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It’s the number one question every up-and-coming writer has: how do I break in? And who better to ask than literary manager, producer, and former Launch Pad judge, Lee Stobby, who has established countless writers’ careers!

Everyone deserves a champion in their corner and, for writers, that role belongs to your literary manager. Particularly in the past year, breaking in has never seemed more daunting, but everyone’s working-from-home has actually provided a great opportunity for writers of all levels! Producers and managers have been able to meet with more people in the course of their day thanks to virtual meetings. If you take the advice of industry professionals, applying their tips to your career, you may find that now is the best time possible to be making moves as a screenwriter.

Lee Stobby

Lee Stobby

Producer, manager, and former Launch Pad judge, Lee Stobby, has a knack for finding great, rising voices in screenwriting and helping them rise through the ranks of the industry.

“[A great writing client is] someone who makes every day more fun and rewarding than the last and understands this is a journey, not a destination.”

Having been a judge for Launch Pad and many other screenwriting competitions, Stobby has an eye for talent on the page and in the room, helping him to discern which potential clients have the room to go the distance.

What makes a great writing client? What do managers and producers look for in young writers? What should writers look for in their potential representation? And, most importantly, how do new screenwriters break in? We sat down with Stobby to get direct answers to these questions and more!

Be Polite and Concise

Launch Pad: How do you find new talent? (competitions, networking, etc)

Lee Stobby: All the above. With my closest, most lasting relationships, client or otherwise: we just find each other. 

LP: How do you like to be contacted by writers? If a query letter, what should be included?

Stobby: Politely and concisely with a specific ask. If I email someone that I don’t know, that is how I do it.

LP: Should a writer have a manager before they have an agent? Vice versa?

Stobby: All a writer needs is some group of representatives who are passionate about the writer’s material and understands them in a deep, meaningful way. Their representation team should enhance and support their writing and career and compliment one another. Doesn’t matter if agent(s) or manager(s), at a big or small firm. It should come down to the individual representatives, not their place of work. Different writers need different representation, and there are infinite combinations.

Embrace the Journey

LP: What makes a good client?

Stobby: Someone who makes every day more fun and rewarding than the last and understands this is a journey, not a destination. 

LP: How should a writer choose whether or not to accept an offer of representation? 

Stobby: Everyone has to make decisions based upon their own perimeters and needs. 

Good Writers Inspire Their Representation

LP: What impresses you most about a writer in a meeting?

Stobby: I am at my most energized when working on material and with artists that I want to showcase to the world. Every day my clients inspire me with their art and compassion, and that is what really keeps me going. 

LP: How has the process of finding and working with new writers changed in 2020?

Stobby: Largely unchanged. Writers are the most durable, unflinching and inspiring creatures that inhabit Hollywood. That’s why I love them so. 

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