Inside Move: Agent provocateur

Pisano drops SAG bombshell

SAG members have been hearing a lot of dire warnings about the consequences of not forging a deal with the Assn. of Talent Agents.

Now they realize this hasn’t been saber-rattling.

At the March 11 meeting of SAG’s national board, CEO Robert Pisano predicted that if the revised master franchise agreement is not approved, one or more of the Big Five agencies would disenfranchise. That would mean essentially telling SAG to go to hell by no longer following any SAG rules.

Clients would be forced to choose between the agency and the union, creating a huge ripple effect. One possible development: The disenfranchised agency would be viewed as a management company and provoke the state to swoop in with heavier regulation of managers.

In a worst-case scenario, SAG would tell members they can’t be repped by a major agency and would call for agents to sign a new franchise agreement. That could be followed by widespread confusion, lawsuits and — maybe — loss of jobs.

Best-case scenario: SAG and the Assn. of Talent Agents would quickly forge a pact and the disenfranchised tenpercentery would rejoin the fold.

Since Melissa Gilbert backs the deal, agents were heartened March 9 when she scored a huge 57% of the vote in the rerunning of SAG prexy vote. Gilbert called the victory a “mandate,” but the board nearly OK’d sending the agreement back to negotiators before approving it 57-44.

The 98,000 members of the Screen Actors Guild will receive ballots April 3; results should be announced April 18.

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