After three membership meetings this week, it’s abundantly clear that WGA West members overwhelmingly support the guild’s four-month fight with Hollywood’s talent agents and the re-election of the guild’s leadership. So if agents are waiting for a change in the guild’s leadership to end the agency standoff, they may have to wait another year or two.
“People are still in support of the administration,” said a writer leaving today’s meeting at the Writers Guild Theater. “I think it’s strong support.”
“Almost everyone’s supporting what the leadership is doing,” said a screenwriter who’s backing the leadershipin the election and the agency campaign.
“I fully support the leadership,” said another. A similar show of overwhelming support was expressed by members at two earlier meetings this week.
WGA West president David A. Goodman received a standing ovation after his remarks today about the agency campaign, which seeks to end packaging fees and agency affiliations with related production entities.
Opposition presidential candidate Phyllis Nagy also spoke during Q&As. “She wanted to know what the guild’s endgame was,” said a TV showrunner. “The endgame is to align agencies’ interests with their clients’. The Big Four agencies are holding out for now, but the guild is not going to back down. So they better wake up and smell the coffee.”
Nagy, who wants the guild to resume bargaining with the Association of Talent Agents, was treated respectfully at the meeting. “She was received well,” said a writer who is backing Goodman for president. “We respect dissent. We’re united, but we’re not a dictatorship.”
Other members leaving the meeting expressed similar support for the guild’s leadership. “There was a lot of applause – a lot of support,” a writer said.
“I fully support the leadership,” said another.
“There is overwhelming support,” added another.
“Lots of support,” agreed another.
“Yay!” was all one writer said, lifting her arms in victory.
“Absolutely,” said another.
“Damned well!” said another.
The guild’s battle with the agencies has been going on since April 13, when the WGA ordered all of its members to fire their agents who refuse to sign the guild’s Code of Conduct. More than 7,000 writers have done so, but so far, only three midsize agencies have signed: Verve, Buchwald and Kaplan Stahler.