In a formal proposal to the Writers Guild of America on Thursday, the Association of Talent Agents offered to share a portion of earnings from package deals with writers. The offer comes one day before the current agreement between the two groups is set to expire.
ATA’s proposal would provide an unspecified percentage of packaging fees on a given film or television project with that project’s writers, 80% of which would be shared with writers who are not already participating in profits. Further, ATA’s proposal says this money will be provided regardless of who represents a writer, and that the remaining 20% would be invested in efforts to increase diversity among writers.
Packaging — in which agents collect fees for bundling talent and bringing them as a package to a studio for film or TV projects — has been the primary point of contention between WGA and ATA as they try to hammer out a new agreement. WGA’s position is that packaging creates a conflict of interest for agents, and that it has contributed to a decline in overall earnings for writers. ATA says that packaging is essential to the agencies’ current business model, and that writers who participate in packaging earn more.
The guild has demanded that talent agencies end the practice outright, and on March 31, WGA members overwhelmingly voted to approve a new code of conduct that would require any agency representing them to do just that. The code would go into effect immediately if the current deal expires without a new agreement in place; WGA members will then be called upon to fire any agent or agency that doesn’t agree to comply.
(Excerpt) Read more in: The Wrap
The current agreement was originally set to expire at midnight on April 6. The two groups agreed to a last-minute extension hours before that deadline elapsed. That extension expires on Friday.
WGA representatives did not immediately respond to a request for comment from TheWrap.