BPS 016: How to Sell Your Idea to Television with TV Agent Matthew Doyle

Today’s guest cracked open a door to a part of the industry I had no idea about, television. Matthew Doyle is a television lit agent at the Verve Talent and Literary Agency. 

He’s an up and comer in the industry and definitely a hustler. My co-host Sebastian Twardos and I wanted to get an “in the trenches” perceptive on the television market and Matthew delivered. He tells a great story on how he got promoted to an agent with a prank by the partners at Verve. Here’s a bit on Matthew Doyle:

Doyle joined in January as Verve’s first off-desk TV lit coordinator. He implemented a new system for information flow and tracking, redesigned current grids, and helped lead Verve to its most successful staffing season ever, with 80% of clients staffed on broadcast and cable shows. He has been an aggressive recruiter, interviewing and training new employees.

Worked with up-and-coming clients such as Arkasha Stevenson and Kirk Sullivan on the television side, and has played an important role in signing clients staffed on upcoming series such as “Pitch” and “Riverdale.” Challenges of the job? “Recognizing that everyone is the protagonist of their own story, and treating them accordingly,” Doyle says. – From Variety – 10 Assistants to Watch. Enjoy our conversation with Matthew Doyle.

All of these Sundance Series episodes are co-produced by Sebastian Twardosz.

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Alex Ferrari 0:00
Hi, I'm Alex Ferrari.

Sebastian Twardosz 3:28
And I'm Sebastian Torres. And we are here with Matthew doe, who is an agent at VIRB. Thank you, Matthew For for doing this.

Matthew Doyle 3:35
It's my pleasure to be here.

Alex Ferrari 3:36
Now I heard through the trades that you just had a really great promotion. Can you tell us a little bit about that?

Matthew Doyle 3:41
Yeah. So the way it works, that verb and pretty much any agency is they don't tell you when you're gonna get promoted. Right, which is torture. It's torture us

Alex Ferrari 3:51
because it's like being on death row. Like you don't know if you're going to but in a positive way.

Matthew Doyle 3:55
Yeah, it's, it's brutal. And and you're stewing and myself, I felt in my mind that I deserved to get promoted, which has nothing to do with whether you will get promoted. Like life in the film business. Yeah. So yeah, there's no it's not fair at all. And but I was hoping to, and we had the holiday party for the company. And if there was one last chance to get promoted, it would have been at the holiday party. And I knew this. They had this video that they showed of all the agents, parents, sort of talking about how when they knew their child was going to be an agent. They did

Sebastian Twardosz 4:36
know you're going to be an agent. That's awesome. We knew Matthew would be an agent as soon

Matthew Doyle 4:41
as agents, parents, and they're really old and it's great. Yeah. Then the video ends and then it starts up again and my parents are on the screen. And

Sebastian Twardosz 4:53
you're at the end like tortured you all the way to like

Matthew Doyle 4:57
after I was I actually was it by that point.

Sebastian Twardosz 5:00
I was happy I wouldn't other people got promoted before you were the last

Matthew Doyle 5:03
No, no, I was, I was the only one promoted to agent. So the thing was happening, and I was watching it, and it was poignant, whatever. And then my parents come up, and they start talking about my childhood. And it's really kind of weird and awkward, awkward. I thought, and it was emotional. And then they said that, Matt, you're an agent. So it's something that the partners had spoken to them about weeks beforehand and kept they kept it quiet for me and kept it quiet. Wow. And the agent, and then the agent and my parents because my parents did a video. And then they call them back. And they're like, this is great. We love it. Perfect. We need to do is maybe like, a little bit shorter. Right? That's great notes. So they gave really good, no, so my parents were like, wow, they're the nicest individuals. It's like, you're you were your age? Yeah.

Alex Ferrari 5:58
It's kind of So explain what age being aging is. Again, it's just basically notes and like, the whole getting

Matthew Doyle 6:03
someone to do something without making without them realizing that they're being convinced to do it or offending them. And that's an art. Yeah, it's being but yeah, yes. It doesn't have to be a bad thing.

Sebastian Twardosz 6:17
Okay. Very cool. Okay, so what kind of agent Are you now?

Matthew Doyle 6:20
I'm a literary agent for television. I represent writers and directors in the television business.

Alex Ferrari 6:27
That's now when I mean, we talk a lot about indie filmmakers. And I know there's a lot of indie filmmakers now that are trying to go into television trying to do series. And do you think it's smart to do a kind of spec, you know, spec episode of a show, like as a proof of concept or something like that? Or is it better to just create a Bible? Or what would be the process? What would you suggest?

Matthew Doyle 6:48
Well, yeah, actually, if you have the finances to create a spec episode of the show, I think that is really smart. Okay. And I There are several examples of that, that that have worked out and example. The first example would be a show that aired on TBS search party. The way that happened is now the talent involved was more substantial than probably where most people are starting out. Sure. By the way that happened is they made that for on spec, a short pilot for like, maybe $10,000. And they use that as a proof of concept for a series, okay. And then it was off of that they were able to take the TPS and say, This is how it's supposed to look, this is the style of it. And that gave the executives a better understanding of

Sebastian Twardosz 7:36
oil drawdown is this people who have already succeeded in the business.

Matthew Doyle 7:40
They I don't know. I'm not sure I'm trying to remember the writer director or the creator was there are people who were already established enough but the point is, and if they hadn't done that, it would never would have been bought. It was only when they made it that they were able to get people interested. Is it

Alex Ferrari 7:59
Sunny? It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. That's another example he did that to his right yeah,

Matthew Doyle 8:03
that's another example right?

