An old tip (but one worth repeating)...

I can’t tell you how many novice screenwriters get ripped off by unscrupulous scammers claiming to be lit agents, managers, etc. All I can say is it’s been going on for years and years and, even with warnings going out left and right all over Internet screenwriting forums, it’s still going on. And as the field of budding scribes grows, so does the rancid sea of scumbags looking to make a quick buck.

OK, I want you to read this next part very carefully…

If any agent, manager, or producer claims to have an interest in your script and asks you for money (i.e. reading fees, seed money, monthly maintenance fee, etc.), tell them “thanks but no thanks.”

Writers do NOT pay agents.

Writers do NOT pay managers.

Writers do NOT pay producers/production companies.

You, the writer, get paid when the agent, manager, or producer sells your script; the agent, manager, or producer gets their percentage (usually 10% for agents, 10%-15% for managers) when you get paid. End of conversation.

This also applies to so-called production companies that “love your script” but feel it’s in need of a quick rewrite…and hey, they can do it for a fee of $500 (or whatever amount). Two words here: BIG SCAM.

Once again…
Writers do NOT pay agents.
Writers do NOT pay managers.
Writers do NOT pay producers/production companies.

1 comment:

Danielle said...

Thanks for this! I actually managed to 'dodge a bullet'...or, what seemed to be that...a week or so ago. This is a really long story, but I wanted to tell the whole thing so others don't have my experience.

I was looking on Craigslist to see if I could find any writing jobs. I know you're probably thinking, 'what an idiot, Craigslist is a terrible place to look', but I have gotten other writing jobs that way. Anyway, I came across a want ad for a screenwriter for a teen drama...after exchanging several emails, the lady called me and it sounded great, she just wanted me to send in a writing resume, parts of the script I've been working on for the 'actors to read during the auditions in September', etc.

I did not. The next day I did my due diligence and went to the website of the company. I went to 'contact us' and wrote in questions I'd forgotten to ask the previous day-if there are other projects I could view (since the videos from YouTube had been removed) and a basic idea of what some of their other scripts have made. I said I hoped I wasn't out of line asking these questions but I had been burned by companies in the past that I thought were a lot more established than they actually were (this is true, but for another type of job).

I would have done all this previously but the website and name of the company were not mentioned until she called me.

Anyway, what I got back was a huge ass-chewing that told me how 'unprofessional' I was and how she was amazed that 'a writer who had never had anything published or shown and didn't even send in a writing resume, etc would be picky when someone is offering to read my script free of charge.' She said this made her doubt my professionalism and that she didn't want to work with me anymore.

I was worried that I'd shot myself in the foot and then I remembered how it seemed we were talking past each other in our emails. For instance, I said I didn't work outside the home and she took this to mean that I was an invalid rather than a housewife, and her voice perked up when she heard I wasn't. Oh, and this was a native English speaker. I *did* apologize for some of my rudeness because I'm a doormat, but looking back she wasn't someone I wanted to work with if she's going to act that way.

I guess I said all this to say to beware if:

1) The name and web address of the company are not given in either the ad or the initial emails with the company, and
2) if they seem like they're trying to get the 'right answers' out of you, and
3) If they come across as angry and/or personally insult you when you ask for 'proof'.

Again, sorry for the length...