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Sign a Release Form with an Agent or Manager?

Q: I received a letter from an agent saying yes, he wanted to read my whole manuscript. At the same time, he sent me a 2-page mini-contract that focused on my not suing him if he rejects it and down the road, there's a similar book written. Is this normal?

A: It wouldn't say it's typical but it's definitely OK. These are called "release forms" or perhaps "a submission release," and they are very, very common in the screenwriting biz. You can't submit anything anywhere without signing one of these. There are a lot of ideas going around and people are afraid of getting sued. If you're interested in seeing what a release form looks like, you can see one here. It was provided as part of the Willamette Writers' Conference, which draws a lot of script managers/agents and producers. 
It’s rare to see these in the literary world but they are not something to be afraid of. As always, look online and do some searching to make sure the agent is reputable and connected. Protect yourself always.

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Want more on this subject?

  • See a
    profile of script agent Garrett
    Hicks of Will Entertainment.
  • Is there a difference between literary agents and script
    managers?
  • Want a great database of script agents/managers,
    script contests, conferences and theaters? Buy the 2010
    Screenwriter's & Playwright's Market
    today
    ! An interview
    with Blake Snyder is in the 2010 guide.
  • Check
    out an interview with script manager Marc Manus.
  • Confused about formatting? Check out Formatting
    & Submitting Your Manuscript
    .
  • Read about What Agents Hate: Chapter 1 Pet Peeves.
  • Want the most complete database of agents and what genres
    they're looking for? Buy the 2011 Guide to Literary Agents today!
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