Alex Ferrari 8:05
I remember that. I remember that story hitting because it was done very low budge, who was Did they have the stars there yet? Or no,

Matthew Doyle 8:09
but yeah, it was all I mean, they weren't stars then rob Macklin veto wasn't with them at that point. No, even like the second or the third season. Okay. The network wanted to add some star power to it. That originally was just Charlie de Rob MacClenny Kaitlin Olson

Alex Ferrari 8:25
so they weren't they weren't stars yet. No, not at all. They

Matthew Doyle 8:27
made it You cheap to concept was really, really lucky because they brought it to a net to FX right at a time when they were open and willing to engage in something like that. It's rare. It's, it would be surprising if a place like HBO, for example, were to purchase something like that, but TBS when it purchased the search party, and I had nothing to do with that. This is just through what you hear through the grapevine stories. You're a member but they are in the process of trying to rebrand themselves. So when TBS the fact that TBS is trying to rebrand themselves, makes it perfect for them to take a risk on something like search party, like okay, we see you're trying to do something different. We want something different. So we'll put them

Sebastian Twardosz 9:13
here's the real question. Are you actually watching produced spec? Pilots?

Matthew Doyle 9:19
I would 100% Watch pretty spec pilot, I would probably watch a produce spec pilot. If we read them. Before I read. I would be more excited to watch it. Yeah. Because that they're putting their money where their mouth is. And the role of the duck. Yeah, it's it's indicating their ability to execute their vision. And if they can't do it, then it'll be apparent from but that

Sebastian Twardosz 9:42
that's the question that I worry about, like sometimes you might be better on the page than if you actually produced it if you didn't have the resources that somebody like you might be used to seeing.

Matthew Doyle 9:53
Yeah, you're right. They depends on who's doing what if you're a writer, director, and you have that ability And then that means the fact is, if you want to be a talent, you should be self aware enough to know how to realize it, whether you need to bring in a director, or whether you need to bring in talent and not accident yourself. So if you can execute it on your own, then that's that's just a learning experience.

Alex Ferrari 10:19
Now as a package, let's say I go out and shoot a spec spa, a spec. Yeah, let what else should they have a Bible should have a series The first season written, what else should they bring?

Matthew Doyle 10:28
That is a general rule having the most you possibly can? Well, it used the way it used to be is, in broadcast television is a pitch driven business, you would go in and you would talk about an idea and it would be 30 to 40 minutes, even our like blood line for which sold to Netflix was like a two hour pitch. When that sold, and it was epic, and it was detailed. Recently, television has become as in like the fat five past five, six years, television has become a spectrum in business as in people actually write the show. And then they take it to the network's right. But as a spec script pile, exactly. Now, the reason it didn't used to be that way is because if an artist executes the scripts, and you take to the network, and they buy it, what else is there for them to do? The value of the network executives is in shaping the script and giving notes. So usually networks, executives are not willing to engage in that. And right now the spec market is flooded for television. Everyone has a spec pilot and wants to take it out, especially from Baby writers. It's not as unique and interesting as it was, but like True Detective, and like 2011, whenever that sold, that was a spec pilot, and they had a pilot, they had a series. And they had the stars attach Of course. So like that was essential packaging.

Alex Ferrari 11:51
So but so so so gluttony right now of spec scripts right now. So if you had a actual spec pilot shot, it pulls you above,

Matthew Doyle 11:59
yeah, it separates you is that grabs you, in the same way that probably having a spec four or five years ago separated you from the crowd? It was it was something different,

Alex Ferrari 12:08
right? Because it was pitch before. Yeah. And then it was if you had a spec and now we've taken it. Yeah, exactly. Now how I mean, obviously, the streaming networks and Amazon, Netflix and Hulu, how has that affected your job your business, because obviously there's so many more options and opportunities for your clients. But how has that affected the market in general, that that you've seen in your experience? Well,

Matthew Doyle 12:29
an important thing to say is, from my perspective, I'm just starting out in my career. So I have my own thoughts on like the industry, but it's important to keep in mind that my position of someone who's in the trenches

Alex Ferrari 12:45
that that I want, I want your point of view, and I want you to be from the trenches, from the

Matthew Doyle 12:49
from the trenches, what it's a place like Netflix, you sell a show to Netflix. And the first thing I think about as a representative is the fact that there, there are so many shows on there. And the marketing push, it seems the marketing push by each behind each one is significantly less. So you can sell a show to Netflix and it gets lost in the crowd. It's a crowded ecosystem. And as a representative, that's scary because all you want for the artist is to add value to the network and an undeniable way which gives you which gives them leverage and you leverage for them to use in the marketplace and get them the best possible deal. Whereas with Netflix, and with Amazon, when you make a deal with them, they are very generous in their series orders but they buy out all the territories and they own it till the end of time. So the amount of money you can make is capped at the very top front. Exactly. So you're not going to make the amount of money you would have made had you sold it to a traditional broadcast network or even like a traditional cable network. For example,

Sebastian Twardosz 14:03
how do you find clients

Matthew Doyle 14:08
regarding being in the trenches as being in it, as much as I can, the which means what it means you work

Sebastian Twardosz 14:21
you work like like mad. So where do you find people that you want to represent?

