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Screenwriting Agents in India : What do they do? Who are the best ones?

India is a juggernaut when it comes to the movies. Here, we are always going to the movies and there is a movie to cater to every taste. This is thanks to the production houses that work relentlessly around the year setting the records for the largest number of films produced in the world. Hollywood is only ahead in terms of revenue. 

With so many films and shows produced every year in more than 15 languages, a lot of stories are being told through cinema and OTT. That in turn means that there are screenwriters who are converting stories into screenplays.

So many screenwriters should mean that there would also be a lot of screenwriting agents in India, but that story is a little complicated. The screenwriting ecosystem in India is loose and unorganised compared to let’s say Hollywood where there are dedicated screenwriting agents. But first, let us understand who these screenwriting agents are and what they do.

{You may want to check out our post on Beta Reading and how it can help improve your story.}

What Does a Screenwriting Agent Do?

A screenwriting agent is to a screenplay what a literary agent is to a novel. 

That is to say, if you have written your dream script – the story you want to see playing out on the big screen or getting streamed on Netflix, then you would need an agent to help find the right home or production house.  

These screenwriting or screenplay agents are negotiators and closers. They take your script and find the perfect production house, or executive for it depending upon the needs of the script. If the script is big-budget, the agent would have to approach bigger financiers and long-standing production houses, but if the script is something that requires minimal investment, they could find the right indie platform for the script to take off. 

Screenwriting agents have insider contacts in the film industry and also know which producer or director is looking for fresh scripts or a particular kind of story. They also protect the screenplay writers’ rights by ensuring they are fairly compensated for their hard work and potential.

The Best Screenwriting Agents in India

In India, the screenwriting ecosystem is not set in stone as previously mentioned. The traditional way for finding the right home for the script has been historically done in an unorganized but organic manner where ‘networking’ takes centre stage. This is by large still the scenario in India. 

There is no clear, one way of having your script land in the hands of a good production house. It probably has to exchange many hands until it finds the right home. Some traditional ways of going about it are –

  • Attend film festivals, screenings and other events where you can narrate your story to different people like studio executives, producers or even directors. In order to get success here, you should be very familiar with your story so that you can narrate a crisp pitch/hook which leaves the listener wanting to know more.
  • Another way is to write to the people who you like the work of. They could be other writers, directors or even producers. Indie producers are more likely to respond than big production houses like Dharma or Yash Raj Productions. Once again, when you are sending scripts, make sure that it is accompanied by a short blurb/pitch that can capture the attention of the reader.
  • Attend screenwriting workshops or film school where you can make contacts in the industry and hope to find opportunities to pitch your story to relevant people.
  • If starting with a book, many literary agents also now double up as film and script agents. 

Even though the screenwriting ecosystem in India is not like in the West, some new avenues have come up revolutionizing the industry and making it easy for writers to find representation.

Our research uncovered the following six screenwriting agents in India. 

  1. StoryInk by Siddharth Jain

The one making the waves in the screenwriting scene is Story Ink. It was founded by Siddharth Jain in 2018 and has since not looked back. They are a book-to-screen company which means they find books and stories and novel plots and find the right production houses to adapt those stories. In a small time of 5 years, they have landed deals for about 200+ books and have engaged with over 50 production houses. 

They recently put themselves boldly on the map with their latest hit production Trial by Fire adapted from the bestselling book of the same name by authors Neelam and Shekhar Krishnamoorthy. 

In this conversation where HWR talks to the founder Siddharth Jain directly, he tells us what goes into making such a thing a reality and what he looks for in a script when it lands across his table. 

‘It is a very simple process. One can send their script to Story Ink through the email id mentioned across all their social media platforms or the website’ he says. Once it lands on their desks, they mostly look for three things: the title, a half-page synopsis that best summarizes the general idea and feel of the script and more importantly a 2-3 page plot summary that elucidates some of the major plots and turns in the script. This is usually more than enough to give them a clear idea of the work. Only when this works, is when they proceed towards reading the entire script or book. Siddharth Jain also says that the prose quality is not the most important. Since Story Ink is a book-to-screen company, most books are ultimately written for screen adaptations. 

Currently, their focus is on adapting books into movies compared to a few years ago when shorter series were in more demand due to the OTT bloom. He says they are always on the hunt for good stories that are plot oriented. 

