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The Screenwriters Toolkit

Lesson 17 of 21

How to Get an Agent


The Screenwriters Toolkit

Lesson 17 of 21

How to Get an Agent


Lesson Info

How to Get an Agent

So the question comes up yes how to get an agent uh this is was its asked a lot get it very frequently um it's really it's amazingly simple you walk into an agency's lobby and you go to the receptionist and say that you're seeking an agent and the receptionist takes you back to an agent's office sits you down the agent says tell me about yourself talk for a while then the agent says let me have your script the agent reads it overnight and the next morning the agent calls you that's called an opium green you smoke opium that's um yes you have to get an agent and yes it is impossible to get one so that's what you're faced with that is a story you're the lead character you've got an obstacle an insurmountable obstacle and you've got to get it the agent is the villain you have to capture him control and bend him to your will so you write this stuff used to come up with a scenario of how you're going to write this toe happen you could even have supporting characters people that come in and ...

pretend to be delivery people or other kind of shills that distract people and you pull some big con game and somehow you get an agent interested in you just write the story of how it happens ok so that's not necessarily easy um let's talk about agents assistance agents have assistance um their jobs all day long is too answer phone calls and repeat the same set of standard lies about why the agent is not taking their phone call and they do this all day. But they day is actually longer than the agents because they come in at seven in the morning. The agent comes in between nine, thirty and ten. The agent leaves around seven, seven thirty and the assistant state's till midnight and comes in on saturday. Who would put themselves through all this there's also some agents that treat their assistance with what the supreme court calls cruel and unusual punishment. So why do they put up with this? Because they want to become agents, and they will. And that's why? Agents, assistants are important to you. So the important thing becomes, how do you connect with an agency system? One way is they throw parties. Um, usually male agent assistance live in very, very nice west side of a two bedroom apartment. Really? Because there's between ten and fifteen of them living in it, and they go to the mail room and get all those submission of actresses I know this is always could be in reverse. It could be female assistants and male actors, but whatever they call all those people and they say there's going to be a party at this place and they either vaguely imply wre they brazenly declare it's an agency function and the party that results is like the party's in movies about parties basically huge you go you find out where it is you show up you meet all the assistance you possibly can doesn't matter if they don't know why you're there they don't know why half the people are there and talk yourself up you can say my latest script is a vehicle for mention a star's name because that's who you want it to be for and it's inching towards a green light um you just left out the fact that it's his close to a green light as earth is toe alfa centauri and inching is always a good word to use because it implies close this no matter how far away it it you haven't told any lies and you get them interested um what when an assistant becomes an agent to become a junior agent junior agents just have basic there's just a few things that they're responsible for they have to add service to the team of agents of a big client they also work on resuscitate ing clients careers that are slightly going down hill flagging a little bit and they often succeed in the amazing way but this is the one and interest you they're also responded responsible for finding hot new things that's where you want them to do when they become a junior agent um cell assistance become junior agents junior he just become champions of newbies that they find that they like um still you don't know where that party is how do you find these assistants? Well, you've seen a genealogy chart, you know, it's got it starts with some names over here and they just fans out there's all these names and everything. So what you should do is write down everybody you know, just write the names of every single person you know, right? Your writers can't object a homework, write down everybody you know, and everybody who knows each other make those connected and then start to investigate who knows a friend who has a relative and was a friend there's a roommate who does anything in the film business production assistant go for anything and start to find where everyone you know starts to fan out into this massive in your wall should just be covered with twelve point career font single spaced everybody you know, everybody, they know everybody they might know and investigated because if you don't already have it, you've got to get it. This is a basically a very elaborate way of going after getting some kind of connection to somebody who's in the business there are also um um and this is basically what I've been talking about is the social in the business networking of um of agents and I call that fifty degrees of separation because it's not six degrees, you want one hundred degrees of separation, if you can find it any connection anywhere anyhow, um, so what I want to ask each of you is just off the top, your head thinking right now about yourself, everything is how would you get an agent? Tim, how are you getting? I would probably get in touch with some of my friends from college that moved to los angeles. Some of them have been doing really well, and I've been ah, terribly not conversing with them, but seeing what they've been doing on facebook and I feel like some of them that I've worked with ah, they know my work, and I think they'd be able teo, please help me get a foot in my direction. All right? Uh, step one. Have a good screenplay step to just go to facebook and twitter and just see who's doing what first, right among the people, you know? Yeah, yeah, alright. Um, yeah, uh, finished the three screen craze I need to finish on, then hang out with kim and matt e lived in l a and I know it's ah, it's a beast, you know, it can be really hard it a bit overwhelming to know that there's productions happening all the time and your phone's not being picked up at all I mean I was busy but you know it's just one of those situations that you have to really I found how the eye on the prize and when I was told you know just go back home and do it yourself I was like you know what I'm at least I'm moving forward that way and you know in production and so sometimes uh you know just doing it on your own is go just to kind of build uh some connections right people have worked on your shorts suffering right yeah that's a very good way alright maria I think I would also go social media presence and try to hit on my connections that way and grow my social media circles to try toe meet the right people write also probably hit there's so many indy publications now do leg project of the day project of the week's script of this and try to get attention that way right keep growing your bio dome yeah that's good good you can have all those online magazines they're always looking for content you know right yeah very good. You know the cyberspace is is helping this process out and all this going on I was going to bring up contest teo I myself hate contact but there's no point in me influencing you against it yeah, I mean, they're contests that have a lot of attention that draws attention to the winners and, uh, that gets interest from the town also, um, it's possible that in some cases film students, they're doing directing projects you are don't tend to be. Sometimes I'm saying there might be something don't tend to write their own. And there I know a lot of times it has to be somebody else in the program who's writing in the program. But, you know, if you got something done by a student director and I almost did once, actually, I wasn't in that same school, uh, back when I was you see a way. But, um, if they get into what's called one of these showcases where they're really because they sometimes showcase these things to the town, you know, the best student films and everything would be good to have a script in that, uh, that would be your script. But so contests are also viable.

