I’m an office lackey at a major film and television company in Toronto.
I have optioned my script to a local production company, and we have gotten a development deal with CTV. They have brought on a talented writer to head the writing (it was my first script and I am green) and I am in a consultant role.
I had some lawyer friends to help me ink the option agreement and there is a producer role in there for me. It’s a good deal.
My question is, should I get an agent at this point? I originally felt that because I negotiated the option deal, I didn’t want to give up 10% to an agent who did nothing toward it, but now I’m thinking, I should use this opportunity to get representation and move on. I may or may not be a player in this TV show. I’m totally green, and lucked out. I wrote a good script (my first) and it got a lot of people excited, but I want to keep the ball rolling.
Congratulations on getting your first deal. While every break has an element of luck, I’m glad you are not discounting your talent. You got a deal because your work inspired someone – in fact, it inspired a number of people.
With respect to the agent question, good news. If you get representation, you probably don’t have to pay ten percent on this deal. It is common (at least here in L.A.) to exclude deals obtained prior to the representation. You will need to read the agency agreement carefully (or have your lawyer do it for you) and may need to add some language specifically excluding this past deal, but it is ordinarily not a problem.
The bigger and more important point is, you should leverage every success towards your next successes. Right now, while you have heat on you, meet some agents. Everyone is interested in the new fresh voice. This is your moment to be that voice. If you meet a qualified agent who impresses you and sincerely believes in you, then you should accept representation. You should also look towards other ways of leveraging this success. If you have more pitches put together, get them in front of buyers as quickly as possible. Ride your present success into those pitches.
I hope this helps. Again, congratulations and good luck with the show.
P.S. Alex Epstein is very involved in Canadian television and is likely worth talking to.