A Final Solution to the Agent Problem

Writers love to gripe and kvetch about the army of deplorables in the movie business who discount, dismay, and disrespect us.

No parties catch more heat than agents.

I’ve argued in my books and lectures that it’s easy to find an agent. What’s hard is having material worthy of showing to an agent.

So many writers have horror stories regarding mistreatment by their representatives.

Here’s mine.

When my former USC film school classmate George Lucas approached me in April of 1970 asking me to write the first draft of American Graffiti, I tried to talk him out of that project and into my own, a ten- or twelve-page treatment, that is to say an elaborate outline, of my own coming-of-age story, Barry and the Persuasions. I have mentioned elsewhere that he stuck to his guns insisting the project be his …Graffiti. I take a sort of dark pride in having attempted to talk a master like George out of what has been now for decades a classic of world cinema.

Some years later during a lengthy Writers Guild strike, a period during which time one could not market screenplays to studios, networks, or production companies, I used the Barry… treatment as an elaborate outline for a novel.

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