Writers Guild Spurns Informal Talks With Talent Agents on Agency Rules

The Writers Guild of America has spurned an offer of informal talks by Hollywood’s talent agents about the WGA’s effort to revamp the rules for agents — insisting that it will only do so in “formal” negotiations.

The missive underlines the animosity that the leaders of the guild have towards Hollywood’s two largest agencies — WME and CAA — moving aggressively into production. As Variety noted in a February cover story, the issue has the potential for conflicts of interest that arise when the same company represents the creative talent on one side of the table and is the employer on the other.

David Young, the longtime executive director of the WGA West, notified agents Monday that the guild was opting out of the informal talks. Karen Stuart, executive director of the Association of Talent Agents, had issued a letter on Aug. 2 to guild leaders seeking an informal meeting to better understand the WGA’s concerns and proposals.

Young said in the missive, “As I made clear in my prior communication last month the Guild is prepared to meet with you in ample time to reach a new agreement. I also appreciate your emphasis on partnership, and we believe the WGA and the Agencies should be partners. But aspects of our partnership have gone awry, and we are trying to address those things in an appropriate fashion.”

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