UnionWorking Podcast

1 - WGA

August 25, 2019 UnionWorking Season 1 Episode 1
UnionWorking Podcast
1 - WGA
Chapters
00:00:00
Intros
00:01:20
What's happening with the ATA
00:03:18
Packaging fees
00:09:41
Agency-owned production
00:15:25
Podcast Sage
00:16:38
Part 2 of our episode
00:18:18
WGAW elections
00:21:21
Solidarity & staffing boost
00:25:38
What's ahead
00:32:03
Closing remarks and thanks
UnionWorking Podcast
1 - WGA
Aug 25, 2019 Season 1 Episode 1
UnionWorking

In our first episode, we sit down with members of the Writers Guild of America West to discuss current issues, including a small matter regarding the ATA.

UW Voices: Jim Connor, Nancy Linari, and Bob Stephenson

UW Guests: WGA Captains Terri Kopp and Nick Mariani

Big thanks to our guests and our executive producer Jack for getting this podcast under way!

UnionWorking Links:

Guests and Topical Links:

Email us at info@unionworking.com

The UnionWorking Podcast is recorded at Culver City Studios
Executive Producer Jack Levy
http://podcastsage.com / jack@podcastsage.com / 818-233-0640

UnionWorking.com

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

In our first episode, we sit down with members of the Writers Guild of America West to discuss current issues, including a small matter regarding the ATA.

UW Voices: Jim Connor, Nancy Linari, and Bob Stephenson

UW Guests: WGA Captains Terri Kopp and Nick Mariani

Big thanks to our guests and our executive producer Jack for getting this podcast under way!

UnionWorking Links:

Guests and Topical Links:

Email us at info@unionworking.com

The UnionWorking Podcast is recorded at Culver City Studios
Executive Producer Jack Levy
http://podcastsage.com / jack@podcastsage.com / 818-233-0640

UnionWorking.com

Speaker 1:

[inaudible]

Speaker 2:

and we're rolling on the union working podcast at Culver City studios with podcasts, sage union, working as a grassroots organization of film, Television and commercial performers of Sag after

Speaker 3:

we're dedicated to solutions, ideas and creating a union that works for all of us. So we hope you'll enjoy our informative, entertaining, edit times, irreverent podcast about the challenges facing the modern day union.

Speaker 2:

Sure. We support a membership driven membership up model because we are the union. I am Jim Connor. Uh, I am wearing a hat called the union working.

Speaker 3:

I'm Nancy Ola. I'm new to the union working core, but I've been at many, many, many meetings and heartily support these guys. And I'm Bob Stevenson, part of the union working corps.

Speaker 4:

And today we have with us, we're lucky to have with us Terry cop and Nick Mariani of the WGA West members of the WGA, the writer's guild of America West. And so you are cowboy writers?

Speaker 5:

I am. I've written, I've written some westerns.

Speaker 6:

Have you written Western Stereo? No. Westerns for me. I do cops and robbers.

Speaker 4:

Oh that's kind of a western. Yeah. Yeah. This is bad cause we were just gonna talk about cowboys today. We thought you guys only did with, we brought you in today and talk about how you guys fired all of your representation. Why did you do that? And we want to get some background on that. Explain it to our listeners. Want to people don't understand what's going on in our industry.

Speaker 6:

Yeah, well it came from the membership. You know, the, the leadership of the guild did outreach a few years ago to the membership to ask them like what were the issues that were important to them? What were the problems that the members were having? And this was actually kind of, I think surprisingly a big issue for people was that they felt that their representatives were not working in their best interests and that there was a conflict of interest and that the practice of the agencies collecting packaging fees from the studios was a conflict of interest and had led to problems in the relationship between the agencies and the writer.

Speaker 4:

And this started about a little over a decade ago.

