So everyone thinks that, oh, if only I could get an agent, they would help me get my career in show business going, but that’s not what agents want. You’re looking at the problem of wrong. You gotta approach the problem from what the agent wants and what they want is a new client that will help propel their career to the next level. And they want to have someone who’s who requires the least amount of work. Agents already have clients that they’re trying to serve as they have a full plate. Every year they take on maybe one or two new writers and of those, thousands of people that want that spot, that spot, they’re going to choose the one that has the most going for them and requires the least work. And that means that a new client is just on the verge of popping right on the bubble. So that means they already have their own contacts, maybe they’re working in the writer’s room as a writer’s assistant. And the showrunners already promised them a script. That lets someone right on the verge get noticed.

This means that they’re also likely living in LA. Like if you’re living in Ohio, you’re not on the verge of breaking in. Someone local is the first thing they want. The second thing they want is someone who’s fully committed to their career. So if you’re a banker and you go, well, I’m a banker, I like banking, but I had this great idea for a script. It’ll make $10 million the first day, whatever, whatever. Um, they don’t want that person. That person’s not a career writer.

They want someone who’s dedicated and will grow with them. All they’ll grow together, right? Someone who’s fully committed. So again, if you’re living in Toledo, Ohio, you’re not dedicated to becoming a TV writer because the industry is in Los Angeles. Okay. Finally, they want someone who has a great script, not a good script. There’s no demand in Hollywood for a good script. They have plenty of writers that they represent who already have good scripts. They need a great script. And I’m telling you, everyone thinks they have a great script, but they don’t. How do I know? I read a lot of young writers scripts and like, this is not good enough. It’s, there’s no demand for mediocre or even okay. Or even good scripts. You need a great script. And that means you have to focus on your education, constantly working on improving.

Maybe whoever taught you didn’t know that you know how to be a screenwriter. Maybe they were just professional teachers. Maybe they haven’t done it. You need someone who’s done it. Right. That’s what I feel. So if this sounds a little unfair, just know that you’re competing. Your script is competing against mine and I’ve been doing it for 25 years. So you’re not really just competing against the schlub. You’re competing with people who do this for a living. So you have to be really good.

If this is not fair, well, just know that I had to do all this too. I’m from New York. After college, I moved to Los Angeles and I started at the bottom as a production assistant. I did the grind. I paid my dues. I wrote a lot of scripts. I kissed a lot of butts, then I moved my way up. So it is fair? I did it. You’ll have to do it too. I hope this doesn’t break your heart to sound too cruel. But I think the truth help is more helpful than just blowing smoke. Okay. Keep following me @MichaelJaminwriter. I have a lot more to tell you.

Michael Jamin, Showrunner, TV Writer, Author

Michael Jamin

For the past 26 years, Michael Jamin has been a professional television writer/showrunner. His credits include King of the Hill, Beavis & Butthead, Wilfred, Maron, Just Shoot Me, Rules of Engagement, Brickleberry, Tacoma FD and many more.

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