Matthew Doyle 14:29
Okay, here's an example. I'll all I can do is go through the examples of the people who were actually much nicer. Yeah, so I represent a writing team Tanner been Katie Mathewson. They're staff writers on pitch, right, which aired on Fox. So I used to work at web which is a larger agency web represents Dan Fogelman. It was a big name showrunner guy. He had reached out to me and made them aware of his assistant, young Tanner lighting. This guy's great You should check him out, I'd saw and then the email was forwarded to the parliament. And I made it I, my goal is to read everything, as just read as much as I can. So I read it, and no one else did. And I know no one else did, because no one else reached out to him, or this thing. I was like, This is really good. And I met with him, I just reached out to him cold. And I liked his personality. He had great relationships, he understood the business. He had a writing partner. And that's how I got involved with him.

Sebastian Twardosz 15:31
So you think it helps to work in the business a little bit before? Before

Matthew Doyle 15:35
that question. Without question there, there, you do need to sort of it helps to understand how it all works. That that was, that was one example. You know, another example is, there's a client, Hoover represents named archaea, Stevenson, who has a film at the festival. And she made a fit, she was a graduate of AFI. And as an agency, we became aware of her through screenings of that. And if you're as a as a representative, you want to have your finger on the pulse of everything. And the way to do that is to go out as much as you can, to industry events, to screenings, to watch anything and everything there is an establishing so

Sebastian Twardosz 16:26
does that mean you're going to like, you know, like USC first look, or to NYU screen? Yes.

Matthew Doyle 16:30
Yeah. 100%

Sebastian Twardosz 16:31
does exactly doesn't mean you go to a lot of film festivals, not just Sundance, because this is the obvious one. We're at Sundance, by the way. Yeah. Yeah. Right. We never actually said that. When it does that mean, you go the other film festivals to smaller ones? I mean, are you actually

Matthew Doyle 16:43
doing that with the yeah, that's, that's the ideal, but yeah, and also being intelligent about it. And you can't do everything, but you try and do as much as you can. And eventually, just, if you're a pinball machine, you're bouncing around, you're going to hit things. And analogizing. It's not that good.

Alex Ferrari 17:02
It's a really good, it's a good analogy.

Matthew Doyle 17:04
If you're, if you're engaging, then you're going to establish relationships with people, and you're going to understand what their ambitions are. And as an agent, all I care about is what people want to achieve in their own lives. And that's just not for artists, that's for executives, as well. And so my conversation with people always come to that. And then when you find that out, you think of ways of how you can help them.

Sebastian Twardosz 17:28
So you let me let me just, I just want to get this right, because I'm very cautious about people actually producing a spec pilot, because I'm against, I'm not against it, per se. I'm cautious because it's a lot of money to do that. It can be is is it still mostly that you are readings like,

Matthew Doyle 17:46
are you mostly me? Oh, yeah, sample scene spec pilots, I hardly hard because there's not. No, it's a rare thing, right? It's a rare thing yet where I'm assuming that you happen to have the money to make it and

Alex Ferrari 17:57
the talent and the infrastructure and the gear and the people and the talent.

Sebastian Twardosz 18:01
And then I'm also worried that you know, you're, you're, I'm worried about expectations, because when it comes to the page, I mean, it people are just writing or typing. That's it. It's cheap. It's really cheap to do. So it's it's more democratic in the sense. I mean, but producing a spec pilot either takes a lot of money, or you have to fill it with people that are names. And so my question is, are your expectations?

Matthew Doyle 18:24
It depends on PI, it depends on your goal of Who of you who you want to be. There's some writers who all they want to do is, is just write and that's fine. And then for that purpose, it makes sense to just put it on the page, and have it be undeniable. There's some people want to be writers and directors. And if that's the case, that having a spec pilot is excellent,

Alex Ferrari 18:45
right? That doesn't hurt. And I mean, I mean, personal experience, I worked on a spec pilot, where I did a lot of post on it, and they spent 50 60,000 had some names in it.

Matthew Doyle 18:55
That's insane. It is, but it's

Alex Ferrari 18:57
not. That's what happened, then. That's why because they did it at a very high level of time. They had, they had some faces in it, but nothing, no major stars, some TV faces, and it went nowhere. And I was just like, wow, and it wasn't that bad. But I was like it just

Sebastian Twardosz 19:11
because my question is ultimately my question is it has to work on the page. So why even go to the process of producing it? If it doesn't, there's,

Alex Ferrari 19:19
from my point of view, I'm on both sides on both

Sebastian Twardosz 19:23
sides by when he's the agent. What do you think of that?

Matthew Doyle 19:26
It depends on what you're watching.

Sebastian Twardosz 19:29
If you if you if you nail it on the page, Shouldn't that be enough?

Alex Ferrari 19:33
But if you produce it on the film on film, it just takes that edge up to the next level. So

Sebastian Twardosz 19:38
do you believe that if you're well or should it just work on the page?

Alex Ferrari 19:43
You're not there's no wrong answer.

Matthew Doyle 19:45
It'll work. Right, exactly. The only needs to work if it doesn't work on the page. It's not gonna work as a produce pilot. But if it works on the page and you produce the pilot, it will probably get more attention Sure, than if it's just a script.

Alex Ferrari 20:00
This is a very unique scenario. Yeah, it that's the thing, which I think that's what's the best is trying to say an

Matthew Doyle 20:05
everyday see $1,000 produce pilot that

Sebastian Twardosz 20:07
no, you know, you're what I'm trying to say. There's something different. I believe that should work. I'm worried because a lot of our audience sure are newer to the business. Yeah. So. So you have to be really careful about what you're like telling them to do or not do. And I sort of believe that some people, though, they'll write a script, and for whatever reason, the scripts not getting traction. So then they think, Oh, I'll make it and then it'll get traction. And that's not necessarily the case. No, you're right. And so the so it's all it's about getting good advice. The right people. If you go to the point of making the script, I think I think you should

Matthew Doyle 20:48
have scripts. Yeah, it'll get traction.

