May 28, 2023

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DGA contract talks progress; WGA says “The whole world is on our side” – Variety

The Directors Guild of America continues negotiations with AMPTP, as the companies hope to secure a deal that could play a role in ending the two-week writers’ strike.

Meanwhile, the Writers Guild of America told members Monday that the guild is winning a “PR war” against the studios, as members share their stories in the media.

“It seems like the whole world is on our side,” WGA East Vice President Lisa Takeuchi Cullen wrote in an email to members titled “We Have Momentum Growing.” “Individual members’ stories of our broken system — of getting ten weeks of work a year, of checks left into pennies — resonate with the audience. They understand we are losing the American middle-class dream. We are not the elite. We are just like them. We are them. “.

Noting solidarity across entertainment unions, Cullen said the sit-ins of WGA members have shut down industry events and productions. It also stated that based on past estimates, “the strike could cost about $30 million per day in lost studio production.”

The DGA and the Motion Picture and Television Producers Alliance agreed to a media blackout for the duration of their bargaining, and both declined to comment. The talks started last Wednesday.

But according to sources who heard about the talks indirectly, it appears that the discussions between the DGA and AMPTP are progressing in a collaborative manner. “Calm,” is how an industry insider described the mood in the negotiating room.

These reports are consistent with the DGA’s reputation as a union that sees studios as partners rather than enemies. However, this does not mean that there will be no sticking points. DGA leadership has been more vocal than it has been in the past about what directors see as important stakes in these contract negotiations.

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DGA is primarily focused on having a residual streaming formula that will allow members to benefit from international subscriber growth. The current formula is based on subscriber numbers in the US and Canada – with a 35% bonus intended to account for the platforms’ international reach.

The DGA is also focused on getting a significant increase in the bottom line to account for the last two years of hyperinflation. Another key point is creativity rights, as the guild seeks to “protect the role and vision of all directors and, in particular, television directors.”

The union said it also wanted provisions on diversity, safety designation, pension insurance and health plans — none of which sound like potential deal-breakers for the AMPTP.

Assuming that the DGA can come to an agreement, particularly on residue flux, this formula can be applied to the WGA.

WGA leaders have already advised members, however, not to expect the DGA deal to resolve the strike, as it did in 2008. The DGA does not focus on writer-centric issues, such as TV room size, which will remain unresolved. The DGA is also not believed to seek a residual performance-based raise for successful performances, which was a requirement of the WGA.

The WGA plans to hold a Zoom meeting for members on Thursday.