They don’t want you until someone else does! UGH
Agents are a weird breed. You tell them you will make them money, but unless you are “somebody” they don’t care. You can’t be a somebody without an agent to make that happen, so you end up in a dance between agencies, contests and training programs.
You have a small screenplay and your old agent is “eh” well, if I help you sell it, then maybe I’ll sign you again. Even though this agent has made it clear that he/she is too big for you now and only keeping A listers. This same agent was all over you when you were called by a major studio to buy the rights to your book and also possibly pick up your series. Then the strike hits and he/she is gone faster than you can say the word agent.
Fast forward to your screenplay, your agent’s ears prick up and he/she is interested in you again. You wrote something decent your agent can make an easy few thousand from you, so he/she is right there.
Your screenplay had an offer! You are so excited you can hardly stand it. Your screenplay, the one you whipped out in a month, has a major studio wanting to pick it up, buy it and that means MONEY! Your agent turns it down and asks for more. Yet, he/she still doesn’t sign you—yet.
You write a decent spec pilot and get some attention for it, your agent isn’t really there, but watching closely. You have two new series in development that he/she believes will sell or get you hired, but that still isn’t enough to lure him/her back.
Another agency gets wind of your screenplay, maybe it has made it’s way across his/her desk, but somehow you have caught the eye of this new person. They call you set up a meeting and guess who back? The agent.
They call you two, three, four, six, eight times over night. They didn’t want you, but when someone else does? They are claiming their territory.
I don’t mind this so much, because that is the name of the game, but I say to any agents out there wanting to sign me, first one to close a deal, I sign with. Plain and simple. I don’t care about out history, because trust me all the times you left me for someone better are right there in my mind, and all the times you didn’t call me back for months on end and let my work die somewhere are there too. All I care about is the deal. Get me one and I am yours!