MXN Entertainment’s Literary Manager & Producer Tracy Kopulsky sat down with WeScreenplay’s Sarah Eagen for another installment of the Cocktails & Conversations virtual series.
Tracy Kopulsky is a Manager and Producer at MXN Entertainment. After graduating from the Radio/TV/Film program at Northwestern University, Tracy started her career at William Morris Endeavor before making her way to MXN. As a manager, Tracy works with filmmakers and writers in both TV and film, with a particular emphasis on elevated genre and smart, edgy comedy. Her clients are known for projects such as UNREAL, THE GOOD PLACE, ROSWELL NEW MEXICO, THE WITCHER and more.
Tracy shared some phenomenal insights about how to find a literary manager and tips that every writer should hear no matter where they’re at in their career. Tracy currently sits on the jury for the WeScreenplay TV Pilot Competition!
You should watch the full talk below (it’s great!), but if you don’t have time, we’ve pulled out Tracy’s biggest takeaways and advice for writers looking to find a literary agent. Enjoy!
Check out WeScreenplay's chat with MXN Entertainment Literary Manager & Producer Tracy Kopulsky! As a manager, Tracy works with filmmakers and writers in both TV and film, with a particular emphasis on elevated genre and smart, edgy comedy. Her clients are known for projects such as UNREAL, THE GOOD PLACE, ROSWELL NEW MEXICO, THE WITCHER and more.
Posted by WeScreenplay on Monday, September 14, 2020
How to get signed by a literary agent or manager: 3 tips for new writers
- New writers benefit from having managers early on more than agents
- Contests are a great way to get recognized
- Agents and managers have time on their hands right now
New writers benefit from having managers early on more than agents
Managers have a more important role in a new writer’s career because of the development side of the work they do. If anyone can vouch for you, that’s always helpful to break through the noise. If you have a personal connection with a manager, see if they are willing to read your script. Even if they’re not going to become your representation. Tracy also recommends reaching out to assistants in companies that take unsolicited submissions as well as managers. They are always looking to move up to a manager.
Managers work in development and will give notes. You do want to put your best foot forward and send the most polished version of the script, but keep in mind notes are part of the process.
Contests are a great way to get recognized
Having that feather in your cap is fantastic. “The people involved in contests give amazing feedback and a platform for new voices.” [20:48]
Take advantage of this time
Because of COVID-19, everyone is mostly home. That means literary managers and agents (and writers!) have more time on their hands. Now is the perfect time to advocate for yourself since people can meet on Zoom all day long. Over the last few months, there has been more development in the industry than usual.
“There’s such a rich experience anyone who’s a bit older can bring to the table, and bring to their storytelling. We need stories from everybody.” — Tracy Kopulsky [35:45]
How to write a query letter: Tips from a literary manager
- Keep query letters short, sweet and to the point. Define the subject of your letter right away, don’t be too flowery, so that the reader recognizes it’s a query letter right away. Be clear about who you are, where you come from.
- Highlight the project that is the most exciting to you instead of mentioning all the samples you have. Leave them wanting more. If it’s a great sample, that’s a great way to start a relationship and hear about what’s next in the pipeline. You don’t need to shut yourself out from multiple genres. Don’t limit yourself. Just focus your marketing efforts into the one project you are most passionate about.
- Perfect your logline. “An amazing logline, even if someone doesn’t have a lot of experience, can stand out, so I would say, definitely put energy into that.” [11:08]. If you are an experienced writer, mention that as well, but a strong logline is key.
“In a query letter if you are marketing yourself as jack of all trades, that could be a bit of a turn off.” [25:5]
How to make your script stand out
Tracy is always on the lookout for a different perspective with a universal element and compelling characters that jump off the page. “If you see a character that is amazing you can see a great actor playing that person.” [13:38]. Write what’s authentic to you.
How to find a literary manager right now: Tracy’s final thoughts
New opportunities are happening right now. Tracy notes that more buyers and producers are open to reading new writers — and they have the time to do it — thanks to the extended lockdown. Keep telling your stories, because we needed them right now. It’s a weird time, but keep writing and keep advocating for yourself. With the trials of today come new opportunities.
Julia Camara is an award-winning Brazilian screenwriter/filmmaker. Julia won a Telly Award for the sci-fi found footage feature Occupants. Julia’s feature directorial debut In Transit, won Best Experimental Film at four different festivals. Julia’s other writing credits include Area Q and Open Road.