Have no fear, Malcolm. You're not going crazy (unless
you are and this is the beginning of a wonderful stalking
relationship), but simply undergoing a case of Agenta
Absentia (taken from the Latin: "absent
agent." You don't think they had agents in the
days of Rome? How do you think Homer got points?), a
problem that many screenwriters (and actors, and
producers, and directors, and managers, and just about
anybody who is required to give ten percent of one's
earnings to somebody who has put everything on the line
for him or her and picked up that heavy phone and made a
call or sent a grueling fax or gave everything he had to
turn on a computer and work that mouse to click on a
link). Agenta Absentia has several prominent
characteristics that you can use to identify it and find
out if you actually have the problem: 1) The almost irresistible,
compulsive urge to phone your agent, along with the irresistible
fear that he won't remember who you are. 2) The almost irresistible
urge to visit your agent, along with the almost irresistible
fear that he has moved. And hasn't sent you a
forwarding address. 3) Marking off each day of your
calendar as another one when your agent didn't call you.
4)Dreaming about getting a call from your agent and him
telling you that he's sold your script for six figures and
he guarantees you that you'll get your ten percent.
5)Fearing that you'll have a six minute dream about not
getting a call from your agent, and, while you're
sleeping, he'll actually call to tell you that he's found
a producer who wants to buy your script for six figures,
but needs an answer in six minutes or there's no deal.
If you, Malcolm, and other dear screenwriters, have any
of the above symptoms and are experiencing Agenta
Absentia, don't despair because, thankfully, there is
something you can definitely do: Unplug your phone
and get rid of your cell. This way, if your agent does
give you a call (which he probably won't), you won't have
to worry about waiting for him to do so because you won't
be able to receive it. See the brilliance in that?
(And if he does call and you miss some major 3-pic deal,
you still won't have to hear that less than
pleasant news.) Problem solved.
Of course, you could always plug your phone back in and
hold onto your cell-phone. Just in case. Heck,
you could even call your agent. If you're hesitant
about looking too desperate, try this technique for
guiding the conversation -- which could go something like
"Hi, I just thought I'd call and say hi.
Hi. And see how the weather is down there (Avoid
this line if you're less than a mile from your agent's
office.) Just saying hello and checking in to see
how everything is going -- I mean, not necessarily with my
screenplay -- but just, you know, with the general...
screenplay of life... that we all play a role in. So
to speak. And like my protagonist, I'm just --
On second thought, maybe you better unplug it.
And I can give you the link for Used Cell Phones Are
And probably the best thing you can do is -- uh, excuse
me; I've got to go. I need to go offline because my
modem uses the same line as the one my agent calls me