Hollywood's major talent agencies have offered to share some of the revenue from TV and film packaging fees with the WGA to prevent thousands of writers from dismissing their agents on Saturday.
The financial offer was part of a protracted proposal sent by the Association of Talent Agents to WGA negotiators late Wednesday. The offer is expected to call on the guild to create a special fund that would receive a percentage of each agency's packaging fee. The ATA was cautious about putting a hard figure on the table as it was expected that other Hollywood guilds – notably DGA and SAG-AFTRA – would expect a similar revenue sharing agreement.
"In particular, agencies will deliver a percentage of their back-end profits to writers ̵
they are represents. The remaining 20% will be invested in industry initiatives and programs to promote and expand the involvement of historically underrepresented writers. This is a significant investment in the author community, "wrote Karen Stuart, executive director of ATA, in a message sent to members late Thursday.
The Guild's proposal was drafted to address the WGA leadership's concerns that a subset of writers will be bruised at a time when income inequities between Hollywood's A-list and the rest of the creative community are increasing helped the WGA focus on renegotiating the terms of their agency franchise agreement to target packaging fees that the guild, in some writers, calls the financial bottleneck.
The ATA offer also included one Payment of $ 6 million over a three-year period to one n "industry-wide funds to promote and promote inclusion".
The sides of the teams met earlier in the day or the fourth meeting within six days, but were unable to conclude an agreement on the key issues of packaging fees and agency-related ownership of manufacturing companies. Sources on both sides of the table expressed pessimism about the parties' chances of reaching an agreement.
ATA's decision to release details of its proposal is an indication that the negotiations could end in a dead end. The agents want the broader industry to understand the steps they have taken to reach a compromise to avoid mass separation of writers and agents.
On Wednesday, ATA holds a general meeting at the InterContinental Hotel in Century City. This meant a solidarity rally for more than 200 agents. Sources said that many participants in the microphone took turns and expressed the feeling that an emboldened WGA could decide if agents in the packaging and production battle would be over-committed to other issues in the future, such as reducing commission fees to less than the current standard of 10%.
The guild and the ATA are trying to prevent thousands of WGA members from firing their agents in bulk at 12:01 pm on Saturday. The guild is committed to implementing its new Agency Code of Conduct if it can not conclude an agreement with the ATA on a new agency franchise agreement – which, as proposed, removes packaging fees and bans the ownership of production companies from production companies.
The pages were due to expire on April 6, but an eleventh hour on that day resulted in a six-day delay for the WGA to implement the Code.
The largest agencies in Hollywood, represented by the Association of Talent Agents, have violated the Guild's reforms against the Code of Conduct. The WGA argues that the receipt of fees from studios for the packaging business and the ownership of manufacturing companies constitutes a conflict of interest between the agencies' fiduciary duties to their clients.
The guild's previous franchise agreement with the ATA, the Artists-Manager Basic Agreement, had not been renegotiated since 1976.
Here is the full ATA letter:
Dear ATA Members,
As you know, we are working diligently on a deal with the WGA. Many thanks to all who participated in our general meeting this week. We appreciate your input, guidance, and overwhelming support as you work through these negotiations as a unified front. As we have already discussed, the WGA Code of Conduct poses a threat to the business operations of agencies – whether for two or 2,000 agents.
The last few days have been a fast-paced crescendo for this crucial moment in our negotiations. We have now presented to the WGA comprehensive counterproposals dealing with their problems.
We heard meaningful feedback from the WGA leadership and at our own agency meetings and townshalls with writer customers during the WGA this week, and it has been heard over the past few months. These meetings have helped us to better understand and reflect on the fundamental issues of concern, including demands for greater transparency, deeper understanding of agencies' activities, increased support for low and mid-level authors, and ultimately better coordination Compensation of agents and authors. Our goal during the discussions so far was to avoid a destabilizing industry downturn.
Below is a summary of our draft counterproposals:
- Partnership with the Guild: Agents are and always have been on the writer's side and are committed to protecting writers from free paperwork and late payments. The WGA has requested access to customer contracts and invoices so that they can intervene directly with studios / employers to resolve situations on behalf of authors. Although the WGA already has the authority to collect this information from its guild members, and the studios must also submit to the guild, the collection was problematic. Agencies have agreed to provide the Guild with copies of executed contracts and financial information for writers within the jurisdiction of the Guild – with the writer's ability to prevent the disclosure of his confidential information.
- Sharing Success: If a Packaged Show is Good, writers will now share in the success and receive a share of the agencies' packaging fees. In particular, agencies provide a percentage of their authors' discounts – 80% of which are shared by writers who are not involved in winning the series, regardless of which agency they represent. The remaining 20% will be invested in industry initiatives and programs to promote and expand the involvement of historically underrepresented writers. This is a sensible investment in the author community.