Today the WGA and Buchwald signed a negotiated franchise agreement that allows the agency to represent members for covered writing services.
The agreement largely mirrors Monday’s agreement with the Kaplan Stahler Agency, with a few minor modifications. The new agreement clarifies that a franchised agency may provide distribution services for indie film projects in addition to financing and sales services. The requirement for Guild consent of the agency’s film financing, sales and distribution services is modified to exclude circumstances when the agency’s agreement to provide those services predate the writer’s involvement on the project. The agreement also adds two arbitrators and provides for the parties’ mutual agreement on arbitration hearing locations in certain circumstances.
You can read the agreement here. Redlines reflect changes made to the Kaplan Stahler Franchise Agreement. The most-favored-nations clause means any franchised agency may choose to adopt the terms of this agreement if it chooses.
Our goal remains to move the negotiation process forward with the remaining unsigned agencies.
WGA Agency Negotiating Committee
Chris Keyser, Co-Chair
David Shore, Co-Chair
Meredith Stiehm, Co-Chair
Deric A. Hughes
Tracey Scott Wilson
Patric M. Verrone
David A. Goodman, President WGAW, ex-officio
Marjorie David, Vice President WGAW, ex-officio
Aaron Mendelsohn, Secretary-Treasurer WGAW, ex-officio
Beau Willimon, President WGAE, ex-officio
Jeremy Pikser, Vice President WGAE, ex-officio
Bob Schneider, Secretary-Treasurer WGAE, ex-officio
WGA Statement of Purpose: Why Agencies Must Change
Our agents work for us. Every dollar they make must be generated as a percentage of the money we make. That is what it means to be our representatives and our fiduciaries. Agency-based studios and packaging fees make a mockery of that and are in violation of the agencies’ ethical and legal obligations to writers. We have taken too long to demand that these practices end. But the persistence of a corrupt system does not make it right. And putting things right does not blow up the business. We do not owe our agents their wealth; they owe us their loyalty. That is what we pay for. In a complex, changing, yet immensely profitable time in our industry, writers need true allies, not deeply conflicted ones. It is for this idea—simple, old-fashioned and un-revolutionary—that we stand—and for which we come together as a Guild again today.