Writers Guild Unveils Updated Jobs Platform as Agency Fight Keeps Up

Los Angeles Skyline April 15 2020

The guild said the online platform has more than 9,700 writer profiles.

The Writers Guild of America on Thursday debuted an enhanced online staffing and development platform to connect writers directly with showrunners, producers, and executives. The revamped platform features upgraded capabilities and an improved user experience to help writers find jobs, the guild said.

The platform features writer, producer and executive profile pages; in-platform messaging; a television staffing submission system; a board for posting and submitting to open writing assignments; and lists of spec and pilot ideas. It also provides access to jobs for new talent and writers from underrepresented communities.

“We started working on these enhancements well before the Covid-19 pandemic turned our industry upside down,” WGAW board member Luvh Rakhe said in a statement. “The upgraded platform will be a resource for members to stay connected even as we must physically separate. Down the road, we hope this contributes to the industry’s recovery because the work of writers will be critical to that.”

The WGA said the online platform has more than 9,700 writer profiles. Thirteen hundred executives and producers have created accounts, and more than 200 series showrunners have used the platform's Staffing Submission System to post job openings, resulting in more than 12,000 submissions from writers. In addition, 140 open writing assignments have been posted, generating 2,100 submissions from writers.

Agency sources have, not surprisingly, expressed skepticism about the platform. The guild did not say how many writers have actually been hired as a result of the system, but WGA West president David Goodman acknowledged to The Hollywood Reporter in September that feature writers were having a harder time without agents than television scribes.

The platform initially launched in April 2019, shortly before writers fired their agents en masse in what has become an ongoing dispute with the largest talent firms over packaging fees and affiliate production, two business practices that the guild is seeking to end via economic pressure and litigation.

Both sides are awaiting a decision on a motion by WME, CAA and UTA to dismiss the WGA’s legal claims — a motion that was heard in January and has still not resulted in a decision.