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Thread: Managers

  1. #1
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Managers

    Are are any sites available to check on reputations / professionalism of Managerial Firms for writers?

  2. #2
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    That would depend upon what you mean by "Managerial Firms". If you're talking about literary agencies, there's a few places, starting right here in AW's B&BC. Your next stops should be Preditors & Editors, and Writer Beware.
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  3. #3
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    Thanks for your response. I am aware of these two sites, but they are for agents only. Since I've been unable to land an agent, I'll try to land a Manager instead. Hence my reason for asking if there are any similar sites to check out managers as well.

    Quote Originally Posted by CaoPaux View Post
    That would depend upon what you mean by "Managerial Firms". If you're talking about literary agencies, there's a few places, starting right here in AW's B&BC. Your next stops should be Preditors & Editors, and Writer Beware.

  4. #4
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    Again, what do you mean by "manager"? That's not a standard term in literary circles. Are you looking for a publicist? If you could give an example of what you're looking for, we'd be in better position to advise you.
    ICAO
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  5. #5
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    The trouble with a manager is that they cost money, often a LOT of money, and they're generally only useful for writers who are already famous.

  6. #6
    Rewriting My Destiny Cyia's Avatar
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    gpk952,

    "Managers" are generally for screenwriters, not novel or non-fic writers. And pretty much anyone can hang a shingle and declare that they're a manager. All you can do is check their credits by Googling for complaints or reputation.

    Managers also take a much bigger cut than an agent (20-25%).

    Now for the blunt part:

    Don't blame the agents for your failure to attract one.

    If you're not getting any hits with agents, that's not the time to go looking elsewhere. That's the time to go looking at your query and manuscript.

    Post your query here in Share Your Work and see if that's your problem. If so, fix it and send out a new one.

    Post a chapter in Share Your Work to see if the trouble is with your writing. If so, rework it until it's saleable.

    Get yourself a brutal beta-reader (there's a forum here for that, too). Friends, family, teachers, etc. don't count. You need someone you don't know who couldn't care less if you're insulted by their comments (so long as they're true). You'll get worse from readers who pay for your work, so it's best to hear the ugly truth when you can still fix it.

    Once the book is tip top and the query rocks, then send it out.

    If the book was up to standards, it would stand out so far from the rest of the trash agents get that they'd be asking for partials and fulls. I guarantee you, if you're not getting requests for either, it's not the agents who have the problem.



  7. #7
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    James hit the nail on the head. You don't want to pay a manager, especially when your writing isn't earning you any money yet.

  8. #8
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    Thank you but I forgot to mention I am a (hopeful) screenwriter. I don’t blame anyone for my failure to attract an agent, but as we all know, most agents will not accept any unsolicited mail. My logic for choosing this path is, should “my” manager like my work, he/she can then introduce me to a reliable agent afterwards. I’ve had two script requests from Managerial Firms already and so this is my reason for asking if there are any internet sites to check on the reputations / professionalism of Managerial Representatives for screenwriters. Thanks for informing me about “Share Your Work” and “Brutal Beta-Reader” - being new to something, it’s always nice to be given a helping hand.


    Quote Originally Posted by Cyia View Post
    gpk952,

    "Managers" are generally for screenwriters, not novel or non-fic writers. And pretty much anyone can hang a shingle and declare that they're a manager. All you can do is check their credits by Googling for complaints or reputation.

    Managers also take a much bigger cut than an agent (20-25%).

    Now for the blunt part:

    Don't blame the agents for your failure to attract one.

    If you're not getting any hits with agents, that's not the time to go looking elsewhere. That's the time to go looking at your query and manuscript.

    Post your query here in Share Your Work and see if that's your problem. If so, fix it and send out a new one.

    Post a chapter in Share Your Work to see if the trouble is with your writing. If so, rework it until it's saleable.

    Get yourself a brutal beta-reader (there's a forum here for that, too). Friends, family, teachers, etc. don't count. You need someone you don't know who couldn't care less if you're insulted by their comments (so long as they're true). You'll get worse from readers who pay for your work, so it's best to hear the ugly truth when you can still fix it.

    Once the book is tip top and the query rocks, then send it out.

    If the book was up to standards, it would stand out so far from the rest of the trash agents get that they'd be asking for partials and fulls. I guarantee you, if you're not getting requests for either, it's not the agents who have the problem.