Alex Ferrari 20:51
Let me just ask you one last question about this. And then we'll move on. How many spec pilots have you seen that have gone to show to network? When sold? It's not that many, I

Matthew Doyle 21:01
don't think has any spec. You're talking about something that was written,

Alex Ferrari 21:05
written and produced? Oh, that you know, of, besides the tubes? I

Matthew Doyle 21:12
know, I know, there are more examples of this. There have

Sebastian Twardosz 21:15
to be right. But there aren't a lot, I don't think, okay.

Matthew Doyle 21:17
Well think of it this way, like, and I maintenance, those on Vimeo, those made by a writing and directing team. Vimeo, no one went to Vimeo for watching original content. And then they did for high maintenance. And then they went to HBO. Now, if you're talking about that, as a spec pilot, which I would consider, I mean, there's a spec like series, that's an example of that search party as well, from my understanding, it's always sunny. And that's where my knowledge of it ends.

Sebastian Twardosz 21:49
Because I don't think there will be more in the future. I think there will be more, I think it's not something that happens often. Yeah, I don't know. Do you? Have you ever?

Matthew Doyle 21:57
It's, of course not. It's not the norm now. But if your goal is to stand out, that it will make you stand out by doing that.

Alex Ferrari 22:05
That's all have you heard of any feature films that were later turned into a TV series off of like an indie film like, Hey, this is a great concept. We love the indie film, let's turn it into a series if the if the creators decided to go down that route.

Matthew Doyle 22:19
I know they're examples of this under the lights, and we're gonna blink on a like truly great examples. But you would look at that. Let me get Okay, so we're not considering Friday Night Lights in any film, right? I'm sorry, you're not considering Friday Night Lights in any film? It's well, it's just not so we can No, no, no, no, that's because that's

Sebastian Twardosz 22:37
me. I think I think the bigger question is not to I, I don't like putting on the spot for specific examples. But the question is, would you be open to watching indie films that you would do settling

Matthew Doyle 22:49
with that question? Sure. Like I mentioned earlier, a client are cautious Stephenson, yes, a verb. She's a filmmaker through and through. Yeah, she has a voice. And as a graduate of AFI she, her goal is to make feature films, what she's made are short films, those short films, we've gotten her attraction in television, we sold an original idea that she had simply because we're able to send the short film saying, This is who she is, this is her voice. And people want to meet with her because of that. So if there's a voice there, then on the television side, I can figure it out. I know I can. And I'm from my position. I'm a street urchin. So but I can, I know, I know. I can figure it out. If it's undeniable voice and I don't care whether it's a drawing or a play, or a short film, or feature length film, I don't care.

Sebastian Twardosz 23:40
Can I ask a little bit about like actually selling a script? Like what kind of money is involved in that as it usually scale? Or is it more I mean, like for

Matthew Doyle 23:49
depends on the leverage you have, it depends on the leverage leverage you have. And

Alex Ferrari 23:54
just the leverage the means represent your if you if you just

Matthew Doyle 23:57
take it to one buyer, and they're a young writer, and no other place wants to buy it, then you're in no position to demand high level fees, right. So you're only you're going to be getting scale, something, something of that nature, but each situation is fluid, and it's different. And right now, we're at a time where there's so many different buyers, right? What each is offering is, is really is really different. Like the fact that maybe writers can sell a series to Netflix. And it's ordered to series off of that. That's crazy, but it's happening.

Alex Ferrari 24:40
And they've got the pockets to do it. And Apple might jump in to the game now. So

Matthew Doyle 24:44
they had they are in the game. Oh, really? They are in the game. They have they have upcoming series. Yeah. Jesus saying, that'll be great. Now there's a series with Dr. Dre Verba.

Alex Ferrari 24:54
He did. Yeah.

Matthew Doyle 24:56
We're all over it. But yep, apples is in the game. And that's

Alex Ferrari 24:59
gonna be that's gonna A heck of a shock in the in the marketplace.

Sebastian Twardosz 25:02
I have no idea. And I have a question of all these series that are getting made like we're over 400. Now, I guess 1416 How many of those

Matthew Doyle 25:10
a year? Year Currently there are 416? Four and 26 years? Yes. Graph the mayor of television. That's what he said. Yeah,

Sebastian Twardosz 25:18
exactly. Okay. John Landgraf is the president of FX. Yeah. Okay. And he actually a few, actually, I would recommend googling John Landgraf. Absolutely. He talks a lot about like the, like, having too many, too many series, actually. Now that might be tapering off. But here's my question. Yeah. Of all these series, so 400 Plus series, how many of those are by baby writers, new writers? How many of those are really by people who already have established themselves on TV? Do you know just in jazz majority

