Listen: How One Talent Agency Is Surviving the Writers Guild Standoff

Andrew Wallenstein

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When Abrams Artists Agency signed the Writers Guild’s Code of Conduct last month, it was an acknowledgement that the impasse between the WGA and talent agency had gone far enough for Adam Bold.

Abrams’ chairman decided his agency needed to resume representing WGA members after the code was revised to deal with some concerns he had about issues including data privacy. But he was also persuaded to turn the page because the pending legal battle between the agencies and the guild meant no resolution was coming anytime soon.

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“I don’t think the two can sit down and actually work out a compromise,” said Bold on the latest episode of the Variety podcast Strictly Business. “I think they will end up with that at some point, but it’s gotten to the point where it’s going to take them a while. In the meantime, we just want to get people back to work.”

Listen to the podcast here:

The Abrams chairman shared his perspective on the ongoing standoff, including his observation that there’s nothing intrinsically wrong with the practice of packaging, which his agency doesn’t currently engage in regardless. What Bold believes has gone wrong with the packaging is clients not having any visibility into who the agencies are packaging.

“Because of that lack of transparency, clients go, ‘Hmmm, am I part of this project because it’s good for me or because it’s good for my agency?” said Bold. “That’s why it’s become so bad.”

Bold is just over a year into the top job at Abrams after he was brought in as a principal when founder Harry Abrams sold the mid-sized agency. A serial entrepreneur who has bought, sold and built many business across a wide range of industries, he discusses what drew him to taking ownership stake in a talent agency he has big plans for taking to the next level.

“I saw a lot of opportunity in this industry because I really saw the need for an old-school specialty-style agency that is a really fierce advocate for its clients, that thought in a way that is as much as it is a technology company as it is an agency company,” said Bold.

Strictly Business” is Variety’s weekly podcast featuring conversations with industry leaders about the business of entertainment. Past episodes include conversations with Discovery CEO David Zaslav and Dana Walden, co-head of 20th Century Fox Television and Fox Television Group. A new episode debuts each Wednesday and can be downloaded on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play, Stitcher, and SoundCloud.

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