The WGA is reaching out to personal managers to connect them with writers who are looking for new representation. The move comes nearly five months after the guild ordered all of its members to fire their agents who refuse to sign its new Agency Code of Conduct.
The guild is asking managers to fill out a questionnaire if they are accepting new writer-clients. If they are, the guild will add them to its Staffing and Development Platform, an online system that helps connect feature and TV producers with writers looking for work.
Management firms are asked to specify which of their managers are accepting new clients; if they are willing to look at cold submissions; or if they’ll only read submissions based on the recommendation of an attorney, another client or another writer. The questionnaire also asks managers to specify if they are more interested in representing feature writers, TV comedy or drama writers, or late-night and variety writers.
In March, before the standoff with agents began, the guild said it temporarily would give managers and lawyers the authority to procure employment for their writer-clients so that they can negotiate their over-scale pay – essentially taking the place of the agents who would be fired en mass a few weeks later.
Attorneys for the Association of Talent Agents, however, warned that those plans are unlawful and that the ATA would oppose any attempts to carry them out. The guild responded by saying that it “stands by its action in lawfully delegating the authority it has as the exclusive representative of writers under federal law. The agencies are attempting to intimidate attorneys and managers to stop them from performing work they routinely do.”
The WGA now is asking managers to complete and submit its questionnaire by the close of business this Thursday, September 12, so that managers who are accepting new writer-clients can be added to a list that will be made available to members. The guild said it also will maintain an updated list of WGA members seeking managers on its platform, which will include a writer’s profile and spec materials.
The guild is directing managers who want to be added to its list to go to http://www.wgaplatform.org and select “Executive Login” to create an account.