Tagged movies

How to Talk to Agents About your Movie.

After you’ve done everything in the last post, it’s time to call their agent.  You can find the contact information for their agents on IMDbPro.  The agent is the dragon at the gate, and depending on which agency you’re contacting, company policy may well be to not talk directly with filmmakers. That said, most talent are always on the lookout for promising leads for their client, so if you’re professional and don’t mince words they’ll probably take your call.

When you look up the actor on IMDb, you’ll find the phone numbers for their people. If they have an agent listed, then that’s the person you need to talk to. If they don’t, then you can talk to most anyone at that agency about that actor.

So once you make the call, you’ll probably be connected to reception. At this point, all you have to say is {Agent’s Name}’s office please. If there’s no agent’s name listed say “I’d like to talk to someone about [Talent’s Name]”

Once they connect you, you’ll most likely talk to the agent’s assistant.  Say who you are, the name of your company, the name of the project, and who you want to make the offer to.  If you’re in a position to offer a pay or play, say that immediately. Say it in as few words as possible.  They’ll probably ask about the status of the project, Don’t lie, but don’t give them every little piece of information, and avoid information that could hurt you unless they specifically ask for it.

Since this is the first call, the best case scenario is to get a script and offer request via email. If they ask for that, you’ve done your job, get they’re email, and the assistant’s name, and send the email as quickly as you can.

If you’re really lucky and can offer a pay or play or the film is fully financed, they may connect you with the agent directly. If they do that you have to get the information out quickly and be very friendly about it. Agents are paid to get people to like them, but they’re also very busy. So a little small talk might happen but be ready to go through the deal points very quickly. Being straight business on the first call is a good strategy, if there’s a follow-up call that’s the time for small talk.

It’s really important that you don’t mince words when talking to these people. Role play it with a friend before you call, it helps a lot.  Answer their questions as succinctly as possible, these people get dozens if not hundreds of calls a day, don’t waste their time.

After the agent has your offer, it becomes a waiting game.  If you call them too often you’ll appear desterate and they’ll turn you down. If you never follow up, then they’ll keep pushing your project back and the client will never read it. Following up about a week later is generally pretty safe, and if there are any changes in the production like a new attachment or some money in, that’s a great reason to email and update the agent.

I find in following up for anything, about the most you can reasonably contact someone without being annoying is Monday, Friday, Wednesday, then repeat indefinitely.  That said, if they give you a time that they’ll get back to you, give them an extra day after when they said they would and follow up.  If they tell you no, stop calling and move on to the next name on your list.

So those are the basics of calling an agent about talent.   There’s a lot more to it, and the way you say this information has just as much to do with success as what you say.

For more information, feel free to reach out to me. I do consulting on clarity.fm and I also will make these calls for you, for a fee. As always, feel free to check me out on twitter @TheGuerrillaRep and check out my book on Amazon or Barnes and Nobles, as well as many independent bookstores nationwide!

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Film Insight Season 2 Episode 5: Maya Zuckerman on Transmedia

Maya TransmediaRandy and Ben welcome Maya Zuckerman, co-founder of TransmediaSF, to answer the question, “what is transmedia?” and why every filmmaker needs to pay attention to this way of thinking about their projects.

Hosted and Produced by Ben Yennie and Randy Hall

Edited by Alex Nigro

Heads Up!
Producer Foundry has a workshop with Maya Zuckerman coming up fast on May 9! Sign up for the San Francisco workshop and order the replay of the workshop!

Film Insight Episode 4: Marsha Levine on Product Placement

Marsha LevineRandy and Ben talk with Marsha Levine, owner of A-List Entertainment, a LA-based product placement agency. Definitely helpful to know how product placement (and clearance for brands) happens, even for indie films!

Film Insight Episode 3: Marc Smolowitz on Producing

Marc SmolowitzRandy and Ben have a jam-packed discussion with Marc Smolowitz, award winning Bay Area producer/director. He rouses us with inspirational messages to young producers! He wows us with his tech background and the inevitable return to his passion! Don’t miss even the tiniest bit of it!

Film Insight Episode F1: Sebastopol Documentary Film Festival

Sebastopol Documentary Film FestivalRandy goes solo to the Sebastopol Documentary Film Festival to find out more about the documentarian lifestyle and some of the interesting community of folks who make the festival happen!

Randy speaks with Doug Pray, director of the film “Levitated Mass”, as well as Erica Ginsberg, executive director of Docs In Progress about improving your pitch, and finally Papagena Robbins from Concordia University about the role of experimental and archival documentary films in our society!

Film Insight Episode 2: Prasenjit (Pras) Chaudhuri, Digital Marketing Strategist

Pras ChaudhuriBen and Randy talk briefly on the wildly popular first Producer Foundry meetup in San Francisco before turning to talk to Pras Chaudhuri, digital marketing and monetization strategist for Reliance Entertainment, as your hosts seek to discover how current or emerging filmmakers can identify and target their audience, even before they have a film!

Amazing!

Also, look for special film festival coverage coming soon from both the Sebastopol Documentary Film Festival from last month, and the imminent Sonoma International Film Festival! Randy is going to be talking with anyone he can stick a mic in their face!

Film Insight Episode 1: Daniel Riviera, Entertainment Attorney

Daniel RivieraRandy and Ben introduce Film Insight, and then have a conversation with Daniel Riviera, an “entertainment transactional attorney” based in San Francisco, about the gotchas that indie producers run into when seeking distribution for their film.

Then they briefly talk about the upcoming Producer Foundry meetup on March 25 in San Francisco, before signing off from their very first film industry podcast! Exciting!