More on the potential upcoming War on Agency Packaging Fees. Or, to be more blunt: On the absurd conflicts of interest that have influenced everything we see on TV and film while making the agents far richer than those they represent over the last 40 years:
Writers Guild Seeks to Reshape Talent Agency Business in Proposed Deal
by Dave McNary
Amping up its battle with talent agents, the Writers Guild of America has issued proposals to Hollywood agents aimed at stopping potential conflicts of interest.
“The Guilds’ proposals are entirely reasonable,” said WGA West president David A. Goodman. “If you review them closely, they read like a voluntary code of conduct that an agency would put up on their own website to attract writers and other talent. The proposals demonstrate a commitment to the fiduciary principles of law, always putting the client first and being an honorable representative.”
The WGA’s actions have raised alarms at major agencies, which are unlikely to agree to the proposals. Should the agreement expire next year, it’s uncertain what kind of oversight the WGA would be able to exercise over agents.
The specific proposals were sent to ATA members and first unveiled Friday by Deadline Hollywood. The key proposal says, “No agency shall accept any money or thing of value from the employer of a client” — which would effectively end all packaging deals, in which agencies receive both upfront and back-end fees.
The WGA is also proposing that “no agency shall derive any revenue or other benefit from a client’s involvement in or employment on a motion picture project, other than a percentage commission based on the client’s compensation.”
The WGA has also proposed that “no agency shall have an ownership or other financial interest in, or shall be owned by or affiliated with, any entity or individual engaged in the production or distribution of motion pictures.”
“The agency’s commission shall be limited to 10% of client’s gross compensation, including client’s profit participation,” the proposal said. “Agency’s commission shall not reduce client’s compensation below MBA scale compensation. Agency shall not circumvent limits on commissions by charging fees for other services….”