The Writers Guild of America has recently announced that Verve, an agency that primarily represents writers and directors, has signed the Writers Guild’s Code of Conduct. The 30-agent firm is the first widely recognized signatory to the code. The firm’s roster includes Colin Trevorrow; Brian K. Vaughan; Howard Deutch; Jac Schaeffer (Marvel’s upcoming Black Widow); Christopher L. Yost (Thor: Ragnarok); Jeff Chan and Andrew Rhymer (Plus One); and Leigh Janiak (Fear Street).
Verve’s move signals that the guild may be showing progress in its fight with agencies, most notably by ordering writers to discharge their agents if the agency has not signed the code. Signing the new code means Verve will cease to engage in packaging and affiliate production. The ATA, an organization that represents most significant agencies and that is effectively controlled by the four largest firms — WME, CAA, UTA and ICM Partners — has taken a hard line in resisting the guild’s demands, and the WGA has taken an equally firm stance. Verve said that it “also agreed to a ‘Most Favored Nations’ clause — whatever the WGA-ATA ultimately agree upon, Verve will play by those rules.”
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