  9. #9
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    Since we now have the full context, I'm porting this to Screenwriting.
    ICAO
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    I've never known any trouble that an hour's reading didn't assuage. -- Charles DeSecondat

    II 2016: 2017:

  10. #10
    Rewriting My Destiny Cyia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gpk952 View Post
    Thank you but I forgot to mention I am a (hopeful) screenwriter. I don’t blame anyone for my failure to attract an agent, but as we all know, most agents will not accept any unsolicited mail. My logic for choosing this path is, should “my” manager like my work, he/she can then introduce me to a reliable agent afterwards. I’ve had two script requests from Managerial Firms already and so this is my reason for asking if there are any internet sites to check on the reputations / professionalism of Managerial Representatives for screenwriters. Thanks for informing me about “Share Your Work” and “Brutal Beta-Reader” - being new to something, it’s always nice to be given a helping hand.
    Don't know where you got your info, but it's dead wrong.

    Agents do accept unsolicited mail (usually queries, not full screenplays) - with the exception of CAA and it's auto-rejection filter.

    And, if the manager steers you to an agent who then sells your MS -- You owe 15% to the agent AND 20-25% to the manager, add that to your taxes and you aren't left with much.



  11. #11
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    Arrow Corrections...

    Literary managers shouldn't cost anything more than the percentage they take once your material sells.

    Managers typically take 10%-15%.

    Agents typically take 10%.
    Last edited by MrJayVee; 11-25-2009 at 02:26 AM.

  12. #12
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    First of all, no agency has an "auto rejection filter." (I'm assuming that was a joke, but I wouldn't want people to take it literally.)

    Agents take 10% based on the franchise agreement the ATA has with the various unions.

    While there are a handful of lit managers that might charge 15% or more, avoid them. All the best and most successful managers in town charge 10%.



  13. #13
    Rewriting My Destiny Cyia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by creativexec View Post
    First of all, no agency has an "auto rejection filter." (I'm assuming that was a joke, but I wouldn't want people to take it literally.)
    Yes it was a joke.

    All non-approved email addresses to CAA get routed to their legal department which responds with a blanket: Your submission was deleted and not read; do not resend.



  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cyia View Post
    Don't know where you got your info, but it's dead wrong.

    Agents do accept unsolicited mail (usually queries, not full screenplays) - with the exception of CAA and it's auto-rejection filter.

    And, if the manager steers you to an agent who then sells your MS -- You owe 15% to the agent AND 20-25% to the manager, add that to your taxes and you aren't left with much.
    The way it works is this -- agents are generally in the business of finding you work -- either getting you an open assignment or if you've written something, finding a buyer for what you've written.

    Entertainment attorneys are in the business of negotiating the nuts and bolts of the deal itself (in consultation with your agent).

    A manager is in the business of managing you. A manager's approach is more global and generally more personal -- deciding what projects to develop, working on long term strategies.

    In principle, a manager is not supposed to do what an agent does -- sell your work or set up meetings or get your assignments, but in reality, many managers do all of those things.

    And many successful writers have all three -- agent, lawyer, and manager.

    In the professional world, all three work on commission.

    There are legal and contractual restrictions on agents who operated in California and who are signatories of the WGA minimum basic agreement, which they have to be in order to represent the overwhelming majority of professional screenwriters, which require that they charge no more than ten percent (and also forbid them from serving as producers on projects using clients they represent -- for reasons of obvious conflict of interest).

    There are no such limitations on lawyers, although they don't generally charge more than five percent, nor on managers although again, ten percent is the norm.

    The presumption is that they all earn their money. They get you work. They get you better deals with a higher rate of return than you would get without them.

    Agents and managers don't charge up front. If somebody's doing that, it should set your spider sense tingling. It's not appropriate. Agents and managers should earn their money from *selling* their clients' work, with the money coming from the buyers, not from trying to sell it, with the money coming from you.

    What people don't tell you is that, if you want, you really can just query development and production companies directly (that is, not just agents or managers). You don't actually need anybody to do that, although it's useful to have somebody.

    This is something I wrote for another newsgroup. It's rather long and I'm afraid, a bit out of date, but buried inside it there's a discussion of how one goes about marketing one's material directly to development companies.

    http://www.panix.com/~mwsm/nms_faq.html


    NMS

  15. #15
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    I'm overwhelmed with so many responses, thank you.

    I gather then, other than Googling there aren't any sites like "Preditors & Editors" and "Writers Beware" for Managers?

    Hope everyone had a great Happy Thanksgiving.