Matthew Doyle 25:51
are from people who have already established themselves in television. And then the fact is, if you're a young writer, and you write a series is not the case that you're going to be the sole person and control the series, because when you sell it to a network, any network, you have to add other elements to it, you need to add producers show position, you need someone in control, who knows what they're doing. They're examples, like, Mr. Robot, but Sam Esmail, so he was a feature guy, he wrote a script that got on the blacklist, and maybe like 2009, an incredibly talented writer, he wouldn't you he's not it's not appropriate to call him baby, but he's someone who is not thoroughly broken in television. But when he wrote Mr. Robot, it was just an undeniable script. The first season, you know, he was effectively I don't I don't actually know what he was the show on. Exactly. I would bet I would bet he is. Just because his voice is so clear. But he was surrounded by several things the director of it was I think it was Niels Arden Oplev but someone who is extraordinarily accomplished in anonymous content, probably the best television and feature production company there is out there. Behind him. He was surrounded by people who could help him execute his vision in the second season. He I think this is the case. He wrote directed he directed every episode. Oh, did he? Yeah. Okay. It's all towards television. Same now. And if you look at the girlfriend experience on snores, same example, now that's so large Kerrigan and Amy Seimetz. They, that was all shepherded by Steven Soderbergh. If they were just by themselves, it probably would not have happened as it did, but because they had Steven Soderbergh as the father figure, and he had done the neck, and he's a genius. And he gives no fucks. So he, from what I understand, he sold it to he brought it to Chris Albrecht, and said, This is a series want to do. These guys are really talented. We're going to deliver you all these episodes here, all the scripts, and they're like, Okay,

Sebastian Twardosz 28:02
here's what I know. Okay, so most of them are established writers, which is what I thought it was, yeah. How do you then establish a writer? Let's say somebody out of film school, or somebody who's just come across your desk, their new writer? How do you establish them? What's the process of eventually normally getting them through to the point where they can sell and run a show? But what's that like?

Matthew Doyle 28:23
To be able to run a show?

Sebastian Twardosz 28:25
Yeah, but don't go too far. I mean, like, Okay. How do you break a writer?

Matthew Doyle 28:31
Sending the material and talking about them to anyone and everyone? That's why you need an agent?

Sebastian Twardosz 28:35
How much how much material do they need for you to send? It can just be one. But yeah, usually a spec pilot, original spec pilot, something that shows your voice? Could it be a screenplay? Yeah, but that question, could it be a play? Yeah. Um, so could be any original writing? Yeah. That has your voice. Yeah. So your job is to do what them?

Matthew Doyle 28:56
My job is to call people meet people. Tell them about this artist, why they're incredible and why they should be in business with

Sebastian Twardosz 29:05
that. And then half the job is the writing is half the job. Also, the personality of the writer. Yeah, the being in the room. Is that literally half or so? Yeah, if not more so. So just in there, there being good in the room.

Alex Ferrari 29:17
So that was my next question. What do you look for in a new client?

Matthew Doyle 29:22
I want I want to, I want leaders. Does that mean? Well, here's an example. There is someone who is an exceptionally talented writer director, who I was really interested in and I went to a screening of her work and it was, it was a panel of women is what it was, and they were all talking about their ambitions. After the show the short film at the panel itself, she, in my opinion, dominated she was just the unquestionable leader of it and she had the most division. She was the most aggressive she was is the funniest and she was the smartest. And she needs to clear impression that even from all the way in the back that theater, I could tell like this person is going places, she was just a force

Sebastian Twardosz 30:11
personality. Yeah.

Alex Ferrari 30:14
We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show.

Matthew Doyle 30:25
The so the personality is a huge aspect of it. And if you're talking about representing showrunners, and representing directors, you want to represent field marshals of their crafts. And that's so that's the that's what I look for primarily. And of course, the talent. Okay,

Sebastian Twardosz 30:43
so then you're sending them out there, you're sending the scripts out for people to read the go to the meetings? Yeah, what happens? How do you get it get the money to get them working?

Matthew Doyle 30:53
As an agent, your job is to frame it right? Set the table. It's they start with generals, they meet with each other, they talk about their shared path. Pass the The hope is that when you set a general meeting, and in talking about an when the agent and the manager prep them appropriately, they can go in knowing what the potential opportunities are at that network. So you set them up with a studio or production company, and they can touch on what they are personally interested in about the production company of the studio or the network. If the production if, if you can bring it up to them saying showing you've done your research, then that's going to be a more engaging conversation. And hopefully, what comes out of it is they're keeping you in mind for the opportunities that whether it's a staffing opportunity, whether it's a directing opportunity, they leave the meeting, thinking that you would be someone that they would want to work with. So that's really why you need to have the personality.

Alex Ferrari 31:59
Now, what advice do you give someone who's just trying to work in trying to get just trying to break into trying to break in trying to get an agent? What what's what do you suggest? What's your advice?

Matthew Doyle 32:08
It's all this is all I mean, really tried? Andrew? Let me try. I'm trying to work hard to say Be yourself.

Alex Ferrari 32:16
Have your original voice. Yeah, having

Matthew Doyle 32:19
an original voice. But that don't people can think they have original voice and they go, Oh, that doesn't really, that really doesn't really do much. It's just so trite, I'm sorry, be work just work crazy hard. If you're obsessed, then that I mean that that's the most important thing. But then then again, people can think they're obsessed, and they're not. They can think they're working on it and they're not. So you just you have to have a realistic perspective on where you stand and how you compare and have such an appetite, in a way be so insecure about your position. And if you are it's because you realize about where you stand and the potential that you have and how far that gap is. And that's what gives you the drive to put in the work and put in the time. And reach that potential. Also, can we can we actually be self aware in a word being self aware?

Sebastian Twardosz 33:24
Sure. Can we go the origin story? Yeah, sure. I want to get your origin story. Yeah,

Matthew Doyle 33:30
interview started backward. Why?

Sebastian Twardosz 33:32
We did it on purpose, actually. Yeah. Well, we're kind of playing around a little bit to see to see what works. Sometimes. People like origin story first. Sometimes they like something like that pops. First. Have a question. You just play around?

Matthew Doyle 33:44
Aren't you having Elijah Wood in this program?

Sebastian Twardosz 33:46
Yes.

Matthew Doyle 33:47
Are you gonna do an origin story for Elijah Wood?

