WGA Offers a One Year Respite?

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  • WGA Offers a One Year Respite?

    how can they do this when there are agencies that have already signed the CoC? what kind of message does this send? great, seal the deal for the endeavor IPO.

    disappointing.

    https://deadline.com/2019/06/writers...ht-1202639267/
    "Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist,- Pablo Picasso

  • #2
    Re: WGA Offers a One Year Respite?

    The sunset clause itself doesn't seem unreasonable - I imagine it is intended to give the agencies time to restructure to meet demands. More worrisome would be the "contract not code of conduct" part that can be dissolved with 90 days notice. Seems to me that might allow the agencies to do whatever they need to negate the WGA's leverage and then renege.

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    • #3
      Re: WGA Offers a One Year Respite?

      This seems like a gambit on the WGA's part to offer an olive branch to the ATA, which they most likely believe will be rejected. And then they get to say, "See, we tried to negotiate and make concessions!" It's basically a PR move.

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      • #4
        Re: WGA Offers a One Year Respite?

        Originally posted by docgonzo View Post
        This seems like a gambit on the WGA's part to offer an olive branch to the ATA, which they most likely believe will be rejected. And then they get to say, "See, we tried to negotiate and make concessions!" It's basically a PR move.
        that's my read. also, it does give some incentive for the Paradigm mid-tier houses to get on board before development season starts in earnest, even if only for one more year

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        • #5
          Re: WGA Offers a One Year Respite?

          John August has moved on to Verve (had been UTA for 20+ years)

          https://twitter.com/johnaugust/statu...54149763850241

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          • #6
            Re: WGA Offers a One Year Respite?

            legally, this feels like a *much* bigger deal than it might first read. basically, if you believe the excerpts from the quoted emails and letters, the WGA is saying it has the receipts for collusion between the various ATA members. which as that term is understood in the context of antitrust law, is super no bueno

            https://deadline.com/2019/06/writers...ga-1202639745/

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            • #7
              Re: WGA Offers a One Year Respite?

              Originally posted by JoeBanks View Post
              legally, this feels like a *much* bigger deal than it might first read. basically, if you believe the excerpts from the quoted emails and letters, the WGA is saying it has the receipts for collusion between the various ATA members. which as that term is understood in the context of antitrust law, is super no bueno

              https://deadline.com/2019/06/writers...ga-1202639745/
              i read the doc and it seems surprising that ATA members would make such a blatant mistake. the explanation that the ATA (a trade organization) and the WGA (a labor organization) seems to be an important distinction-- as anti-trust laws treat them as different types of organizations that allow or disallow exclusions.

              not allowing the ATA to collectively pre-negotiate or price fix their packaging fees or percent structure that they will each charge the studios independently, is at the forefront of the "collusion" claim.

              and not to mention Agencies have "collectively" refused to negotiate with the guild individually, and demand that all negotiations go through the ATA, which is a no, no.

              this 3-3-10 structure is interesting as well. it looks like each fee is taken off the top line budget and not a chain-type structure, so we're talking a straight 16% of the budget. (if it were chain it would be about 15%)

              so, for argument's sake, let's say that the packaging fees are 16%. Let's say the writer's fee is 2.5%-- i don't know if that's true in TV (pls correct me if i'm wrong), but let's use it, we can adjust later. the Agent should get 10% of 2.5% of the budget...

              $10.0 million budget. (for every $ the Agency gets $0.15 in packaging fees, the writer gets $0.025 in their writer's fees).
              • 15% equals $1.5 million
              • 2.5% writer's fee $250.0 thousand
              • 10% of writer's fee or $25.0 thousand


              so you can see just what's at stake. the difference between an agency's potential take of $1.5 million vs $25.0. k, that's incredible. and why they're digging in.

              no matter which way you cut it, they (agencies) have no reason to negotiate and every reason to fight with the idea that the WGAs will fold with some type of "sharing revenue."
              "Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist,- Pablo Picasso

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              • #8
                Re: WGA Offers a One Year Respite?