Class Description

Screenwriting classes often either lean too heavily on theory or simply study the technical approach to writing without a greater context for its use, as if the act of screenwriting exists in a vacuum – it does not. In The Screenwriters Toolkit with Jim Uhls, you’ll learn both the nuts and bolts of the craft, as well as its relationship to getting your work read and ultimately produced.

Jim’s sceenwriting credits include the modern classic “Fight Club” the feature-film "Jumper" the NBC television film "Semper Fi" and the SyFy miniseries "Spin" In this class, he’ll share lessons from his extensive experience writing for Hollywood and the small screen. He’ll teach you how to develop better scripts, get traction for your projects, and navigate the complex professional landscape of script development.

You’ll learn about screenwriting form and content, including:

  • Vocabulary and formats
  • Dialogue vs silence
  • Adapting existing works for the screen
  • Genre-writing

Jim will also share essential insights on developing a career in screenwriting. 

You’ll learn:

  • The differences between writing for television and features
  • Who to work with: agents vs managers vs lawyers
  • How to obtain and manage projects of various sizes and contexts

The Screenwriters Toolkit is a comprehensive examination of screenwriting form, content, craft, and traffic. You’ll learn how to adapt your content to the size, genre, and desired professional result of the script while also learning about the best on-ramps for aspiring writers.


Karla KL Brady

I would definitely recommend this class for first-time screenwriters and writers in general. I'm a novelist that would like to turn a couple of my stories into screen plays. I was mostly interested in the "dos and don'ts" which he supplied in a generous number. He gave a lot of great examples. I enjoyed the format with the students and he pretty much walks you through the entire process, including and especially the three-act structure which can be applicable to novel writing, too. He gave a lot of great examples. I would have liked a more extensive discussion on loglines and writing the action, but this certainly is enough to get you started. For the price, you can't beat it.


I came to this site by accident and then found some well known internet marketers here, who had already been sending me helpful emails and offers for some time, which I have used. What I like about the video contents is, that it is good old-fashioned skills and crafts development, rather than just formulaic, churn it out in big numbers advice. Whether screen writing, script writing, creative writing, news writing, etc. there is a structure and guideline for contents, order, grammar, etc., but the appeal is towards the development of one's creative side. I am normally involved in non-fiction writing, so this is a nice, creative side-kick, which no doubt will help my other work. As prolific author Isaac Asimow said, "If you want to learn to write, then you must write".


I would certainly recommend it to others, as there are some really great tips throughout the courses, across various aspects of film script writing.. That said, I would like to recommend however: - to have one version that is focused solely on film writing; eliminating the parts about teleplays and series, as those one or two did not relate to the rest of the course. - in its place, I would have loved to observe the coaching and critique on the writers film ideas, loglines, titles and such. I was very interested in knowing the do's and don'ts, what works and doesn't work, and what the proper approach is. Although he made mention of some of them in his overall content, relating them back to the writer's specific work would have been very beneficial.