The Writers Guild of America is beginning to take action against big talent agencies. Many writers who are a part of the guild cut ties with their agents, according to CNN. The two opposing sides have had contentious negotiations up until Friday, which is the deadline that talent agencies had to accept the new code of conduct. Hours before this deadline, the guild advised members that talks failed and it was time to part ways with agencies.
Being that the guild has 15,000 members, the repercussions could be vast. This high amount of firing has never happened before therefore there’s no precedent on how long its going to last. On Friday, the Association of Talent Agents said the writers guild wants “chaos” that “will hurt all artists.” However, the guild said agents have not addressed “expressed concerns” about fees and other issues. “Our agents work for us. Every dollar they make must be generated as a percentage of the money we make. That is what it means to be our representatives and our fiduciaries. Agency-based studios and packaging fees make a mockery of that and are in violation of the agencies’ ethical and legal obligations to writers,” this is how the writer guild portrays the issue.
The writers guild wants to “realign agency incentives so they are consistent with, rather than competing with, the interests of writer clients.” A new slogan of the guild’s have been “clients over conflict.” Big Hollywood names like David Simon posted termination letters of their agents on social media. John August, a screenwriter who wrote Charlie’s Angels, tweeted “My agent of 20+ years is a great friend and fighter for my career. I would give him a kidney tomorrow. But this isn’t about him or any single agent. Until agencies put #ClientsOverConflicts we can’t work together. Simple as that.”
The association’s executive director, Karen Stuart said “the code of conduct will hurt all artists, delivering an especially painful blow to mid-level and emerging writers, while dictating how agencies of all sizes should function.” Stuart also said “we came to the negotiating table in good faith and put forth comprehensive proposals.”