The Simpsons veteran Mike Scully tweeted up a storm on Sunday in support of the WGA membership’s vote this week on a new Agency Code of Conduct that would ban packaging fees and force talent agencies to sever their ties with affiliated production companies. The WGA and the Association of Talent Agents will return to the bargaining table tomorrow in an attempt to work out a deal for a new franchise agreement in advance of the April 6 deadline.
“I hope this is resolved, but companies don’t like to let go of money once they’ve figured how to get it, even if it’s a conflict of interest & they don’t earn it,” he tweeted. “The data they’ve slapped together at the 11th hour is bullshit, their arguments insulting & offensive. Vote YES.”
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Scully, a writer-producer on The Simpsons for 27 years, executive producer/showrunner of the freshman Fox comedy series Rel and co-creator/exec producer of the upcoming Fox animated series Duncanville, also said that in the event a deal isn’t reached and the WGA orders its members to fire their agents en masse, he supports a system the guild has developed that will allow writers to circumvent the usual series submission process by recruiting showrunners to review submissions through a guild system that allows writers to self-submit for staffing on TV series.
“I will register at the WGA Staffing Submission System and urge other showrunners to do the same,” he wrote. “Hope we don’t have to use it, but will gladly do so if necessary.” Then he added: “Please resume being disappointed by the Mueller Report.”
Scully, who was one of nearly 800 writers and showrunners who signed a statement saying they’ll fire their agents if told to do so by the guild, recounted his own horror story with his agency over a packaging deal.
“A couple years ago,” he wrote, “an actor friend texted me asking if I wanted to create a show together. I said yes. We (along with my wife) sold it, did a pilot, and it was ordered to series. The packaging was done by us with that simple text exchange. No agencies involved.
“After the series was ordered, I found out it had been packaged by our agents who did absolutely nothing to put the creative elements of the show together. Nonetheless, they took a packaging fee and ten points for their complete lack of work.
“I emailed my agency to get a breakdown of show points in case we needed to access them. They sent the creators’ points, but didn’t list the agencies’ points.
“I emailed back ‘Are you sure that’s everything?’ and only then did they mention the ten points they had taken for doing nothing. When I accused them of deliberately withholding info, they said it was an ‘oversight.’
“I said that the idea that they packaged the show in any way was laughable. They said I was a ‘packageable element’ and anything I developed is automatically an agency package, so they’re legally entitled to do it.
“I’m not saying all agents are the enemy, but the current packaging practices of the big agencies are out of control and the agents that work there have been told to protect them the way they’re supposed to protect us.
“Even if you like your agent, tell them you will leave if the agency doesn’t sign the WGA Code of Conduct. Stand by the union that’s fought you & your family to get health care, pension, residuals, minimums, etc.”
Here is Scully’s full Twitter thread:
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