Speaker 5:

Well, it's actually, it's, it's probably more like 40 years in the making. We are attempting to renegotiate a deal that that was last signed in, what, 1973 that's when our last AMVA agreement was signed. Wow. And a lot has changed in the world. Yeah. Between now and then. The absolute landscape of media has changed and shifted in very dramatic ways, but what has sort of become more pronounced over, uh, certainly the last couple of decades is growing frustration among writers over what they see is very entrenched in systemic conflicts of interest. Terry mentioned packaging fees, which we can get into in detail. There's also affiliate production, but the general sense is that there has been a uncoupling of sorts between agency interests and writer interests, which goes a long way to explaining a, the downward pressure that has been placed on writers' quotes over the last several decades. We've seen a steady drop in writer income by about 23% our hope is that if we can be successful, get the best deal we possibly can for writers, hopefully realign agency incentives with our own that we'll be able to correct those trends that have been in kind of a negative direction for some time

Speaker 6:

and can, can you sort of explain the packaging thing so people know what that is? Yeah, so basically rather than collecting time percent from an individual writer, the agency has negotiated basically a side deal with the studios and so they collect, it's called like three three 10 they collect 3% of the license fee upfront, which is taken out of the budget of the show, which a lot of people do not know. Wow. Wow. So you can have shows where you know CAA WME are collecting 30 40 50 $60,000 an episode that comes out of the budget of the show. So that's money that's not going to another actor or this not going to another writer. They collect 3% of another 3% of the license fee deferred and then they collect 10% of the backend profit of the show. So when they tell us to take less money to keep this show going, that's right, 10% no, they waived their 10% fee.

Speaker 6:

If you are hired onto a show that the agency quote unquote packaged, then you don't pay 10% so you know kind of looks like a good deal for a lower level writer who goes onto that show. You don't have to pay my 10% but overall what it's done is it's divorced the agency's interests from its clients' interests. So you can imagine where a studio has, you know, you're an agency has a show that's packaged and it's not packaged. One show, this package one show that isn't studio calls up the agent on a show that's packaged and says, Hey, you know, we're on the bubble for season two. Do you think you could get nick to lower his fee? And the agent, their income is now tied to the back end profit in the show and not to how much money nick is making. So they go, Yay, let me see what I can do.

Speaker 6:

Whereas if the show wasn't packaged, the agency would call up and say, Hey, can you get nick to lower his fee? They just say, fuck you. Yeah. Yeah. So that's meant that at the mid, especially the mid to lower level writers for mental lower level writers, they're not, they don't have an representative who's truly fighting for that extra granted episode or the next thing as well. Wherever show is doing really poorly, the agency would literally say, yeah, we'll get rid of that one. We have another one. Okay. However, is that you have to just, I'll just dump that and slowly dump their own clients. Yeah. The show runner. So we got a new yours, this one. They go, okay, cool.

Speaker 5:

Now we know of many, many, many examples where show runners have tried to resist packaging fees. And by the way, it's, it's very important to distinguish between packaging, which is a good thing. Yeah. [inaudible] fees. Yeah. Which is the really kind of the racketeering scheme, for lack of a better word, that we're trying to do away with packaging is an agent's job to begin with. You know, you're an agent, you represent a director, you represent a writer, you're representing an actor. The writer's got an idea. The director is looking for a movie. The actor needs to is looking for a good role. You put them all together and you have a valuable package that is great. No, nobody objected to that. We'd go to agencies that do that and that has been going on for decades. There's been gone. It should have been able to continue to go on, but the idea that agencies are somehow entitled to these massive fees from, from the studios and from the buyers simply for doing what was already their job to be done with is crazy.

Speaker 5:

And what they did in kind of a brilliant ingenious way is they seized upon a frustration that they knew a lot of their clients were having, which is as a lot of these agencies have become vertically integrated as a lot of them have gotten bigger and bigger and bigger and become these behemoths more. Their clients were forced to take on managers, more of their clients were forced to take on lawyers. Now you have gone from clients having to pay 10% commission in a generation pay 25% in commission. So you'd go to those same clients and you say to those clients, how about we refund you the 10% we'll give you a 10% raise. You get your 10% commission back. Well, to a young up and coming writer who may or may not know the intricacies of packaging fees and why they're so pernicious and what they do to show budgets, that sounds like great deal and 10% is very meaningful if you're, if you're a low level writer who's trying to get his or her career to start going on the upswing. So they capitalize off of that and then they create a system where they can literally just by doing what should've been their jobs in the first place, make more money off a show oftentimes than the writer who created that show.

