The Association of Talent Agents (ATA) is a non-profit trade association representing the finest talent agencies in the industry. ATA is the voice for unified talent and literary agencies. ATA agencies represent the vast majority of working artists, including actors, directors, writers and other artists in film, stage, television, radio, commercial, literary work and other entertainment enterprises. For nearly 70 years, ATA agents have worked in partnership with artists and their guilds to ensure their protection and promote their creative endeavors.
What makes ATA agents unique?
Creating opportunities for their clients is at the heart of what ATA agents do. Licensed and regulated by state and local government agencies, ATA agents are at the focal point of change in the industry and at the forefront of the development of new relationships for their clients. In an era of media consolidation and vertical integration in the industry, ATA agents are the artists’ strongest allies.
Are ATA agents regulated?
Yes. In contrast to many other industry professionals, ATA agents are licensed and strictly regulated by state and local government agencies in California, New York and the other parts of the country where agents do business. In California, for example, ATA agents are not only licensed by the State Labor Commissioner and subject to annual review, but the artists’ contracts are approved by the State Labor Commissioner. ATA agencies also work under negotiated agreements with DGA, WGA, AFTRA, Actors’ Equity and AFM. While the SAG agreement expired in 2002, ATA agencies continue to work with actors under ATA state-approved agency contracts.
How does ATA work with the guilds? Do ATA agents have agreements with all the guilds at this time?
Since 1937, ATA agencies have worked in partnership with artists and their guilds to make sure that creative artists are protected in their business relationships and negotiated agreements. ATA agencies have existing agreements covering the terms of representation with DGA, WGA, AFTRA, AFM and Actors’ Equity. The SAG agreement expired in 2002, but ATA agencies continue to work with actors under ATA state-approved agency contracts. In addition, ATA and the guilds co-host ongoing professional development forums and seminars.
Why haven’t ATA and SAG negotiated a new agreement?
Since the SAG agreement expired in 2002, there have been no new negotiations. However, ATA agents have continued to do business with actors without disruption under state-approved agency contracts. At the same time, ATA has negotiated a new agreement with AFTRA, has existing agreements with WGA, Actors’ Equity and AFM, and, in 2004, restated its agreement with DGA.
How have ATA agents responded to the changing business dynamics of the entertainment industry?
Mergers and acquisitions have consolidated power in the entertainment industry and strengthened the hand of the buyer, thus weakening the position of the artist. ATA agencies know how to operate in this new business environment because they’ve been in the marketplace every day since 1937. ATA agents understand that their clients are looking to them to provide more services and create more opportunities, and they’re responding by changing their business models to meet that demand. That’s why agents continue to be the artist’s strongest partner.
How are ATA agents different from managers?
The job of the ATA agent is to create opportunities, procure and
negotiate employment for clients and counsel them in the development of their careers. Agents in most states must be licensed by the state, city or appropriate governing body. Managers are not regulated nor are they required to have a license. Under law, managers may not procure employment for artists or negotiate without a licensed agent, and any person who renders Agent services without a license may have their contract invalidated and be forced to relinquish any commissions paid.
What types of services does ATA provide?
ATA provides its members with a broad range of services, including negotiation of franchise agreements with industry guilds, interpretation of agency/guild and state regulations, development of ongoing professional development resources and seminars, dispute resolution expertise, a residual tracking system, and discounts on legal services.