LA Managers: Monster List of Lit.

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  • BROUGHCUT
    replied
    Re: LA Managers: Monster List of Lit.

    I just googled the Blasi case (I'm not a lawyer and don't keep abreast of talent agency cases).

    Same old same old. Labor Commission called for a "red line" to be drawn between agents and managers years ago after the Marv Dauer case, and nothing came of it.

    Excellent article on Backstage about Blasi claim:

    http://www.backstage.com/bso/news_re..._id=1003086355

    Wonder why I question if any sane manager would limit themselves to taking only 10%?:

    "Siegel recently sought the help of his fellow managers. On Aug. 21 at the Laugh Factory in Hollywood, he organized a meeting attended by approximately 50 managers and other industry pros to ask them to write amicus letters on his behalf and sign a petition stating the appellate court's decision should be published as planned. When Siegel asked how many in the room had been sued by clients for procuring work, about half in attendance raised their hands.

    Manager Audrey Caan, who previously worked as an agent at the William Morris Agency, said such suits have become a serious problem. "The sad thing about this is that the more time managers spend dealing with the Talent Agency Act, it's just time taken away from [their clients]. Not only that, you start loathing and despising these clients because you know it's premeditated. I have serial people who I've taken back three times, and each time they sue me every time they get a series. You seriously lose big bucks," she told Back Stage.
    "

    article continues:


    Why don't California managers get agency licenses, which would allow them to procure jobs legally? Because, they say, SAG's Rule 16(g) restricts the cumulative amount an actor can pay an agent to 10 percent [ditto WGA rules]. Therefore, if an actor is already paying an agent 10 percent, he or she cannot also pay an additional agent or manager (who often charges 15 percent), a fact Siegel said is lost on the Supreme Court. Because managers can procure work without having agency licenses in New York, their fee is not restricted by 16(g); a SAG actor in that state must pay his or her agent only 10 percent, but there's no cap on how much he or she can pay a manager or anyone else.

    Another reason managers don't apply for talent agency licenses is that the TAA prohibits agents from producing their clients' projects. Managers, however, can make significant money partnering with their clients as producers. "

    Another reason
    managers don't apply for talent agency licenses is that _________
    ________________________________???



    Leave a comment:


  • BROUGHCUT
    replied
    Re: LA Managers: Monster List of Lit.

    Originally posted by jimjimgrande
    Brough - While it's clear that you are or were a lawyer, it's also obvious that you don't seem to be able to distinguish between written rules and the practical realities. Wherever you are (and it seems likely that it is far from LA; that your days, unlike mine, are not spent toiling in the industry we discuss on these boards) you can't seem to see the forest for the trees. An agressive manager will overstep his or her legal bounds in the interest of their client and I know people whose careers have been made by such efforts. You can call it lame ass, but in an industry where standards are nebulous and the stakes are high, it's just business.
    This thread--as usual--has resorted to ad hominem arguments and cliquism.

    jim, do me a favour: read my last post.

    I have no argument with managers who choose lit management so they have the flexability to produce the right scripts (and thereby pay for their greater guidance).

    An agreessive manager will overstep his legal bounds in the interest of his client?? I bloody well hope so. A manager can not even function without overstepping legal bounds. Setting up a meeting is overstepping legal bounds!

    I do not hold the rules "dear". My point is that it's surely best managers have a reason for breaking them and signing writers outside the WGA umbrella.

    I enterted into this discussion to defend managers who produce. Freedom to 'produce' is the lit manager's raisen d'etre. If agents could produce, managers would not have found their niche.

    YES--I'm suspicous of unambitious, disingenuous ("never producing is good for writers") managers who have no interest in establishing the relationships that allow them to 'produce' on paper and earn some of their income from buyers in the form of development and producing fees.

    I am surprised you're concerned that managers who "operate without ... attaching themselves as producers"--ie operate as unlicenced talent agents (maybe charging higher commissions)--may be compelled to play by the rules.

    Jim, is it too much to ask that you actually see my post for the trees and explain why it is not a "practical reality" for a manager who *never* produce to become licensed talent agents?


    Simple question; my only contention.

    I know you are toiling in the industry we discuss [ever so coyly, as evidenced by this thread] on these boards so you should be able to tackle that point directly.

    Did you know that you can't hang women's underwear on the same clothes as men's underwear in Minnesota?
    boog, if the guy in Minnesota has a gf, or is married, or moonlights as a drag queen, what's the problem? I would, however, be worried if he were airing women's knickers with his undies for the sake of breaking the law, or to give the neighbours the impression he was a player.

    Leave a comment:


  • Hamboogul
    replied
    Re: LA Managers: Monster List of Lit.

    Did you know that you can't hang women's underwear on the same clothes as men's underwear in Minnesota? Yet you don't see St. Paul prison system overcrowded by clothes launderers.

    Leave a comment:


  • jimjimgrande
    replied
    Re: LA Managers: Monster List of Lit.

