UTA reaches agreement with WGA

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  • UTA reaches agreement with WGA

    Via Hollywood Reporter:

    "The agency breaking ranks could be the beginning of the end of the battle between the guild and major talent agencies..."

    https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/ne...es-say-1303270

  • #2
    Re: UTA reaches agreement with WGA

    That's great news. I wonder if WME and CAA will make a similar decision.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: UTA reaches agreement with WGA

      Not being WGA, i haven't seen the red-lined copy of the agreement that was emailed to membership after the announcement but based on the trade reports (taken with a mine of salt) and writers' reaction on twitter . . . it seems the devil remains in the details.

      Yes packaging is phased out in two years . . . except not until one of the other Big 4 agencies also agrees to end packaging (maybe the guild has knowledge that ICM is already committed in principle to this?)

      In the meantime, UTA can still package for those two years with a client's "informed consent" (this was the Nagy slate's position and membership rejected it out of hand)

      UTA gets to retain its 20% independent production stake. I don't know enough about that prodco's structure to know if this is actually a win for the agency or the guild. No, it's not a majority stake. But it seems they still have a vested interest in pushing client projects to the production arm, even at lower return?

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: UTA reaches agreement with WGA

        Originally posted by JoeBanks View Post
        Not being WGA, i haven't seen the red-lined copy of the agreement that was emailed to membership after the announcement but based on the trade reports
        Scroll down toward the end of the article, you can click the link for the red-lined copy.

        Starting with...
        "...You can read a red-lined version of the franchise agreement here

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: UTA reaches agreement with WGA

          Covid-19 broke the WGA. Can't wait to get David Simon's take.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: UTA reaches agreement with WGA

            Isn't the Moderna vaccine supposed to be ready by the end of the year or early next year? I wonder how fast everything goes back to normal.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: UTA reaches agreement with WGA

              Originally posted by JoeBanks View Post
              Not being WGA, i haven't seen the red-lined copy of the agreement that was emailed to membership after the announcement but based on the trade reports (taken with a mine of salt) and writers' reaction on twitter . . . it seems the devil remains in the details.

              Yes packaging is phased out in two years . . . except not until one of the other Big 4 agencies also agrees to end packaging (maybe the guild has knowledge that ICM is already committed in principle to this?)

              In the meantime, UTA can still package for those two years with a client's "informed consent" (this was the Nagy slate's position and membership rejected it out of hand)

              UTA gets to retain its 20% independent production stake. I don't know enough about that prodco's structure to know if this is actually a win for the agency or the guild. No, it's not a majority stake. But it seems they still have a vested interest in pushing client projects to the production arm, even at lower return?
              I completely disagree with your characterization. Yes, as with every other franchise agreement signed over the last year, the UTA deal includes a two-year sunset on packaging. And like the RBEL, Kaplan-Stahler, and Paradigm deals, it requires two majors to sign on. But UTA is one of those majors, so unless ICM wants to die on this mountain (they won't), the WGA has effectively put an end to TV packaging fees forever. For. e. ver.

              As for the production stake, it's a big overall win for the Guild. Remember, agency-affiliated production wasn't a problem until the SAG deal with the agencies expired a decade-ish ago because the SAG deal capped agency ownership of production entities at 10%. We know empirically that 10% ownership doesn't seem to produce major conflicts of interest. 20% may be more problematic, but it's within reason. To me, the headline here is that this puts an end to the studio-agency-megalith dream forever. The future the WGA was concerned about-- the future Ari dreamed of-- the future that attracted private equity leaches to the agencies-- the future the fear of which honestly precipitated this entire agency action-- is instantly kaput.

              (The 20% deal is definitely a win for UTA, too, in that their ownership of Civic Center Media is exactly 20%. So they get to keep what they have. But they can never grow that stake. And once ICM [who doesn't have any production affiliates] signs, CAA will have to divest itself of some of its various affiliates [wiip gets the most press, but there are others], and WME... well, if there's still a WME, they won't ever rep writers again.)