    Quote Originally Posted by nmstevens View Post
    The way it works is this -- agents are generally in the business of finding you work -- either getting you an open assignment or if you've written something, finding a buyer for what you've written.

    Entertainment attorneys are in the business of negotiating the nuts and bolts of the deal itself (in consultation with your agent).

    A manager is in the business of managing you. A manager's approach is more global and generally more personal -- deciding what projects to develop, working on long term strategies.

    In principle, a manager is not supposed to do what an agent does -- sell your work or set up meetings or get your assignments, but in reality, many managers do all of those things.

    And many successful writers have all three -- agent, lawyer, and manager.

    In the professional world, all three work on commission.

    There are legal and contractual restrictions on agents who operated in California and who are signatories of the WGA minimum basic agreement, which they have to be in order to represent the overwhelming majority of professional screenwriters, which require that they charge no more than ten percent (and also forbid them from serving as producers on projects using clients they represent -- for reasons of obvious conflict of interest).

    There are no such limitations on lawyers, although they don't generally charge more than five percent, nor on managers although again, ten percent is the norm.

    The presumption is that they all earn their money. They get you work. They get you better deals with a higher rate of return than you would get without them.

    Agents and managers don't charge up front. If somebody's doing that, it should set your spider sense tingling. It's not appropriate. Agents and managers should earn their money from *selling* their clients' work, with the money coming from the buyers, not from trying to sell it, with the money coming from you.

    What people don't tell you is that, if you want, you really can just query development and production companies directly (that is, not just agents or managers). You don't actually need anybody to do that, although it's useful to have somebody.

    This is something I wrote for another newsgroup. It's rather long and I'm afraid, a bit out of date, but buried inside it there's a discussion of how one goes about marketing one's material directly to development companies.

    http://www.panix.com/~mwsm/nms_faq.html


    NMS

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by gpk952 View Post
    I'm overwhelmed with so many responses, thank you.

    I gather then, other than Googling there aren't any sites like "Preditors & Editors" and "Writers Beware" for Managers?

    Hope everyone had a great Happy Thanksgiving.
    I couldn't say definitively that there aren't, but I don't know of any. Generally the trolls in that category tend to refer to themselves as agents rather than managers because they're trying to cast their nets as widely as possible.

    But the test is generally the same. Pretty much anybody that is blind advertising for clients in any way isn't legit.

    That is, the ratio of chaff to wheat when you do something like that is so enormous that you would inevitably have to spend all of your time just sorting through a mountain of chaff just trying to find the occasional grain of wheat.

    And that costs time and that costs money -- so inevitably if you do that sort of thing, you end up being in the business, and *making your money* by being in the business of evaluating countless scripts that have zero chance of ever being sold, and charging money to the people who have written those scripts for the privilege of telling them that (or more often than not, *not* telling, them but rather encouraging them to write more and send it to you, so you can make still more money).

    There are services that are up front about it -- you pay us money, we'll post a logline and a link to your script, maybe somebody will read it. That's all we're doing. Caveat emptor.

    And because of that chaff/wheat ratio, the success rate on any such site is going to be very low, because most of the scripts will be unreadable.

    Real agents, real managers -- they don't want to be in that business. They want to be in the business of selling scripts by writers who write scripts that producers and studios want to buy and make into movies.

    That means that they have no interest in sorting wheat from chaff. They have no interest in reading a script that isn't going to be something that they can sell. Every time they, or a reader that pay, or an assistant on a salary, which they also pay, reads a script that's no good -- that's their money down the tube.

    Agents, managers, producers, pretty much always want to do everything they can to reduce that ratio -- so that they can only read scripts that are worth their time to read.

    It's not that they aren't interested in new talent. But the emphasis is on the word "talent." It's the new "non-talent" that they aren't interested in reading.

    And there's so much of it out there, that it swamps and overwhelms the tiny percentage of actual quality.

    The sorting is so expensive that they have to do something to sort it out.

    Some just say -- won't read anything that isn't recommended.

    Some agencies will literally not represent any previously unrepped person. They'll only take talent from other agencies.

    And all of the rest, at the very least, want to see a query, or talk to you on the phone, or see something that tells them that they aren't going to be completely wasting their time.

    They key is that when you're fresh out of the gate, you have to go to them.

    Managers manage careers. Right now, you don't have a career to manage. When you've got one -- at that point, you'll know people who'll know managers. More to the point, at that point, real managers will have heard of you and they'll approach you. And even more to the point, by that point, you'll know people that you can pick up the phone and ask -- have you heard of this guy? Is he for real?

