Details of DGA contract agreements land, sure to vex striking writers

Hollywood sign WGA writers strike negotiations
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Strike action latest: lots of the demands made by writers and rejected by studios seem to be part of the deal the DGA has struck. 

Well, this was inevitable.

We learned earlier this week that the Directors Guild of America (DGA) has struck a deal with the American Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) which is likely to avert a damaging strike across the US, as long as it is ratified by the DGA membership. Writers have been on strike now for 37 days, earning nothing after the AMPTP pretty much stonewalled their attempt at negotiating similar conditions. As it stands, the AMPTP is refusing to even come back to the negotiating table, despite being urged to by no less than the New York State Senate.

The horrible part? Whilst all of this is going on, the AMPTP has offered the DGA pretty much all of the concessions it is refusing to give writers.

According to DGA president Lesli Linka Glatter, the deal includes ‘essential protections regarding AI, terms and conditions in non-dramatic SVOD programs as well as high-budget AVOD programs, Feature Director compensation for ‘soft prep,’ expanded paid post-production for Episodic Directors, a new foreign streaming residuals structure based on subscribers, and banning live ammunition on sets. We also obtained critical improvements in wages, streaming residuals, safety, diversity, and additional creative rights gains. What is particularly striking about the agreement is the breadth and depth of the achievements made, providing significant new benefits for members in every category.’

Of course, directors hold more leverage than writers because a directors’ strike will cause an immediate shutdown of all film and TV projects across the US. The AMPTP knows this and accordingly has offered the DGA a pretty sweet deal whilst continuing to hang the writers out to dry. It’s particularly galling to see the AMPTP offer concessions on matters such as AI protections when the producers’ alliance reportedly refused to even discuss the matter with the WGA, offering only to hold discussions about ‘the state of AI’ once per year.

As the writers’ strike goes on, its impact will increase. News emerged today that all scripted TV productions in Los Angeles have now shut down as the strike begins to bite. Still, we should remember that the longer this goes on, the harder it is for those writers to pay their mortgages and put food on the table.

The AMPTP begins negotiating with the actors’ guild this month and but most commentators are predicting that the WGA strike will need to go on until September to get the AMPTP to buckle to some of the writers’ demands. We’ll bring you more on this one as it unfolds.


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