Directors Guild Reaches a Tentative Agreement with the AMPTP

January 18, 2008
Source: ComingSoon

Directors Guild of America AwardsJust yesterday, on January 17th, the Directors Guild of America (DGA) announced that it had reached a tentative 3-year agreement with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP). The AMPTP is the organization in direct dispute with the Writers Guild of America and is forcing that strike to continue. Formal negotiations began last Saturday and were officially completed on Thursday. Gil Cates, chair of the DGA's Negotiations Committee, called this "groundbreaking and substantial" and said that the "gains in this contract for directors and their teams are extraordinary - and there are no rollbacks of any kind." The DGA's contract was set to expire in June this year, and for the sake of everyone in Hollywood, it's great to see progress like this completed early on.

Highlights of the new agreement include increases in both wages and residual bases for each year of the contract; establishes DGA jurisdiction over programs produced for distribution on the internet; establishes new residuals formula for paid internet downloads (electronic sell-through) that essentially doubles the rate currently paid by employers; and establishes residual rates for ad-supported streaming and use of clips on the internet. For the full details on the new agreement, you can read the article over at ComingSoon.

Following this agreement, the WGA released a statement of its own.

Now that the DGA has reached a tentative agreement with the AMPTP, the terms of the deal will be carefully analyzed and evaluated by the WGA, the WGA's Negotiating Committee, the WGAW Board of Directors, and the WGAE Council. We will work with the full membership of both Guilds to discuss our strategies for our own negotiations and contract goals and how they may be affected by such a deal.

For over a month, we have been urging the conglomerates to return to the table and bargain in good faith. They have chosen to negotiate with the DGA instead. Now that those negotiations are completed, the AMPTP must return to the process of bargaining with the WGA. We hope that the DGA's tentative agreement will be a step forward in our effort to negotiate an agreement that is in the best interests of all writers.

Unfortunately the writers strike has still not been resolved. I'm quite intrigued by the fact that the DGA can reach an agreement so quickly yet the writers are still struggling. It may have to do with the fact that a lack of directors would be a much bigger blow to Hollywood than a lack of writers. All in the same, maybe the writers are just trying to drum up interest and acknowledgment. The writers have never been regarded (publicly) as an integral piece of the filmmaking puzzle, and I think they're trying to really make sure from now on they DO get recognized and remembered at the same level as directors. This could be why they're so resistant to initial agreements proposals from the AMPTP, but that's a discussion for another day!

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