                Originally posted by finalact4 View Post
                no matter which way you cut it, they (agencies) have no reason to negotiate and every reason to fight with the idea that the WGAs will fold with some type of "sharing revenue."
                Of course they have reasons to negotiate. For one, without any writer clients, their businesses will eventually face existential threats. For another, 10% of something is better than 3% or 16% of 99% of nothing.

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                • #9
                  Re: WGA Offers a One Year Respite?

                  Originally posted by AnyOtherName View Post
                  Of course they have reasons to negotiate. For one, without any writer clients, their businesses will eventually face existential threats. For another, 10% of something is better than 3% or 16% of 99% of nothing.
                  but that's the point, they're not getting nothing. they can still package deals with directors and actors (or am i missing something?). maybe they give up repping writers altogether and eventually come to terms with working with franchise agencies like Verve to get the writers on board their packaging deals they negotiate for their directors and actors.

                  it'd be no different than it was before if they (big 4 agency) worked out a packaging deal with a Verve writer and not a writer they (the agency) repped.

                  what would help the guild's position a lot would be for the DGA and SAG to fall into step with the WGA.

                  and i suspect this is why the WGA is willing to work with a 1 year respite because they (WGA) probably understand how difficult a task it would be for a company to go from generating 100s of millions in revenue to millions or tens of millions.

                  and honestly, 3% of the budget is still a lot more than 10% of 2.5% of the budget. (still generalizing here as i don't know what the percentage to the budget a TV creator would get paid). think of it from their (the agency's) POV, going from making a potential 15% down to less than 1/4 of a percent IS basically nothing. based on the 2.5% which, admittedly, i could be wrong about.

                  what i'm saying, is right now, this is their mentality. they believe the WGA will fold. they're holding hard and true. they (ATA) haven't negotiated at all. not really. and with the language the agencies are using, they don't plan to (at least is doesn't seem) unless the WGA comes back to the ATA to strike a deal.

                  someone check my numbers and i'll check the WGA's BA to see what a minimum creator would make on a show. understanding that it does change depending on the creator, right?

                  if they go to a truly commission based compensation only, there will be a lot of jobs lost, because they most likely won't be able to support their full staff. and some have huge debts they have to offset.

                  maybe i'm misunderstanding something?
                  "Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist,- Pablo Picasso

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                  • #10
                    Re: WGA Offers a One Year Respite?

                    Originally posted by finalact4 View Post
                    but that's the point, they're not getting nothing. they can still package deals with directors and actors (or am i missing something?). maybe they give up repping writers altogether and eventually come to terms with working with franchise agencies like Verve to get the writers on board their packaging deals they negotiate for their directors and actors.

                    it'd be no different than it was before if they (big 4 agency) worked out a packaging deal with a Verve writer and not a writer they (the agency) repped.

                    what would help the guild's position a lot would be for the DGA and SAG to fall into step with the WGA.

                    and i suspect this is why the WGA is willing to work with a 1 year respite because they (WGA) probably understands how difficult a task it would be for a company to go from generating 100s of millions in revenue to millions or tens of millions.

                    and honestly, 3% of the budget is still a lot more than 10% of 2.5% of the budget. (still generalizing here as i don't know what the percentage to the budget a TV creator would get paid). think of it from their (the agency's POV) going from making a potential 15% down to less than 1/4 of a percent IS basically nothing. based on the 2.5% which, admittedly, i could be wrong about.

                    what i'm saying, is right now, this is their mentality. they believe the WGA will fold. they're holding hard and true. they (ATA) hasn't negotiated at all. not really. and with the language the agencies are using, they don't plan to (at least is doesn't seem) unless the WGA comes back to the ATA to strike a deal.

                    someone check my numbers and i'll check the WGA's BA to see what a minimum creator would make on a show. understanding that it does change depending on the creator, right?

                    if they go to a truly commission based compensation only, there will be a lot of jobs that will be lost, because they most likely won't be able to support their full staff. and some have huge debts they have to offset.
                    What you're missing is that this idea of "they'll just package without writers" is a complete fantasy. Pretty much no one's willing to pay for a "package" that doesn't include the people creating the show.

