Directors are getting some revisions to their latest film and TV contract with the Hollywood studios, seven months after reaching an initial deal.
In a rare move, the Directors Guild of America managed to push for some additional gains to the basic agreement with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which was ratified in June, including a streaming performance bonus that matches the WGA’s.
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“For almost nine decades, the DGA has fought to protect and extend the creative and economic rights of directors and members of the directorial team,” a DGA spokesperson said in a statement to Deadline. “Understanding the urgent needs of our members after a difficult year, we’re proud to have achieved these gains and protected the Guild’s Pension and Health Plans. We will never stop fighting on behalf of our members.”
In addition to the bonus for directors whose shows contribute significant viewing for streamers, the DGA will have access to the same viewing data that the WGA negotiated as well. The guild conceded that the current residual structure still “will not impact a large number of DGA members,” though it may open the door for this topic in future negotiations.
The DGA also secured an increase in employer contribution rates to the pension or health plan by 0.5% in the second and third years of the agreement. The distribution of this additional money between the pension and health plans is up to the union.
Among the other new provisions are:
New general wage increase for directors of dramatic pay television and high-budget SVOD programs to match other directors (from 3 to 5% as of January 1, with an additional 4% in July 2024 and another 3.5% in July 2025).
Full-scale rates for assistant directors, associate directors and UPMs on pilots and first two seasons of new productions.
No weekly cap on daily production fee for associate directors and assistant managers working in non-primetime entertainment programming.
The DGA overwhelmingly approved its new basic agreement with the AMPTP in June, after its board, whose members include Steven Spielberg and Christopher Nolan, had unanimously recommended ratification. The ratification came 53 days into the writers strike, though a deal was reached before the actors joined the picket lines in July.
While it’s common for the unions to use others’ contracts to push for similar provisions or language, it is unusual for one of them to make adjustments to the current contract after its been ratified, rather than wait until the next contract negotiation. To do so requires an agreement from both the guild and the AMPTP to go back to the table. The DGA says these additional gains took months of “difficult discussions” with the studios, beginning sometime after the ratification vote.
Among the provisions that were secured in the original contract was an increase in streaming residuals, specifically through a new residual structure to pay foreign residuals. However, at the time, there was no framework in place for the streaming bonus model that the WGA achieved in its contract after a 148-day strike. SAG-AFTRA managed a similar bonus structure in its contract, which was ratified in December.
The DGA also did not secure any data transparency in its original contract, but it did have language about additional transparency with residual reporting in general.
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