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Writers Guild Says It Helped Negotiate 100 Deals for Agent-Less Members

The Writers Guild of America has asserted that it has assisted in negotiating more than 100 deals in recent months for members without agents.

The missive from the WGA West board of directors comes nearly a year after the guild leaders ordered their 15,000 members to fire their agents if the agents had not agreed to WGA bans on packaging fees and affiliate production. The five largest Hollywood agents have held out against such bans and CAA, UTA and WME have sued the WGA on antitrust grounds.

The message underlines the contention by guild leaders that agents are not essential for members to obtain work.

“Many of you have managers, lawyers and franchised agents who can inform you about compensation trends,” the guild said. “Over the past few months, the Guild has provided guidance on over a hundred individual deals to members who have found themselves without their normal advisors due to the agency campaign.”

“In several dozens of those instances, Guild attorneys have negotiated final terms and conditions. As a result, the Guild has been able to get some direct information on current deal terms that we are happy to share.”

The message included specific information about 14 recent deals that had been signed without naming the writers or the companies. It noted that the WGA has previously published a summary of going rates for television employment and pilot deals and will do so again after it receives enough contracts and data from franchised agencies.

“With this information, we can understand writers’ employment at a granular level, publish information about compensation trends, and enforce the contract precisely and proactively,” the message said. “With knowledge of employment practices throughout the industry, you and your representatives will be better equipped to negotiate fair compensation.”

Two weeks ago, WGA West president David Goodman accused Hollywood talent agencies of engaging in misconduct by harassing guild members. About 80 agencies, including APA, Abrams, Buchwald, Gersh, Innovative Artists, Kaplan Stahler, Rothman Brecher Ehrich Livingston and Verve, have agreed to accept the WGA’s bans on agency packaging fees and affiliate production ownership.

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