2. “I have a fantastic idea I’m excited about… and my agent doesn’t want me to write it!”
Writers “are often so passionate about their work they lose perspective on it,” says Folio Lit partner Scott Hoffman. “Ironically, that’s one of the ways in which agents can be most valuable to artists — particularly writers. We’re able to be more dispassionate, to see the true worth of [a project].”
An agent or manager’s job is to nurture, guide, and facilitate a client’s career. And while you may want to write a tearjerking screenplay about your great-grandfather’s gout, if that screenplay isn’t commercial enough to sell, or “noisy” enough to get attention and meetings, you’ve not only failed to advance your career, your representatives have failed to adequately advise you.
This doesn’t mean you must always write what your agent dictates. It does mean, however, that you should let him do what you’re paying him to do: advise you on how to achieve career goals. If you still want to write about Grandpa’s gout, go for it. Your final product may be good enough to change your agent’s mind… or it may force him to say, “I’m sorry — I don’t think I can sell this. Perhaps we should part ways.” This is the risk you must be willing to take.