Speaker 7:

So when did the fees start coming into play?

Speaker 6:

I mean, I think it's been growing and growing and growing. For a while. It used to be, I don't know when they sort of became a problem, but it used to be that they were really only collected packeting for you when they actually put a director and actor or writer, when they actually packaged the deal. Right now they demand a packaging fee for doing nothing. Like they just bring the writer to the table. They're demanding a packaging fee. Wow. And they will, you know, we have night nightmares stories of them blowing up deals because the studio is refusing to pay a packaging fee because you didn't do anything. You didn't package the deal.

Speaker 5:

You know, the moment and the moment you represent both clients on that show and the show itself, it is the most basic and fundamental is, is the very textbook definition of conflict of interest.

Speaker 7:

Sad too, because I, I've written a couple of 'em in the WJ, I've written out culture and now as an actor and writer, I can't really do that because agencies want you to only write, you have to just be on a show and work, work, work because they make so little compared to what they used to like just, you know, to be a grunt, being in there, it's great, but in the writers room, but then I can't ask if they don't want that and you know, it's like, oh no, that's going to take you out of this, then we don't want to represent you. You know? It's very difficult. It's interesting.

Speaker 6:

Yeah. You could never do it. I used to be a lawyer, like as a lawyer, I just look at this and go like, are you kidding? Yeah. Like lawyers would never be allowed to do this. It's a violation of you're free to share your duties. So yeah, you'd get disbarred. And

Speaker 7:

so why, how come the National Labor Relations Board

Speaker 4:

and stepped in?

Speaker 5:

Well, it looks like a good question, doesn't it? You know, when MCA split off to become universal, they were dealing with the Kennedy Justice Department. We have the Donald J. Trump justice department. So again, it's a little bit of a different landscape.

Speaker 6:

We did file a lawsuit. So WJ has filed a lawsuit

Speaker 4:

April 17th, 2019. Yeah, I understand. Yeah, approximately now. Um, so the influx of the private equity firms buying a minority share and CAA WMA and then over four years doubling that investment, tripling that investment and so they can buy more of the agencies so that now that they have a majority stake and now it's basically you are just a business that is sucking the wealth out.

Speaker 6:

Yeah. And that's the other major thing that we're going after here is, is agency owned production. So, you know, those guys are not investing in WME and CAA and UTA because they're investing in a 10% rate. They're investing because those guys are starting their own studios and all of us in this room should be scared x. You know shitless right about that because you don't win. None of us want to be in a position where our Asian is actually literally negotiating with itself. Right? Yes. For your,

Speaker 5:

imagine a world where your agent is your boss. Yeah. And your boss works for a publicly traded company because that is, that is literally, that is literally the prospect. I mean Debbie [inaudible] is in the process of filing an IPO, right. That is the track that CAA and UTA are sort of, I'm that problem in commercials where you see a is the advertising agency for Coca-Cola. They make a nonunion spot for Kogan calls everyone in the spot except for their celebrity that they put in. That spot is getting [inaudible] union. But that guy gets paid and it's, it's crazy. Like you're eating yourself up. I'm like, you're hiring on union talent, subverting all your other people. It's crazy cause they make more off coke, you know?

Speaker 6:

No, it's crazy. I mean, I think that's kind of the, to me even bigger problem than packaging views and package reviews are a problem. But this issue of like, oh well we'll just put up a wall and we'll pretend that we aren't really owned by the same company. I mean it's like that's a joke. To be fair. They're all

Speaker 5:

the scissor like clearer. Yeah. They have different [inaudible] streets in century city [inaudible] wise you have, you have to wait for a light to change. You have to cross a crosswalk. It's, it's pretty divorced [inaudible] system and it rains five days and you don't, yeah. You never know when you're ready.

