Hollywood TV, movie writers to fire agents in fees deadlock – MarketWatch

Hollywood TV, movie writers to fire agents in fees deadlock - MarketWatch

Hollywood writers begin firing their agents over fee dispute

(CNN)Hollywoods biggest labor battle in a decade is officially underway. The issue, as is usually the case, is money.

Refresh for more updates. After the WGA and ATA failed to reach an agreement, writers and showrunners started posting their letters terminating their working relationship with their agents. Damon Lindelof and Hart Hanson are the latest to post their letters joining a mass of other top industry names including Steven DeKnight, Alexi Hawley, Tim Doyle and Chrissy Pietrosh. Most are very cordial to their agents but not the wire creator David Simon who has been outspoken.

Writers Guild of America Tells Writers To Fire Their Agents After Talks Fail

Related Story Writers Share Signed Termination Letters As Mass Firing Of Agents Begins After WGA-ATA Talks Fail

Damon Lindelof, Hart Hanson Among Top Showrunners Posting Termination Letters In Wake Of Failed WGA-ATA Negotiations

Lindelof, who is currently working on the forthcoming Watchmen adaptation for HBO, posted his letter to CAA on Instagram. My agents signed me in 1999,” he wrote. “When no one else believed in me, they did. For that, I will be forever grateful. Twenty years later, the business has radically transformed… as such, it is time to remember and reinstate the principle upon which “representation” is based. My agents have become my friends… I am relying on that friendship to persevere as we all move through a trying period of transition. As brutal as it is to send this letter, I UNEQUIVOCALLY stand with my sisters and brothers and my union. Only through collective action can we restore balance. #IStandWithTheWGA”

The Writers Guild left the negotiating table after extending its deadline with the ATA by six days last weekend, with the practice of agency packaging — which the WGA considers to be a conflict of interest that stagnates writers’ salaries — at the root of the conflict. The ATA agreement expired at midnight April 12, and is now replaced by a Code of Conduct that agents must abide by in order to represent WGA writers. The code forbids packaging, agents are not signing it, and that leaves the writers ending agency relationships.

Hart took to Twitter posting his letter to WME, saying: “Standing with my Guild. #IStandWithWGA And I love my agent, Matt Solo. We’ve been friends for 21 years.”

The form letter which was sent to each member to send to their agency read: “Effective April 13, 2019, if your agency has not signed a franchise agreement with the Writers Guild of America, whether in the form of a Code of Conduct or a negotiated agreement, under WGA rules I can no longer be represented by you for my covered writing services. Once your agency is again in good standing with the Writers Guild, we can reestablish our relationship. Thank you.”

I love my film agent like family. Hes the first & only one Ive ever had. Hes honest, loyal & kind. I know our relationship always comes before the agency. I cant imagine my life right now without everything hes done for me the last ~14 years.

The new Code of Conduct, approved by the WGA membership last month, includes the elimination of packaging and agencies’ affiliation with production entities, and all of the major agencies have said that they will not sign it.

Dave McNary Film Reporter @Variety_DMcNary FOLLOW Dave's Most Recent Stories Patton Oswalt, David Simon, Danny Zuker, More WGA Members Post Termination Letters Mindy Kaling, Priyanka Chopra Teaming on Wedding Comedy for Universal Film News Roundup: Leslie Jones, Kristen Bell Starring in Coupon Story ‘Queenpins’ View All Facebook Twitter Reddit Email Show more sharing options LinkedIn WhatsApp Print Pin It Tumblr CREDIT: Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP/REX/S High-profile members of the Writers Guild of America, including Patton Oswalt, David Simon, Shawn Ryan, Michael Schur, John August, Amy Berg, Danny Zuker and many more have gone public with letters formally firing their agents in compliance with the WGA’s order to do so.

The form letter was linked in WGA’s missive to members this afternoon for each to sign electronically. The letter, the guild says, “in plain and respectful language accomplishes the task” of notifying the writer’s agency that they cannot represent him/her until they sign the new Code of Conduct. According to the WGA, the letter also protects the writers legally “in case there is a further commission dispute.”

