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Guest Editor Eddie Gamarra re: Agents for Your Script or Book-to-Film Rights

in Screenwriting/Submissions by

Dear Editor…

I was talking to my screenwriting professor about getting an agent.  He informed me that writer-directors do not get talent agents, but have to get literary agents. I have a producer already interested in my work, so I thought it might be safe if I sought representation. Is this true? How do I go about that?

Sincerely,
J.

ed_bw_headshot-1Eddie Gamarra is a literary manager/producer at The Gotham Group. He represents screenwriters, directors, animators, authors, illustrators, publishers, and animation studios around the world that specialize in children and family entertainment. His main focus is in animation and literature ranging from picture books, novels, anthologies, and graphic novels. His clients include numerous New York Times best-selling authors and illustrators, as well as Oscar, Emmy, Caldecott, Newberry, and Geisel award winners. Eddie is Executive Producer of James Dashner’s upcoming The Maze Runner film. The Gotham Group has a producing component and reps over 300 writers, authors, and publishing company clients.

Dear J….

From the Hollywood perspective, your professor is correct. Actors have “talent” agents; screenwriters and directors have “literary” agents and /or managers; and authors/illustrators have “book” agents. All reps should be working to insure the best opportunities for their clients in their specific fields of expertise and often partner with other reps (“co-reps”/ “co-agents”) when they need expert advice outside their field. If you are an author/illustrator trying to have your book optioned as a movie or TV show (TV movie, web series, etc.), OR if you are an author adapting your own work as a script, then your book agent typically partners with a “book-to-film” agent who can help you and your book agent navigate the dark forest of Hollywood. If you are strictly a screenwriter, then you can have a lit agent or manager help you sell your script.

Many book agents work with book-to-film co-reps and so you can have your book agent help you add that new member to your team. If you do not have a book agent or if your book agent does not have any relationships with co-reps, then you will have to research the best “book-to-film” rep just as you would research a book agent.  Hollywood is less transparent than publishing so the best ways to begin that search are to research Publishers Marketplace, look up reps who have spoken at SCBWI events, and also look at the websites’ of the authors/illustrators’ whose work most closely resembles yours and see if they have any reps listed on their own websites.  Ask your friends who have been through the optioning process to see who they used and liked.

In your case it is also very important to get some inside information about the producer interested in your project. While anyone can use resources like IMDb or Box Office Mojo to research a producer, it is essential to have up-to-date insider information about that producer. Their credits may be amazing, but there are any number of reasons why they may not be the right match for you or your book.

Keep in mind, if one person sees potential in your project, others might too. There may be better collaborations to be made. Your reps will help you figure it all out.

Eddie Gamarra
The Gotham Group

Guest Editor Warren Lewis re: Format of Nursery Rhyme within a Play Script

in Formatting/Punctuation/Grammar/Guest Editors/Screenwriting by

Dear Editor…

I’m writing to check with you on the format of a nursery rhyme recited by a character within the format of a play script. Currently, I have the nursery rhyme indented five spaces from the remaining words. Is there a standard way to format this kind of element?

Thanks,
Leni

Dear Leni…

The convention is that the quotation should be in standard dialogue margins, separated by a line break and within quotation marks. I suggest, and use, italics as well. Performers (and directors and readers) will appreciate that it stands out a bit from the flow of dialogue, making it clear that they are quoting and helping them make appropriate choices.

Thanks for writing,
Guest Editor Warren Lewis

Warren Lewis’s credits as a screenwriter include Black Rain (Paramount) and The Thirteenth Warrior (Touchstone). He has worked on assignments for most of the major studios, including Sony, Warner Brothers, and Fox, with over thirty original or commissioned screenplays and numerous re-writes. Warren served an old-fashioned New York apprenticeship in film-making, working on film and commercial sets first as an apprentice and assistant film editor, then in production. He attended New York University and graduated from its film division. He’s worked on over 100 commercials and 15 feature films in various production capacities, including second and first assistant director and second unit director on films directed by, among others, Penelope Spheeris and John McTiernan. For more about Warren, visit screenplaystreet.com, the website of his consultancy for aspiring and accomplished screenwriters.

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