Thousands of writers told the chopping agents at midnight – Axios

The Writers Guild of America says it has asked its 13,000 members to fire their talented agents Saturday at midnight, unless they sign a new "code of conduct" agreement that promises to eliminate packaging and packaging costs. their participation in production companies.

The bottom line: Most guild writers agree with the code of conduct, but most agents who represent them are not. The hope was that both sides reach a compromise before the end of negotiations on Friday. Without an agreement, Hollywood is locked in a legal vacuum that could leave thousands of writers without work and put hundreds of studio projects on hold.

Details: This unprecedented move comes after several negotiations between the Guild and the Association of Talent Agents (ATA), a professional group that represents the largest talent agencies in Hollywood.

  • Both groups are struggling to renegotiate a decades-old talent agreement, the Artists' Managers Basic Agreement (AMBA), which essentially states that agents commit to equitably representing screenwriters talent negotiations with the studios.
  • The heart of the conflict lies in the Guild's assertion that the largest Hollywood talent agencies are flouting the scriptwriters they represent by switching from a pay-as-you-go model. from a long time to a model focused on the cost of packaging and production.
  • The deadline for an agreement was extended by one week, giving both parties time to meet and discuss new conditions. But after several meetings, the Guild informed its members on Friday that no agreement had been reached.

Yes, but: Talent agencies have at one point during the negotiations this week offered writers a 1% reduction in their production costs, but the Guild said the proposal was unacceptable.

  • "They insist on continuing to produce and be our employers," the Guild said in a letter to its members.
  • ATA Executive Director Karen Stuart said in a statement on Friday that guild leaders "said there was no way to reach a compromise," and that the unresolved result "was motivated by the predetermined trajectory of chaos by the guild ".

The big picture: The conflict is largely based on the changing business dynamics in Hollywood, which is mainly caused by the disruption of the technology sector.

  • Talented agencies such as WME, CAA and UTA have invested heavily in production tools that the authors think unfairly to their interests against the authors they represent.
  • Agencies have expanded their portfolio from talent representation to ownership of production operations as the value of individual talent declines due to the saturation of opportunities in Hollywood. Last year, for example, the number of original scripted series reached nearly 500, an increase of more than double since 2010.
  • Most of these new series come from online streamers, which inject billions of dollars into original content.

And after: The Guild said that in a strike situation, "we all know that we must refrain from crossing the picket line or writing for a stricken company." We are urged to show solidarity by making the picketing, which is the public and moral face of our dispute. "

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