(Updated June 2022)
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 does the ban on franchised agencies negotiating packaging fee agreements go into effect?
Franchised agencies cannot negotiate for packaging fees on new WGA-covered projects effective July 1, 2022, when the “Sunset Period” in the Franchise Agreement expires.
Therefore, for projects that were not packaged before July 1, 2022, the agency must operate on a commission basis. The agency’s commission is calculated as a percentage of writer compensation. Rider W of the Franchise Agreement caps the agency’s commission at 10%.
What is the “Sunset Period”?
The franchise agreement phased in the prohibition on packaging fee deals. The “Sunset Period”—the limited time during which the agencies could continue to package after signing the franchise agreement—expired for all agencies on June 30, 2022.
As of July 1, 2022, are the agencies only prohibited from packaging writers? Can the agencies package non-writing elements after the Sunset Period?
No. The franchise agreement prohibits the packaging fee model—under which agents are paid directly by studios in the form of packaging fees—for all elements on all WGA-covered projects, not just the packaging of writers.
Can agencies still work to attach elements to a project (directors, actors, etc.)?
Yes. Agencies can continue to service clients by working to attach elements to projects and connecting writers with producers, directors, actors, etc. Connecting talent is a fundamental part of an agent’s job. The agency’s compensation on the project, however, will be a percentage commission on the deal(s) it negotiates for its own clients.
What happens if the project I’m working on was packaged before the Sunset Period ended?
Packaging fee agreements entered into on projects before the sunset period expired remain in place.
What if my overall deal has a packaging clause?
Projects packaged under an overall deal prior to July 1, 2022 will remain packaged. Projects created under an overall deal after June 30, 2022 cannot be packaged.
What happens if a franchised agency negotiates packaging fees on a new project after the Sunset Period?
If an agency negotiates for packaging fees on a new project after June 30, it is in violation of the franchise agreement and the Guild will take appropriate legal action, including filing an arbitration claim against the agency. Remedies available to the Guild include disgorgement of packaging fees and the suspension or revocation of the agency’s franchise.
Contact the Agency Department if you have concerns an agency is trying to package after the Sunset Period.
Who should I contact if I have questions or want the Guild to investigate a possible violation of the Franchise Agreement?
Please contact the Agency Department.
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.