I Want Your Writing To Sing To Me

By Tracy Christian • January 20, 2022

“I Want Your Writing To Sing To Me” Says Agent Tracy Christian From TCA:

Tracy is a veteran talent agent with more than twenty years in the industry working in both the literary as well as talent space. Within the lit space she’s covered more than 500 hours of on-air primetime programming. TCA, her agency, features an international client list and clients working mostly on award-winning programming including Mr. Robot, Game of Thrones, House of Cards, Man in the High Castle, Narcos, and Stranger Things. Tracy spoke about her experience in dealing with screenwriters.

When asked what traits she looks for in potential screenwriting clients she responded “In order for me to want to work with a writer I have to fall in love with the work. And then they should be someone who really wants a teammate. I’m looking for someone who has a new point of view and an unusual voice.”

These new and distinct voices come from a variety of sources such as film festivals, screenwriting contests or films about to go into production. However, since this is largely a referral-based business, she will consider recommended writers.

Potential clients with an established fan base always helps, but Tracy is one of the few agents who will spend the time to develop extraordinarily talented baby writers she truly believes in.

As an agent of color, Tracy mused about the topic of “diversity in screenwriting.” She compares diversity of screenwriting talent to fine dining. “I’ve never consciously said, “hey I need to have a diverse list”. I see the world in a multitude of colors and experiences and I’m black. I’m all about representing the most talented artists I can and new points of view. Isn’t that what’s interesting? It’s like dining out. Writers are the same way. I’m curious about their experience. That’s just what’s natural and the result is naturally a multicultural list. A kind of creative smorgasbord that we offer to the industry.“

Tracy doesn’t view her clients as simply clients, but rather a partnership. “We’re a team. I’m not working for you; I’m working on your behalf. We’re both clear on the goals and the steps we’re taking to accomplish it. I’m not just representing material. I’m representing a human being and am taking the person’s needs, abilities, concerns, fears, and strengths into account. Nothing is more fun than when I have a client who is a partner.”

An agent or manager can only do so much to further a screenwriter’s career. Apart from writing, screenwriters should be living life, reading, watching films, and networking. “There are so many ways to get noticed. Take an assistant position and work your way up. Enter film festivals. Contests. Pitch-a-thons. Blind submissions (although those usually don’t work). Network. The great thing is LA is a company town. Work your six degrees of separation.”

She also suggests that screenwriters have realistic expectations about the film and TV industry. An overnight success is often 10-15 years in the making. It’s also important not to spend too much time “overworking” one screenplay. Screenwriters need a library of material both complete and in development.

Tracy has eclectic viewing tastes and watches all kinds of content, including documentaries. Her current TV favorites include Handmaid’s Tale, Game Of Thrones, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Call My Agent, Pose and Bosch. She also adds that there are “lots of great series coming out of Denmark.”

Like all agents and managers, Tracy has many screenplays to read. Don’t give her a reason to put your script in the pass pile. “like everyone I have tons of distractions in my life and office. The material should be so good that I’d rather finish the script than… oh and typos and spelling errors are a real turn off.“

Her final piece of advice to screenwriters is to never give up.

Tracy Christian