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I am constantly asked by aspiring writers, "How do I get an agent?"  The only honest answer I have is, "I have no idea."  I know how I got an agent, but that was a hundred years and a million lawsuits ago.  It was much easier in those days.  Which is not to say it was easy then.

There is no easy way to get an agent to read your work.  The best advice I have to offer is to try to find a completely unknown agent with classy stationery.  If your manuscript ends up on a producer's desk with a nice letter from any agent, there is a chance someone will read your script.  If you script ends up on a producer's desk without a letter from an agent, your script will be returned to you, or it will go into the trashcan unread.  

The reason a producer won't read a script submitted by an unknown writer is that we have all been sued by someone in the middle of the country who wrote a spec script that bore an amazing resemblance to an episode we did last season.  I was sued for an episode of MASH called "Picture This."  In the episode, Hawkeye moves out of the Swamp and into a shack behind Rosie's Bar.  The idea was given to me by the executive producers. It had been on an index card on the idea board for months.  It did not come from a housewife in Minnesota.  It came from one of the people who sat around that table for hours on end, for eleven years.  Sooner or later, someone was bound to say, "What if Hawkeye moved out of the Swamp?"

Before I was sued, I did read unsolicited manuscripts.  I read a million spec MASH scripts.  Every third spec script was about Hawkeye having to shoot someone.  But if we'd ever done Hawkeye shoots someone, I'm sure we would have had lawyers lined up to sue us.  The point is, there are only so many ideas, and people are bound to come up with them simultaneously.  And in our litigation-happy society, we simply can no longer afford to take a chance.  Therefore, you have to find an agent if you want someone to read your script.  The agent is a guarantee that you won't sue the show if you see something similar to your idea end up on it.

A word about that:  No matter what you may think of Hollywood, I promise you that in twenty years, I have never seen anyone digging through piles of spec scripts trying to come up with a story idea.  Writers generally have things they want to say, which is why they became writers.  They are not motivated to steal your ideas.  Legal issues aside, writers tend to like their own ideas.









The Internet Directory of Literary Agents from Writers.Net.  Names, addresses, e-mail addresses, descriptions of agencies including areas of expertise.

Waterside Productions, Inc. -- Agents, authors and publishers.  Information on how to publish a book electronically.

Writers Guild of America Among other resources, the WGA provides a list of agents.