How do you sell a screenplay without an agent, and how do you get an agent without having sold a screenplay?
That is the Screenwriter’s Catch-22 and the question that has haunted writers for decades and continues to haunt us to this day. Studios will rarely accept scripts that are unsolicited, and agents don’t want to talk to you unless you’ve sold something. So what is the key to breaking that cycle?
There are a few ways to break in, but none are particularly glamorous.
You can get a job at an agency.
Agencies hire script readers, and writing coverage for an agency is a great way to show agents what you know about writing and storytelling.
You can get a job as a studio reader.
Again, it’s not glamorous, but you get to know the studio executives when you do that, and studio executives know agents, and can give you a referal.
Make an independent film.
Making a film and getting it noticed in festivals or other venues is a way to get your name out there and get some recognition. This is the hardest, but the best way to get representation. Making a good independent film shows studios and agents alike what you’re really capable of doing, and what you can do for them.
That is the ultimate answer.
No one in Hollywood is going to help you unless you can show them what you can do for them. How are you going to help them in their careers? No one gives anything away in this town. You have to demonstrate to people who are in positions to help you how you can help them. Sometimes the best way to do that is by working for someone and showing them your talent up close. Other times it’s better to cut to the chase and just create something yourself that you can show masses of people.
Show them what you can do for them, and they’ll do what they can for you.