Have you ever felt like the universe sends you the advice you need when you least expect it? Well, that recently happened to me. But instead of the universe, I think I have the Twitter algorithm to thank... which might be the first and last time I type those words.
Those of you who follow me on social media know that I am currently talking to reps to pick a new manager (and writing a huge article about it). It's my first time not being repped in about a decade, so I have had to read my own advice about agents and managers. But sometimes it's hard to listen to yourself. That's when Twitter brought me to David H. Steinberg.
For the unfamiliar, David is a writer, director, producer, and showrunner. He wrote the screenplays for American Pie 2, Slackers, and is currently the executive producer and showrunner on No Good Nick, which is streaming on Netflix. He's an excellent follow on Twitter, with advice and thoughts that can help you build your budding career, or even ask the right questions as you get deeper into Hollywood.
David recently completed a short thread on what writers should be doing when they start talking to managers. As someone in this position again, I found his advice insightful, and I made a checklist of his tips to use when I take those meetings.
We captured the tweets in the images below, but if you click them, they'll take you to Twitter where you can see the discussion around the points.
This is really wonderful stuff you can emulate when you make that leap. I particularly like the focus on you. What are you trying to say with your writing? What draws you to these stories and why do they mean so much to you? What matters to you and how can you use storytelling to turn that into tangible movies and TV shows for the masses?
How often should you meet new people? How can you expand your network but also zero in on a few fans who can and will hire you?
Second, I like setting expectations. A lot of times, when I hear people complain about managers, it's that they feel like they have no plan, or that they are not sure how to communicate with them. Set expectations for how you will talk and how often. Try to keep that going. For me, I like to make sure my reps want to be involved with ideation. I want people who will read treatments and outlines, offering notes so that the first draft is further along than a vomit draft.
Some things I didn't anticipate were the number of ideas David said to come with, and his follow-up about maybe needing a bio to introduce yourself.
Lucky for us, David tweeted about these personal stories and bio around two years ago.
This changed the game for me when it comes to knowing how to approach manager meetings. I also feel like this advice will make me feel prepared and professional. I have a bio, but I often forget to update it with recent accomplishments.
All this stuff you can do right now as well. Come into these things prepared. Sure, you may know someone who winged it and crushed it, but it's great to have a body of things to talk about, ideas for the future, and even a tangible goal you have yet to reach.
Let me know how this advice helps you in the comments.