Alex Ferrari 33:49
No, no. Because everybody knows. It's

Sebastian Twardosz 33:51
no, I mean, you have to tailor a little bit to I mean, I thought the coolest thing for you was that I mean, you just got promoted. I mean, it's yeah, that's what we started with. 2016 like, you know, Merry Christmas.

Matthew Doyle 34:02
My promotion I promise you my promotion story is not that cool. There are way I respect for for what they did and rah rah. But there are way cooler promotion stories at WV Hugh Jackman. Came up on the screen and promoted Patrick Weitzel assistant to agents Nice. Yeah, it stuff like that. Like that is cool. Mike and Elizabeth Doyle stumbling through lines. That's not after notes. Yeah. After after. Revealing

Sebastian Twardosz 34:31
but you also got into variety you got into what's it called? And that was the next gen or what was it?

Matthew Doyle 34:36
Yeah, it was variety. New Leaders new leaders. Yeah,

Sebastian Twardosz 34:39
there's that word again. Leader leaders. So I tease you a little bit when you got in. But wait, we gotta get his origin. Where are you from literally wearing from where'd you go to school? What did you know you want to do this?

Matthew Doyle 34:51
Okay. Virginia, Virginia in Arlington, Virginia. Five Minutes from DC. The probably the most important thing about my back Is that the most defining thing about it was the fact that I was a twin. I really wanted to be different than him. So from a young age, I gravitated towards a career. Because if I knew I knew if I could be really specific about that, then no one would have it on me. Entertainment was what I focused on initially. And it from a pretty young age was being an agent. I didn't know what it meant. Really.

Alex Ferrari 35:29
So you were when you were young, you were like, I want to be an agent. Yeah.

Sebastian Twardosz 35:33
But you don't ask how old were you when you knew that and why

Alex Ferrari 35:36
14 gre gold on on your wall?

Sebastian Twardosz 35:40
See that made you want to be an agent that's going to

Matthew Doyle 35:42
it was an article about Richard love it Brian, Lord Kevin Vane, David O'Connor, CA J, there's an LA Times article. And after they assumed the mantle of CA, and that article, and it's sort of profiled them all like they were Backstreet Boys. And then there was an article of Richard love it and reading about his personality. I happen at just the right time, where I was trying to find I was, my problems were nothing in the scheme of things, but at the time, emotionally, I was like, Who am I as a person that just happens when you're getting older? And how can I be special? And how am I different and I really respond to reading about his personality and the ethos he seems to embody and so it's like okay, I think I think I can do that.

Sebastian Twardosz 36:36
So for those people out there read power house, which is the whole ca story and read the agency which is also really good if you're interested in this

Matthew Doyle 36:45
world. There are a lot of there a lot of great books read the mailroom the mayor on reread this is not about read keys to the kingdom by Qin masters him

Sebastian Twardosz 36:56
masters Yeah. I love keys to the kingdom.

Matthew Doyle 36:59
Yeah it's great it's not it's not talked about as much

Sebastian Twardosz 37:02
yeah I mean that's that's if you want to talk about like Mike Eisner and Mike ovitz

Matthew Doyle 37:07
that's a book it it's goes into the details about three personalities Jeffrey Katzenberg, Mike Eisner, Michael Ovitz and how their relationships intertwined and are locked and how they affect each other. And it's fascinating and also

Sebastian Twardosz 37:23
why the business is the way it is because there was a specific incident. What happened since we're here at something in the wintertime. Frankie Wells, who was a very important person in the business he was like the number two really at Disney died when he he was like a, like a ultimate skier like he would jump out of helicopters. And there's a helicopter accidents. They died. But when he died that set off a chain of events that like really changed the whole structure to business, which has led to the founding of Dreamworks, led to the founding of Dreamworks led to the change of seeing the 2.0. But anyway, yeah, we've digressed. There's one that's a good story.

Alex Ferrari 38:02
The other one book I was when I was in Florida, and had no interactions with Hollywood. I read over this. Yeah. Oh, yeah. And that was just like, my mind was blown. I was like, you know, all the whole story of how he did it and what he did.

Matthew Doyle 38:14
I wouldn't call that journalism though. No, it's just a book. That is that was propaganda that was carefully manufactured

Alex Ferrari 38:21
propaganda. Yeah. But it was fascinating read for someone who had never been at that point. That's true. Well, anyway,

Sebastian Twardosz 38:27
let's so you, like you like the these The Young Turks? I didn't see a I do hold them and still do. Okay. Yeah. And so then what was your what? How'd you go about? So

Matthew Doyle 38:38
I, I went to college in Virginia. My parents told me to go and state. I graduated, after Virginia has no connection to entertainment. And actually, maybe I it was it was on me for not doing my research and trying to figure it out. They probably don't know they have like some connections like Tina Fey, Winston. So the I graduated after my third year, and I moved out here. Now the summer after my second year of college, I interned in Los Angeles, spent a very little lonely summer, interning at two production companies. That's where I met you at your USC class, and try to get a sense of, of at&t stuff. And I tried to brand myself as the guy wants to be an agent, and I sat down with large stereo

Sebastian Twardosz 39:34
Lars and I see him Yeah.

Matthew Doyle 39:37
40 minutes late for the meeting. Oh, no, no, there was a there was a I'm an idiot. I'm an idiot.

Alex Ferrari 39:43
So but it worked out. Apparently.

