Script Coverage Chronicles – June 2016: What To Do At Lunch With Your Agents

I remember having lunch for the first time with my agents at UTA. 

They kept talking about completely random things and sharing cocktail party anecdotes when all I wanted to know was what they’d heard about my recent meetings with producers.  So I eventually tried to steer the conversation that way and asked for any feedback.

One of the two agents looked at me strangely and gave me an extremely vague response, something like: “Some of them liked some of the ideas you pitched, and some of them didn’t like some of them.” 

It became apparent that no substantive matters were going to be addressed at all at this lunch.

Afterward, I asked my manager why I wasn’t getting any feedback.  My manager told me there was nothing to say. 

I was supposed to take producer meetings to make connections.  Either I made them or I didn’t.  There was really nothing else to discuss. 

The lunch was supposed to be entirely social.  Apparently, agents are so busy they rarely have time to get to know their clients personally, so the lunches were for that. 

My manager went on to explain that what I really should do on these lunches was play a persona. 

In other words, I should pick an easily digestible and hopefully interesting character to be, a character these agents (and producers and executives) could lock onto and say, hey that guy’s the “surfer dude” or the “frat boy”.  My manager literally used these two exact terms.  But only as examples.  I’m neither of those two.

Basically, he said you can’t be just a writer.

And here I was at lunch just wanting to talk about my writing career and whether or not I was going to have one – apparently not at all what your agents are there to talk about.

Surely, there are a lot of different kinds of agents and managers with lots of different approaches, but there’s something to this idea of having a character for yourself to play, a character people can remember easily.

I remember one producer telling me that Diablo Cody was fantastic in meetings.  I don’t know if it was because of the whole “ex-stripper” shtick she had in the beginning, but it may have been helpful. 

I know another writer who’s literally an “ex rock star”.

My previous career was as a lawyer on accounting and life insurance cases, not really much of a persona.  

I remember talking to one producer about restaurants, and she got the idea I was a foodie.  Every time we talked after that, she brought up fine cuisine.  Not exactly me either, although I do like food. 

At some point I may just have to write myself a character to play. 

It’s bad enough all our scripts need to be high concept.  Now we need to have high concept personalities too?


Unless our writing is really, really good.

Then it doesn’t matter.