              Honestly, the biggest losses for the Guild come from the deletion of some of the auditing language and the insertion of some annoying qualifiers regarding contract info sharing.

              But here's the thing: if UTA had presented this deal a year back, the Guild almost certainly would have taken it. But if the Guild had presented this deal a year back, there's not a flurry's chance in hell that UTA would have signed on.

              So things have definitely shifted over time to favor the Guild. Part of it was membership solidarity, part of it was COVID, and part of it was WME's IPO fiasco. But this, to me, was a big god damn win. The Guild secured the future, not just for writers, but for all artists working in this medium.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: UTA reaches agreement with WGA

                Originally posted by AnyOtherName View Post
                I completely disagree with your characterization. Yes, as with every other franchise agreement signed over the last year, the UTA deal includes a two-year sunset on packaging. And like the RBEL, Kaplan-Stahler, and Paradigm deals, it requires two majors to sign on. But UTA is one of those majors, so unless ICM wants to die on this mountain (they won't), the WGA has effectively put an end to TV packaging fees forever. For. e. ver.
                I've read the UTA agreement since posting and 95% agree with your reading, assuming that ICM (or CAA/WME) does fall in line sometime in the next two years (if they are going to sign, yes it is likely to be now or never). Devil's advocate: what happens in 2022 if the other three somehow just wait it out and the pressures that are on them today have largely dissipated? Unlikely to happen but . . . SAG-AFTRA blinked in 2002 and just kept on being packaged without ever finishing their fight as I understand the history.

                (ftr I always thought this was the power move for UTA/ICM v. WME/CAA as competitors for the same pool of talent)
                Last edited by JoeBanks; 07-16-2020, 10:40 AM.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: UTA reaches agreement with WGA

                  Definitely feels like the landscape is shifting on the lit front. What with Verve growing its A-list roster during the stand-off and now this. I also read the other day that A3 Artists Agency formerly Abrams have brought in a raft of Paradigm agents to run their lit department with more following who chose not to go back to Paradigm after being asked to leave for 6 months. Interesting times.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: UTA reaches agreement with WGA

                    I'm reading the redline contract now and situations are coming to mind that I'd like to think through, so hypothetically speaking...

                    Let's say a prodco takes on a writer's script to develop it, package it (director, actor, financier, studio) and sell it.

                    Let's say director Bigshot signs on and his Agent represents a different writer that the Agent and Mr. Bigshot director demand to get their writer signed on and the baby writer fired. I mean, it's possible that an Agent would demand this and the director may not even realize they are being leveraged that way, right? Is that possible?

                    How does the baby writer best protect their interests up front. I'm not looking for the snarky, "suck it up, it happens all the time." I understand that it happens.

                    I'm looking for a real life look at what you, as the writer (however minimal it might be), can do to get the best deal UP FRONT, to 1) protect the writer's interest in their property/project, and if you can't do that, 2) ensure you are fairly compensated knowing someone will be replacing you on your own project. Is there another option?

                    And how does a writer position themselves best to stay on their project? What are the strategies and tactics a writer can implement to their advantage.

                    When the TUNGA script was in a bidding war and Netflix won that battle, the writer received a "guaranteed" payment of mid-six, which suggests that whether it gets made or not, Netflix pays the writer their full fee for the option/purchase price.

                    Understanding that the chances of you getting fired is highly likely, writing in a guaranteed payment seems a proactive move. Has anyone else done this? Any suggestions?
                    "Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist,- Pablo Picasso

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: UTA reaches agreement with WGA

                      Originally posted by finalact4 View Post
                      I'm reading the redline contract now and situations are coming to mind that I'd like to think through, so hypothetically speaking...

                      Let's say a prodco takes on a writer's script to develop it, package it (director, actor, financier, studio) and sell it.