Matthew Doyle 39:45
We got to get Lars on this show. Who knows what I've had could have been but so I sat down with it. Yeah. So I sat down with agents and I was so unpolished, even more so than I am now and I was just like, I want to be an agent. This is the person I was To be in, it was kind of ridiculous. And then I came back after I was an unpaid intern. When after I graduated from school at the Bonaventure pictures,

Sebastian Twardosz 40:09
Lorenzo de Bona Ventura who produced the Transformers Yeah,

Alex Ferrari 40:13
what else legendary producer.

Sebastian Twardosz 40:15
So is a legendary producer, former president of Warner Brothers,

Matthew Doyle 40:18
but so I was an unpaid intern at his production company. And were no one made eye contact with me.

Alex Ferrari 40:29
No, it's It's sad, but I completely Yeah,

Matthew Doyle 40:32
I think I made people uncomfortable. Because

Sebastian Twardosz 40:35
what were you like snooping through their cars?

Matthew Doyle 40:38
No, I as a guy, and I think I was just sloppy. And I was super aggressive. And I was just all Yeah, no finesse. No. And for further, I wasn't getting paid. So they probably felt sorry, for me.

Alex Ferrari 40:52
It was a combination of

Sebastian Twardosz 40:54
taking advantage of you technically, they shouldn't have been doing they can't legally Yeah,

Matthew Doyle 40:58
actually. Comment.

Sebastian Twardosz 40:59
I mean, did you learn them or we go,

Matthew Doyle 41:02
you will. It was it was essential. If I hadn't done that. Here's what the user happy with that. I developed relationships. And I got a better understanding of how the industry worked. But the most important thing was the relationship I developed with an assistant there, the Assistant, I'm going to get to cover that Sarah Holman who was so hard on me. But even for all that, she was essential in me getting my job at the first agency, I worked at Web, she submitted me to a guy who was already a manual assistant. And ARIA manual is dyslexic. His assistants, at times have the prerogative to send emails on his bath. To make a long story short, she sent his sister my resume, he sent my resume to HR from Ari. And so that's why I was hired. Because they thought that he was recommending me. Great. Wow. So that's how I got in. So I started in the mailroom. And nobody was doing, I was in the middle of for four months. Then I worked for a feature agent Simon Favre, for seven months, when he covered Sundance, then I moved over to television, I worked for more Corman in the television department. And then I worked for David Stone. And I was there for years. And I was an agent trainee usually takes about I'd say probably five to six years to get promoted.

Sebastian Twardosz 42:33
Is it really that long? Cheese used to be shorter? Yeah. Was like three or four people

Matthew Doyle 42:37
get promoted quicker? Yeah, it but it. So much of it is who you work for it the right time? Yes, it used to be that ca. It takes like five and a half years, six years to get promoted. But recently, for a lot of reasons, people get promoted a lot quicker there, because they just had the need, and ways they didn't have before. So So I was there. I was trying to figure out a way to get promoted. And a

Sebastian Twardosz 43:07
your hours weren't saying like, describe some of your hours because they were crazy.

Matthew Doyle 43:12
I worked pretty hard. I got in 730 and I was there till 1030 or 11. How often? Almost every night for how

Sebastian Twardosz 43:25
long? years? Yeah. Did you ever sleep there?

Matthew Doyle 43:29
No, I never did that. I never slept there. That's like

Sebastian Twardosz 43:32
really early. were other people working at that level or just some people?

Matthew Doyle 43:36
Did you ever see anyone sleeping? Yeah, absolutely. People say they're the but here's the thing. Water seeds to its own level. So in this business in this day and age with technology, anyone can justify working all the time. Because there's always things to do. But and if you're a workaholic and you need something to justify meeting your life, you're going to do it all the time. And that's what I was doing. And additionally, I was holding on so tight because I was so scared it would go away at any moment. That way I got in was so random that I and I felt I didn't fit in. And so I felt really that would be fired. And frankly working for Simon Favre. I was a moron. In the first three months. He I thought he was tough on me. He wasn't harder bosses would have fired me. Same with corpsman same with David Stone, all of those agents, they looking back. They could have easily let me go and it would have been fair. So I worked really hard to compensate for that because I felt if I if I'm working all the time, they can say to me that you know you're not giving it your all. And so like that's the way I had and that's why I held on to show my value Isn't it doesn't have to be that way, though. And also, I mean, it's certainly not healthy. But rather than working from 730 to 1030, and then leaving, it's way better to be more intelligent about how you spend your time. However, you can do that. And it probably was not nearly I've gotten a lot smarter about how I spend my time. So while I work a lot, now, it's not about being in the office now. It's about getting out there and seeing people having breakfast lunches, dinners, coffees, drink drinks, every single day of the week. And not defining myself by the guys in the office.

Sebastian Twardosz 45:45
You My favorite story, I just want to see if you have anything to say about this. Yeah, I'm not gonna say the whole name. But it's hierro. Who's the manager? Now, my favorite story out of everybody I've ever interviewed or talked to or met in any class, when he was a creative executive at Warner Brothers. Yeah. Creative executive would mean that he was he just been made an executive. So yeah, but it was kind of the low end and how long ways to go. Anyway. The what brought this up was you mentioning going out for breakfast, lunch and dinner, he would go out for breakfast, lunch and dinner, every sing every single day, every single day. And he said to us that he had not set foot in a grocery store in over a year, because every day of the week, he did breakfast, lunch and dinner with somebody and it was all paid for by Warner Brothers. Sure. Well, think of that.

Matthew Doyle 46:36
Respect.

