How to Avoid Pissing Off A Hollywood Agent

Landing the perfect agent can feel like a dream come true. But whether you already have an agent or are looking for one, knowing how to email and interact with Hollywood agents is essential to not pissing them off.  Few things make Hollywood agents more annoyed than wasting their time.  So here are 5 top tips to avoid pissing them off in your email and in-person interactions with them.

Here's the thing you need to remember about top Hollywood agents: they're super over-worked and busy.  So I've compiled top tips to ensure you make the most of your communication with your agent. And I know for certain. I worked at top Hollywood talent agency William Morris Endeavor Entertainment for nearly 3 years as an assistant. And in that time I read several ineffective emails. Don't be that person.

 Hollywood Agent emailing tips

The below tips are essential for either in-person or email interactions with Hollywood agents.

1. Keep it Short

Being concise is key. Agents are usually extremely short on time due to having tons of clients and responsibilities to tend to and calls and emails to make and send. Show the agent you respect his or her time by getting straight to the point. Don't underestimate the importance of this element.

2. Be Clear

Why are you emailing or talking to this agent? Are you pitching a show? Want to be a client? Want to meet for drinks? Whatever it is, be clear and straight-forward about it.  And please don't ramble. You'll loose all credibility if you send a Hollywood agent a long and incoherent email.  You might think that's hard to do, but even when I was working as an assistant to agents and executives, there were several emails that came into the office with completely unclear motivations.  And in my world...that spells disaster. Even as an assistant, I don't have the time to try and decipher what someone wants. Don't assume your leading talk will be understood.  Be Clear and straight-forward. 

Note: That doesn't mean you need to skip the small-talk. Don't do that. It only means that after the small talk ends, you need to be clear about the purpose for the conversation.

3. Be Realistic

Along with clarity, it's important to have a realistic request for the agent. For example, if you've only briefly met this agent, and you have yet to produce a film or sell a script, asking a Hollywood agent to attend a screening of a short-film that's an hour drive from town, or even asking for a dinner meeting is not likely to yield a positive result. So when you're reaching out or talking, make sure that you're asking for something reasonable.  

4. Be Honest

This should be a given but unfortunately it's not: Don't lie. It can seem tempting to want to exaggerate or to lie to an agent but this is a terrible idea.  Risking a breach of trust isn't worth it. If you manage to get away with the lie right away, but the agent finds out later, you will have completely burned a bridge and you don't want word to spread you can't be trusted.  Now here's the thing...many Hollywood agents do lie regularly. But that doesn't mean they'll forgive your lies just because they tend to toss a few out every few seconds.  Rest assured, it's better to play it safe and just be honest.

5. Be Reliable

Stick to time frames and any and all prior agreements. If you're supposed to email or call your Hollywood Agent on Thursday...call on Thursday. Don't call on Friday with excuses or hoping they won't notice.  Especially if you're interacting with an agent you don't know well, be sure and make the best impression possible by sticking to your word.  At the agency where I worked, they used to say "Under-promise, and over-deliver."  The idea behind this is to set expectations that you can easily stick to thus giving yourself the chance to excel and impress the person you're dealing with.  This should also be your mantra.  Don't tell an agent you can get something done on a timeline that doesn't and can't work simply because you think it's what they want to hear.  If you commit to something, even something small, stick to it.  No excuses.

For more tips and info about Hollywood agents, check out my book, Hollywood Insanity.