    NMS

  17. #17
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    Dear NMS,

    Thank you for FULLY expressing your thoughts – greatly appreciated.

    I’ll see what the two (Hollywood Representation Directory listed) managerial firms that requested my script have to say, and I’ll take it from there.



    Quote Originally Posted by nmstevens View Post
    I couldn't say definitively that there aren't, but I don't know of any. Generally the trolls in that category tend to refer to themselves as agents rather than managers because they're trying to cast their nets as widely as possible.

    But the test is generally the same. Pretty much anybody that is blind advertising for clients in any way isn't legit.

    That is, the ratio of chaff to wheat when you do something like that is so enormous that you would inevitably have to spend all of your time just sorting through a mountain of chaff just trying to find the occasional grain of wheat.

    And that costs time and that costs money -- so inevitably if you do that sort of thing, you end up being in the business, and *making your money* by being in the business of evaluating countless scripts that have zero chance of ever being sold, and charging money to the people who have written those scripts for the privilege of telling them that (or more often than not, *not* telling, them but rather encouraging them to write more and send it to you, so you can make still more money).

    There are services that are up front about it -- you pay us money, we'll post a logline and a link to your script, maybe somebody will read it. That's all we're doing. Caveat emptor.

    And because of that chaff/wheat ratio, the success rate on any such site is going to be very low, because most of the scripts will be unreadable.

    Real agents, real managers -- they don't want to be in that business. They want to be in the business of selling scripts by writers who write scripts that producers and studios want to buy and make into movies.

    That means that they have no interest in sorting wheat from chaff. They have no interest in reading a script that isn't going to be something that they can sell. Every time they, or a reader that pay, or an assistant on a salary, which they also pay, reads a script that's no good -- that's their money down the tube.

    Agents, managers, producers, pretty much always want to do everything they can to reduce that ratio -- so that they can only read scripts that are worth their time to read.

    It's not that they aren't interested in new talent. But the emphasis is on the word "talent." It's the new "non-talent" that they aren't interested in reading.

    And there's so much of it out there, that it swamps and overwhelms the tiny percentage of actual quality.

    The sorting is so expensive that they have to do something to sort it out.

    Some just say -- won't read anything that isn't recommended.

    Some agencies will literally not represent any previously unrepped person. They'll only take talent from other agencies.

    And all of the rest, at the very least, want to see a query, or talk to you on the phone, or see something that tells them that they aren't going to be completely wasting their time.

    They key is that when you're fresh out of the gate, you have to go to them.

    Managers manage careers. Right now, you don't have a career to manage. When you've got one -- at that point, you'll know people who'll know managers. More to the point, at that point, real managers will have heard of you and they'll approach you. And even more to the point, by that point, you'll know people that you can pick up the phone and ask -- have you heard of this guy? Is he for real?

    NMS

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by gpk952 View Post
    Are are any sites available to check on reputations / professionalism of Managerial Firms for writers?
    You can try doing a search at the Agents, Lawyers & Managers forum over at Done Deal:

    http://messageboard.donedealpro.com/...isplay.php?f=9

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cyia View Post
    Yes it was a joke.

    All non-approved email addresses to CAA get routed to their legal department which responds with a blanket: Your submission was deleted and not read; do not resend.
    Yes, it is corporate policy at most big agencies that all query letters be forwarded to Business Affairs. So, when you send your query to agent Jones at CAA, he forwards it to Business Affairs, who then sends you the letter.

    This is why I preach over and over to NOT put the word QUERY in your subject line. The moment the agent or assistant sees it, he's likely to just forward the e-mail to Business Affairs.

    However, if he opens the query (not knowing it's a query because you simply have the script title in the subject line), he may read it and LOVE the pitch. Then you get the call to send in the script.

    Because regardless of the rules, agents will circumvent them if there's a buck in it.

    Remember that all these boundaries and rules are simply for the writers that agents don't want to work with.



  20. #20
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    This is all interesting. The manager who is more of an agent than some agents concept is new since the last time I paid attention to Hollywood.

    Now that I've actively marketing scripts again, I'm reading all I can find on it and am actually in discussion with a WGA signatory management firm right now. ... Keeping my fingers crossed.

    --Ralph
    Last edited by author; 12-03-2009 at 10:20 PM. Reason: typo
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