With simply someday to go earlier than their present settlement expires, the Writers Guild of America and Hollywood’s high expertise businesses nonetheless haven’t reached a brand new deal and no new talks have been scheduled. And if the clock runs out, WGA will implement powerful new guidelines on expertise businesses that can doubtless end in writers firing their brokers en masse.
The primary impediment to a brand new deal has been a really public disagreement between WGA and the Association of Talent Agents over the apply of packaging — by which brokers acquire charges for bundling expertise they characterize and bringing them as a bundle to a studio for movie or TV tasks. WGA desires businesses to finish the apply; businesses aren’t budging.
On Friday, ATA Executive Director Karen Stuart mentioned in a letter to WGA West president David A. Goodman that ATA is able to resume negotiations, although it mentioned additionally that that ATA considers earlier guild proposals “unacceptable.”
Meanwhile, WGA mentioned in an announcement: “We’re focused right now on meetings with individual agencies and will meet with the ATA when they make a meaningful reply to our last two offers.”
“We received your latest proposal, which is identical in all material aspects to the last proposal that is unacceptable to us,” Stuart wrote. “The time is long past for simply pushing paper across the table. Let us know when you and your committee are prepared to have a negotiation that addresses all of the outstanding issues.”
Entertainment lawyer Jody Simon, a accomplice at Fox Rothschild, mentioned the deadlock isn’t more likely to finish earlier than the expiration deadline passes.
“The odds for a deal are low,” Simon instructed TheWrap. “Given their positions, I don’t think there’s a lot of room for compromise. The WGA has a tendency for brinkmanship, but with the stance they’ve taken against packaging, I kind of feel like they can’t do that now.”
The WGA’s place is that bundle offers create a battle of curiosity for businesses, shifting precedence away from shopper illustration and towards content material manufacturing and possession. WGA additionally attributes what it says is a decline in total pay for members to packaging, and needs businesses to strictly adhere to the fee mannequin of compensation. WGA additionally calls for that Hollywood’s two largest businesses, WME and CAA, withdraw stakes in affiliated manufacturing studios.
ATA, in the meantime, says that packaging charges are essential to businesses’ enterprise mannequin. And United Talent Agency asserted in a current report that common author pay is larger for packaged tasks than non-packaged ones. WGA disputes that report.
“As the agencies get bigger and bigger it’s not a personal service business anymore, they’re sausage factories and that what the writers are starting to feel,” Simon mentioned. “They’re the ones whose feeling are most hurt, and rightfully so. They typically get the least amount of respect, though they feel they’re the most important, and I don’t mean that to be sarcastic.”
On March 31, WGA members overwhelmingly voted to approve a brand new code of conduct that requires any agent or company representing guild writers to stop packaging. The code will go into impact instantly after the present deal expires, at which level Guild members are anticipated to fireside any agent or company that doesn’t adjust to the brand new guidelines.
If that occurs, how WGA’s new post-agency world will look is unclear. But in line with Simon, the businesses might have the benefit over a long-term dispute.
“The big four agencies, they’re well situated enough that they can afford to ride this out,” Simon mentioned. “They’re diversified of their companies, to not point out they’ll…
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