It Couldn’t Be This Easy

10 Mar

After River One gave me the go-ahead to write the first draft of Basement, the next step was to get an agent. Getting an agent to represent you when you don’t have any connections is a daunting proposition. You come into an agent’s office with a screenplay or novel, with no prospects or referrals, and you’ll have a hell of a time getting their attention. Agents aren’t that interested in the literary property – they’re interested in the deal.

I suppose I was too green to be discouraged. I flipped through a WGA East pamphlet that listed agents in New York City. I picked out the Gersh Agency New York because they also had an office in L.A.I’d heard the name but I don’t think I knew how big they were. Gersh wasn’t in the top three but I think you can say they hover just below the hierarchy of ICM, CAA and William Morris. I picked out an agent, Elyse Kroll, dialed the number, got connected through the receptionist and Elyse answered the phone. I filled her in on the situation with River One and she agreed to represent me. That’s how simple it was.

I signed a three-year contract and we got down to work.

Unfortunately, cracking the Rosetta Stone of screenwriting isn’t as easy as making a phone call or signing a contract – at least it wasn’t for me.

What followed was three years of dead end drafts, of River One failing to exercise their option, and of me writing spec scripts that didn’t set my agent on fire. Elyse left the business before my contract expired and that left me even more bereft. When the three years was up I entered the ranks of screenwriters who can mention “…my former agency” while hoping to sidestep the inevitable question, “Who is representing you now?”

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