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Lynn, you have asked for a lot of advice concerning getting into the
script writing business in Hollywood. I can't help much, but I would like
to respond to one small part of your question: you asked if you should get
an agent. The answer is YES. The reason is that producers are extremely
reluctant to even LOOK at a script that doesn't come from an agent. There
are a lot of reasons for this that have little or nothing to do with
elitism. A producer wants to know for sure if the script is really "safe,"
that is a script that is truly written by the person claiming to be the
author, and one that isn't already legally tied up in some manner. Agents
offer assurance of all that. Another practical reason is that producers
can't spend all their time holding court with wannabe writers, who are
too numerous to imagine. (I read an article once that said that everyone
in Los Angeles has written and script and is seeking a producer. That's
hyperbole, of course, but it does make a point.) So, get yourself to an
agent.  Now, having said all that, please allow me to add that I, too,
once wrote a screenplay. I tried to carry it directly to filmmakers but
didn't make any progress. Finally, I cornered Robert Wise after he had
delivered a speech to film students at the University of Southern Calif.,
where I was a visitor, not a student, and I asked Robert Wise face-to-face
what advise he had for a screenwriter. His response was immediate and
unequivocal. He said: GET AN AGENT. (Incidentially, I did. But was STILL
unable to ever sell my script, which I later realized wasn't "Ben-Hur"
after all.) But my advise to you comes directly from Wise, who knows
a thing or two about the whole process.  Anyway, good luck. Persevere
and persevere more. Ernie.