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Directors Guild of America Reaches Tentative Labor Settlement With Hollywood Studios

The Directors Guild of America said Saturday night that it had reached a tentative three-year labor deal with the Hollywood studios and streamers after a bruising skirmish.

The DGA negotiating committee described the deal with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers as “a historic new three-year collective bargaining agreement.” It will put the deal to its board on Tuesday.

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A separate strike by Writers Guild of America members over the terms of their relationship with studios and streamers remains ongoing.

“We have concluded a truly historic deal,” said Jon Avnet, chair of the DGA’s negotiations committee. “It provides significant improvements for every director, assistant director, unit production manager, associate director and stage manager in our guild. In these negotiations we made 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.

“This deal recognizes 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,” said Lesli Linka Glatter, president of the DGA.

Highlights of the new agreement include “historic breakthroughs” for directors and their teams in the following areas.

Wages and benefits: 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: 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. The industry’s first 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: 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: Reduction in the length of the assistant director’s day by one hour.

Safety: Safety advancements including the first 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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