Speaker 4:

I heard this interesting fact last night that if there, there's a 50 50 split between Labor and capital. So you get the workers and the investors and the management, then everybody's happy. You know, the middle class survives, you get paid all that stuff. But now the, the split in America is 60 40 and in favor of capital. And so, you know, stock market thinks the economy is doing great because the stock market is doing well when people have to have three jobs. Just to get by and we are actors and writers are affected by this. We are not, you know, our work has gone drastically down.

Speaker 5:

Why there was a, a, we had a, we had a big uh, membership meeting today and there was a gentlemen, uh, uh, I hope he won't mind me saying this, a little bit of an older gentleman who's been in the guild for, I think it was he looking at me when you say that looking around the room. I looked, yeah, I would read it cause I don't want to, I don't want to look in a mirror. And I said this guy, this guy, um, I think you said he'd been in the guild for 30 plus years and he gave his quote for what he was being paid at. What kind of a producer did he say he was an s? Was he a superhero hoe? Supervising producer, which is an old title, I think. Right. But the point is, he's, he gave his quote at that position 30 years ago and somebody who is above that level today is only making $1,000 more per week or per year or per episode or per week, per episode. I mean that's over 30 years. That is the stagnation of wages

Speaker 4:

and across the industry since the 70s yeah. Every industry is a stagnated way.

Speaker 6:

I'm sorry, I think that goes crazy. I was going to say that, that the guild put together a list of median quotes for the different levels of TV writers and I was making for, for supervising producer. I was making the same quote that's in that median 17 years ago. Wow.

Speaker 4:

Yeah. And then with the new streaming coming in, they don't even deal with quotes, you know? Right. Like you, you can, you have a quote for a weekly show on broadcast and they're like, no, we're just going to pay your 1300 bucks. Yeah. It's crazy. You know? So it's a very strange economy we're living in. What was the, so you were so [inaudible]

Speaker 5:

the packaging and then there was the packaging fees, agony fees, packaging. Packaging is good. Yeah. Thank you. Two fees and then you were saying there was something else. Affiliate production [inaudible] productions. Yeah. So affiliate production is just basically when agencies own production companies, which you know, packaging fees is kind of the big sexy issue right now because it has been so entrenched for many, many years and even decades. Affiliate production is kind of the looming threat on the horizon, although it's already, it's already here. Three of the three of the big four agencies already have production companies. WME has endeavor contents, ca has whip, UTA has civic center media. Um, and it's, it's just, it's a very, I mean on the one hand we like having more buyers in the landscape and we don't want to discourage that. But it's a very, very, very scary proposition to say to a writer that your agent is going to be your boss. And that seems to be where we're headed, especially when all of those same agencies are in the process of becoming publicly on companies. That is a, that is a conflict that I just cannot even begin to wrap my head around.

Speaker 6:

So how isn't this a conflict of interest? It is, but it's not an enforceable in any way. It's more like an honorable thing that people shouldn't, well that's what the lawsuit is about. So the lawsuit alleges that they're violating their fiduciary duty. So the state of California says you have agencies have a fiduciary duty and this alleges that they're violating. Okay. So

Speaker 2:

it's a conflict of interest. Right. We have sort of the same problem, um, when you were talking about the Trump administration, because with ficor it's, it's a massive problem in our union. And when you go to Washington d c You know, it's on the bucks international law, they don't want to touch it. Hey, you know, the Trump administration, in fact, they'd love to be there and break you up. You know, so I can understand that.

