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Writers Guild of America tells writers to let their agents shoot for talks: NPR



West African President Guild David Goodman speaks at the 2019 Los Angeles awards ceremony. The WGA instructed writers to fire their agents on Friday.

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Western President Guides of America, David Goodman, speaks at the 2019 Los Angeles awards ceremony. The WGA commissioned writers to dismiss their agents on Friday.

Frazer Harrison / Getty Images

Thousands of Hollywood writers have been invited by the Writers Guild of America to dismiss their agents – a drastic step that could affect the production of new television programs and films.

The abrupt statement on Friday followed a collapse of negotiations Proposed changes to the agreement that has determined the fundamental business relationship between authors and agents for 43 years.

With talks stagnating before midnight, the WGA sent an e-mail to its 13,000 authors instructing its agent in writing that they could not represent them until they signed a new code of conduct.

"We all know this together" We are about to enter uncharted waters, "the message says." Life, which deviates from the present system, can be different degrees of disorientation. However, it has become clear that a big change is needed. "

It was a bold move for a group accustomed to writing their own scripts." I think the idea of ​​attacking our agents is something What people never thought, "said David Goodman, President of the Writers Guild of America West, in an interview with NPR.

" Studios and networks still need writers to do the work until the agents find out Goodman said that they need us more than we need them, "said Goodman.

Conflict is a complaint among writers that their agents do not to earn only drastically, but to prevent them from getting a better pay.The conflict threatens to hamper production at a time when the major broadcasting networks are usually for ih set up a fall squat. This could also lead to job losses in the industry.

"This whole fight is really about the fact that in a time of unprecedented profits and growth in our business … writers themselves earn less," said Goodman. 19659008] One main issue concerns the so-called packaging fees, the money that agents get from a studio when they are providing talent for a film or television project. Traditionally, agents earn a 10 percent commission on the work their clients receive from a studio. For packaging fees, however, they are compensated directly by the studios. "You are not required to increase the income of these writers," Goodman said.

Writers are also protesting against a shift in the business model in recent years in some of Hollywood's largest talent agencies. Agents have increasingly entered the film and television business as producers, and writers claim that such a double-hat agreement constitutes a conflict of interest.

Goodman said that to overcome the impasse, the industry must "return to the traditional relationship between agents and writers," where an agent takes 10 percent of a writer's income.

On Saturday, some writers posted pictures of the letters they had signed and sent to their agents showed solidarity, if not total support.

"I have an amazing agency that represents me," said screenwriter, actor and comedian Patton Oswalt on Twitter "But I have an even better guild that stands for me."

"Dammit" David Simon wrote a Baltimore-based author and television writer best known for The Wire . , "I just realized that the [agency agreement] midnight appointment is PST, so I have to stay up for another three hours and a minute to send a picture of my naked A ** to [the Creative Artists Agency]."

Association of Talent Agents, The agency representation promises more transparency when agencies are involved in the production of a movie or television program. The association pledged to resume discussions after two years if the Writers Guild finds that the members have no advantage.

The association also offered concessions that resulted in the collapse of Friday, including the chance to share 80 percent of "a percentage". from the profits when packing fees for a television series accrue.

The guild said that due to the offer they received from agents, the "percentage" amounted to 0.8 percent of the cashiers' packaging fees.

ATA also said the agencies said they would spend $ 6 million over six years to promote a more inclusive environment, insisting that they are "on the writer's side" and were.

In a statement, ATA General Manager Karen Stuart said Friday's failure was "determined by the Guild's predetermined course of chaos." She said this would ultimately harm artists.

"The WGA Writes One" Code of Conduct, "which will harm all artists and, in particular, impose a painful blow to middle-class and aspiring writers while prescribing how agencies of all sizes should function.

Goodman said that writers are already injured, citing the proposal as "a ridiculous offer given that the authors are the reason that every television program is successful."

Until the deadlock is resolved, the Guild members told writers that they could turn to managers or lawyers to deal with them. Business affairs.

The ATA lawyers threatened to sue the Guild, alleging that the union violated the California and California licensing laws New York As part of its argument, it said in a letter that the union "can not delegate powers that it does not have."

The collapse of Friday's negotiations was just the last chapter in the longstanding aversion to the Wrapping fees of the Writers Guild Goodman said that the union sought reforms as early as the 1970s.

"The L People say this is an unprecedented step, but it's not in the sense that 43 years ago we tried to get rid of the packaging and now it has failed. It has gotten a lot worse, "Goodman said.


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