                      Let's say director Bigshot signs on and his Agent represents a different writer that the Agent and Mr. Bigshot director demand to get their writer signed on and the baby writer fired. I mean, it's possible that an Agent would demand this and the director may not even realize they are being leveraged that way, right? Is that possible?

                      How does the baby writer best protect their interests up front. I'm not looking for the snarky, "suck it up, it happens all the time." I understand that it happens.

                      I'm looking for a real life look at what you, as the writer (however minimal it might be), can do to get the best deal UP FRONT, to 1) protect the writer's interest in their property/project, and if you can't do that, 2) ensure you are fairly compensated knowing someone will be replacing you on your own project. Is there another option?

                      And how does a writer position themselves best to stay on their project? What are the strategies and tactics a writer can implement to their advantage.

                      When the TUNGA script was in a bidding war and Netflix won that battle, the writer received a "guaranteed" payment of mid-six, which suggests that whether it gets made or not, Netflix pays the writer their full fee for the option/purchase price.

                      Understanding that the chances of you getting fired is highly likely, writing in a guaranteed payment seems a proactive move. Has anyone else done this? Any suggestions?
                      You can negotiate for guaranteed steps. You can negotiate for pay-or-play language. You can negotiate to be a producer. Hell, you can negotiate for final cut. The chances of you getting these things is generally small, but if the buyer wants your script bad enough, they might (and sometimes do) agree!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: UTA reaches agreement with WGA

                        Originally posted by AnyOtherName View Post
                        You can negotiate for guaranteed steps. You can negotiate for pay-or-play language. You can negotiate to be a producer. Hell, you can negotiate for final cut. The chances of you getting these things is generally small, but if the buyer wants your script bad enough, they might (and sometimes do) agree!
                        That's exactly what I was looking for. I do understand the chances will depend on the level of their interest.
                        Thank you, AnyOtherName.
                        "Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist,- Pablo Picasso

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: UTA reaches agreement with WGA

                          Originally posted by Mintclub View Post
                          Definitely feels like the landscape is shifting on the lit front. What with Verve growing its A-list roster during the stand-off and now this. I also read the other day that A3 Artists Agency formerly Abrams have brought in a raft of Paradigm agents to run their lit department with more following who chose not to go back to Paradigm after being asked to leave for 6 months. Interesting times.
                          You think agencies will die and ProCos will just have a lit department?
                          Ricky Slade: Listen to me, I intentionally make this gun look that way because I am smart.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: UTA reaches agreement with WGA

                            Originally posted by Julysses View Post
                            You think agencies will die and ProCos will just have a lit department?
                            I'm not Mintclub, but I think his/her point is that lit representation, going forward, won't be the purview of mega-agencies (to whatever extent mega-agencies continue to exist). If Verve is a bigger player and A3 becomes "real" and Paradigm withers and WME has to spin off its lit business... and if UTA has caps as to its media ownership and ICM has no media ownership at all... then the days of writers being repped by the same people who own shows and rep Pepsi and have investment banking arms and present bull riding spectaculars may be in the rear view mirror. Lit representation may be done by people whose core business is representing writers and filmmakers, which is what Goodman et al wanted and what Mazin et al feared. I guess we'll see how it all shakes out!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: UTA reaches agreement with WGA

                              Originally posted by AnyOtherName View Post
                              I'm not Mintclub, but I think his/her point is that lit representation, going forward, won't be the purview of mega-agencies (to whatever extent mega-agencies continue to exist). If Verve is a bigger player and A3 becomes "real" and Paradigm withers and WME has to spin off its lit business... and if UTA has caps as to its media ownership and ICM has no media ownership at all... then the days of writers being repped by the same people who own shows and rep Pepsi and have investment banking arms and present bull riding spectaculars may be in the rear view mirror. Lit representation may be done by people whose core business is representing writers and filmmakers, which is what Goodman et al wanted and what Mazin et al feared. I guess we'll see how it all shakes out!
                              Yup, this.

                              Comment

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