Typing Faster

October 20, 2009

Canadian Literary Agents (cont’d)

Filed under: Agents — petertypingfaster @ 7:25 am

For the third part in my Canadian Literary Agent series, I figured I’d offer some more detailed thoughts on the various literary agents in Canada. I’m not going to rank them per say, at least not in a “on a scale of one to ten” kind of way.

Instead I’m going to share with you the impressions I’ve put together after three years in the development trenches, the experience and research I gained during my own search for representation, and the knowledge I’ve gleaned by talking with writers repped by other agencies.

All client roster information has been pulled from IMDBPro.

So, without further ado, lets talk agencies.

The Big Five

Canada’s version of Hollywood’s big five (CAA, UTA, WME, ICM), or rather big four now that William Morris and Endeavor have merged.

The Alpern Group
The Alpern Group reps a lot of Canada’s top drama writers. They’re notoriously tough negotiators, who do an exceptional job securing the best deal possible for their clients. I’ve worked with several producers who dreaded negotiations with The Alpern Group. The Alpern Group is one of the larger Canadian agencies, and the one with (arguably) the highest percentage of dramatic showrunners on its roster.

Notable clients include:

  • Tracey Forbes (Consulting Producer Flashpoint)
  • Peter Mohan (Executive Producer Blood Ties, The Listener)
  • Janet MacLean (Producer, The Border)
  • Brent Piaskoski (Executive Producer The Latest Buzz, Naturally Sadie)
  • Karen McClellan (Executive Story Editor Being Erica)

The Jenny Hollyer Agency
One of the nicest agents to deal with, and also one of the best agents when it comes to looking out for her clients interests. Has repped some of Canada’s top writers, with a pretty even split between TV and feature writers, leaning maybe a bit further to the feature side than the TV side. Has strong relationships with several top tier agencies in the states. Keeps a smaller roster than a lot of other agencies. Can be a hard agency to crack if you’re a new writer.

Notable Clients include:

  • Daegan Fryklind (Co-Producer Being Erica, jPod)
  • Alex Nussbaum (Writer Total Drama Island)

Vanguarde Artists Management
One of the more recent entries to the list. Very well regarded in the industry. Lovely to deal with. They have one of the larger rosters in the industry, mostly focused on TV. Seem to be fairly open to new talent.

Notable Clients include:

  • Jana Sinyor (Creator Being Erica, Dark Oracle)
  • Norm Hiscock (Consulting Producer Parks & Recreation, Corner Gas)
  • Alex Epstein (Co-Creator Naked Josh)
  • Mark Leiren-Young (Story Editor Blood Ties)

Harrison Artist Management
Great negotiators. Has had a lot of recent success setting up new shows. Larger roster, with a fair number of showrunners. Some of the nicest people you’re going to meet in this industry.

Notable Clients include:

  • Stephanie Morgenstern (Co-Executive Producer Flashpoint)
  • Aaron Martin (Executive Producer Being Erica, The Best Years, Degrassi: The Next Generation)

Meridian Artists
Meridian takes a slightly different approach than other agencies in that they’re more of an agent / manager. Very hands on with material their clients generate (giving notes, etc) rather than just selling. Tough negotiators. Maintains a smaller client roster than most.

FULL DISCLOSURE: I’m currently repped by Meridian Artists, and would be happy to answer questions in more detail if you have them. Just email or comment.

Notable Clients include:

  • Denis McGrath (Executive Producer Across the River to Motor City)
  • Alan McCullough (Co-Producer Stargate: Atlantis)
  • Vera Santamaria (Executive Producer How to Be Indie)
  • Rob Sheridan (C0-Executive Producer Little Mosque on the Prairie)
  • Karen Hill (Executive Story Editor The Best Years, G-Spot)

Boutique Agencies

Boutique Agencies are those that specialize in specific areas. They have loads of contacts and rep a lot of clients who are active in their areas of expertise.

Green Light Artists Management
Green Light reps a lot of writers working in the kids and animation world, and they’re supposed to be very good at it. I haven’t spent a lot of time in that arena, but if it’s a direction you’re interested in going then you should probably check out GLAM.

The Saint Agency
The Saint Agency is unique in that it has strong ties to the literary publishing world, repping the film rights to the works of several of Canada’s top authors (including Margaret Atwood). If you’re interested in doing a lot of literary adaptations, or maybe breaking into the literary world yourself, then The Saint Agency might be for you.

Lucas Talent Agency
Only reps west coast writers. I’ve never had the opportunity / reason to deal with them, despite living and working on the west coast for years.

The Characters
Can’t really call them a boutique agency since they are, by far, the largest talent agency in Canada. They rep everyone (directors, writers, actors, production designers, etc), including some very senior writers (the executive producers of the Stargate franchise for example).

These are the talent agencies I’ve either dealt with during my time in development, or that I’ve spoken with while searching for representation. I haven’t had the opportunity to interact with any of the other agencies listed, and thus can offer no opinion.



  1. Thanks for this information; it’s sorely needed. I’m wondering how a new Canadian screenwriter with a few completed drafts to pass around can go about getting representation. What would you recommend? Will talent agencies accept unsolicited screenplays? How can a new writer protect himself against copyright infringement while also getting his work in the hands of the right people?

    Could you email me with a few notes, please?

    Thanks again!

    Comment by Paul Williams — May 10, 2010 @ 1:14 pm

  2. I am currently writing my first movie script and will be looking for an agent.

    What is the best way to approach an agent? Do you have any advise to give.

    I am from Newfoundland but visiting Toronto in July 2011 with the purpose of trying to meet with agents and producers to present my script.


    Comment by Karen Roberts — February 17, 2011 @ 6:14 pm

  3. I have written a movie draft for a popular science fiction fracnchise and am seeking representation. I however live in Australia and the franchise is Canadian/ American based. Do agents represent writers from other countries? Also what do American/Canadian Agents look for in potential screen writers?



    Comment by Peter Van Ryn — March 16, 2011 @ 6:00 pm

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