In a victory for the Writers Guild of America (WGA), three top-level agents of Abrams Artists Agency have left to form their own agency, which has signed the WGA’s new code of conduct.

Brad Rosenfeld, Paul Weitzman, and Karen Kirkland have formed Culture Creative Entertainment (CCE), becoming the third agency to agree to terms with the WGA along with Verve and Kaplan Stahler. 

“The current situation between agents and the WGA has brought the needs of writers into sharp focus,” Weitzman said to Deadline, who first reported the move. “It feels like the time is right to create an agency whose success will be directly aligned with our clients’ interests first.”

Weitzman and Rosenfeld were both vice presidents and co-heads of the literary division of Abrams Artist, which they were brought in to create in 2015.

Kirkland spent much of her career at Nickolodeon at Vice President, Talent Development and Outreach, before her time as a literary agent at Abrams. At Nickolodeon, she spearheaded the development of their successful writing program and worked to develop and staff young writing talent on shows. 

Kirkland, Rosenfeld, and Weitzman will be able to represent and empower writers once again at CCE. 

“Still fighting the good fight and trying to do what’s best,” Kirkland wrote on Twitter in response to the announcement.

Hollywood Giants At A Standstill

None of Hollywood’s largest agencies, including Abrams, have signed the WGA’s new code of conduct. When it was first approved in March of this year, the union instructed all of its members to fire their agents if they were not willing to sign the new agreement. Most WGA members had to do so.

Negotiations have been at a standstill since then, with the WGA filing a lawsuit in California against the major agencies over their business practices. Three major agencies, in turn, have filed their own federal lawsuit against the WGA.

CCE’s agreement to the guild’s terms is a big win for the organization at a time when a lot is in flux for writers and, by default, the rest of Hollywood.

As the WGA navigates the agency dispute, it also prepares for an election for key officer posts and board spots this coming September. The opportunity to lead and dictate a path forward has attracted a large number of candidates filing to run for open positions. As the agency dispute continues — now at over 100 days — more members are vocalizing their own opinions and dissent on how the WGA should handle the situation.

 For incumbents, signings like the CCE’s are proof of leverage of their tactic that, at the end of the day, agencies will have no choice but to come around and acquiesce to the new agreement.

The expired agreement between the WGA and the Association of Talent Agents (ATA), which ended in April, had no recourse to stop agencies from earning fees directly from studios and employers through business practices were not in the best interest of the writers the agencies represented. The new agreement prohibits such practices and has agents work off of commission-based models.

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