Siddharth also talked us through the price producers pay for the rights of a book or a story. It is in the broad range of 15 to 30 Lakhs. He also said that about 70-80% of the books are sold for 15-20 Lakhs. If you want to understand the pricing and fee in detail then head on to watch our interview with him here

  1. Tulsea 

Tulsea is another big talent management agency in Mumbai. Unlike Kwan/Collective Artists Network, they do not represent sports or a wider range of talent but are specifically inclined towards having a good portfolio of writers, directors, producers, actors and production companies. Some of their notable screenplays in series have been Paatal Lok, Sacred Games, Mirzapur (Karan Anshuman and Puneet Krishna) and Leila to name a few.

We spoke to the Associate of Content Development at Tulsea to know more about their process of finalizing and accepting stories that will go into production. In order to have an unsolicited story read at Tulsea, one would have to follow them on their socials for open submission periods. They usually do not accept unsolicited scripts but based on their bandwidth and workload, open the submission period each year for a limited period. In 2022, the window was from July to September.

Rather than unsolicited pitches, they prefer that some senior talent recommends a younger one. They have represented many younger talents who have been able to go ahead and make their own creative dreams come true. They closely follow all screenwriting competitions or labs and contact the writers if the work resonates with them.

When Tulsea receives a screenplay, the first thing they check for is if the script is registered. Then they check for an engaging story, structure, characters, character arcs and the pacing of the plot. More than anything they are looking for unique author voices.

Some of the writers that they have represented are Juhi Chaturvedi (Gulabo Sitabo, October, Piku), Piyush Gupta (Chhichhore, Dangal), Puneet Krishna (Mirzapur), Sudip Sharma (Paatal Lok, Udta Punjab, NH10), Sumit Purohit (Scam 1992: The Harshad Mehta Story).

  1. Collective Artists Network (formerly Kwan Entertainment)

One of the biggest talent management agencies in the Bollywood film industry is the Collective Artists Network. It boasts of representing huge artists such as Deepika Padukone, Ranbir Singh, Hrithik Roshan etc. 

Collective Artists Network is a bigger entertainment talent firm that also has expanded into sports representation and Live talent management. They mostly do not accept unsolicited pitches and representation is only possible through networks and contacts. They mostly take only established talent when it comes to scriptwriters and authors. One can get in touch with them through the number and email on their website

  1. The Labyrinth Literary Agency

The Labyrinth Literary Agency is an up-and-coming literary agency founded in 2014 by Anish Chandy. Their agency provides a range of services across books and movies. Before founding Labyrinth 9 years ago, Anish was a senior commissioning editor at Penguin India and a business development head at Juggernaut Books. 

The Agency boasts of having a varied portfolio of stories they have put in the production of upcoming web series. The Tatas by Girish Kuber which has won the Gaja Capital Business Book Prize, A Cult called Royal Enfield by Amrit Raj, Anita Nair’s Alphabet Soup for Lovers, and Chain of Custody are some of the titles that are in production for upcoming web series according to their website. 

One can send screenplays to them at submissions@labyrinthagency.com

  1. Screenwriters’ Lab 

A screenwriting labs are spaces where writers with works-in-progress can come together to work and hone their craft under acclaimed international scripts and industry experts.

The National Film Development Corporation Ltd. (NFDC) organizes a screenwriters’ lab every year. This annual lab is one of the best platforms for showcasing one’s work to a premier audience of producers, directors and other film executives. It is done in tandem with Film Bazaar which is a 5-day festival where more than 200 scripts are presented to both national and international industries. 

One can apply to this program through the Film Bazaar website. This lab is only open for feature-length film scripts and only Indian citizens are eligible to apply. Before you submit to this great opportunity make sure you have a strong logline, a sturdy synopsis of the proposed work and a writer’s statement. Participants will also need to send links to their past work. The screenwriter is expected to either submit the full screenplay. If they do not yet have the full screenplay written they can submit a minimum of 20 pages of the screenplay and a long synopsis of the proposed work (about 6-10 pages). 

Submission to the NFDC Screenwriters’ lab requires a fee of INR 8000/- 

  1. The Red Ink Literary and Film Agency

The Red Ink Literary and Film Agency is a literary agency based in New Delhi. It was started as a subsidiary of Baharison’s Bookstore which was established back in 1953. If Red Ink accepts manuscripts they offer an initial assessment of the work, detailed editorial insight and then find the right place for the manuscript. 

Currently, Red Ink is not accepting submissions for screenplays. But check out their submissions space for any updates. 

All In All

The ecosystem is changing and in flux. The boom of OTT and the decentralization in digitalization holds an inconceivable future up ahead for TV and content. More and more avenues are going to come up to make it easy for artists to tell their stories. We will keep on updating our list accordingly. If you know of other script agencies in India then please contact us at info@himalayanwritingretreat or you can share their details in the comments below.

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