EXCLUSIVE: A dozen smaller talent agencies have signed a statement of support for the WGA’s efforts “to eliminate conflicts of interest and properly align the incentives of agencies with their clients.” None of the agencies is a member of the Association of Talent Agents, which is locked in a do-or-die battle with the WGA over a new franchise agreement. This positions a lot of have-not agencies — they would not ordinarily be considered as the reps of top screenwriters or TV writers — to be alternative landing places if the WGA follows through with its threat to force members to fire their agents at the Big Four percenteries.
The agencies that signed the statement are:
Above the Line Agency
Annette Van Duren Agency
Bicoastal Talent and Literary
Claire Best & Associates
Greene & Associates Talent Agency
Gregory David Mayo Rep Performing Arts
Justin Ptak Agency
McHugo Artists Agency, Ltd.
Murtha Skouras Agency
The Newton Agency
William Kerwin Agency
“On behalf of the guild and its members, thank you for your support,” a WGA official told the signers. At last count, 24 mostly smaller agencies had signed its new Code of Conduct, including one ATA member – the Pantheon Talent Group.
Last weekend, WGA members voted overwhelmingly to approve a new Agency Code of Conduct. The guild has said that any agencies that refuse to sign it will be disenfranchised, possibly as early as Sunday morning if a deal isn’t reach for a new agreement with the ATA. The guild is hoping that enough of the smaller agencies will sign up to help fill the gap left by the exodus of all the major agencies that refuse to sign.
Earlier today, the ATA reached out to the WGA to resume negotiations for a new franchise agreement. The Two sides haven’t met at the bargaining table since March 27, but on Wednesday, the guild sent the ATA several modifications to its original proposals, but acknowledged that “none of them is major.”
“We received your latest proposal, which is identical in all material aspects to the last proposal that is unacceptable to us,” ATA executive director Karen Stuart said in an email sent today to WGA West executive director David Young. “The time is long past for simply pushing paper across the table. Let us know when you and your committee are prepared to have a negotiation that addresses all of the outstanding issues.”
Young’s response was noncommittal. “We’re focused right now on meetings with individual agencies and will meet with the ATA when they make a meaningful reply to our last two offers.”
The WGA’s current franchise agreement expires at midnight Saturday night.
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