WGA current members are able to be represented only by agencies franchised by the WGA. Below is information about the franchise agreements and other information for members represented by franchised agencies
When will packaging be eliminated?
Franchised agencies are prohibited from packaging WGA-covered projects and receiving packaging fees from WGA-signatory employers as of July 1, 2022. The period of time from the date your agency became franchised through June 30, 2022 is called the “Sunset Period.” As discussed below, during the Sunset Period a franchised agency may be able to receive packaging fees in certain circumstances.
When does the Sunset Period end?
The Sunset Period terminates on June 30, 2022 as long as one of the following conditions has been met by then. Otherwise, it is extended until one of the following conditions is met:
- the WGA enters into a franchise agreement with one of WME, CAA, or ICM;
- WME, CAA, or ICM is prohibited by court order, settlement agreement, or law from receiving packaging fees;
- WME, CAA, or ICM ceases to exist as a talent agency; or
- 75% of WME, CAA, or ICM’s literary agents leave the agency, and no single related or successor agency employs those agents. (Even if a related or successor agency were to employ 75% of the literary agents of one of the remaining agencies, the Sunset will terminate on June 30, 2022 if that successor agency becomes franchised by the Guild.)
During the Sunset Period, what rights and protections do writers have in connection with packaging?
If the writer is the basis for the package, the writer determines whether the agency can package the project.
In all other cases, the agency must disclose to the writer (1) the intent to pursue a package fee and (2) the financial terms of the packaging agreement. The writer determines whether they will be part of the package.
The agency, as your fiduciary, cannot pressure or coerce you to agree to packaging.
Please contact the Agency Department for assistance in navigating packaging during the Sunset Period.
COMMISSIONS ON DEALS MADE WHILE AGENT WAS NOT FRANCHISED
Is a newly franchised agency entitled to a commission on a deal made during the period when the agency was not franchised?
No. Your agency is not entitled to commission on deals writers made when the agency was not franchised.
Please contact the Agency Department for assistance if you have commission questions.
What information have franchised agencies agreed to share with the Guild?
Franchised agencies will provide the Guild the following writer information:
- Deal memos and contracts; and
- Statements of compensation and agent commissions.
Will the Guild protect the confidentiality of my information?
Yes. The Guild will protect agency-provided writer information just as it does the writer information it receives from studios and writers themselves.
Why does the Guild want this information from my agency?
Information sharing is one of the three pillars of our Agency Campaign. Information sharing is essential to advancing the interests of writers, both as individuals and collectively.
- Agency information sharing enables the Guild to address the systemic abuses of late pay and free work. The Guild is already using the information provided by our agency partners to systematically follow up on payment and collect interest for writers who were paid late or who have not been paid at all. The Guild’s Legal Department has collected tens of thousands of dollars in interest on late payments using agency-provided information.
- It enables the Guild to better represent all writers collectively and individually. Agency-provided information will allow the Guild, in an unprecedented way, to identify and assess industry trends in writer employment, which will aid the Guild in negotiating the MBA and provide writers and their representatives with important overscale compensation information.
- It allows the Guild to conduct reasonable oversight vis-à-vis the agency. We are able to make sure the agency is properly commissioning your compensation.
What should I do if my agent or any other person pressures me to opt-out from information sharing?
The Franchise Agreement prohibits the agency from encouraging or coercing opt-outs from information sharing. Please contact the Agency Department if you have been pressured to opt-out.
If I opt-out, am I still required to provide my contracts to the Guild?
Yes. WGA Working Rule 3 requires all members to send their contracts to the Guild, and we will look to you, instead of your agent, to provide your contracts. And, you can always opt back in.
Is there anyone at the Guild I can speak to further about information sharing?
Yes. We encourage you to contact the Agency Department.
INDEPENDENT FILM SERVICES
What kind of services can the agency provide in connection with independent films?
The agency can perform financing, sales, and distribution services in connection with independent films.
What protections do writers have under the Franchise Agreement in this area?
If the writer is interested in retaining the agency to perform financing, sales, or distribution services on an independent film, the agency must first fully disclose their fees in writing to the writer. The writer then has the right to decide whether to retain the agency for such services.
What if another party, such as a producer, retains the agency for financing, sales, or distribution services?
The agency must still fully disclose the relevant fees in writing to the writer before the writer enters into any contractual commitment for the project in question.
Can a deal be conditioned on retention of the agency for financing, distribution, or sales services?
No. The Franchise Agreement prohibits any offer of employment or purchase being made contingent on an agreement to retain the agency for financing, distribution, or sales services.
Does the Guild have any oversight of the agent’s independent film services?
Yes. The agency must report on a yearly basis the films on which it has performed financing, distribution, or sales services and the names of the writers employed on those films. The Guild will then be able to check in with the writers to ensure the agency complied with their obligations under the Franchise Agreement.
Does the Franchise Agreement require that I have a written representation agreement with my agency?
No. The Franchise Agreement contains a standard representation agreement (commonly known as “Rider W”), which contains basic protections for writers. Rider W applies to any writer-agent representation agreement, whether that agreement is written or oral.
The Franchise Agreement permits writers and agents to negotiate for additional terms that do not conflict with Rider W.
What should I do if my agency asks me to sign a written representation agreement?
We encourage you to contact the Agency Department. In addition, you may want to consult with your entertainment attorney.
Whom do I contact if I have a question about the Franchise Agreement?
Please contact the Agency Department.