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If someone buys it (and I do have an interested party) I might have to pay TSA 10% of what I make, even though they did jackshit in sell it. I will go to court to see they don't get anything, though I may just have to write it off as 'stupidity tax.'.
This agency has been brought up numerous times on another popular screenwriting board where I'm a member, and from reading multiple posts both here and there and from having picked up on their scam when they contacted me, I think the single most tell-tale sign they're a scam is that they accept to represent every script sent to them.
You will never hear someone who has sent this agency a script complain that the agency chose not to represent them. Nobody -- and I repeat, NOBODY -- accepts every writer or script that comes across their desk.
The sad thing is that they're so obviously a fake, yet people continue to fall for them even after folks like dogglebe tell them to avoid them at all costs because he's been scammed by them. But this "agency" preys on aspiring screenwriters because we're so eager to get read, or to earn that first dollar and obtain that first "sold" credit...that eagerness and that lure of big bucks will sometimes blind us or convince us to take a chance even though our guts tell us it's a trap.
So, here's a piece of advice; if any agency demands a reading fee, or a per-page fee, or any kind of fee besides the %10 commission after they sell your script, it's a scam. Don't fall for it.
Chad -- you don't have to take our word for it. Check out pretty much any major screenwriting forum on the 'net and you'll find at least one thread exposing this agency as a fraud.
Having heard plenty of horror stories from others who have been suckered in by this agency, it sounds to me like the critique you got is pretty much the same critique they give everyone. "Characters need work but there's lots of potential" applies to pretty much any script ever written by any aspiring screenwriter, because first-timers often don't focus enough on characters but the general idea is decent and has potential. That's token, baby!
The general concensus seems to be that if the WGA doesn't acknowledge a particular agency, said agency is worth going out of your way to avoid. I hope you're able to pull out of this contract. Scan that mother fucker for a loophole or, better yet, find yourself an attorney and have him scan it for a loophole. So you might have to pay a couple hundred bucks for an hour of an attorney's time...but it's better than losing 10% if you sell the script for fifty grand, know what I'm sayin'?
Actually, that in itself could be a loophole. As phil/dogglebe has pointed out in this thread and many others, The Screenplay Agency has never sold a script and apparently has a plethora of excuses why they "can't" send it out to BE sold, or even LOOKED AT by a potential buyer (kinda defeats the whole purpose of being an agent to begin with, huh?) So if your script ends up selling, it's more than likely because you did all the footwork and negotiated the sale yourself, which means they, as your "agent," failed to meet their entire raison d'etre as an "agent" which, in turn, means they have no right to claim a percentage because THEY didn't sell the damn thing...YOU did.
I dunno...it's all just postulation at this point but it sounds reasonable to me.
It's important that this thread be bumped up the list as there are a lot of crooks who make money off of young writers hoping to make it big.
Research anyone who wants to represent you.
I absolutely agree that this one is important especially because they have a tendency to prey on the hopes and dreams of struggling writers. I've the stories of people just overjoyed that they got an agent from this place only to have their hopes dashed when they're expected to pay dearly for a myriad of services that may not pay off. That's why I made it a sticky on this board. It's always on top.
The best part, however, was the end. No spoiler warning needed. It really says what it needs to about The Screenplay Agency. He said this:
UPDATE: Just for kicks, a few weeks ago I used a different e-mail account and sent in the following query:
Name: Josh Sanchez
How Did You Hear of Us: Mwerk hell.
Title of Work: Hoppa Smirky Flirking Poop
Has your Work Been Edited: Smoolapa oijjs certainty flocksure pinanten coolaiding slader.
Short Bio: Whentoes Sanchez flipristki centerop.
The response ten days later from Sherry Fine?
?Thank you for your query to the Screenplay Literary Agency. Based on your query form information we would like to see your work and learn a little bit more about your goals and your work. Would you please send us an electronic copy of your screenplay? etc., etc., etc.?
BEFORE ANYONE QUERIES ANYONE, PLEASE VISIT THESE SITES AND DO YOUR RESEARCH.
Don, this is not to pull anyone away from here, they are beware sections with professional researchers and background checkers. If there have been negative experiences chances are it will end up in one of these two places.
http://www.agentquery.com is a great place to find lists of agents, what they are looking for, websites, contact information and such. However, please do your research BEFORE quering them.