First ATA agency breaks ranks

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  • #61
    Re: First ATA agency breaks ranks

    From what Mazin says, it's clear he's not concerned that packaging is, and has always been, a form of racketeering, as David Simon has said. It's a crime which should have prosecuted under the RICO statute long ago. The WGA membership should accept (as I think a majority do) that the elimination of packaging and its ancillary injustices will be an order-of-magnitude change which won't be achieved overnight. Creative people deserve both to be fairly compensated and to be free to work with who they will.

    Worth remembering these words of Frederick Douglass:

    "Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both.

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    • #62
      Re: First ATA agency breaks ranks

      Originally posted by Captain Nemo View Post
      From what Mazin says, it's clear he's not concerned that packaging is, and has always been, a form of racketeering, as David Simon has said...
      Yeah, I'm scratching my head over this also. Craig's a smart guy; he's got to understand the core issue. I can only think of a couple of things that could be motivating his packaging thinking:
      • He's primarily a feature writer, and feature writers aren't hit as hard by packaging as TV writers. The problem with this is that Craig's a smart guy, and I was able to explain the issue to my mother-in-law in less than 3 minutes, and she's not involved in the business in anyway, nor is she a lawyer or similarly educated professional. I can only assume that Craig understands this issue better than my MIL.
      • He's figured out some compromise position that allows for a new version of packaging that aligns agency fees with writers' pay. He might think he has or that there is some version of this that can be negotiated, but I doubt it based on this quote from the Deadline article: "If there is a way to reform the packaging fee structure so that agents were able to capture more of it based on how well they negotiated up front money for us - and in this case, I'd use the least-paid member of any project as the benchmark - then we would be foolish not to consider it." This quote demonstrates to me a lack of understanding about the TV business. First, he's thinking about TV as a project model, like features or limited series. Episodic TV is open ended. Writers come and go over the course of several seasons. That's one of the reasons packaging is so egregious; it incentivises agencies to keep labor costs low because that makes shows more profitable and that is their big money maker at the end of a series because they have profit participation. Secondly, packaging deals are made before the pilot is written, let alone shot, so there's no way to know how big the writing staff will be, or who the lowest paid staffer will be, and will that always be the case through the run of the show. The other problem with this point is that it disincentivises the agencies from pushing for staffs with low level writers. "Hey, you're only doing ten episodes. You don't need a full staff, just you and a few hi-level producers can knock this out." There's a huge difference in pay between the $4-5K staff writer and the $9K+ writer producer. What kind of writers do you think the agencies will be pushing on their showrunners?

      Maybe Craig isn't completely up to speed on the packaging issues for TV writers and/or doesn't have a clear view of all the workings of an episodic writers' room.

      Will be interested to see how this all shakes out, but as of now I'm pretty sure of how I'll be voting.
      Just my 2 cents, your mileage may vary.

      -Steve Trautmann
      3rd & Fairfax: The WGAW Podcast

      Comment


      • #63
        Re: First ATA agency breaks ranks

        Originally posted by KitchonaSteve View Post
        Yeah, I'm scratching my head over this also. Craig's a smart guy; he's got to understand the core issue. I can only think of a couple of things that could be motivating his packaging thinking:
        • He's primarily a feature writer, and feature writers aren't hit as hard by packaging as TV writers. The problem with this is that Craig's a smart guy, and I was able to explain the issue to my mother-in-law in less than 3 minutes, and she's not involved in the business in anyway, nor is she a lawyer or similarly educated professional. I can only assume that Craig understands this issue better than my MIL.
        • He's figured out some compromise position that allows for a new version of packaging that aligns agency fees with writers' pay. He might think he has or that there is some version of this that can be negotiated, but I doubt it based on this quote from the Deadline article: "If there is a way to reform the packaging fee structure so that agents were able to capture more of it based on how well they negotiated up front money for us — and in this case, I’d use the least-paid member of any project as the benchmark — then we would be foolish not to consider it." This quote demonstrates to me a lack of understanding about the TV business. First, he's thinking about TV as a project model, like features or limited series. Episodic TV is open ended. Writers come and go over the course of several seasons. That's one of the reasons packaging is so egregious; it incentivises agencies to keep labor costs low because that makes shows more profitable and that is their big money maker at the end of a series because they have profit participation. Secondly, packaging deals are made before the pilot is written, let alone shot, so there's no way to know how big the writing staff will be, or who the lowest paid staffer will be, and will that always be the case through the run of the show. The other problem with this point is that it disincentivises the agencies from pushing for staffs with low level writers. "Hey, you're only doing ten episodes. You don't need a full staff, just you and a few hi-level producers can knock this out." There's a huge difference in pay between the $4-5K staff writer and the $9K+ writer producer. What kind of writers do you think the agencies will be pushing on their showrunners?

