Alison McMahan signs with Manager Alexia Melocchi of Little Studio Films

This is one of those blogs every writer waits years to write. I’m pleased to announce that I am now represented by literary manager Alexia Melocchi of Little Studio Films. Melocchi and I have signed a one year contract, and she is working hard at getting my three most marketable scripts, Imprinted, Destroying Angel, and Girl in Trunk, into the right hands.

 Many of my friends have asked me how I managed to get to this point, so I thought a little summary would be in order. We all know that the two key steps to a writing career, is first, write well, and the second is to have people who can help you sell what you write.  For the last two years I’ve been focusing almost exclusively on the first step, honing screenwriting skills I’d developed as a playwrighting major at Catholic University, in the graduate film program at New York University, taking courses with John Truby, and reading numerous books by other screenwriting gurus. In the last two years I polished my skills by taking screenwriting courses at ScreenwritingU. Hal Croesmun’s courses help writers focus on specific techniques that address big picture issues and improve the telling detail. Most of all he gets us to professionalize, by training us to market our projects and to learn to address the needs of our target audience: the producers that will option our scripts or hire us for projects of their own.  

When I moved to Florida from New York, I left behind the active and inspiring New York film community that had supported me through the production of various documentaries, such as Bare Hands and Wooden Limbs. Starting over in a new place, I had fewer distractions and more time to write, but I also felt isolated. An online course seemed like a good solution: I thought I would find a little inspiration, learn a new craft technique or two, and most importantly, have deadlines to meet to help me stay focused. I certainly did learn a lot about craft, and more about packaging my work and pitching. But the most pleasant surprise was the supportive nature of the extended ScreenwritingU community. I was lucky enough to meet a few of the writers who live in Florida, writers like Angela Page, Alan Bush and A.J. Ferrara. We would meet for lunch every now and then. I was also inspired by the work of ScreenwritingU members I didn’t meet, but heard about through ScreenwritingUs social networkd and the Buzz page

The buzz page enables us to be inspired by each other’s work. It was very satisfying to see the announcement of the option of my book The Lost Visionary, by the PIC agency

That’s not to say that the buzz page doesn’t inspire envy. I was a bit envious when I read about another ScreenwritingU alum, Lisa Hepner, landing a manager.  But Hepner also inspired me, because she simply decided that she was ready, she had enough scripts that were ready, she had honed her marketing tools, and it was time to find a manager. She then took a series of steps until she found one. If she could do it, I could too, I decided. I had three scripts ready to go: my sci-fi action Imprinted, and two thrillers I co-wrote with John Leary, Destroying Angel and Girl in Trunk, all of which have won multiple screenwriting awards. I went to the Hollywood Fade In Pitchfest in LA, where I pitched five managers I had carefully researched ahead of time, as well as thirteen producers. Out of those eighteen pitches I got fifteen requests for my scripts, including from all five managers. Went home, did a quick polish, and sent out Imprinted to everyone. I discovered that Melocchi also represented A.J. Ferrara. That connection led to Melocchi reading the script more quickly. This was one of my first lessons in what life is like for managers and producers: even their pile of requested scripts is immense, and it can take some time for them to get through it. 

I was back in LA for the American Film Market and that was my second opportunity to meet with Melocchi and her mother and business partner, Alexandra Yacovlef. We got along well, especially all three of us share European backgrounds, and they asked to read a second script. I sent them Destroying Angel, and then they sent me a contract.

It’s now a new and heady world. A new level of complexity, new responsibilities.  Having a manager means more work to do, not less. Everything has to be polished up, the marketing campaigns have to be re-thought, and I have to give careful thought to what I’m going to write next. But it’s very exciting.