An agent’s week

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There’s no such thing as a typical week, in the life of an agent, but if any writers are curious as to what it’s like sitting at this desk…
(Oh, and bear in mind that there’s a lot I can’t talk about in detail right now, since it’s either confidential or libellous.)
It’s the usual struggle to balance admin and selling stuff. I’ve been concentrating on phone conversations with producers in L.A. They all seem lovely (apart from the one that told me he was going to start picking his nose; mercifully he switched off the skype camera beforehand). They all seem to want to talk excitedly for about two minutes. Often. Their promises and suggestions seem wildly exciting, in a way you suspect they’re not ever going to happen. The weird thing is that sometimes they do.
Several lengthy catch-up conversations with writers, one of whom has got major funding, which is very good news. The other conversation had to be cut short as the writer noticed her small child was starting to eat cat litter from the tray.
Continuing worries about what the government is going to do about ‘orphan works’ (https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/copyright-uk-orphan-works-licensing-scheme) I’ve been involved in the consultation and can only counsel writers to make sure their ownership of their work is readily findable on the net (and that their heirs know to be findable, too, by anyone who wants to licence work).
Wondering how to manage a situation where a producer wants to pay a writer drastically below the minimum rates, on the grounds that the writer knew what she was getting into when she agreed to write the script. You need the writer to be willing to decline the commission – and mostly they don’t want to because they want their career to move forward.
Had a breakthrough with a writer yesterday, after I’d spent weeks trying to push him to do more development on an idea that wasn’t working. It’s a high concept premise, and the beginning didn’t seem to match the end, and didn’t seemed to be pointless anyway. Turned out he’d just pitched it to me wrong, and now that I understand, I think it’s quite exciting.
Producers report incremental but good progress on some films and TV series by my clients – feels a bit like watching cathedrals being built.
Coffee today with a lawyer friend. I often get the feeling of being a fighter pilot reporting back to mission control. My new bombardier starts next week but more on that…next week.

 

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