    Brough - While it's clear that you are or were a lawyer, it's also obvious that you don't seem to be able to distinguish between written rules and the practical realities. Wherever you are (and it seems likely that it is far from LA; that your days, unlike mine, are not spent toiling in the industry we discuss on these boards) you can't seem to see the forest for the trees. An agressive manager will overstep his or her legal bounds in the interest of their client and I know people whose careers have been made by such efforts. You can call it lame ass, but in an industry where standards are nebulous and the stakes are high, it's just business.

    Ironically, the rules and laws you hold dear are likely to be more closely enforced and followed in the near future. The manager's role is likely to be changing again as the Blasi case reaches a conclusion and it will become more difficult for managers to operate without (in particular literary managers) attaching themselves as producers.

    So while there are managers who effectively service their clients for 10%, the number who do so will likely decrease as the risk of financial penalty vastly increases.

    Leave a comment:


  • BROUGHCUT
    replied
    Re: LA Managers: Monster List of Lit.

    I'll try again to better explain this.

    Ham, besides offering greater guidance, does your manager shop spec scripts, fish for assignments and set up meetings, like every other established lit manager? If so, being very well established doesn't change the fact that she is operating illegally, avoiding regulation and, by implication, Guild agreements.

    IMO there needs to be a very good reason for that, (besides atmospherics).

    Producing certain projects is a good enough reason. Agents can't produce--if they could, let's face it, lit managers would simply not have evolved, despite the assortment of reasons given for their existence--and agents are limited by law to charging 10% commission (obviously not very attractive to a person who wants to spend time breaking in new writers: how is it possible to work more closely with fewer clients for the same 10%? It isn't.). Besides collecting their 'commission' from the buyer as a development fee, I don't think there are any other good reasons, from the writer's pov, for 'managers' to choose to break the law and circumvent WGA agreements. The freedom to try and commission more than 10% is a reason, a bad one, and it’s not unknown for very major firms to screw some (not all) clients for 15% if they think they can get away with it...

    The (California) lit manager is also making a sacrifice (assuming they do their job and try to get their clients work!):

    - Their contracts with clients are essentially worthless
    - Managers have no legal right to commission those clients. Their commissions are only protected by a statute of limitations ( ) that comes to the rescue after 1yr: but clients can make a claim to recoup all commissions from the previous twelve months, and have the original contract terminated, canceling ongoing commissions on all previous deals. Collecting a development/producing fee in lieu of a commission mitigates this finanicial risk.

    I can't really see the upside to a very well established manager never producing. If they are so well established then they will be able to attach to certain projects (particularly those they help develop with writers) without prejudicing them, and it ultimately saves their client 10% (as the manager obviously shouldn't also commission the deal).


    Jim, non of those reasons prevent an individual 'manager' who doesn't want to 'produce' (again, I am doubtful there are many about, perhaps some people here are just being double-dipped or taken for a 15-20% ride) from coughing up a surety bond to California and becoming a WGA AMBA signatory. If they want to produce then cool, agency laws make working in this grey zone a necessity. But surely the loophole that allows 'managers' to operate purely as ten percenters (and sell that to clients as some sort of badge of honour!) needs addressing by the WGA.


    What do people defending those managers who operate for no good reason without a talent agency license think of the WGA agreements regulating agents--are they basically worthless? Because you seem happy to accept the most lame-ass excuses for sidestepping them.

    Leave a comment:


  • jimjimgrande
    replied
    Re: LA Managers: Monster List of Lit.

    Originally posted by BROUGHCUT
    My simple point (which for some reason Ham can't digest): if a manager is just in the game for 10% (and what managers are, really??) then there is absolutely no reason whatsoever for them not to be agents.
    Here are a couple I can think of -

    1. You don't have to work at an agency.

    2. If you're having a hard time moving up the agency food chain to agent, it's a way to get into the representation side of the business. If you are successful, you could get hired by an agency further down the road.

    3. By working closely with fewer clients, it feels more like a creative job than a sales job.

    4. You retain flexibility to produce, become an exec, become an agent. Most management companies are small operations (esp. compared to agencies). It's just a different kind of work in a different atmosphere.

    Leave a comment:


  • Hamboogul
    replied
    Re: LA Managers: Monster List of Lit.

    Originally posted by BROUGHCUT
    I think we probably agree that the vast majority of new managers plan on producing at least some scripts and that in reality there are very few established managers who never attach themselves to client's projects--so the question becomes pretty much moot.
    I chose not to answer your question because my manager is very well established and has never attached herself to any of her client's projects.

    Leave a comment:


  • BROUGHCUT
    replied
    Re: LA Managers: Monster List of Lit.

    Originally posted by Hasil Adkins

    I don't agree that managers who do not produce are necessarily bad for writers, nor are they out to screw writers.
    Just a follow-up... if they have no plans to produce, and therefore no reason not to sign the WGA AMBA, how is acting as an unlicensed, non-sigantory talent agent possibly good for writers?

    I think we probably agree that the vast majority of new managers plan on producing at least some scripts and that in reality there are very few established managers who never attach themselves to client's projects--so the question becomes pretty much moot.

    Leave a comment:


  • BROUGHCUT
    replied
    Re: LA Managers: Monster List of Lit.

    Ham, I notice you failed to address the simple question I asked above. Don't think you really know the detail here?

