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ATA – Surpassing WGA Prerogative



The platform and basis of work established by the Writers Guild of America is quickly becoming outdated. Their performance prerogatives were to develop content organically and work off the basis of ideas that were established over time. Time is the one thing that people no longer have the patience and wherewithal to combat. The American Talent Agency is reaping the benefit of creating content and building upon existing releases. Without having to wait on writers and have to pay the high association fees extending from the perspective of writers, talent agencies can create higher profit margins.

Most agencies take on all sorts of odd jobs and start-ups to get their foot in the door. No idea is too lucrative and no plan is too far from the basis of completion. Agencies are scooping package deals without the writers to avoid the associated headache that comes with their fees. By avoiding these fees and placing them back into the profit margins, agents have more of a budget to work within terms of development strategies. This helps reduce the time needed to create these productions because they are afforded that extra influx of cash to pay their actors/actresses overtime rates, increase the base salaries of the producers, or pay the extra licensing fees that come with the takeover of an existing brand. The strategy has become foolproof and the result is assisting the idea of no longer needing writers to package content.

The old platform was to abide by WGA guidelines and sign a writer to a package deal. The fees would be divided among the crew, production teams, and the writers. The only group that didn’t have to pay back their percentage was the writer because they were providing the starting basis for the content and signing a deal to continue the usage of their creative processing to progress a series, brand, or franchise. When these agencies pull from existing content, there is no longer a need to develop a storyline from scratch. The general process is already halfway cooked, allowing the remaining creativity points to come from the producers or the actors/actresses that portray the characters. This relationship has caused directors to shoulder the workload in order to avoid the writing fees. This extra effort is rewarded by increasing the overall budget utilized in the production of packaged content. The second idea that is increasing approval rates of this new design is the creative control that gets placed in the hands of actors/actresses.

They are no longer just reading a script and placing their personal touch on word emphasis. These talent agencies are now able to grant production rights and storyline development to some of these actors/actresses. Opening the door of opportunity for an up-and-coming television star is a great way for a company to lock down a top name in the acting world for little to no cost. When you place that kind of pressure on writers, there really becomes nothing that can be done to salvage the ways of old. While most of these package deals are being challenged in courts of law, there really isn’t any engaging evidence that would incriminate these companies. They are not violating copyrights and they are producing at a higher level. Giving the people what they want is the prerogative of these companies. Their turnaround time has been cut in half and they are keeping pace, changing the way packaging deals will be handled in the foreseeable future.

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