        Maybe Craig isn't completely up to speed on the packaging issues for TV writers and/or doesn't have a clear view of all the workings of an episodic writers' room.

        Will be interested to see how this all shakes out, but as of now I'm pretty sure of how I'll be voting.
        i think he thinks he's found a way to negotiate a shared performance based option that he believes he can sell. of course, i'm guessing here based on what i'm reading.

        and maybe Mazin thinks that since he's been successful at negotiating better deals for himself that he's capable of using the same tactics that have worked for him, in these negotiations.

        the problem is that the amounts of money involved here is exponentially huge--
        it's like apples and oranges. i realize he's also been on neg-coms in the past, so maybe he's basing it on that experience-- but the sheer amount of money involved now must surely (and i don't know) far exceed any previous negotiations and results thereof.

        the problem is that the guild cannot accept any kind of "sharing" because once they do the court cases would fall apart. the ATA would immediately, and rightly say, "they've agreed to this all along, look they just made a new deal accepting packaging, A-GAIN."

        it diminishes the WGA's stand.

        i think the neg-com has to be, and are being, careful in what they are saying is an absolute "non-starter"-- all packaging fees and affiliated production must end.

        i'm sure the legal team has thought of all the things that could go wrong by agreeing, or seeming to agree, with aspects of the "claims" that are in dispute. take any step back and the ramifications can be very detrimental to the fight thereafter.

        i'm not in the guild, but if i was, i'd be standing with current leadership. i mean, if you believe that packaging fees are wrong why would you agree to any of them under any condition? the opposition simply hasn't sold me on their plan.

        agents should make 10% of the writer's salary. period.
        "Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist,- Pablo Picasso

        Comment


        • #64
          Re: First ATA agency breaks ranks

          Originally posted by finalact4 View Post
          agents should make 10% of the writer's salary. period.
          Amen!
          Just my 2 cents, your mileage may vary.

          -Steve Trautmann
          3rd & Fairfax: The WGAW Podcast

          Comment


          • #65
            Re: First ATA agency breaks ranks

            Elections are being held. If I understand correctly many people on the board like JA didn't want to run again or aren't allowed to?

            i don't know why this is turning into a red vs blue state type of argument when again pretty sure Craig and John are on the same side of the issues, just different sensibilities on how to get there and obviously what is acceptable.

            I know we won't ever get what we should. Why would the WGA be the union to get all that they deserve when teachers and other stronger unions fail all the time at it?

            Comment


            • #66
              Re: First ATA agency breaks ranks

              Originally posted by Bono View Post
              Elections are being held. If I understand correctly many people on the board like JA didn't want to run again or aren't allowed to?

              i don't know why this is turning into a red vs blue state type of argument when again pretty sure Craig and John are on the same side of the issues, just different sensibilities on how to get there and obviously what is acceptable.

              I know we won't ever get what we should. Why would the WGA be the union to get all that they deserve when teachers and other stronger unions fail all the time at it?
              well, teachers are underpaid because their salaries come from taxes. the money writers make comes from a wealthy, greedy for-profit industry. once writers learn to harness their power, they will command more money.

              look at the deals that Netflix made with three top showrunners. i mean, isn't Shonda getting like $300 million?

              top writers are making money. time to make sure the rank and file does, too, right?
              "Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist,- Pablo Picasso

              Comment


              • #67
                Re: First ATA agency breaks ranks

                Originally posted by Bono View Post
                Elections are being held. If I understand correctly many people on the board like JA didn't want to run again or aren't allowed to?

                i don't know why this is turning into a red vs blue state type of argument when again pretty sure Craig and John are on the same side of the issues, just different sensibilities on how to get there and obviously what is acceptable.

                I know we won't ever get what we should. Why would the WGA be the union to get all that they deserve when teachers and other stronger unions fail all the time at it?
                the thing about the WGA is . . . as unions go, it's a bit sui generis in that you have "pure" writers who just get hired for gigs by studios or networks or whomever and draw a paycheck and the direction of their interests lie fairly clearly with the guild.

                and then you have the showrunners, who are writers. but also de facto producers, which gives rise to a more divided loyalty when labor disputes and things like the ATA come up. because now for them it's not just a question of drawing a paycheck but they're not developing, i.e., selling shows in ways that their staff writers don't have to deal with.

                which unfortunately creates a strong incentive the longer things like this drag out for the showrunner class (who by their nature have more leverage in the process than rank and file) to throw their weight around in ways that may or may not align with the interests of the guild as a whole.

                Comment


                • #68
                  Re: First ATA agency breaks ranks

                  Originally posted by Bono View Post
                  Elections are being held. If I understand correctly many people on the board like JA didn't want to run again or aren't allowed to?
                  I could be wrong, but I don't think there are term limits for board members. He's only served one term and incumbents run all the time. There are term limits on officers, two I think.
                  Just my 2 cents, your mileage may vary.