    Hasil:

    There are managers who do not produce, legitimate ones. I've met with several. But ususally it's not out of any principle or because they will never produce, it's because they haven't found a project they want or are able to get behind.
    Thanks for your 'little bit' of support because I have consistently said that if the manager is not an agent because he or she wants to retain the flexability to produce that's a good enough reason for not becoming an agent.

    Hasil again:

    And, I think, it's not the Producer's Guild who determines credits, It's probably the AMPTP.
    I think that's probably why I said "Guild credit". AFAIK, Producers' Guild determines credits for the Oscars. Someone keeps implying that I am claiming managers ought to want to become actual producers (potentially disastrous, one of a mutitude of reasons why mentioned above re PGA and Academy Awards); when I say 'produce' I mean attach 'to be paid-off'.

    My simple point (which for some reason Ham can't digest): if a manager is just in the game for 10% (and what managers are, really??) then there is absolutely no reason whatsoever for them not to be agents. A lit manager soliciting employment can not, by definition, be 'legitimate'. Everyone let's that go because by earning a development fee and ultimately, perhaps, a 'producing' fee on certain projects, the writer is not only spared commissions but the manager has an incentive to invest more time with writers and, crucially, a means of paying for this greater involvement without bumping their take to 15%.

    I think this sub-thread kicked off when someone said 'beware managers who produce', I just think that in fairness that should be: 'beware managers who indiscriminantly attach to produce every project'. Also, I think questions need to be asked of managers who make a point of not producing (I've never claimed such managers exist, others have)--if such managers were truly considerate of writer's interests they would have become agents.

    Manager who aims to earn all income from commissions = defacto unlicensed, non-signatory talent agent. How is that a good thing again??

    Leave a comment:


  • Hasil Adkins
    replied
    Re: LA Managers: Monster List of Lit.

    Both Brough and Ham are a little bit right.

    There are managers who do not produce, legitimate ones. I've met with several. But ususally it's not out of any principle or because they will never produce, it's because they haven't found a project they want or are able to get behind. Or, they aspire to move into studio exec positions, though I'd guess this is more rare.

    I don't agree that managers who do not produce are necessarily bad for writers, nor are they out to screw writers.

    And, I think, it's not the Producer's Guild who determines credits, It's probably the AMPTP.

    Leave a comment:


  • Hamboogul
    replied
    Re: LA Managers: Monster List of Lit.

    brough,

    is this from your personal experience that you have these views?

    Leave a comment:


  • BROUGHCUT
    replied
    Re: LA Managers: Monster List of Lit.

    argo forgets about the development fee....

    and there is no reason for argo's manager not to be an agent if he is not 'producing': ergo, argo's manager is most likely producing certain client's projects unbeknownst to argo....

    It's all about relationships and flexability. But managers who do not 'produce', ever, 'on principle' (this probably excludes all established managers) should be shut down as they are acting as unlicensed talent agents for kicks and that can ONLY be bad for writers. There is NO upside (...well, perhaps the abilty to clawback 12 month's worth of technically ill-gotten commissions if there is a disagreement.)

    Leave a comment:


  • argo
    replied
    Re: LA Managers: Monster List of Lit.

    Originally posted by FilmNoir3k
    Why would that quickly kill the deal?

    I'll amend that and say it "might kill the deal". While some manager/producers are great and can get projects going (like Benderspink), some managers can be seen as a liability when they're attached as a producer to a movie-either the movie producers don't want to give away even more profits to yet another "producer- (who doesn't contribute much while actually in production) or they might see this manager as a potential headache during production (especially if the manager has never had any real producing experience).

    My own manager has seen many deals fall apart because the manager insisted on producing. This is why he doesn't want to attach his name to produce; he doesn't want the writer to fail because he's trying to get a credit on a movie. And really, if they can't get the movie produced w/ them attached, what good is the producing fee?

    Leave a comment:


  • BROUGHCUT
    replied
    Re: LA Managers: Monster List of Lit.

    I do not. You misunderstand the issue.

    Since when does a development fee constitute producing "credit"? As for Oscars etc... last I knew, Producers' Guild was talking about assessing entitlement to Guild credit on the basis of involvement in development, pre-production, physical production, and publicity--studios were concerned that this would compel bonafide producers to impose themeselves on projects at all stages in order to qualify for Guild recognition; imagine if a 'manager' did that....

    It's not about credit, it's about how managers are paid for their 'greater guidance'. As far as I'm aware, agents can give greater guidance to their heart's content--but they are forbidden from paying for it by increasing commission or producing client's projects. Hence, the emergence of the lit manager.

    Can you give one reason why a manager who does not attach to 'produce' (i.e. earns a development fee and perhaps producing fee -- forget about screen credits/oscars) in lieu of 10% commission can not be an agent (i.e. state bonded and regulated and signatory to the WGA AMBA)???

    Leave a comment:


  • Hamboogul
    replied
    Re: LA Managers: Monster List of Lit.

    Some people like to be managers because they want to have a greater involvement in the guidance of their clients. Why do you assume that they need to aspire to producing credits?

    Leave a comment:

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