Directors Guild and Hollywood studios reach tentative deal while writers strike

The Directors Guild deal arrives on the 33rd day of the Writers Guild strike

By Gabriella Geisinger 5 Jun 2023

Directors Guild and Hollywood studios reach tentative deal while writers strike
Cr: Gabe - Unsplash

The Directors Guild and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers have agreed to a tentative deal on a new three-year contract.

This deal includes wage increases and "a 76% increase in foreign residuals for the largest platforms," according to the DGA. It also addresses AI concerns.

This agreement arrives four days before The Screen Actors Guild - American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) sits down with Hollywood for their own deal.

SAG-AFTRA have until the end of today (Monday June 5) to vote for or against strike authorisation.

The tentative agreement will be submitted to the Guild’s National Board for approval at a special board meeting scheduled for June 6.. At that point, further details of the deal with the AMPTP will be made public.

Meanwhile, the Writers Guild of America continues to strike. 

During the 2008 WGA strike, the DGA's deal with Hollywood indirectly impacted the WGA, with many writers believing it put a stop to their strike after 100 days. 

In a statement, the DGA president Lesli Linka Glatter said: "This deal recognises the future of our industry is global and respects the unique and essential role of directors and their teams as we move into that future."

Writer Amy Berg wrote on Twitter that she was genuinely happy for the members of the DGA, saying: "Thrilled that the DGA was able to use the power of the WGA’s labor action to secure a deal that works for them."

The highlights of the deal are:

Wages and Benefits
Groundbreaking gains in wages and benefits including a 5% increase in the first year of the contract, 4% in the second year and 3.5% in the third year. Additional 0.5% to fund a new parental leave benefit.

Global Streaming Residuals
Substantial increase in the residuals for dramatic programs made for SVOD by securing a new residual structure to pay foreign residuals. The result is a 76% increase in foreign residuals for the largest platforms so that residuals for a one-hour episode will now be roughly $90,000 for the first three exhibition years.

Artificial Intelligence
Groundbreaking agreement confirming that AI is not a person and that generative AI cannot replace the duties performed by members.

Non-Dramatic Programs
Established the industry’s first-ever terms and conditions for directors and their teams on non-dramatic (Variety and Reality) programs made for SVOD. Improved residuals and for the first time, Associate Directors and Stage Managers will now share in the residuals.

High Budget AVOD Terms and Conditions
Achieved the industry’s first-ever terms, creative rights protections, working conditions and residuals for scripted dramatic projects made for free to the consumer streaming services such as Freevee, Tubi and Roku. Unit Production Managers and Assistant Directors will share in the residuals.

Feature Directors
Historic first-time compensation for the months of “soft prep” feature directors currently perform for free prior to the start of the director’s official prep period.

Episodic Directors
For Pay TV and SVOD, episodic directors won expanded paid post-production creative rights; and gained an additional guaranteed shoot day for one-hour programs – the first additional day added in more than 40 years.

Reduction in Hours
Unprecedented reduction in the length of the Assistant Director’s day by one hour.

Achieved concrete safety advancements including the first-ever pilot program to require the employment of dedicated safety supervisors; expanded safety training programs for both directors and their teams, and the ban of live ammunition on set. In addition to these historic breakthroughs – this agreement also achieved increased Studio transparency in residuals reporting, improvements in diversity and inclusion, the addition of Juneteenth as a paid holiday and many other gains for all categories.

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