What Else You Got?
You have written a great script. Awesome! Now what? Or more specifically, are you ready for representation? Are you ready to shop it? What comes next? In this article, I want to discuss a common question I hear among new writers: Is one good script enough?
Let’s dive in.
From my years of working in the industry, with multiple reps and a rather large network of writers I know at various levels – the best advice I would give on this topic is that one good script is essential, but it isn’t nearly enough. Put differently, that one script that lands your reps, wins the contest, gets sold, is certainly the most important step, and it’s the first step – but you MUST have a second script (at least) in the same genre that is just as good as the first one.
The most common story I hear from friends (and that I have experienced) is you have a script that does well; it gets read all over town. Your reps set up meetings with pods, studios or networks, and the first thing EVERYONE asks you (after pleasantries) is, “What else you got?”. If you don’t have anything else, you immediately look like a rookie and almost certainly will not get work.
But before that, landing a rep (manager or agent) is highly unlikely without multiple GREAT scripts in your arsenal. The more scripts you have the better. It tells a rep that is looking at you as a potential client, that you want a CAREER as writer. If you don’t have more than one script to shop (or as a sample) potential reps are much less likely to take you on as a client.
I learned this the hard way. My first rep I landed was a manager at Benderspink (now dissolved). I had a pilot that placed as a semi-finalist in The Tracking Board Feature Competition. The contest organizer got it to a manager. He read it. We set up a meeting and, you guessed it, the first thing he asked was “what else you got?” and I had one other half-cooked feature that wasn’t great. He read that. Passed on it. And now I was in a position where I’m scrambling to write something else, trying to play catch up, and after a year – I was dropped as a client. I can’t tell you how common this story is in Hollywood.
Point being, one script isn’t enough. It’s only half the battle. You MUST have more than one great script. And if you don’t have a fully written script, at least have 3-5 fully baked ideas that you could talk about in a meeting that gets an exec or rep excited. Take the time to do it. I promise it will be worth it.