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Landing an Agent

August 15, 2017

To many authors, the search for an agent or manager begins to resemble the quest to locate a mythical creature.  One may come to think they have a better chance of locating a Roc in its natural habitat.

Certainly, this was my case for many years.  And like many success stories of this genre, it came about due to the confluence of hard work and good fortune.

First, the hard work:  Over the last fourteen years, I have completed five screenplays, one teleplay, three one-act plays, and one two act play.  And two novels.  Plus, nearly 100 poems.  That’s a lot of writing.  It may not be Alexander Hamilton (or L. Ron Hubbard) prolific, but given I have worked as a teacher each of those fourteen years whilst battling Parkinson’s, I’ll take it.  Most of my dramatic writing I have brought to the playwright’s lab at the Pulse Ensemble Theatre in New York City.

The woman who runs the lab is a superb screenwriter and playwright—Ms. Lezley Steele.  She is also an excellent teacher.  When you workshop a script with her lab, you always get superb feedback. Plenty of criticism, of course, but it always comes with ideas on how to fix the problems, and praise for what does work in your script.  I always left the lab feeling that no matter how much revision I had to do, I was capable of doing it.  Most of the playwrights I’ve met who know Lezley agree—no one gives better feedback.

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Ernest Thompson

I am also proud to call Lezley my friend.  Our friendship has allowed us to stay in touch and encourage each other through both our creative endeavors, and the roadblocks life sends our way.  When I had completed my two act play, “Invincible Summer,” Lezley was kind enough to read it. She has actually read multiple drafts, always providing me with her high level of advice.  After one of the revisions, she announced much to my surprise that she would like to send my play to her agent.

I was flattered, but also cautious. Even if he agreed to read it—which he may not—there was no guarantee he was going to want to represent me.  Soon thereafter, Lezley informed me that she had contacted her agent and he was willing to read it. Thus, I sent off my play to Mr. Earl Graham.

And then I waited.

One day in March, I walked outside my school building and noticed a voicemail on my phone. A number I didn’t recognize.  A New York exchange.  I played it back: it was Earl, wanting to talk to me.  As my dear friend Darlene put it: “He’s not calling to tell you he hates it.”

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Jason Miller

Indeed, he called to tell me he loved it and wanted to help get it placed in a theatre. He also wanted to meet me for lunch soon.  So, during my April vacation, I took the train down to the city and had lunch with my agent.  I’ll be honest—I love that I get to say that.

Earl is an incredibly warm man, who told great stories about his career in theatre, his life in New York, and the fascinating people he’s known. I learned that he has represented some impressive clients, such as Ernest Thompson (“On Golden Pond”) and Jason Miller (“That Championship Season”—also Oscar nominated for playing father Damien Karras in “The Exorcist”)  He reiterated how much he loved my play, how much his assistant loved it , and how much his partner did.  He was also clear—it is very hard to get a new play in a theatre.  It would likely take a while, and it may not happen at all.  I need to be patient and have realistic expectations.  But if he could get someone to read the first twenty pages, he felt strongly they would be hooked–like he was. I understood the challenges he laid out, but I am still grateful to have this man in my corner.

After Earl agreed to take on my play, I had planned on contacting Lezley to tell her.  It appears though, Earl beat me to it.  I opened my in-box to find this message from her:

Earl called me today with the wonderful news that he is going to work on getting your play done.  He thanked me for sending him a beautiful play.  He said he cried when he read it.  I am so pleased.  I’ve given him other playwright’s plays before (just a few) and he has had no interest in them.  So I had my fingers crossed.

And even though it annoys her when I tell her so, I will always be grateful to Lezley.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. August 18, 2017 3:51 am

    Congratulations Kevin! I am so excited and thrilled for you. You have crossed a huge hurdle by landing an agent who loves your work. I am sure the next steps will be smoother. Good luck!

  2. August 23, 2017 11:58 am

    Thank you so much! I will keep you posted. 🙂

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