The Directors Guild’s national board voted unanimously tonight to approve a tentative agreement for a new film and TV contract. The deal with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which was reached late Saturday night, goes this week to the guild’s membership for ratification with the board’s recommendation to vote “yes.”
Prominent members of the guild’s board include Steven Spielberg, Christopher Nolan, 2nd Vice President Ron Howard and 5th Vice President Ava DuVernay.
The deal, which came on the 33rd day of the Writers Guild’s strike – and just four days before tomorrow’s start of SAG-AFTRA’s contract talks – includes significant pay hikes, a 76% increase in foreign residuals for the largest streaming platforms, and assurances that artificial intelligence cannot replace directors or their teams.
“We set out to negotiate a contract that would build for the future. This is a significant deal with gains for every director, assistant director, unit production manager, associate director and stage manager,” said DGA President Lesli Linka Glatter. “Our industry is rapidly changing and expanding, and this agreement is what we need to adapt to those changes, break new ground and protect the DGA’s 19,000 directors and directorial team members today, and in the years to come. Along with the rest of the DGA National Board, I am proud to enthusiastically recommend this tentative agreement to our members for ratification. Together, we will secure the future we deserve.”
Commenting on the surge of labor solidarity in the industry, she said that “Across the country, directors and their teams, writers, actors, crews and drivers have shown unwavering resolve in demanding to share in the success of the films and television shows we create together. We are all union members and deserve to be compensated fairly for our contributions. We don’t bargain in a vacuum and the gains we have achieved in our tentative agreement would not have been possible without the strong support and unity of our members, and the solidarity of our sister guilds and unions. We continue to support the actors who are entering negotiations tomorrow and the writers who remain on strike. We stand firmly with SAG-AFTRA and the WGA in our shared fight for a vibrant, sustainable industry that fairly values us all.”
After the agreement was reached over the weekend, Jon Avnet, chair of the DGA’s Negotiations Committee, called it a “truly historic deal” that includes “advances on wages, streaming residuals, safety, creative rights and diversity, as well as securing essential protections for our members on new key issues like artificial intelligence – ensuring DGA members will not be replaced by technological advances.”
Russell Hollander, the guild’s national executive director and chief negotiator, said that “Every member of our union can be proud of the gains we’ve achieved across the board. Significantly, and for the first time ever, global SVOD residuals will be paid based on the number of international subscribers. The result is a 76% increase in foreign residuals for the biggest services. As our industry becomes increasingly global, these gains are imperative to ensuring our members are valued and compensated for their incredible work.”
According to the DGA, the new agreement includes the following:
- 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: Establishment of 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. 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 win expanded paid post-production creative rights; and gain 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.
- Safety: 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.
The 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, the DGA says.
Formal negotiations between the DGA’s 80-member Negotiations Committee and the AMPTP began May 10. The guild is expected to release more details about the agreement on Wednesday.