Industrial action by the DGA looks set to be averted, whilst the currently protesting Writers Guild of America continue to strike.
Late on Saturday night the Directors Guild of America (DGA) and Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) arrived at a tentative deal which will seemingly avert a strike which would have proved incredibly damaging to American film and TV productions. Whilst the Writers Guild of America (WGA) strike has now entered its second month, the majority of film and TV productions that were already filming or primed to go have carried on.
Although there have been some casualties on the film front, such as Marvel Studios’ Blade and Unstoppable, the new Ben Affleck-helmed production featuring Jennifer Lopez, the writers’ strike will take some time to inflict significant damage to studios’ bottom lines. For the most part, studios have plenty of projects to keep them going, at least for a few more months.
However, a strike by the Directors’ Guild would have seen an immediate downing of clapperboards across every production currently in progress, a disastrous outcome that the AMPTP has clearly worked hard to avoid. As such, the deal is said to satisfy the Guild’s demands in relation to residuals, the use of AI and other areas.
Of course, the agreement is tentative and although high-ups at the DGA have agreed it, it still needs to be ratified by the membership. Still, that seems like a formality at this point. Anybody who keeps tabs on history would have expected this: the DGA has pretty much always cut a deal with the AMPTP, even when the WGA is striking. This time around, the ongoing strike action looks to have given the DGA greater leverage with the AMPTP and the Guild has used that to get an agreement it is happy with.
Naturally, there’s plenty of writers on Twitter and elsewhere unhappy with the DGA’s seeming lack of solidarity but of course, there’s a lot of moving parts to consider and TV and film directors have bills to pay, just like anybody else. It’s a thorny ethical question that every member of the DGA will have to contend with as they vote on the deal, but you can bet that any writer/director will be voting ‘no’.
Next up is the actors’ guild, whose own negotiations conclude today. SAG-AFTRA (the Screen Actors’ Guild) also have the power to cause an immediate shutdown of the industry so we’ll know pretty soon how it has used that leverage. We’ll keep you posted as we hear more.
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