With the ongoing battle between the WGA and Hollywood’s talent agencies now in its fourth month, the guild’s negotiating committee reminded writers tonight to be wary of fired agents offering to “help” their out-of-work former clients. More than 7,000 writers have fired their agents who refused to sign the guild’s Code of Conduct.
“Since April, members have reported hearing from their former agencies and outreach has intensified over the past few weeks,” the committee said in a message to guild members. “The messages vary, but often include offers to ‘help,’ by setting up meetings, matching with IP, or consulting under the table. These are attempts to undermine member confidence and solidarity. If a call or email from a former agent leaves you with questions or concerns, please contact the guild. If you are feeling uncertain about how to proceed with a particular challenge in your career—with the sale of original material, the pursuit of open writing assignments, development, or staffing—call the guild. If we can’t help you directly, we can connect you with someone who can.”
The WGA West, meanwhile, will host an RSVP-only member get-together at the guild’s offices Wednesday evening, and another on July 24, where board and negotiating committee members will be available to informally answer questions.
The guild will also hold three general membership meetings in Los Angeles early next month: on August 7 at the WGA Theater, August 8 at the Sheraton Universal and August 10 at the WGA Theater.
The disruption of the agency campaign has provided both challenges and opportunities for members of the guild,” the negotiating committee said. “And for many, it’s sharpened our awareness of the difficult nature of freelance employment.”
The communique says that the guild is partnering with the Actors Fund to present a series of seminars to address such topics as “financial planning focusing on the concerns of writers, insurance options for those not covered under the guild plan, and stress reduction techniques.”
The missive also noted that “a well-intentioned effort by some members to try to assist others who may be struggling has spurred us to remind you of the already existing sources of assistance—including financial assistance—the guild and other industry foundations (including the Actors Fund) provide.”