Speaker 3:

Hi, it's Jack leading producer of the union working podcast and partner at podcasts age as an awarded audio producer who's contributed to some of the finest feature films, television shows, video games and records produced. I've been inundated with requests by peers and major studios alike to produce and manage podcast production and I'd be delighted to do the same for you. Have an idea for a podcast and don't know where to start or who to call. Look no further. Have a scripted podcast, investigative or documentary interview show, Solo cast game show, talk show, or literally any other project. Give me a call at (818) 233-0640 that's (818) 233-0640 or email me at Jack at podcast, sage.com we have world-class studios here in Culver City and can work remote on location literally anywhere and have the broadband experience to help with everything from concept development to recording and editing, staffing and writers and of course music. Call me at (818) 233-0640 or shoot me an email at jacket podcast, sage.com mentioned you and your working and get a 10% discount. Hell, I'll make it

Speaker 1:

t

Speaker 3:

and now back to union working

Speaker 1:

[inaudible]

Speaker 5:

by the way, on a on a slightly different, it's also worth noting that that a similar battle was fought not too long ago in sports where sports, specifically Kareem Abdul Jabbar took on his own agent over similar conflicts of interest and they were able to successfully implement a code of conduct, much of which the writers guild model gets own code of conduct on and that code of conduct that applies to sports agents applies to all of the sports agents at CAA. So the next time you hear on any, wherever it might be an interview with Ari Emanuel or Jay sures or anybody who runs these agencies and they talk about how writers are throwing the industry into chaos and asking for just such an unreasonable thing, it's worth taking a pause and asking if it's so unreasonable. How is it that this same code of conduct is already a clickable to CAA sports agents? Why shouldn't the same fiduciary and ethical standards apply to Aaron Sorkin's agent that already apply to Lebron James?

Speaker 6:

Well, I think you guys aren't as good as shape as the athletes. I mean, you're a fit guy. We have to write [inaudible] finish. That's right. More sports movies. That's it. That's right. I'd put you up to Lebron anytime. Yeah. I just, I just don't want to be there. If you do,

Speaker 7:

you guys Ra and all those guys, they're making millions of dollars off of this stuff. They're being taken care of so that they can explore. You just bought a nice new house in south willy and to me it has a lot of stuff. Well he's not gonna live there year round though, so it's not right. So you have elections coming up like we do. Can you give us some background about that?

Speaker 6:

Yeah. So there's a, when we went out, when we took a vote back in April or March, actually, you know, whether we wanted to support this action in 95.3% of the membership voted in favor.

Speaker 7:

All right, so you, so how many members do you have?

Speaker 6:

Oh God, do we 15,000 I think we have 15,000 total total number of people vote. Is that delegates 9,000. Yeah.

Speaker 5:

Was that number before coming to this podcast? But I believe it's 9,000.

Speaker 7:

Well you had like 7,000 on on the day that you guys were gonna, you know, fire your agents. 7,000 writers fired there, right? Yes. Yes. That's incredible. That's like half the year.

Speaker 5:

It was, it was an overwhelming show of solidarity, which just goes to show you how, how deep the frustration. Yeah.

Speaker 7:

And I wanted to touch on that because it seemed like you guys did it. It was so well organized as you guys roll it out. And even like, I watched the videos to get the updates and it's there. So well done. But how long ago did that start to get that ball rolling? It seemed like, I mean, you guys had the lots, you had the verbiage down in what you were going to say. It seemed like it was so well put together.

Speaker 5:

I think, uh, well first of all, I think we have tremendous leadership. Yeah.

Speaker 7:

Right now. I mean, you know, so you think David Goodman, he's a good man.

Speaker 6:

I would walk [inaudible] I see what you did. He's not a writer. I would walk through fire for David. Good. Oh, that's pretty amazing. Pretty amazing. That's great. And

Speaker 5:

honestly, I feel so lucky and fortunate to have the uh, the, the leadership in that we do right now. It's not always the case. Leaderships come and go. Some are better than others. The leadership that we have in place right now from, from John August and Michelle Mulroney on the feature side to David Goodman to David Young are our chief negotiator is just, I mean, I, every meeting I go to, I come away just more and more impressed with, with the strategy and the way they think through every single possibility. And then, uh, there's been a tremendous effort in terms of just grassroots organizing among the membership. We have a captain system that's very robust. Harry and I are both captains. The, the membership of the writers guild is more in touch with each other and communicating amongst each other. Uh, I think in a way that is probably [inaudible].

