I came across a really interesting and candid interview with Jewerl Ross of Silent R Management. It covers a lot of topics including how Mr. Ross went from being an agent to a manager, his feelings on the business and what he looks for in a client.
I can also speak from experience that he's open to queries from new writers. He's read one, possibly two of my screenplays. I've been debating sending him my latest, particularly after reading this excerpt:
Is it risky for new writers to send their material out before getting a rep? What if they send it out and get many producers who pass, and then an agent signs them and doesn’t want to spec the script because it is overexposed?
I hear this complaint quite often as well. I think this is the wrong way to think about your material and the wrong way to think about reps. If you have never done anything—never been paid to write, never sold a script, are unrepresented—selling a big spec is the least of your worries, being overexposed is the least of your worries. What you need are advocates—fans—people who love you and love your writing. You don’t just need one of these, but many fans. The only way to get fans is to send your material to people. You can’t be precious with your material and super selective on who reads it. You can’t be worried about people stealing your ideas or fucking you out of money that doesn’t exist. You have to move your career forward and you can’t do that without people reading you.
Another reason people worry about overexposure of a script before it gets to a rep is because this is the only script they have written and they want to do everything perfectly. If this is the only script you have ever written and the only one you will write for a year or two, you are not a real writer and none of this advice is for you. For real writers, it doesn’t matter if one script is overexposed because you are writing two or three scripts a year. I tell people all the time: I don’t represent scripts; I represent writers!
That gives me some measure of hope because my current screenplay is unfortunately in a genre that seems to be oversaturated at the moment. I'm already starting on my next one, so if a lot of managers have the same mindset as Mr. Ross, perhaps my queries won't be in vain - assuming of course, that reps read the material and like the writing.
I don't like pinning all my hopes on a spec being received as a "writing sample." I'd always been told, "Agents are looking for something they can sell." Because of this, I steer clear of anything that has a limited or no market. I ended up stumbling into my current dilemma, but perhaps the screenplay might still do some good.
The rest of the interview is full of good stuff, so I encourage everyone to check it out.