselves to keep writing, keep creating. I wanna work with creators. It’s so hard to do, and I just really respect people who do that.”
2. VIDEO: Keya Khayatian, Agent/Partner
Keya Khayatian is a partner in the Motion Picture Literary department at United Talent Agency in Los Angeles. Born in Iran and raised in Los Angeles, Keya started his entertainment career in 1995 as an agent trainee in the UTA mailroom. He was quickly promoted to departmental assistant specializing in film rights for literary properties, and in 1997 he was promoted to agent.
With a keen eye for spotting original artistic voices, Keya has helped develop the careers of many of the most sought-after writers and directors in the industry, as well as representing established UTA talent.
In his interview on TSL 360, Keya discusses the difference between an agent and a manager, best practices for writers, and how writers can advocate for themselves.
0:16-1:51 “Every agent is different in terms of what they look for. Personally, I look for a script that really speaks to me, something that I’m going to want to see. And something that reflects my taste. Sometimes that’s comedy, sometimes that’s drama, sometimes it can be a thriller. Usually, it’s something that surprises me or connects to me emotionally. Sometimes it’s something that says something about the world around us and might make a difference in the world around us. But really, I’m drawn to great characters and great storytelling, and pieces that move me emotionally.”
In Keya’s interview: Learn action steps that writers can take to advance their careers.
3. VIDEO: Jewerl Ross, Manager
Jewerl Ross is a literary manager, producer, and owner of Silent R Management. He has worked at APA, ICM, Marathon Management, and Paradigm, and his clients include Best Picture Academy Award-winner Barry Jenkins, Matt Aldrich, David H. Steinberg, and Brad Buecker.
In his interview on TSL 360, Jewerl talks about the unique way that he ended up opening his own management company, and the myriad of ways in which he finds clients to represent.
10:32-11:21 “When I look at this thing [the script], can I have a physical, emotional, powerful response to it? Has it enlightened me, has it given me something to think about, has it made me feel something? I am on a constant hunt for that feeling… that collection of feelings… so that I can export it to people who trust me.”
11:42-15:14 “There’s no simple way to find clients… I go to film festivals, I’ve been to Cannes… I went to the short film festival Clermont-Ferrand [in France]…I’m going to Fantastic Fest in September, I’m going to a short film festival in Palm Springs in June, so that’s an important way… I have good relationships with a small number of agents around town; they often send me clients… I have a couple of good lawyer relationships that send me clients… all of this falls under the rubric of referrals… if someone calls me and says ‘I read this and it’s great,’ I don’t care if I know them or don’t know them, I don’t care what level they are, if they’re an assistant, and they have the balls to call my office and say ‘Jewerl, this is great,’ I’m gonna close my door and read it.”
In Jewerl’s interview: Hear how Jewerl likes to work with his clients, and how he signed some of his biggest names.
4. VIDEO: Ashley Berns, Manager
Ashley Berns is a manager at Circle of Confusion in Los Angeles. A graduate of London University, Ashley worked in British television and in the Bloomberg Television newsroom in London before moving to LA and working his way up to manager at The Radmin Company. Since 2005, he has been with Circle of Confusion, representing writers including Tony Jaswinski (The Shallows), Olly Blackburn (Donkey Punch) two time Academy Award nominee Lucy Walker (Waste Land), Nicholl Fellowship winners Alisha Brophy & Scott Miles (White Girl Problems), and BAFTA winner Tinge Krishnan.
In his interview on TSL 360, Ashley talks about a typical workday for a manager, and what gets him excited to pitch a script.
5:56-7:29 “To take on a new client, the very first thing is always the writing. I need to have read something that I’m excited about, for whatever reason that is. If it’s a comedy, if I just laughed throughout, or a horror that had me on the edge of my seat scared… we read a lot of scripts… and we’re [usually] like, ‘I know where this is going’… so any script that surprises you in a good way has an advantage. We’re looking for a script that we’re excited about, excited to make a lot of calls about… Then we want to sit down with that writer and find out more about them. And to know that they are gonna keep working hard, and not feel that their part is done now that they’ve written one great script.”
In Ashley’s interview: Learn about what Ashley expects from a writer he’s considering signing.
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Rebecca Norris is a producer, writer, and filmmaker with her production company, Freebird Entertainment. Her recent award-winning feature film, Cloudy With a Chance of Sunshine, has been distributed on Amazon Streaming and DVD. Rebecca is also a script analyst and consultant who has read for many companies, including Sundance, ScreenCraft, Bluecat, and the International Emmys, as well as her own script consultancy, Script Authority. Rebecca blogs for Screencraft, The Script Lab, WeScreenplay and Script Magazine, exploring the film writing and production process and encouraging writers to produce their own work. Follow Rebecca’s posts on Twitter at @beckaroohoo!