Speaker 7:

Yeah. Can you talk about the captain system with, what does that mean for people that don't know?

Speaker 6:

Yeah, it's just an organizing system

Speaker 7:

we have in place, you know, for strike, you know, authorizations for different actions that the union has taken where there's just people who the captains reach out. We are literally make sure that every, every writer is on a team. So basically you're kind of assigned to a captain and that captain communicates with you, make sure you know everything, you've kind of maintained communication, talk to people about what's going on, keep them updated, get them out, get them out to vote. You know, we're working on a get out the vote campaign now like, so it's, it's, it's been really amazing. The, the, the other thing that I think has been really heartening and pretty incredible is that, you know, we decided as a group to fire our agents right during staffing season for, for networks. And so there was a lot of anxiety about how, what was I going to look like?

Speaker 7:

Right. And people stepped up to help each other out and just it, there was a grassroots kind of movement that, that happened on Twitter where people started doing Saul, they'd call it WJ solidarity challenge, where people were offering to read each other's scripts and recommend each other to show runners. And then people were reading, you know, assistants and other people and, um, people were reading scripts and doing a staffing boost and shouting out. But the WGA itself also created this staffing portal online. Yeah. And it was so as a show runner, you could go on, people could submit themselves to the show and submit their material. And so the showrunners could go on and say, Oh, I'm looking for this kind of writer who specialize in this kind of thing. And so it really was this just writers showing up for other writers and it was incredible to watch and it was incredible to see the guilt, you know, put that together, you know? So we don't have that. No, we don't have captains or no [inaudible] sounds great. How many keepers [inaudible] captains or doesn't work good calls around. Right? It's different.

Speaker 6:

Kind of came from that cause it was kind of, it came from the strike captains and it just, we decided to keep that structure in place. Did our captain system originated with the last NBA negotiation or did it predate that it goes as far back as 2007 because it went back to the 2007 strike. We had captains in the, yeah, in that strike and then it kept going in the last round. So,

Speaker 7:

and so you guys had that strike was about DVDs and share of social media and all that stuff. The Internet that strikes at the Internet and successful. You're welcome by the way. [inaudible] yeah. So it was successful for you guys? Oh, I would argue the strike was 2007 strike. I would argue that that strike was an overwhelming success. There's been a little bit of a false narrative that has been allowed to take root afterwards because, well, there are a couple of things. The, the movie business was in the process of constructing. We had the recession

Speaker 5:

and the DVD market fell out, none of which was the fault of, uh, the writer's strike. You know, correlation does not equal causation, but what that strike got us so important was jurisdiction over the Internet. And Yeah, at the time the position of the amp PTP was, uh, we'll figure out the internet. [inaudible]

Speaker 7:

yeah. We don't know what is [inaudible] yeah,

Speaker 5:

we are, I think, don't quote me on this, but tell me if I'm wrong. I believe it's 50% of writers right now are getting their primary income from either Netflix, Amazon, or one of the other big streamers. Is that correct? It's, it's, it's massive if that, if that, I might be overstating that statistic, but it's, it's massive. So that alone jurisdiction over the Internet, which our sister guilds also got beginning pattern bargaining in my mind, I would argue that that alone made that strike a huge success.

Speaker 7:

Yeah. We definitely have Fox and Disney everyday that that negotiation was not good for us because that write up, you guys finished, the economy went and then we had money and we couldn't do, but we couldn't do anymore. It's like, no, just keep working, just keep working. We're all losing our prices. Yeah.