My agents signed me in 1999… When no one else believed in me, they did. For that, I will be forever grateful. Twenty years later, the business has radically transformed… as such, it is time to remember and reinstate the principle upon which representation is based. My agents have become my friends… I am relying on that friendship to persevere as we all move through a trying period of transition. As brutal as it is to send this letter, I UNEQUIVOCALLY stand with my sisters and brothers and my union. Only through collective action can we restore balance. #IStandWithTheWGA

“As I said, we granted the week’s extension as a sincere effort to try to find a solution,” he said. “But it is clear to us that we are not appreciably closer. We are willing to continue meeting with you when you provide a proposal that truly addresses our expressed concerns, but our Friday deadline has arrived and we are moving forward with the implementation of our Code of Conduct and the enforcement of our WGA Working Rule 23.”

Standing with my Guild. #IStandWithWGA And I love my agent, Matt Solo. We've been friends for 21 years. pic.twitter.com/ZV7mcXdBWD

Dammit. Just realized that the WGA-ATA midnight deadline is PST. So I have to stay up another three hours and one minute to send a pic of my naked ass to CAA. #WGA #UnionUnionUnion

Screenwriter John August, whose credits include “Big Fish” and “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” tweeted: “My agent of 20+ years is a great friend and fighter for my career. I would give him a kidney tomorrow. But this isn’t about him or any single agent. Until agencies put #ClientsOverConflicts we can’t work together. Simple as that. #IStandWithTheWGA.”

I love my agents at CAA. Wouldn't be where I am without their support and encouragement. I look forward to working with them again once their agency signs the Code of Conduct and eliminates the inherent conflict of packaging fees. #ClientsOverConflicts #IStandWithTheWGA pic.twitter.com/CZ8Om2KqMd

Earlier Friday, ATA Director Karen Stuart reiterated the organization’s contention that WGA has not negotiated in good faith. “The WGA leadership today declared a pathway for compromise doesn’t exist,” she said in a response to the guild’s decision. “Agencies have been committed to reaching an agreement with the WGA but, despite our best efforts, today’s outcome was driven by the Guild’s predetermined course for chaos. The WGA is mandating a ‘Code of Conduct’ that will hurt all artists, delivering an especially painful blow to mid-level and emerging writers, while dictating how agencies of all sizes should function.

I love my agent, I love my work. But Im a union man. #IStandWithTheWGA pic.twitter.com/tfrcHiT1QK

I've had the same agent for almost 20 years. I owe him a lot. But I owe the writers who came before me and the ones who are still to come, so much more. #IStandWithTheWGA pic.twitter.com/2Ewtf3HoUG

“We came to the negotiating table in good faith and put forth comprehensive proposals providing choice, disclosure, transparency, shared revenue and a significant investment in inclusion programs,” she continued. “Unfortunately, not to our surprise, the WGA did not accept our offer, did not provide counterproposals and refused to negotiate further. We’re prepared to continue to fight for the best interests of writers and all artists.”

I have an amazing agency that represents me. But I have an even better guild which stands for me. #IStandWithTheWGA pic.twitter.com/LfIjjM7Sov

ATA has steadfastly defended packaging, and the group contends that writers earn more money because of it; WGA disputes that assertion. In an attempt to resolve the dispute with the guild without losing the practice it says is essential to the agencies’ current business model, on Thursday the ATA proposed a revenue sharing deal, made public shortly after, in which agencies would share a portion of earnings from package deals with writers.

Look, I love my agent. I mean, Im not IN love with him… although there was this one time at The Palm where the light danced in his eyes and… anyway I 💯 support the stand my union is taking! #IStandwiththeWGA #UnionStrong #KONY2012 pic.twitter.com/rYzdM75zKx

I hate that its come to this. I love my agents and I love my agency. But this isnt about that. This is about fighting for a system that works for all of us and not just for some of us. #ClientsOverConflicts #IStandWiththeWGA pic.twitter.com/iOQ7F4K0J1

Whether such a system actually comes to fruition or packaging fees do end up getting shared with writers, either way would likely create ripple effects through the rest of the agency system. While SAG-AFTRA and the Directors Guild of America have done little beyond closely monitoring this conflict, any changes to how agents make deals for writers could likely lead to changes for directors and actors as well. It is uncharted territory that Hollywood is about to enter, but the WGA is so displeased with the status quo that it is ready to march into it.

