Established in the 1970s, film packaging is a practice by talent agencies to reap greater profits at the expense of outside talent that cannot be included in a television or film production. However, this is now changing and represents a significant change in Hollywood.
What is Film Packaging?
Movie or film packaging is when a talent agency begins a film or television production by using actors, directors, and writers that it represents. This means that other talent agencies are shut out of the process in terms of submitting their own talent to the production.
This means that the talent agency can charge a packaging fee instead of the normal 10% it charges for the individuals it represents. Such packaging fees usually consist of 15% of the overall adjusted gross that the television or film production earns, 5% of what networks or studios will pay the production company, and 5% of the profit that a production company will make.
Film packaging represents a significantly larger profit for talent agencies compared to the normal 10% fee it charges for the individuals it represents. But thanks to the Writer’s Guild of America (WGA), this practice is now coming to an end.
Why is Film Packaging Ending?
The WGA has been pressuring talent agencies to end the practice of packaging for many years. The WGA believed under media law that this form of packaging represented a conflict of interest between talent agencies and studios or film production companies. That instead of getting the best deal for the talent it represented, the talent agency instead became part of the production company itself.
Although the initial perception was that packaging was an easy process for talent agencies and film production companies to make. The truth is that it required considerable effort, a close relationship, and diligence to get a project through development so that it could be shown. With United Television Artists (UTA) now stopping the practice, the WGA is now trying to convince other media organizations to do the same.
How It Works for the Film Industry
There are many benefits for writers, actors, and directors along with production companies that are no longer tied to a film packaging deal.
Writers and producers not represented by a talent agency this means more opportunities to be hired by a film production. It also means a better chance to find representation with a talent agency. It also means that writers and producers can create their own projects for production with a greater chance of success.
For production companies, it means that they are not locked into a single talent agency for their projects. They can now choose actors, writers, and directors from other agencies or who are independent to assist on their projects.
Overall, the end of agency or film packaging represents a new era in media law along with television or film production. With everyone, save for the talent agencies themselves, benefiting from this change, the result should be more opportunities for actors, writers, and directors along with more original projects for them to create and work on.