Friday, 13 September 2019

Everything You've Ever Wanted To Ask A Hollywood Manager & Producer: An Interview With Jake Wagner

Our guest at Into The Script today is Jake Wagner - a seasoned Hollywood Manager and Producer working for Good Fear Film + Management, who have clients whom have had much success in the film industry. From Award-Winning Short Films to recent Box Office Hits such as Stuber and Crawl, as well as the highly anticipated live adaptation of Disney’s Mulan, the folks at Good Fear definitely know what it takes to succeed in the film industry. 

Jake has also produced films such as Evidence, Killing Season, and Stuber, and was kind enough to speak with me and share some insight and invaluable advice about breaking into the film industry as a screenwriter.

So without further ado, we’ll turn it over to Mr. Jake Wager:

1. First off Jake, thank you so much for taking the time to speak with me and for giving our audience a unique and valuable insight into your side of the entertainment business.

As a manager, I am sure you read through an unthinkable amount of queries from week to week. And I’m sure there is likely a long list to choose from here, but can you give us a few examples of some things that you routinely see in a query, whether it be in a logline or otherwise, that immediately makes you lose interest?  

Sure, when it’s too long of an email, when they list more than one project, when they list all the awards or contests that the scripts have placed in.

I mean if it won or placed in all those contests why haven’t you been signed yet? 

Less is more, pick one great script, start the email query by saying something nice about me, then give me the genre, title and logline and ask if i would like to read it.

If it’s simple and sweet then i will probably read the email.

2. This has been a bit of a hot topic in the writing community recently, so I would love to get your perspective. If a writer submits a query to you and in your opinion it is terrible, is the door sort of “closed” for that writer, for you? 

For instance, if someone sends you a query and you remember their name (because of how bad their first query was), does that come into play as far as your willingness to give their recent submission the time of day?

Yes it does if they are consistently emailing me bad titles and loglines.

I get so many query emails that if it’s only a couple times, I probably won’t remember their name, but if it’s someone who hits me up often or more than twice and i’m not interested in anything so far I definitely will usually recall the name and just delete the email. 

So i do sort of mentally block out that person if after two times it’s just not an appealing sounding script.

3. There is a lot of advice out there from writers on how to successfully pitch your script. What advice can you give writers when it comes to making a successful and professional first impression with a potential manager? 

Have a clear genre, maybe even a “this meets that” or even something simpler, like when the Rasmussen Bros queried me CRAWL they said it was DON’T BREATHE with an Alligator. 

I dug that immediately and could understand it and get my head around it.

They used a successful movie and added a twist.

It’s the old saying, if you can’t pitch it in 2 lines then it’s not a movie.  

4. Another constant huge topic in the writing community is loglines. Everyone has their opinion on what exactly it should entail, what the structure should be, etc. 

From your perspective, is there more than one way to effectively execute a logline? And would you rather be left with a bit of wonderment about how the script will unravel, or do you look for a logline to more or less spell out the storyline in its entirety? 

The logline should really boil down and explain the concept in no more than two sentences. 

Sometimes the logline is even in the title (40 YEAR OLD VIRGIN, CON AIR, WEDDING CRASHERS) that’s even better if you can pull that off. 

But think of a logline as a mini beginning, middle and end to a movie concept.

If you can nail that then you have something high concept.

5. From your side of the business, is there an “unwritten rule” on signing writers, in regards to their experience? Does an unknown or newer screenwriter who has written one or two scripts have as good a chance of being represented by you as a writer who has been around the business for awhile, maybe knows a few successful producers, and has 10 or 12 scripts written? Or, does it really just come down to the quality and marketability of the query that’s been presented to you? 

Doesn’t matter the experience or credits for signing. 

All that matters is they have an original voice, and a commercial idea. 

And it all starts with just one script, doesn’t matter how old or how long they have been writing.  

If that script has those two elements, we are off to the races.

Kevin Wilde is an up and coming screenwriter, as well as a feature writer for Into The Script.

Everyday is Halloween for Kevin, as he has an unrelenting passion for all things horror. Influenced by the likes of masterminds such as John Carpenter, Stephen King, Kevin Williamson, Eli Roth, and Rob Zombie, you can certainly look forward to many horrifying tales that will have you sleeping with the lights on.

You can find Kevin on Instagram and Facebook.


  1. Cool interview. Always good to see people get straight to the answer, the straight talkers save so much time. Lately it seems distributors and markets such as MIPCOM have opened their gates to Latin cinema a lot too. I've lived in Paraguay for over a year and my latest feature script is about their folklore monster 'Pompero' - Hoping the niche of this monster and unspoken culture of guarani fetches some attention.

    1. Thank you! And really interested to hear about your project surrounding Paraguay - I'm actually Guarani Indian and adopted from Paraguay :)

  2. Nice hob Kevin. Great questions j sharing now!


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