CAA’s Bryan Lourd on the WGA, Black Lives Matter and the Pandemic


In a sprawling keynote dialog with Ziffren Brittenham companion Ken Ziffren at the UCLA Leisure Symposium, CAA managing companion and co-chairman Bryan Lourd opened up about his ideas on the ongoing Writers Guild battle, the Black Lives Matter motion and the company’s efforts to diversify, and the COVID-19 pandemic’s influence on the leisure business.

Lourd was a late addition to the roster; former WarnerMedia Leisure chairman Bob Greenblatt had initially been slated to talk earlier than his sudden departure from the firm amid a significant govt shakeup final week.

On the matter of the ongoing packaging feud between the Writers Guild of America and the main expertise companies, Lourd mentioned that he feels a “nice accountability to the total tradition and the total ecosystem of the artists’ aspect of the equation of present enterprise.”

“With zero kind of apology, I hate how this has gone; I don’t like something about it,” mentioned Lourd. “We by no means wished to be in battle with them, I don’t wish to be in battle with them now. We’re not holding out, I hope we do make a deal. We wish to make a deal. We wish to have a dialog about about what we all know from the road about what is definitely going on of their members lives and what the alternatives are.”

He says that CAA has “not had that chance to do this, which is one thing most individuals don’t know.”

Of the 4 main companies, UTA and ICM have signed agreements with the WGA over the final month to regulate their packaging practices.

Lourd believes the coronary heart of the WGA-ATA battle is that “there’s a mind-set about issues that’s in the previous, versus what’s potential in the future. And I would like us to no less than have our day in court docket to have the ability to clarify what we all know, and hope that we will get to some scenario that’s higher for them and us.”

His feedback streamed on-line on the similar day {that a} federal decide denied WME and CAA’s movement to dismiss the WGA’s claims towards he companies. Moreover, the WGA’s packaging price trial was delayed right now from March of subsequent yr to August 2021.

Lourd went on to say he’s “doubling down on the company enterprise.” that main tech firms like Apple, Google, Fb, Amazon and Netflix “are larger and extra highly effective than something we ever handled.”

“If we on the illustration aspect, together with attorneys, don’t actually lock arms and defend our purchasers and actually battle for our purchasers, it’s a catastrophe,” he mentioned. “So I hope we’re gonna be stronger. And our marketing strategy is only about that.”

When Ziffren requested about the Me Too motion and Black Lives Matter, Lourd responded that it was “not an uncomplicated factor to speak about,” and that we’re all dwelling in a time of “nice consciousness and a reckoning with what we did and didn’t do.”

“I feel in the revisit of all of it, these of us that — and I hope I’m on this class — have the confidence and the safety to know that there’s nice enhancements to be made all over the place in what we do, and an excellent accountability, particularly on the a part of, of white males,” mentioned Lourd.

He believes CAA has “hit this head on” and made “nice headway” over the final decade to diversify and create pay fairness. The company proudly represents the founders of Black Lives Matter, he famous, and works with the Authorized Protection Fund.

The pair additionally mentioned the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. At the begin of the shelter-at-home interval in March, the results on CAA’s enterprise had been rapid, mentioned Lourd, including that on the music and sports activities aspect, “revenue actually stopped three days later.”

However the TV, movie, and unbiased movie financing sides of the enterprise initially saved going, he mentioned, calling it “Dickensian… It’s the better of occasions on one aspect of the firm, and the full worst of occasions on the different.”

CAA in July laid off round 90 brokers and executives and furloughed round 275 help staffers, calling it “an unprecedented and painful second” for the company.

“With the visibility that all of us have now into ’21 and ’22, in my view, it was unattainable to take care of the measurement of the workforce that we had responsibly,” mentioned Lourd.

Probably the most troublesome a part of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, now 5 months alongside stateside, just isn’t realizing when a vaccine might be out there or what therapeutics will work towards the virus, he mentioned.

“You may make all these plans about about when audiences can come again, and when sports activities can go… [but] till there are actual solutions about that, and there’s a strategy to cease folks from dying, it’s unattainable to make these plans,” mentioned Lourd.

However he expressed optimism about the business making a post-pandemic comeback.

“I don’t suppose it’s useless or gone, and I feel that the first protected Friday evening in the in the subsequent six months, yr, three months, every time it’s, might be possibly one in all the greatest nights in motion pictures in the historical past of the enterprise. I feel that the viewers is dormant and ready,” mentioned Lourd. “Similar factor with concert events, similar factor with sports activities.”


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