SAG-AFTRA said today that they’ll sit down with the studios and networks on May 5 to start negotiations on a new 3-year contract. This is the first truly big contract to be worked out by the union since SAG and AFTRA …
Abby Singer, a veteran production manager and assistant director and a DGA member for more than 60 years, died this morning of cancer and old age at the Motion Picture & Television Country House in Woodland Hills. He was 96. Singer got his start working as an assistant for Harry Cohn’s right-hand man Jack Fier at Columbia Pictures in 1949 after a stint in the Navy and moved on to Universal in 1957 to work in TV. He eventually landed at Mary Tyler Moore and Grant Tinker’s MTM Productions, where he oversaw such series as Rhoda, Phyllis, The Bob Newhart Show, WKRP In Cincinnati, The White Shadow, Hill Street Blues and St. Elsewhere. His last film as unit production manager was on 1997′s Family Plan. He later taught at the American Film Institute Conservatory.
But Singer’s name is known to film and TV crews everywhere for a production shot that came to be known as the “Abby Singer shot.” Partly thanks to his training under notorious tightwad Fier, Singer spent his long career honing his skills at saving productions dough, and his idea was to begin moving crew and gear to the next location one shot before the last shot of the day, with the idea that the next location would be set up ahead of time — thereby saving money and precious shooting time. (The last shot of the day, by the way, is known as “the martini.”) Here’s a Spring 2011 interview in the DGA Quarterly with Singer where he recalled how his namesake shot came to be:
“It was probably on Wagon Train, although I can’t be sure,” he says. “Working in TV we made many moves per day—from the back lot to the stage, or from one stage to another. I’d say to the guys, ‘One more shot and then we’re moving,’ so when we moved, they were all prepared. The time saved could add up to a full hour of shooting for the director.”
Los Angeles – DGA National Executive Director Jay D. Roth today announced the promotion of two Guild executives. Neil Dudich has been promoted to Associate Eastern Executive Director, based in the Guild’s New York offices, and Daniel Tenkman has been promoted to Assistant Executive Director in Los Angeles.
Nearly a month after DGA members ratified their new three-year deal with the Alliance of Motion Picture and TV Producers, the WGA today announced that it will sit down for their talks with the producers on February 3. The negotiations are set to take place at AMPTP HQ in Sherman Oaks. While the Writers Guild took the step to announce its negotiating committee on November 13, up to today, neither they nor SAG-AFTRA had set a start date for their respective talks with AMPTP. Not like the melded WGA West and WGA East committee doesn’t include some heavy-hitting scribes. There’s recently re-elected board members Billy Ray and David S. Goyer as well Damon Lindelof among the group. The committee will serve under WGAW Exec Director and Chief Negotiator David Young. The WGA’s latest contract is set to expire on May 1.
Catch up on the stories you missed this week:
Quentin Tarantino Shelves ‘The Hateful Eight’ After Betrayal Results In Script Leak
By Mike Fleming Jr. – EXCLUSIVE: Learning today that his script The Hateful Eight leaked after he gave it to a small circle of actors, Quentin Tarantino tells me that he’s so upset that he has decided that he will not direct that film next.
Rupert Sanders Set To Helm ‘Ghost In The Shell’ For DreamWorks
By Mike Fleming Jr. – EXCLUSIVE: DreamWorks has made a deal with Snow White And The Huntsman helmer Rupert Sanders to direct Ghost In The Shell, a live-action film based on the Japanese manga futuristic police thriller that has a new script from William Wheeler.
Sundance: ‘Whiplash’ & ‘Rich Hill’ Win Grand Jury Awards; Dramatic Directing Goes To Cutter Hodierne For ‘Fishing Without Nets’
By Dominic Patten and Jen Yamato – It was the first major deal of the 2014 Sundance Film Festival and tonight Whiplash was the big winner at the fest’s Awards Ceremony. The Damien Chazelle-directed film about a young drummer, played by Miles Teller, and his demanding teacher, played by JK Simmons, took both the U.S. Dramatic Grand Jury prize and the Audience Award.
DGA Awards Film: ‘Gravity’ Soars With DGA Win For Alfonso Cuaron But What Does It Mean For Its Best Picture Chances?
