When To Leave Your Manager by Joey Tuccio
Roadmap Writers is the leader in helping writers secure representation, and I get about ten emails a day from writers asking how they can get repped.
One recurring question? “I’m repped, but I think I want to leave my manager. What do I do?”
The reasons why a writer might want to leave a manager vary from the writer having overreaching expectations, to needing to have a conversation about how to improve the writer-rep relationship, to talking about adding an agent to the team—sometimes it's even time to break up.
Before you decide to leave your manager, it’s essential to know which bucket you fall into. Sometimes just having a conversation with your manager to show them other loglines you are considering writing next can spark the conversation.
Getting signed does not mean you sit back and the general meetings flow in. You must also provide your rep with “ammo” to help them market you. That means content. Maybe you saw an article that you want to adapt or a new project you want to work on. Also, submit to the major fellowships sponsored by studios like Universal and networks like Warner Brothers and Disney. If you place high, these can help your manager beef up your bio. Look them up and submit. You can’t fully put the fact that you aren’t getting meetings on the manager’s shoulders. Are you giving them enough to help set you up with generals? Has it only been a couple of months? Are you in communication?
The saying “your manager works for you” is true, but for a writer who's looking for representation or is already signed, they can consider it the other way. They are nervous to ask questions in signing meetings or decide to stick with a rep that is not a good fit for months because they feel more secure with a rep. A great question you should ask a rep in signing meetings is, “How do you like to communicate with your clients?” Usually, the first obstacle a writer faces after they sign is communication. Also, if you are meeting a rep by an introduction through a competition or organization, they have skin in the game and will want you to sign with that rep. It helps their success stories, and it looks good for them. Don’t let anybody sway your decision. It’s up to YOU to decide whom you want to be with. If you have a couple of options and don’t know whom to pick, consider which individual rep you like the most (taking the company out of it). Reps change companies, so if you are excited to be signed with a company and don’t like the rep, you have to think about how you would feel if the rep left and brought you with them to a different company.
Getting an agent (or a manager if you already have one) on the team can also help. Yes, that means you have to give up more commission, but it does open up more doors for you.
You also must remember that you cannot look for another manager if you are already signed to a manager and cannot look for an agent without your manager’s consent. There’s no way around this, so if you are looking for a new manager, you must leave your manager first.
If months have gone by and they haven’t set you up on a general meeting and are not keen to develop other projects or send other things out, it’s time to leave your manager. This doesn’t mean they are a bad manager. It just means they were excited about one of your projects and couldn’t get the traction they hoped, so the excitement isn’t as high anymore. There are only enough hours in the day, and they have to cater to their clients who generate revenue.
Your job is to know when you have exhausted all communication channels with your rep, so you know when it’s time to leave your rep.
If you have any questions, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Joey Tuccio is the founder and CEO of Roadmap Writers.