                  -Steve Trautmann
                  3rd & Fairfax: The WGAW Podcast

                  Comment


                  • #69
                    Re: First ATA agency breaks ranks

                    Taking the convo back a few steps. Apologies:

                    I think this 'diversity hire' thing is a fukkin hoax. I feel I was doing better when they DIDN'T know I was a diversity hire and walked in the room blind. I know what they were thinking "HOLY SH!T... a brown dude wrote this? It seems so WHITE!" Fooled ya, bruh. Too late to cancel the meeting now, I already took the water and I'ma finish it sitting right here in this chair with my feet kicked up.

                    I think 'diversity hire' on the email ALERTS these people to read extra CAREFULLY. As in "this hire is RISKY."

                    Even brown people are passing on my story about... BEING fukkin brown. WTF? I get who my competition is (don't guess name of their show), their show is already going but it's a bullsh!t show that EVERY brown person I've discussed it with HATES the concept and feels the show sells us out. The kicker: They refused to read my script. Imagine that. Diversity you say? FUKK YOU fake-ass people (showrunners) pretending to be supporting us POC. I should be getting at least generals off this, I've had an absolutely fukkin crazy life that other brown people would relate to. But they're afraid of my content because I'm honest and raw (AS FUKK!) about racism in it and don't make a joke of it. Pu$$ies...


                    Nah... 'diversity hires' is fukkin hoax.

                    -RANT COMPLETE-
                    Bruh, fukkin *smooches*! Feel me? Ha!

                    Comment


                    • #70
                      Re: First ATA agency breaks ranks

                      Brown dude? This whole time I was picturing an Asian Pauly Shore type (I can't think of a current reference because I'm old as dirt).
                      Thanks a lot, Obama.

                      Let me just say as a Jewish writer who can't break in, I feel extra extra pathetic. I mean, I can't even live up to my own stereotype. I want to run Hollywood, but the other Jews won't let me in!

                      Comment


                      • #71
                        Re: First ATA agency breaks ranks

                        Originally posted by KitchonaSteve View Post
                        I could be wrong, but I don't think there are term limits for board members. He's only served one term and incumbents run all the time. There are term limits on officers, two I think.
                        And on current podcast, I heard something that craig isn't running for the board, but vice president, which I assume was part of the board... so in other words, I understand the electoral college a lot better than the WGA.

                        Comment


                        • #72
                          Re: First ATA agency breaks ranks

                          Originally posted by Bono View Post
                          And on current podcast, I heard something that craig isn't running for the board, but vice president, which I assume was part of the board... so in other words, I understand the electoral college a lot better than the WGA.
                          Craig announced today that he's withdrawing for family medical reasons (hopefully not serious, but good luck and thoughts for his family)

                          https://deadline.com/2019/07/craig-m...ld-1202658137/

                          Comment


                          • #73
                            Re: First ATA agency breaks ranks

                            Originally posted by Bono View Post
                            Let me just say as a Jewish writer who can't break in, I feel extra extra pathetic. I mean, I can't even live up to my own stereotype. I want to run Hollywood, but the other Jews won't let me in!
                            lol
                            "I love being a writer. What I can't stand is the paperwork.-- Peter De Vries

                            Comment


                            • #74
                              Re: First ATA agency breaks ranks

                              Originally posted by JoeBanks View Post
                              Craig announced today that he's withdrawing for family medical reasons (hopefully not serious, but good luck and thoughts for his family)

                              https://deadline.com/2019/07/craig-m...ld-1202658137/
                              Just saw that. I honestly hope it's just a cover to get the hell out of the firing range which I can understand. But since it's probably 100% legit, that sucks. The reason to drop out, not that he had too.

                              Comment


                              • #75
                                Re: First ATA agency breaks ranks

                                Originally posted by Bono View Post
                                Brown dude? This whole time I was picturing an Asian Pauly Shore type (I can't think of a current reference because I'm old as dirt).
                                Thanks a lot, Obama.

                                Let me just say as a Jewish writer who can't break in, I feel extra extra pathetic. I mean, I can't even live up to my own stereotype. I want to run Hollywood, but the other Jews won't let me in!
                                as a female action writer i considered an alias, because there's this assumption that women can't write high-octane, testosterone fueled action as well as men. or women can't write male characters. it's like, dude, we're all human.

                                i always get the, "i can't believe you wrote this as a woman." kind of like the back handed compliment, "you look great for your age." go pound sand. haha.

                                on a sadder note, so sorry to hear about Mazin pulling out due to an immediate family health issue. sending good vibes his way.
                                "Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist,- Pablo Picasso

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