When they were walking into the 66th Annual Directors Guild Awards tonight people were talking about a possible split year for the Oscars with one film winning Director and another Best Picture. And after the DGA crowned Gravity‘s Alfonso Cuaron as the year’s top director people were walking out saying the same thing. Cuaron was widely expected to win this thing. Gravity is a stand-alone directorial achievement second to none. Any other result would have been regarded as a major upset. A DGA win almost always means a corresponding Directing Oscar and a Directing Oscar almost always means a Best Picture win. Normally we would be wrapping up the race and putting a ribbon on it for Gravity, especially with the DGA coming right after its Producers Guild win a week ago (albeit a tie, but it was still significant). But this is a strange year and such a tight race between the three front-runners, Gravity, 12 Years A Slave and American Hustle that a few votes either way could potentially swing this thing. It’s not even inconceivable that a dark horse could come in in this kind of year. The Guilds so far have not clarified a whole lot. Hustle won the big Cast prize at SAG, Gravity and Slave split the PGA and now Gravity has won at DGA. Next week comes the Writers Guild Awards before a two week lull before the BAFTAs and mailing of Oscar ballots on Presidents Day weekend. But Slave (due to guild-ruled ineligibility) and Gravity aren’t nominated there leaving a good opportunity for Hustle to take back some of the glory – that is unless Her pulls off a win for Original Screenplay and deals a major setback for David O. Russell’s major contender.
66th Annual DGA Awards: Alfonso Cuarón Wins Best Feature Film Director For ‘Gravity’, TV Winners Include Vince Gilligan ‘Breaking Bad’, Steven Soderbergh ‘Behind The Candelabra’, Beth McCarthy-Miller ’30 Rock’, Glenn Weiss ‘Tony Awards’ Don Roy King ‘Saturday Night Live’
UPDATED WITH ALL WINNERS AND SPEECHES: The 66th annual DGA Awards was held tonight at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza in Los Angeles, hosted by Jane Lynch. The DGA Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film went to Alfonso Cuaron for Gravity. This was his first DGA nomination. Cuaron reflected on his research for the film, which in many ways, focuses on Gravity‘s philosophical commentary on humanity. “We saw all these photographs of earth from space, and it’s absolutely beautiful; hues of greens and blues,” explained Cuaron, “Everything seems so organic (from space). Those silly lines and boundaries we put on political maps, you can’t see that from space. It’s a bizarre experiment of nature, that is the human experience. And it’s what we as directors try to sort out as filmmakers.” It’s worth recalling that while cuaron hasn’t made a bad movie, getting Gravity made was very difficult. Universal kicked it to the curb after Angelina Jolie dropped out. Warner bros took it in, but it was in peril after Robert Downey Jr. decided not to play the role George Clooney wound up playing. the studio looked at several actresses including Natalie Portman, before deciding on Sandra Bullock. It was a real show of faith by Warner Bros, whose movie chief Jeff Robinov championed the project. It has become an outsized global hit, following in the footsteps of Life Of Pi and Avatar. It was this movie that inspired TriStar’s Tom Rothman to want to make his first film To Reach The Clouds, the Robert Zemeckis directed film about Philippe Petit’s groundbreaking high wire walk from the North to South Tower of the World Trade Center in 1974. They are hoping Joseph Gordon Levitt will play him and that production will begin by summer. In the other major film award, Jehane Noujaim was honored as Best Documentary Director for The Square. TV winners included Vince Gilligan for Breaking Bad’s “Felina” episode, Steven Soderbergh for Behind The Candelabra and Beth McCarthy-Miller for the 30 Rock finale.
In this week’s podcast, Deadline Awards Columnist Pete Hammond and host David Bloom wrap up all the guild and other award nomination announcements that landed left and right this past week, including those from BAFTA, the Writers Guild, Directors Guild, Producers Guild, Cinematographers Society and Costume Designers Guild.
They also discuss some of the trends that may be emerging among all those award nominations, clues about where the Oscar races may be headed, whether American Hustle will benefit from that big ensemble cast, and what to expect from this weekend’s Golden Globes.
Yesterday my colleague Pete Hammond said there were “no surprises” in the DGA Awards Film nominees. Well, today the Directors Guild of America delivered even less of a shock as its members ratified the new three-year deal its negotiating …
Today’s eagerly awaited DGA nominations are out and there are no surprises in the bunch. Gravity’s Alfonso Cuaron, Captain Phillips’ Paul Greengrass, 12 Years A Slave’s Steve McQueen, American Hustle’s David O. Russell and The Wolf Of Wall Street‘s Martin Scorsese were all odds-on favorites to make the five — and they did. Some might have questioned Scorsese’s chances since the film has become a lightning rod for controversy and was the last major release of the year, meaning the 15,000-member guild voters would have to see it in time to cast their ballot. But c’mon, he’s Martin Scorsese. There would be no denying this achievement among his fellow directors. He has received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the guild and 10 other nominations with 3 wins in 3 different categories (The Departed in film, Boardwalk Empire in TV and George Harrison: Living In The Material World in documentary). He’s a god to this guild. Greengrass, McQueen and Cuaron are all first-timers here, while Russell was nominated for 2010′s The Fighter. However, Russell was passed over for a nomination last year for Silver Linings Playbook but went on to receive an Oscar nod for that film anyway.