Speaker 5:

And look, we, you know, we, we would have hoped for a better deal. We would have hoped for better streaming residuals. That's another battle we have to fight. But you know, it, I think the deal that we got was pretty good. And you know, it doesn't help matters when you have, you know, in that case, the DGA going in, you know, in the middle of basically in effect crossing the picket line and going in and negotiating a side deal while a sister union is out striking. So all things considered with the amount of force and pressure that was on the writer's guild and the fact that many times, historically, these battles seem to have to be fought by the WJ alone. I think history will remember that straight.

Speaker 7:

Yeah. Yeah. It's, it's uh, so what do you guys see in the future coming out? Like we end with the streaming platforms. Um, do you guys have problems with advanced residuals? Do you guys deal with that at all? Cause that's one of our biggest problems that you guys have residuals. Sure. Yeah. Yeah, yeah. They have, we have a real problem with that. They, they, yeah, they tell you, oh you have to say it up front and say, Hey, you know what? We're going to give you this much money. But they don't tell your agent that part of that was advanced residuals. You're not really making that kind of money.

Speaker 5:

It was under the impression that the buyouts were to erase backend. Am I, am I, cause there are, there are, at least for writers, I don't know, maybe it's a different thing with sag. If you have a movie on, on Netflix, you get residuals, right? I mean there's a residual formula for that. The buyouts, you know, you'll, you'll, you'll read about like, you know, monster deals in the trades where Netflix spies out, somebody's back ends. They don't want to, they don't want to pay out backend. Right. And that's, that's a, that's a little nebulous and I don't, I haven't had that high class problem yet in my career, so I don't know exactly how,

Speaker 7:

no, no, I don't, we don't have the advanced residuals. Yeah. That I know of. No problem for us. Yeah. And so what's

Speaker 4:

going on with like Netflix doing 750 pilots last year, a thousand pilots this year. And what is that like? And you guys, you know, fired all of your talent agencies. How does that affect your employment?

Speaker 6:

Yeah. I mean, the same number of writers are, are working in the same, the jobs are getting filled. So it's not as though we're not working. I do think the action probably affects some of us more than effects others. I think lower-level future writers are probably at a little bit of a disadvantage during this action. But overall, as a group, you know, we're all working at the same amount, right. So I don't know that it's made a difference or how to, huge effect.

Speaker 4:

And You created that to, uh, you were talking about you guys all got together, the staffing stuff, having it at your union, right?

Speaker 6:

Yeah. I mean the writers guild's really put out open writing assignments, you know, connected the, the show runners to the different, to act to writers. So yeah, it's, it's actually been pretty amazing.

Speaker 5:

And you know, the, I think the bottom line kind of is business like life finds a way, you know, you take out the middlemen, you know, show still need to be staffed and right. Buyers need content and writers have things to sell. I mean, you know, there, there are a number of ways that I think the agencies kind of underestimated us in this process. And that's one of them. You know, we have real value collectively. Um, the entire business that is now a $56 billion in operating profit business is dependent upon the content that writers create that need does not go away just because agents are suddenly not employed anymore. So, right. Or preceded the agent.

Speaker 6:

So did you have close relationships with your agents? You'd been with them a long time. How did they respond to this? The individual's not there. The think it depended on, it depended on, yes. Who Your agent was and where are you? Right. Your agent was, my agent was fantastic. Like I actually left CAA, I was at ca for 15 years or something and I left ca for capital installer a few years ago, which was the best career move I made. Um, just being at a smaller boutique led agency has been just my career. Went through the roof. She was fantastic. I mean she literally when I, I reached out to her cause we as a group decided that we were all gonna sign letters through the WGA so that we were going to fire them through like a form letter that went out through the WGA. But I emailed my agent in person and said, hey see you on the other side. Love you sticking with my union. But you know, and she wrote back and said, okay, you know, I totally understand. Make sure you sign the form letter through your, through the union. Like, she really, she didn't want me to get in trouble with my union. You know what I mean? That's great. Um, but I know some people didn't have that experience. I think, you know, WMA clients didn't. So, um, you've, I knew and you've got

Speaker 5:

a deals done with most of the boutique agencies.

