It’s recently come to my attention that the WGA (Writers Guild of America) is in the middle of a war with shady literary agents, specially the practice of “packaging.” Please forgive me if I get my information wrong, and PLEASE correct me if I am. I know I don’t understand it completly but I feel the need to share.
Though I am not a member of the WGA I do feel attacked, just a little, similarly to those who ARE a part of the WGA. To be a member you need to have worked on a tv series or movie of some sort. It’s quite a few career steps above where I’m at now, or else I’d be a member myself. But I say this to point out that these are experienced people. They know when they are being cheated, and rightfully so.
These agents charge a percentage, likes go with 15%, as I guess is a standard price, and they go to another agent and they strike up a “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” sort of deal with one another and your agent has the gall to request more money from you because he’s using the 15% you’re already giving him to pay Agent B. 😜Sound stupid? It’s because it is. And here’s the thing about the screenwriting industry, you CAN NOT get professionally recognized without an agent — or a miracle — so these agents know they’ve got you by the balls, so to speak. Say no and you lose not just him, but the contacts he’s made on your behalf. When he walks, so do all those possibilities of employment.
The WGA has put their foots down and are demanding that the agents out there change their ways, make this illegal because right now it’s just seen as shady but not surprising nor taboo. It just is because “what are you going to do about it?” Well the WGA is saying Eff that . THIS is what we are doing about it. If I understand it right, members of the guild are dropping agents who practice this crappy business practice and demanding they change their work ethic. I heard mention it was illegal somewhere but then I’m not positive. I will have to Google that. Just because it’s illegal doesn’t mean that young or aspiring screenwriters aren’t still being subjected to it because they aren’t aware of what’s normally right and what’s normally crooked. I know I barely understand a lot of the industry ins and outs: Rules, networking, formats, submissions, queries, representation, agent, lawyer, managers, there is so much to learn and yet you’re still expected to finish a new script each year, if not more — hopefully more so as to have a bigger portfolio — and shell out said script by a certain time during all of this.
If you weren’t already aware of this or didn’t exactly understand it and just heard/read snipits here and there online or Twitter, I hope you spread the word. Please please please tell me if I got something wrong or you want to add something. A new friend clued me in on this, thankfully, last night. If you’re not a member, which I’m sure anyone reading this probably isn’t, please show your support by spreading the word. Hashtags help if you’re on Twitter. There’s even a profile picture, that I’m currently using, stating that “I stand with the WGA,” which is just a small way to show your support. It’s what first got my attention to it and why I started looking into it. I didn’t know where to start so I posted an SOS for information on Twitter and some awesome writers answered the call. 😊
Here is the WGA site you can visit for updates, I know I have a lot more reading to do myself: https://www.wga.org/
This entry is a late one, but I had to take a nap earlier. I am going to have a cup of coffee to help me stay up tonight to write It’s the husband’s night with the TV (more car shows, I’m sure) so I can take this evening finish the scene I started this morning in my MS. I hope to get both of these books done by this weekend so I can work on editing my script for the competition. It’s going to need another overhaul, which I’m all here for! I have an awesome idea for a new pilot too, which I want to get an outline started for. I can’t believe I’m considering an outline, but I know I can’t work on it for another month or so and I don’t want to idea to fizz out.
And now it’s time to feed the baby and cook dinner. Hope you have an awesome rest of your night!