By David Robb
The WGA has launched its new Staffing and Development Platform to help writers without agents find work. The platform is part of the guild’s ongoing efforts to outlast the talent agencies in its standoff with the Association of Talent Agents, now in its 104th day.
“We’re consolidating the tools already in use, like the portal and the weekly memos with newly developed tools and we’re calling it the Staffing and Development Platform” Mulroney said. “This platform will provide all sorts of ways for producers and writers to share and access information about one another. It will help connect you to open writing assignments and development opportunities.”
Below is the full transcript:
Burnett: Hi, I’m Angelina, and I mostly write for television.
Mulroney: And I’m Michele, and I mostly write for screen.
Burnett: We are here to tell you about some of the additional tools the Guild is launching to help all writers connect with producers and projects.
Mulroney: We’re consolidating the tools already in use, like the portal and the weekly memos with newly developed tools and we’re calling it the Staffing and Development Platform. This platform will provide all sorts of ways for producers and writers to share and access information about one another. It will help connect you to open writing assignments and development opportunities.
Burnett: Now, we spoke with a bunch of producers in the process of designing these tools, to make sure they would serve their needs as well, and we heard time and again, how excited they are to be connecting with writers they never had direct access to before. They also shared challenges, and these tools we have designed to help address those challenges.
Mulroney: So in a nutshell, the Platform is a giant database of writers, producers, companies, and projects, all of it protected behind a login. Now, there are numerous ways to view, search, and sort all of this information, depending on your needs.
Burnett: So, when you log in to the platform, you’re going to see these options. All of these tools, including the ones you may already be familiar with, are accessible from this one place.
Mulroney: So one exciting new feature for screenwriters is the Open Writing Assignment portal. Clicking this takes you to lists of both feature and television opportunities that you can then browse, sort by genre, or search by exec or company. Every writer receives three total OWA submissions a month, across film and TV.
Burnett: Now, although we’re starting with a modest list, we expect the number of OWAs to grow as companies get more familiar with the platform, so please keep checking back and know that Guild outreach to procure more OWAs will be ongoing.
Mulroney: You can also browse, search, or sort the profiles of producers, executives, and companies where they’ll be sharing their development needs. When you find opportunities that look like they would be a good match with your interests, you can submit a request for a general meeting. Each writer gets 10 requests a month.
Burnett: So the other new development tool is an expanded Find a Writer profile. We have added an additional, private section, only accessible by producers with logins. There they will find samples you’ve uploaded, a short statement about your interests, and most importantly, your availability.
Mulroney: The one challenge every single producer shared with us was how difficult it is to check availabilities without agents. So your private Find a Writer profile now allows you to set a detailed status that accounts for, say, an overall deal, or development position, or end dates for feature or staffing jobs.
Burnett: So please take a couple minutes, go to your Find a Writer profile on the WGA website, and set your status. Ensure your profile’s complete. Producers are really excited about the possibility of a tool like this. But it is only as useful as the information we put into it.
Mulroney: Right. And of course, the same is true on the other side of things. The Platform is only valuable to writers if the information the producers are putting into it is complete.
Burnett: So we are committed, both leadership and staff, to doing continued outreach, whatever is necessary to ensure producers are engaging with these tools and keeping their profiles updated. In fact, the Guild has opened a brand new department to support all of this.
Mulroney: The most inspiring thing about the staffing portal was seeing writers use it, frankly, in ways we didn’t anticipate. Writers have told us that they loved being able to see a roster of available shows, and some took the information they found there and then they leveraged their other representation, or their own networks, to create opportunities for themselves.
Burnett: So while of course there is continued value in having a fierce advocate whose interests are properly aligned with their clients’—the key goal of our agency campaign—we believe the Staffing & Development Platform will empower writers to take more control of their careers now, and far into the future.
Mulroney: We are excited to see all the ways writers will make use of these new tools, and we cannot wait to hear your feedback. So please go to http://www.WGAPlatform.org, log in, update your profile, and poke around.
Burnett: Then, let us know what you think, please.