An established television literary agent who leads Curate Entertainment, Ryan Ly has represented acclaimed series such as Better Call Saul and Good Girls Revolt. An alumnus of the University of Pennsylvania with a BA in English and film studies, he funded the Ryan Ly and Family Endowed Collection Fund in support of the school’s library system.
The Penn Libraries were in the news in 2017 with the acquisition of the only known copy of Benjamin Franklin’s first printed work, The Elegy on the Death of Aquila Rose. Franklin printed the broadside in 1723 at the age of 17 after breaking the law by terminating his Boston indenture and moving to Philadelphia to pursue a potential job opening with a Philadelphia printer.
Benjamin Franklin did secure a small job in printing an elegy for an associate who had passed away. Exceeding expectations, he crafted a broadside that included a unique skull-and-crossbones motif running along the top. The Washington Post described this as innovative for its time in that it introduced New England “print culture” to the world of Pennsylvania printing. An early milestone in Franklin’s life, the broadsheet merited inclusion in his autobiography, penned 60 years later.
A successful leader in the entertainment industry, Ryan Ly serves as the principal of Curate Entertainment in Los Angeles. Prior to this position, Ryan Ly spent more than a decade at Creative Artists Agency where he most recently served as an agent and the television literary department head.
Whether you’re a screenwriter, novelist, or television writer, you need a good literary agent. Beginners, however, are unlikely to get an agent from a top company.
The reason is that an agent is unlikely to make much money from working with new writers. A new writer is lucky to make $100,000 in the first year. This means the writer’s agent will get $10,000 to $15,000 in commission, depending on the agent’s rate.
For the amount of time an agent must spend to promote a new writer, this amount of money is usually not enough. An agent can earn $200,000 a year by representing only one top-level writer.
Although new writers may be unable to get top agents, some lower-level agents may be extremely helpful. Though these agents may also be new to the entertainment industry, many are willing to work hard and build good reputations that will lead to success in the future.
Southern California-based Ryan Ly comes to his position as the principal of Curate Entertainment with experience as the head of Creative Artists Agency’s Television Literary Department. Among Ryan Ly’s accomplishments was arranging the sales of popular series such as Making a Murderer (Netflix) and Better Call Saul (AMC).
A recent Screen Daily article brought focus to trends in U.S. television within a crowded landscape in which nearly 500 original scripted series aired in 2017.
Of particular note is science fiction’s emergence as the most popular genre, with dystopian dramas such as The Handmaid’s Tale and Westworld standing alongside anthologies such as Electric Dreams and Black Mirror. With the retro vibe of Stranger Things also pulling in viewers, successful sci-fi debuts last year included Counterpart and Altered Carbon.
Brands like Star Trek: Discovery maintain continued traction among loyal viewers and upcoming series such as Lost In Space and The Twilight Zone look to capitalize on familiarity as well. Other anticipated shows include JJ Abrams’ Demimonde and Project Blue Book, which is produced by Robert Zemeckis. The latter program is expected to do well internationally, as it offers a format like The X-Files in that it contains “procedural elements” and is repeatable and flexible.
Movies also provide a launch pad for new series with a built-in fan base, including Snowpiercer and The Purge. An anticipated offering is a live-action Star Wars spin-off that will serve as a tentpole for Disney’s new streaming service.
A respected presence in the Los Angeles entertainment industry, Ryan Ly guided Creative Artists Agency LLC’s Television Literary Department and now serves as the principal of Curate Entertainment. Passionate about literature, Ryan Ly regards the late American master Philip Roth as his favorite author.
In 1984, Roth was interviewed by The Paris Review as part of its series The Art of Fiction and spoke in depth about his mindset as an author. He described starting a new book as unpleasant, as he was always “uncertain about the character and the predicament” on which he had to pin the narrative. Each new novel began as an “unconscious parody” of the last as he wrote in search of a magnet to organize thought.
In many cases, Roth had to write more than 100 pages before he found a paragraph that was alive and original enough to be the genesis of the new work. Perusing half a year of work, he would be lucky to find a single page of material that set a unique tone and was worthy of being the start of a novel.
This torturous process was followed by “months of freewheeling play” that unfortunately came to an end with crises that left Roth turning against his own material and hating each project. This was not unintentional, as he began books “looking for trouble,” and when he found that moment of crisis and resistance, he was approaching the home stretch.
Ryan Ly is a respected Los Angeles entertainment agent with a focus on the television industry. Having worked with Creative Artists Agency leading its television literary department, Ryan Ly has successfully identified trends and facilitated the sales of series such as Better Call Saul (AMC) and Making A Murderer (Netflix).
The latter show premiered in late 2015 and focused on the true-crime case of Steven Avery, who was sent to prison in Wisconsin in 1985 at age 22 on a rape charge. Nearly two decades later, DNA evidence proved his assertions of innocence and Avery was released, but the subsequent murder of photographer Teresa Halbach put him behind bars, this time for life, in 2007.
With filming beginning in 2005, the case presented a unique opportunity to take a behind the scenes look at how the U.S. justice system works and the potential for evidence against those charged with serious violent crimes to be mishandled. Since legislative reforms and DNA testing improvements had recently been instituted, a question was whether these changes had improved the system.
With Avery claiming innocence and appealing the case, a change.org petition requesting his release received several hundred thousand signatures following Making A Murderer’s successful broadcast. In early 2018, the Emmy-nominated series received a makeover, with “Convicting a Murderer” shopped to distributors as a program that would present a different perspective on the case and present more incriminating evidence.