Before I sent out my agent queries, I braced myself for the tidal wave of expected rejections. I’ve worked in the entertainment industry for a long time and I knew first-hand what the chances of success would be like. In fact, right outside my office was the assistant to one of DreamWorks development executives, so I had a front row seat to the battlefield of disappointed faces. My point is, I figured that Charlie Bucket had a better chance of finding a Golden Ticket than I did in getting an agent.
The closest thing that I can compare to sending out agent queries is when those rats will hit that lever repeatedly in the hopes that it might deliver a treat. Well, one day, I sent out a few queries and I got a request for a full manuscript.
Cue heavenly choir: a full manuscript.
I told myself, don’t get too excited. I’m sure the studio with Pluto Nash felt they had something at the time. (“My god, we have Eddie Murphy!”)
Not long after I sent the manuscript, I got an email from Lynnette saying that she liked the material and wanted to discuss possible representation. I was thrilled, and vowed on the spot to never again mock Sally Field for saying, “You like me, you really like me.”
I have to confess, the details of the phone call are all a blur now, but one thing about it stood out: Lynnette struck me as a wonderful person. She really loved books, loved telling stories, and most importantly, she cared about people. I know selling books is a crazy pie-in-the-sky pipe dream, but having someone along with you on the journey makes it worthwhile.
Even now, I am grateful for the countless hours I spent scouring manuscript wish list to find the right agents to send my material to. Because all that work led me to getting that phone call from Lynnette Novak and working with the Seymour Agency.
To all of them, I am—and will be—forever grateful.
One more thing, if this is needs to be edited, nuked of adverbs, and spell checked, then that’s another reason why I need Lynnette Novak.
About Steve Hickner:
Steve Hickner has worked at many of the fabled studios in animation: DreamWorks, Disney, Amblimation, Aardman, Hanna-Barbera and Filmation. His extensive career includes experience with both the production and artistic sides of the process, serving as Producer on such films as: American Tail II: Fievel Goes West, We’re Back! A Dinosaur’s Story, and Balto. His director credits include Bee Movie and The Prince of Egypt. In addition, he has contributed to such feature films as Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, The Little Mermaid, The Great Mouse Detective, Madagascar, Shrek Forever After, Peabody and Sherman and Home. His television credits include the childhood favorite, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. Steve has contributed to theme park and location-based entertainment projects in China, Dubai, London, Singapore, Malaysia, and Hollywood. He recently collaborated with Steven Spielberg to write and direct the Comcast sphere film, The Power of I. He has been a guest speaker at many colleges and universities, film festivals and animation events. He is the author of Animating Your Career, and Animation Rules!