Hello. Thanks for your question. Being in the entertainment business as long as I have, I can empathize with your situation. Yes, unfortunately, it is a Catch 22.
Although I am in the music business - opportunities work very much the same way. It really comes down to who you know, and who knows you. Thus, soliciting agents as an unknown writer is going to be virtually impossible. Most industry professionals (agents, producers etc) only work with those who come recommended to them or writers/actors that have created a "buzz" within the industry. At this level, agents will find you, if you have something working that is making a splash.
My advice to you, is to keep the bigger goal in mind (the major hollywood film producer, agent etc), but at the same time, create the necessary steps involved to getting noticed. There are plenty of independent producers out there looking to be the next Spielberg. Start on an independent level. Also, perhaps you can produce the film yourself? How can you build a team around you of like minded people? Many indie films have made it to the big screen with a budget of 20K. Not easy to get angel investors, but it's not impossible either. I've seen indie film producers/writers get together, and finance a movie together with their credit cards. Not advocating this and not saying to go this route....I'm just mentioning to you based upon what I've seen done in the past. This industry is about risks. If you are not willing to risk, then why would you expect others to do so, by putting their money behind your ideas? That being said, not trying to sound harsh - just relating to you the realities of the business. I respect what you are doing, and I urge you to stay focused and not give up on what your dream.
Learn everything there is to know about your trade. Also, get connected through social networking, particularly Linkedin. Facebook is always the most talked about, however Linkedin is really starting to come into its own. If you really want to meet people who are truly connected, get a Linkedin account, and join groups related to your trade. Then, build your network. Just remember to be a bit savvy about it. Ask for help and advice, rather than just blatantly pitching your scripts.
So in a nutshell, if you truly are serious about what you are doing, getting on to the big screen should not be your main goal at this point. You need to think a bit more strategically. To me, your short term goals should be to network and begin to meet people who can potentially take you to the next step - whether that be finding investors, film producers, consultants are what have you. Once you immerse yourself into the film industry and continually network, you will find opportunities will come provided your work is good.
Edited by Hugh on 11/24/2010 at 3:38 PM EST