Sebastian Twardosz 46:38
Great. None? Well,

Alex Ferrari 46:40
I want to also ask you what made you want to be a literary agent and also literary agent and television as opposed

Matthew Doyle 46:45
to what came out of your features? Right? I knew it was a gradual process of discovering what it meant. When I when I first was telling myself I wanted to be an agent. I didn't know that I was divided into different departments. You know, I just saw us, which you'd love it represents Will Smith and he represents Steven Spielberg. Okay, cool. I started in the feature department, because I'm really passionate about film and directors of it. It was just clear that when I moved over to television, that that's where the momentum in the industry was, as far as financial promise and also artistic promise. So and also, secondly, I all I cared about for being an agent was understanding the different arenas. So I could advise, accordingly. If you look like an agent, like Ari Emanuel, his brilliance as an agent, and his brilliance in running an agency is understanding all these different businesses and how they work. He started in television when. And then he started, then endeavor was founded, he started representing Mark Wahlberg. He started representing his former roommate, Pete Berg, who was an aspiring actor turned them into a director. And I mean, for Mark Wahlberg, for example. He takes this actor, and then he builds a business producing television Producing Unscripted shows, movies. And it's incredible. That's the value of being an agent, knowing how to grow and build someone, not just in one field, but multiple fields. So that was the additional benefit of that I love. I love film, and I want to continue to stay involved in that my relationships in it are not what they are in television. But

Sebastian Twardosz 48:30
watch, I wanted to just ask them if agencies are separated like an agency web or ca or Uta, ICM, they have different divisions, departments, can you can tell us like break it down? Sure.

Matthew Doyle 48:40
So it's motion picture lit motion picture literary, representing writers and directors for film, motion picture, or sorry, television lit, representing writers and directors for television, unscripted, representing reality stars and production companies for reality television, and talent. And don't get your talent on TV till it depends. No W needed and they had agents who focused on television talent, but it wasn't clear departments. They

Alex Ferrari 49:09
jump back and forth. Sometimes. But the Yeah, yeah.

Matthew Doyle 49:13
I mean, now, especially with the more and more Yeah, I mean, frankly, my mind's not anyone cares what I think. But it's all becoming the same. Like, if you're in a feature agent, and you're at Sundance, and like, just last year, for example, Netflix and Amazon are making the most purchases. Okay. And a year before that, or two years before that layer. People were just wrapping their heads around the idea of them as television distributors, like, well, they're not even television. They're a streaming platform. And they're streaming long form content and short form content.

Sebastian Twardosz 49:43
Yeah, it's all it's all. It's all mixing. Yeah. This year, Sundance is the first year that they have episodic television. In Kansas, part of the festival. Yes. Well,

Matthew Doyle 49:52
my client are conscious Stevenson's film, showing she's very talented.

Sebastian Twardosz 49:56
Yeah, they're also starting. I think they're starting going to do web relatively soon. Yeah, that makes sense. Which, yeah, because the lines are blurring. Well, I was

Alex Ferrari 50:05
like, we were talking last night when we went to dinner. We're walking main street and we see YouTube. Yeah. And we're just like, man, things have changed. Like, you know, eight years ago when I came in, like, you know, it was like, YouTube was great. It's insane. Have any questions?

Sebastian Twardosz 50:20
Um, no, I think I think I think I'm alright. Thank you, sir. So much so much,

Matthew Doyle 50:25
Jeff. When I did the interview, I did have fun. Awesome. Yeah. I love Elijah Wood and happy to be featured. features we all do as well. But really just a fan of one more question. Yeah.

Alex Ferrari 50:45
Name three of your favorite films of all time.

Sebastian Twardosz 50:47
Okay. This shouldn't be this hard, Matthew. Come on. A lot of people get it's hard for like, this is not a hard question. No, I know. But I want

Matthew Doyle 51:01
us to be impressive. No, no, no,

Alex Ferrari 51:03
no, no, no, no, no, no, don't try to know just what you like. It could be something as silly as

Sebastian Twardosz 51:09
number one et then Star Wars done. Yeah. Good. Go. Toy Story four stuff.

Matthew Doyle 51:14
Let's go. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Awesome. Really? Yeah. More than Raiders. Yeah, more than Raiders. What do you think? Don't

Alex Ferrari 51:20
don't judge? Don't judge don't don't judge. But if you do like fundamentals and believe I'm joking.

Matthew Doyle 51:30
That's a temple of doom. Yes. Okay. Raiders of the Lost Ark. Okay, number two. Research, right. No, no, that's so wrong. Aliens is number two. Okay. Aliens board

Sebastian Twardosz 51:39
an alien. Yeah, I can see that. Oh, yeah. Yeah, I can absolutely see that. This is a generational thing. It is. It is no, absolutely. Yeah.

Matthew Doyle 51:46
And whiplash. Oh, yeah, of course. And then frankly, any movie with Elijah Wood?

Alex Ferrari 51:55
Absolutely. Absolutely.

Matthew Doyle 51:57
Thank you, Frankie that pardon.

Alex Ferrari 51:58
Thank you so much. Appreciate it. Matt was great. I loved having him on the show. And again, it gave me it gave me personal insight on what the television market is looking for, as far as writers are concerned and pilots and, and shows. So I hope you guys learned a lot and picked up a few knowledge bombs. That was dropped by Matthew. Thanks again, Matthew for being on the show. We really, really appreciate it. And if you want the show notes and contact information for Matthew just head over to indie film hustle.com, forward slash BPS 016 for the shownotes. And if you guys haven't already done so please head over to screenwriting podcast.com. And leave us a good review a five star review if possible, on iTunes and really helps us out a lot and really helps us with the rankings where new show so every single review counts and helps so thank you so so much. And as always, keep on writing no matter what. I'll talk to you


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