Originally Posted by mgwriter
Using terms like "majority" or "minority" in this case might seem misleading as those words imply they are based on factual information. As stated in the post, this is simply an opinion based on one's own personal experience.
Based on another person's experience, maybe "most" seem like they are trying to fvck the writers over.
Those spec farms prefer writers who can't see or refuse to see what is really going on while they're getting shafted. Just because the writer isn't knowledgeable enough about the business to see themselves being shafted, doesn't mean it isn't happening.
"majority" or 'minority" good guys bad guys of management companies is tough to determine without someone doing a fact based study (maybe comparing manager-as-producer's "producer fee" vs how much they negotiate for their writer client on the deal).
If a writer gets shafted by management company even ONE TIME, that's one time too many.
A writer I knew had a bad experience. I know for a fact that it happened because I saw the paperwork/contracts, messages etc. So at least one time in the history of Hollywood, a manager who produces, got the studio to agree to a price to purchase their client's script. The studio agreed the script was worth $800k to them. So the writer's manger was ecstatic and went back to the writer and said the studio will pay you $300k. The other $500k was the manager's "producer fee", which they didn't mention to the writer, but through her contacts in the industry, she found out later. During the deal, the writer had no idea about the 800k the studio was willing to pay for script because she wasn't "in the room", she was trusting her "manager", who always looked out for his own interests first. Then after hijacking the writer's payday for 500k, the manager then graciously agreed not to commission her measly(in comparison) 300k. How big of them (management company)? But then the writer's agent screamed foul to the manager because he worked on commission alone and would rather have their client get the full 800k the studio agreed to. So the agent agreed not to tell the writer about the 800k as long as he(agent) got to represent the manager-as-producer in this deal so that he could commission the manger's 500k "producer fee" as well and get his full 800k commission. All of these decision were made obviously without the writer in the room. The writer was so happy she had a "team" working for her and 300k sale. Truth is the "team" was working for their interests first not the writer's and then they tried to make the writer feel better by "not commissioning" the crumbs they left for the writer, who did all the writing. Gee, thanks, right?
Because this writer had worked for years on the other side of the table as a manager's assistant, she had contacts around town and was able to find out what really happened behind closed doors when her "team" was supposed to be working for her. The Manager-attached-as-Producer allowed these vultures to do the very thing the wga tried to stop from happening by forbidding writer's reps (agents) from producing. The agent in this case went along as long as he got his full commission by repping the manager in his deal. That particular agent is no long an agent in this industry. He's now a manager who also produces. I guess working both side of the table as manager/producer better fits with his personal morals/ethics.
-Will this happen with you with your rep? Hopefully not. But just knowing that it has happened in the past and can still happen is a good thing to know.
-Does this happen all the time? Maybe. Maybe not. But the fact that it happened at least ONCE is a major problem because it can happen again. The fact that it is even possible is a major problem. What made it possible? WRITER'S REPS (MANAGERS) WHO ALSO PRODUCE! Big no no, otherwise wga would let agents do the same thing.
-Does your manager/producer sometimes have the writer's same agency rep him/her on their "producer fee" deal? Bad sign of agent attempting to collect his "full" commission.
If you(writer) are never "in the room" because you have these "trusted" managers in there "fighting for you"(cough), how do you know how much the studio is REALLY willing to pay for your script? You don't. Therefore it would probably be better to make sure EVERYONE in there "fighting for you" is working on commission only! Then their own greed works in your favor.
-How much does your manager make in "producer fee" when they attach to one of your projects? Is it WAY MORE than the commission you would have paid them for repping you on that sale?
-Trust money, not people who lie for a living. Is your manager going to work harder to get you a higher payment for your script or work harder to give himself a higher "producer fee"? A "producer fee" that is much higher than any commission they would have earned from you and is possibly cut out of monies studio was willing to pay for script?
-If you're not "in the room", who can you trust? Someone trying to get paid on both sides of the table(manager/producer) or someone who works on commission only (agent/lawyer)?
Solution: Anyone working on your behalf, needs to work on commission only (the way it used to be). Remember, this is Hollywood. Based on years of reputation, most of the business players are not "nice guys" with high morals, though they put on a friendly face. If they can cut a side deal, lowering your pay and increasing their own, chances are they will, based on the experiences of real people I know.
*This is posted for informational purposes only, so there is no need for personal attacks. Obviously I can't provide real names, so if you require that kind of proof, simply dismiss this as a figment of my imagination. peace.*