UPDATE: The WGA and the Association of Talent Agents failed to agree on a new franchise agreement, paving the way for unprecedented upheavals in the film and television industry. The guild now orders thousands of writers to fire their agents, and in the coming days, expect both sides to apply their threats to pursue each other.
How does the WGA-ATA showdown turn the script in Hollywood and after
The guild said this afternoon that "from midnight tonight, each agency will have to become a signatory" to its new code of conduct. Writers will have to dismiss any agency that refuses to sign it. All major agencies have said that they will not sign, so the unprecedented battle between writers and their agents will soon be launched.
This includes the four major agencies – WME, CAA, UTA and ICM Partners – which handle almost all the packaging of TV shows and much of the financing and film sales service. independent.
"There is no regulation," the guild told its members today. "Members voted 95.3% to apply a code of conduct of the agency if a negotiated settlement was not found, and elected leaders have set the deadline today."
The guild said the week-long contract extension had not resulted in a new deal because the agencies had not made a "fair offer". Among their "unacceptable proposals," she said, "the agencies insist that their main conflicts of interest. They insist on continuing to produce and be our employers. Their "offer" on packaging is to share 1% of their packaging costs with writers. "
"So what's going on now?" The guild asked rhetorically. "In a strike situation, we all know that we must refrain from crossing the picket line or writing for a stricken company. We are invited to show our solidarity by picketing, the public and moral face of our conflict.
"In this situation, all members must take two steps: first, do not let a non-franchisee agent represent you with respect to any future work covered by a WGA. Second, inform your agency in writing that it can not represent you before signing the code of conduct.
"We know that together we will enter unknown waters. A life that deviates from the current system can be disoriented to varying degrees. But it has become clear that a big change is needed. We will not only stay together, we will defend each other, we will support one another. We can do it."
It will not be a writer's strike in itself. Writers and showrunners with contracts in place will continue to work, but new agents will have to be found to find jobs for writers. They can also be hired directly by showrunners, their fellow guild members, via a new script submission system. The WGA said it would also supplement the personal directors and writers' lawyers to replace their dismissed agents, but the WTA said it was illegal under state laws and committed itself to take the case to court.
The former WGA franchise agreement with ATA – known as the Artist Artist Base Contract – had not been renegotiated for 43 years. This allowed for packaging, but the guild was never happy, even when it signed the agreement in 1976.
The guild began organizing a series of membership meetings last March to lay the groundwork for the renegotiation of the agreement, noting that its members were increasingly concerned about the "inherent conflict of interest. to production and packaging ". With many writers leaving these early meetings, it was clear that members' adherence to the goals of the guild was strong and growing stronger. "We are united" was the common refrain.
The guild made the first big step in this direction in April 2018, notifying the ATA 12 months notice of termination of their existing agreement, and then presented to ATA its list of proposals, which aimed to "realign" the talent agency.
Talks for a new deal only began on February 5, with the two sides quickly accusing themselves of not negotiating in good faith. Serious negotiations only started this week after the extension of the April 6 deadline, leaving a last chance to avoid what the ATA would have described as "chaos" for the sector. This "chaos", or what the guild calls a "realignment", is now here.