What rational, fair-minded viewer of this WGA video essay could possibly conclude that the four major talent agencies are playing fair and square? Variety‘s Dave McNary has described the video, which surfaced two days ago, as “scathing.” To me it just seems clear-headed and well-ordered.
“Agency Conflicts of Interest” explains the basics: (1) Writer income dropped by 23% between 2014 and 2016, (2) the reason is that on TV deals big agencies are wangling packaging fees instead of the usual 10% commission, (3) CAA, WME and UTA have also launched their own production companies, which means they’re now in a position to negotiate from both sides of the fence.
Key quote: “Packaging puts the agency in direct conflict with the writers. When your agency is also your employer, the conflict of interest is clear and flagrant.”