Since 1937, the Association of Talent Agents (ATA) has been and remains the official trade association of talent agencies across the U.S., responsible for legislation, advocacy and negotiating agency franchise agreements with the major entertainment guilds, including SAG, AFTRA (SAG-AFTRA), WGA, DGA, and AEA. ATA’s collective voice provides strong and effective advocacy for its members in matters relating to the talent-agency business. The association’s one-hundred-plus agency members represent the vast majority of the professional working artists today. ATA provides best practices, a voice in legislation, educational seminars, networking events, conferences, news bulletins, expert opinions and day-to-day support.
The birth of ATA (originally known as Artists Manager Guild) is tied substantially to the proliferation of talent unions and guilds that formed after the Supreme Court upheld the Wagner Act also known as the National Labor Relations Act (1935). The main purpose of the labor legislation was to establish the legal right of workers to organize or join labor unions and to bargain collectively with their employers. In 1937, a group of forward-thinking representatives banded together to protect talent agents’ ability to represent artist clients by maintaining creative and economic success for the agent/client partnership.
ATA engages in advocacy with legislators, unions/guilds and industry partners. ATA provides negotiation, interpretation, construction and advice concerning talent representation agreements. Our lobbyists, staff, elected leaders, political strategists and legislative committee members and the board represent ATA members every day.
ATA’s early pioneers, including, Paul Kohner (opened the Paul Kohner Agency 1938), Zeppo Marx (he and brother, Gummo Marx represented actors and writers), Abe Lastfogel and Morris Stoller (they joined the William Morris Agency in 1912 and 1937 respectively), Bert Allenberg (the Berg-Allenberg talent agency represented a full spectrum of actors, directors and writers), Taft Schreiber (MCA Talent Agency) and James Saphier (James Saphier Agency) were instrumental in forging a meaningful, vocal and strong base that continues to serve the agency community today.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Fourteen elected and appointed Board of Directors represent all segments of the agency community. The Board members and officers each serve two-year terms. There are no term limits. Professional staff conducts day-to-day activity.
ATA COMMITTEES 2018-2019
Harry Gold, Chair
Alicia Ruskin, Chair
MEMBERSHIP REVIEW COMMITTEE
Rita Vennari, Chair
POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE (california)
Jim Gosnell, Chair
Rick Levy, Treasurer
NEW YORK POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE
Jeffrey Freedman, Chair
Jim Gosnell, Treasurer