                    The agencies have been trying exactly what you're suggesting (packaging deals with directors and actors) for the last few months, and the result has been total, absolute failure.

                    There have always been a few packages that centered around incredibly meaningful IP-- e.g. Marvel shows-- and I'm sure if you had a Gillian Flynn novel, David Fincher, and Meryl Streep, you could do a package around that. But there's not a lot of Marvels or Streeps or Flynns or Finchers. 99% of TV cannot be packaged without writers. It just can't.

                    You're right that the agencies have no plan except to stick their heads in the sand and hope that the WGA will suddenly fold or that a meteor will suddenly strike us all dead. Eventually, they'll have to make a choice between going without writers-- which would destroy CAA's and UTA's and ICM's businesses -- or they'll have to get on board with the new reality.

                    But there's no world where the agencies will keep on extracting packaging fees the way they've been doing for the past 40 (but really ~10) years. The sooner they wrap their heads around that, the sooner we can make a deal and get back to (a better, altered) business.

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                    • #11
                      Re: WGA Offers a One Year Respite?

                      I.P. is king. I've never sold anything so nobody's listening to me, but it's what I've been saying all along. Songwriters/musicians, poets, novelists, artists, bloody vase makers... they create, and everything flows from that, and very little can start or go anywhere without it.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: WGA Offers a One Year Respite?

                        now Abrams (though for now they say they won't actually sign the new CoC because of other issues, which was Verve's stance too until those things got worked out with the Guild). things may begin to move quickly for the agencies that aren't suing their ex-clients

                        https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/ne...g-fees-1222186

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                        • #13
                          Re: WGA Offers a One Year Respite?

                          From the article:
                          What would happen if package fees disappear?

                          Existing packaged shows would continue to generate package fees, but clients on new shows would instead pay 10 percent commissions.
                          I'm from the computer consulting world where any sort of valid expense is claimable. Thus, if my billing were $1000 and a third-party took $100 in placement/consulting or other fees, in my world I'd claim that as Professional Fees, an actual deductible expense.

                          But, I've heard that writers don't (or can't?) claim rep percentages as an expense. Worse, they have to include the 10++ percent fees as income, for their own income tax purposes.

                          Is this true and, if so, why?

                          I'm talking lawyer, manager, agent, and even union dues/fees. (In Canada the dues may be on a separate line on the return, but are treated essentially like an expense of doing business - thereby reducing tax owed.)

                          Even when I was working as a contractor, the placement company might negotiate a one-time or hourly fee percentage based on the hours I ended up working, but I'd still bill my agreed-upon fee to the client, directly. I never got to see what the placement company billed the client, and maybe that was a good thing.

                          In some circumstances, though, I got referred to a client and the referrer wanted 5%, a placement fee, of what I earned for six months. I did that, but certainly claimed that 5% as a deduction on my reported gross income.

                          Maybe I'm wrong with how writers deal with their rep's fees, and maybe writers do write off these 'deductions' from their gross billings on their income tax returns. Also, I was incorporated (and have retained that status for my writing income if it ever starts to come in), though I don't recall handling it differently back in the 90s and earlier, when I was merely an unincorporated sole-proprietor.

                          Whatever, this's one reason I've never been too upset about not having a rep. This "writing world" is a strange one.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: WGA Offers a One Year Respite?

                            Originally posted by catcon View Post
                            But, I've heard that writers don't (or can't?) claim rep percentages as an expense. Worse, they have to include the 10++ percent fees as income, for their own income tax purposes.

                            Is this true and, if so, why?

                            I'm talking lawyer, manager, agent, and even union dues/fees.
                            That only became true in 2018, thanks to the Republicans' tax bill. For now, the workaround is forming a loan-out corp and deducting commissions, expenses, etc., through that.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: WGA Offers a One Year Respite?

                              one of the responses that "agents" are making is that this CoC will hurt lower writers because now they will have to pay the 10% commission.

                              and to that i say to these agents: your job is to demand more for your client to cover your commission rate. that's your job, your fiduciary responsibility.

                              i mean, they have no problem negotiating millions on their own behalf-- so how about you do it for your clients.
                              "Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist,- Pablo Picasso

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