TV Show pilot script

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Oli2017

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Hi, i'm a french unpublished writer and i've just written a tv show pilot. I want to send it to english and american agents. It got rejected by Amazon studios.
I've looked at some american studios, HBO doesn't accept submissions but instead advise to send it to their literary agents.
However, and that's where my question is, a few don't even mention the fact that they accept screenwriting. Like Jaberwocky for example. Are they just adapting books that are in their catalogues? Is it fair for me to send them a script?
 

cornflake

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Most literary agents don't deal with scripts; there are agents who do -- some at specific agencies, some at agencies with dual arms, some at lit agencies. You want screenwriting agents, which is a particular thing.

That said, this is an incredibly long shot, much more so than a novel. I'm not sure what your goal is -- just to see your pilot produced? Do you have a packet of other work?

The BBC takes scripts, btw.
 

Cyia

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99% of literary agents are going to tell you that they don't handle screenplays / scripts. They sell the *rights* to novels they represent, and in most cases the authors who wrote those novels have no part in the writing of the scripts themselves.

If HBO said to send to "their" literary agents, then they might have a few particular ones in mind. Otherwise, you're going to have to find an agent who handles screenwriting, and that's not going to be someone who is primarily a book agent.
 

Oli2017

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Well my goal would be to get produced, yes. I know it's a long shot but it's my current project so gotta see how far it can go. I've sent it to Amazon studios and got rejected. My next goals would be the BBC and Channel4 but there's a special "drama series" window opening only around september or end of the year.
 

paqart

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Simple answer: even if you have high level connections in the industry, you need a literary agent. There are probably a couple of ways around this, but it is the way business is normally done in entertainment. There are hundreds of agents who deal with this kind of work, but very little overlap with books. Some of the bigger agencies are ICM, William Morris, and Endeavor.
 

Cyia

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Simple answer: even if you have high level connections in the industry, you need a literary agent.

^ basically the exact OPPOSITE of this.

If you have high level connection in the industry, then you're already ahead of the pack. The film industry is founded on connections. "A friend of a friend's acquaintence from college" style connections. If you're anywhere in that ballpark, then use what you've got.

YOU DO NOT NEED OR WANT a literary agent to sell a screenplay. That's like going to the library in order to watch Netflix. They're different industries and mediums. There might be occasional overlap, but literary agents simply don't handle screenplays and scripts.

And the sad fact is that even with those connections, even with a rock-solid piece of work in your hands, you still might see more closed doors than open ones. You just have to keep going. 30,000-50,000 scripts are registered with the writer's guild every year. The 30-50K that will be registered this year are still in the same pool with the 30-50K from last year, and the one before, and the one before, etc, etc, etc. When the pool's that full, you've got to kick pretty hard to stay on the surface without sinking, but it can be done.
 

Oli2017

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Just to give a little update, i have found a few UK and USA screenwriting agencies that do accept unsolicited queries and new talent. Will see how it goes!
 

noirdood

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I suspect you would be better off writing your story as a novel and then trying to sell it to a movie studio. If you have a "property" --- a stage playscript that has been performed or a novel that sells well -- that is good and is what a lot of studios are looking for. I think the purchase of a TV show pilot script from an unknown writer is just not what American studios would do. There are too many things for them to think about besides the quality of the script -- how would the script fit in with Mr. Big TV Star's image and schedule? Could the script be made fairly cheaply? Is it the kind of thing the studio bosses think (and they usually are tone deaf in this regard) the public wants to see next year? Good luck.
 

Oli2017

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I understand your point of view...but if i follow your idea, there's even less chance of this story getting published as a novel, no? If i don't try it the way i thought first, what is the point of trying anything at all?
 
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cornflake

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I understand your point of view...but if i follow your idea, there's even less chance of this story getting published as a novel, no? If i don't try it the way i thought first, what is the point of trying anything at all?

No. If you have, say, a 1 in 200,000 chance of getting a novel published (well, purchased by one of the major publishing houses) in any given year (not that it works like that -- publishing isn't the lotto; the odds are affected by any number of factors, some completely within your control, some completely outside of it, but just in a general chances of this happening way), your chances of getting a TV pilot produced would be something like 1 in 20,000,000. I may be underestimating by a factor of 10.

It is insanely, crazily, lotto-level unlikely for an unknown to get a production deal. Like, if it happens, call the pope to look into the person you were praying to at the time for potential beatification.

Getting a book published is as common as stubbing a toe in comparison to getting a pilot greenlit.
 

Cyia

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Let's put it this way:

Literary agents (as in for novels) have emails all writers of their selected genres are welcome to submit to, for free, in the hope that the agent will want to represent their work.

Production companies... er... um... well... they don't. They have layers of legal protection in place to prevent people from sending them things except through specific channels and will unceremoniously delete anything else. So do many agents for screenwriting. If you'd like to see this in motion, go send a query to CAA's literary arm and see how fast they come back with a letter from their legal team telling you it's been deleted.
 

Oli2017

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Well anyway, i did send a query letter to some UK screenwriting agency. Will see how it goes.

But i do take your advices in consideration. To make this script into a novel will take me a while anyway.
 

AnneGlynn

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It might be different in the UK (good luck!) but in the USA, no one wants to see your television pilot. I know, my partner and I wrote one.

What agents in the USA want to know is if you can write for existing shows that are currently being aired. They want to know if you can capture a show's voice and rhythms, making you a marketable commodity that they can sell. You might try submitting to the Disney Fellowships if you feel this is something you'd like. Disney will want you to write for a current show if you go for the t.v. end of the Fellowships, an original project if you go for movies part of the competition. Winning the Fellowship will get you a Hollywood agent and that Hollywood agent may be able to do something with your pilot...some sweet day after you've proven your chops and worthiness to become a show runner.
 

paqart

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^ basically the exact OPPOSITE of this.

If you have high level connection in the industry, then you're already ahead of the pack. The film industry is founded on connections.
For what it's worth, when one of my projects was made into a nine episode TV mini series on Fox, I didn't have an agent, but my partner on the project was connected to the producer who put the deal together. However, we got totally screwed on the deal because we didn't have an agent. So, maybe you can sell without an agent, but you are more likely to be screwed. I still think it helps for the sake of selling it also.

AP
 
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mccardey

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For what it's worth, when one of my projects was made into a nine episode TV mini series on Fox, I didn't have an agent, but my partner on the project was connected to the producer who put the deal together. However, we got totally screwed on the deal because we didn't have an agent. So, maybe you can sell without an agent, but you are less likely to be screwed. I still think it helps for the sake of selling it also.

AP
This was certainly true in Australia back when I was in TV. Hybrid agencies were also a thing - I was with the William Morris affiliate for TV and film and they took care of my first book as well.
 

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