I'm one of those weirdos that really likes his agent, but I went ahead and did this anyway, because fair is fair. #IStandWithTheWGA pic.twitter.com/5c9l0tbmHz

My agent hip pocketed me when she was an still an assistant. She attended my wedding. Shes one of the best there is. But the system needs to change. And the only way that can happen is with a show of union strength. #IStandWithTheWGA pic.twitter.com/fQztHIX8Rm

The Association of Talent Agents’ (ATA) counter-proposal to preserve packaging fees did little to ameliorate the guild’s complaints. Made public less than 36 hours before the agreement deadline, the ATA offered to provide the guild with a fund made from an unspecified percentage of packaging fees received by agencies, 80% of which would go directly to writers, while 20% would be invested in efforts to increase writer diversity.

I didn't want to fire my agents. I REALLY like them. Plus, I need a job a month from now and I'm not sure having the phrase "Twitter do your thing" be my agent is gonna work. But I am pro-union, pro-labor, and pro workers getting a piece of the pie they make so #IStandWithTheWGA pic.twitter.com/XadUryPxNI

As a period of uncertainty sweeps over Hollywood, writers sent a loud message of solidarity on social media, with the hashtag #IStandWithTheWGA becoming one of the top Twitter trends in the U.S. Friday night. The general sentiment was a mix of frustration and conviction, as many writers posted screenshots of their form letters with messages that often mirrored that of comedian and WGA member Patton Oswalt:

WGA writer since 2007, my last 2 documentary features were WGA covered (yes, documentaries are written). #IStandWithTheWGA pic.twitter.com/I41KQmE4Oo

But guild members panned the offer on social media, saying that by making the counter-proposal public before any agreement was made, the ATA was not taking the negotiations or the guild’s complaints about conflicts of interest seriously. In addition, the percentage offer was deemed too vague and did not expressly detail how much of a pay increase writers would see from the proposed fund.

I genuinely love my agent. She's a champion and a friend. But I support my union and believe in this fight. It will be stressful but I can use my very good healthcare my union has provided me to talk to my therapist about it. #IStandWiththeWGA #ClientsOverConflicts pic.twitter.com/8IjAB0v0M5

I love my agents and I hoped it wouldn't come to this. But I stand with my Guild, I support my fellow writers, and I believe in this cause. Fixing systemic imbalances requires bold, collective action. #IStandWiththeWGA #ClientsOverConflicts pic.twitter.com/drM1nuQEMI

(Newser) – Welcome to Hollywood chaos. The Writers Guild of America notified its 15,000 members Friday to fire their agents after talks crumbled between the two sides, Variety reports. "We know that, together, we are about to enter uncharted waters," say WGA leaders. "…But it has become clear that a big change is necessary." At issue are two practices by major agencies that rankle writers: One is the old habit of packaging several writers from an agency's roster for a particular project, per the New York Times. Agencies then forego the usual 10% writer's commission and accept big fees from studios. But writers say this lets top agencies like William Morris, United Talent, and Creative Artists take money that rightfully belongs to them.

It's beyond unfortunate that it's come to this. Personally, I'm all kinds of wrecked and I said as much to my reps. None of us know what the other side of this looks like, but I hope to see them all there. pic.twitter.com/wOZOQja9Gu

A little disappointed that there wasnt a gif option available for doing this…regardless, #IStandWiththeWGA pic.twitter.com/4ikmWEP7fB

I sent my letter. I left WME3 years ago. Life and Work carried on. I like my current reps a great deal. But Ive seen enough to know life and work will carry on. It is in the nature of a story. One thing must give away to another eventually #IStandwiththeWGA

I love my agents at CAA. Really great people who had my back when no one else would. They've brought me a ton of work, including my current gig. This is painful but #IStandWithTheWGA pic.twitter.com/zEVCJRaTFt

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