Speaker 6:

No, right? I mean, yeah. Caplin staller signed a couple of weeks ago, um,

Speaker 5:

buckwild sign for science,

Speaker 6:

right? Yeah. There was a, another sort of mid tier agency that was in negotiations apparently last week. But when, oh, going back to your question about the election. So there is a group of, of people who are running in opposition to current leadership right now. So when those people announced their candidacy, that negotiation apparently fell apart. So, yeah. So we do have an election coming up at the end of the month. There's a group of slate of candidates who, you know, as far as I can tell, they're just, they just want to get back to the negotiating table, their position. You know, I, I, I hope that they'll be more specific about what they're, I'm trying to be very difficult with that. I have a platform that you can, you can turn right now, platform is get back to the table.

Speaker 5:

Hmm. But then specifically their platform is get back to the table with the ATA. Right. Because we're at the table. We never left the table. Um, what we did leave was we left the table that had the association of talent agencies. Um, and we've been, we've been negotiating with agencies individually ever since. Um, oh yeah. They're their platform. Me, I think if I'm trying to be as fair as I possibly can, I think their platform is, we need to be negotiating with the ATA again, which frankly doesn't make any sense to me from everything that I've read, from all the statements they've put out from all the social media posts that they've made, it just seems to me that they have an unrealistic sense that if they sit down at a table with RM annual, somehow they will magically be able to get him to act fairly. Right. Where David Goodman and David Young could not, which again, I say this with all due respect, just strikes me as unrealistic expectations at best and magical thinking at worst. Yeah.

Speaker 6:

I believe there's some sort of revenue sharing agreement that we can come to. That's right. That magically none of us have thought of yet. That, you know, will be the answer to this, this whole thing.

Speaker 4:

But they won't tell us what it is. They will tell us what it is. So that's the magic in it. That's right. We don't have a good agreement with ATA. Right? That's right. You guys don't have a friend. No, we don't. We haven't for years. Right. Sucks. All right, well we gotta wind up here. Culver City is closing, so we gotta get Outta here. Thank you again to Terry Cop, Nick Mariani, WGA. Thanks for having us. Yeah. What, I mean, members need to get together and talk about this stuff and we should entertain the union should be working.

Speaker 5:

Yeah, that's right. And we, uh, I think, I think all of us would very much like to see a future where, where the WGA and sag are collectively bargaining together on some of these things.

Speaker 4:

Well, this is a surprise. I was saving too to the end. We are not actors anymore. We're going to be writers. So I got a script outside.

Speaker 3:

Uh, all right, so follow us at union working on Facebook and our website at [inaudible] Dot Com oh and we need to thank the people who make this possible podcast. I guess they didn't have a writer writing that from me. I just was winging it. Thank you guys. Thank you. Thank you. I hope you all enjoyed this first installment of the union working podcast. Make sure to download the next episode. I'd like to thank blue microphones. There. Mikes are fantastic and their headphones killer. The gator case company. Your equipment can travel in style, protect your investment. Presonus I just love their studio. Live series, the Road Corporation, the filmmaker kits, ambisonic microphone and recorders. All rock. And of course tascam. The model 24 has been amazing. Need music for a podcast, television project, film, audio book, or any other production need. I suggest you call my friends at spirit production music. You can find them and listen to their music at spirit production, music.com representing over 50 music libraries and over 200,000 tracks. Spirit production music has all the music you'll need staff to help and prices. You'll love. Email them through their website or give them a call today at (818) 508-2040 that's (818) 508-2040 ask for my Buddy Ryan. He'll personally help you find the right music for your project. Spirit production, music.com check them out. You'll be thrilled.

Intros
What's happening with the ATA
Packaging fees
Agency-owned production
Part 2 of our episode
WGAW elections
Solidarity & staffing boost
What's ahead
Closing remarks and thanks