DGA Members Ratify New Film & TV Contract; 87% Vote In Favor

DGA Members Ratify New Film & TV Contract; 87% Vote In Favor

June 24, 2023

Members of the Directors Guild of America have overwhelmingly ratified a new film and television contract. The vote was 87% in favor to 13% opposed, with 6,728 members voting out of 16,321 eligible (41%).

Releasing the voting data is a break from DGA custom; it the past the guild would only say that contracts were ratified “overwhelmingly.”

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“I’m proud to report that DGA members have joined together to ratify a new contract that will allow every Director, Assistant Director, Unit Production Manager, Associate Director and Stage Manager to share in the success of what we create,” said DGA president Lesli Linka Glatter. “Our new contract secures gains on wages, global streaming residuals, safety, diversity and creative rights that build for the future and impact every category of member in our Guild. The strength of our new contract is a testament to our Negotiations Committee Chair Jon Avnet, Negotiations Co-chairs Karen Gaviola and Todd Holland, National Executive Director Russell Hollander and our outstanding professional staff.”

Acknowledging the ongoing writers’ strike and SAG-AFTRA’s ongoing contract talks, she added that “the DGA didn’t bargain in a vacuum. We stand united with writers, actors and all crew members in our shared fight to move our industry forward. We support the actors who are in negotiations and the writers who remain on strike, and we will stand with the IATSE and Teamsters when they negotiate their agreement next year. We won’t be satisfied until we all have fair contracts that reward us for our creative work — we must create a vibrant, sustainable industry that fairly values us all.”

The DGA’s board, whose members include Steven Spielberg, Christopher Nolan, President Lesli Linka Glatter, 2nd Vice President Ron Howard and 5th Vice President Ava DuVernay, had unanimously recommended ratification.

The DGA’s tentative agreement with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers came on June 3 – 33 days into the Writers Guild’s ongoing strike, which is now in its 53rd day. During the WGA’s last strike – the 100-day walkout of 2007-08 – the DGA reached an agreement with the AMPTP on the 74th day of the WGA strike, forcing the WGA to settle for similar terms 26 days later.

The WGA has said that that won’t happen again this time and that its bargaining positions “remain the same” regardless of the terms achieved by the DGA. Even so, the WGA issued a statement on June 4 congratulating the DGA’s negotiating committee on reaching a deal. DGA leaders, meanwhile, have expressed support for the writers’ strike and urged the AMPTP to return to the bargaining table with the WGA.

DGA leaders have called their new agreement “truly historic,” noting that it includes significant wage increases, a 76% increase in foreign residuals for the largest platforms, and curbs on the use of artificial intelligence in filmmaking.

RELATED: Former DGA President Paris Barclay Says Guild’s New Contract “Almost Double What We Got Last Time”

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: 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.
  • Safety: 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. 

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.

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