Generally there is a strong correlation between the DGA and the Oscars. Only seven times has the winner of the DGA Award not gone on to win the Oscar . But the most recent time, last year, was also among the most infamous: Ben Affleck still went on to win the DGA Best Director award for Argo even after the Academy’s much smaller — and quirkier — Directors Branch threw a monkey wrench into the proceedings and snubbed Affleck in its nominations. Life Of Pi’s Ang Lee went on to win the Oscar after losing to Affleck at the DGA, while Argo took Best Picture. In addition to Lee the only agreement the Academy’s Directors Branch had with the DGA was Steven Spielberg’s nomination for Lincoln. It was one of the worst years ever since the DGA Awards were founded in 1948 in terms of a match-up between the guild’s list and Oscar (which also nominated Behn Zeitlin of Beasts Of The Southern Wild and Amour’s Michael Haneke in addition to Russell). I don’t expect the same thing to happen this year. This is a very strong lineup that includes all the likely frontrunners to grab an Academy Directorial nod as well. But as we all learned last year Oscar often has surprises up its sleeve. We’ll see.
Members of the DGA have three weeks to vote on a new three-year deal its negotiating committee reached with the Alliance of Motion Picture and TV Producers late last month. Ratification packages were sent out this week to the 15,000 DGA members with a January 7, 2014 due date for returning ballots. “This ballot represents your highest responsibility as a Guild member and the core of why the Guild has existed and remained strong for over 77 years – to protect your economic and creative rights and freedoms. The Negotiations Committee and the Guild’s National Board unanimously – and enthusiastically – recommend that you vote YES for ratification of the Agreements,” said guild president Paris Barclay in an accompanying letter. In his first contract agreement as DGA boss, Barclay didn’t go soft on selling the deal to his members, playing up the wage increase provisions. “We successfully achieved critical gains for DGA members in a number of significant areas – the most important of which was to increase wages significantly for members by “breaking the 2s” – the pattern set after the economic downturn of 2008 that affected labor negotiations throughout the industry and resulted in 2% annual wage increases, at best”, he wrote in pitch to members dated December 13. “We succeeded – resulting in what will be 3% wage increases annually.”
Los Angeles – Directors Guild of America President Paris Barclay today announced the recipients of two special DGA Awards recognizing extraordinary contribution to the Guild: Lee Blaine and Vince DeDario will be honored at the 66th Annual DGA Awards on Saturday, January 25, 2014.
Lee Blaine will receive the DGA’s 2014 Frank Capra Achievement Award, which is given to an Assistant Director or Unit Production Manager in recognition of career achievement in the industry and service to the Directors Guild of America. Vince DeDario will receive the DGA’s 2014 Franklin J. Schaffner Achievement Award, which is given to an Associate Director or Stage Manager in recognition of service to the industry and to the Directors Guild of America.
“The strength of the DGA is built upon the commitment and dedication of our actively working members to giving back through service to the Guild,” said Barclay. “Both Lee Blaine and Vince DeDario have been staunch advocates and proud representatives of their fellow Guild members, and they’ve done it while maintaining successful, demanding careers. We are proud to recognize their service and their accomplishments.”
Read the DGA bios of Blaine and DeDario after the jump:
DGA Board Approves New Contract With Producers; 2.5% Wage Increase For 1st Year, 0.5% Pension Increase, Some SVOD & AVOD Increases
As expected, the Directors Guild of America Board today unanimously rubber-stamped the new three-year deal its negotiating committee finalized with the Alliance of Motion Picture and TV Producers on Friday. …
After just 18 days of negotiations, the Directors Guild of America and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers announced tonight that they have reached a tentative agreement on a new three-year TV/theatrical contract. The deal will be reviewed Saturday at a special meeting of the DGA’s National Board; if the board approves it, the deal will be sent to the full membership for ratification soon afterward.
Neither side is commenting tonight. As they have through the negotiations, which began November 4 at AMPTP headquarters in Sherman Oaks, the DGA and the producers have imposed a blackout on details of the tentative agreement until it is approved by the DGA board. Meanwhile, neither the WGA nor the merged SAG-AFTRA has begun their negotiations with the AMPTP. Although the WGA announced its negotiating committee last week, it has yet to set a start date for talks. SAG-AFTRA is not expected to sit down with the producers until early in the new year.
Here’s the DGA release:
Los Angeles – The Directors Guild of America today announced that the DGA’s Network Negotiations Committee has reached a tentative new three-year agreement with ABC, CBS and NBC covering DGA members who work in news, sports and operations.
These negotiations, which began on September 24 in New York and concluded on October 7, address the DGA’s Network Staff and Freelance Agreements, which cover staff and freelance directors, associate directors, stage managers and program-production assistants employed in news, sports and operations at the companies’ television networks and at a number of their locally owned and operated television stations. The Network Agreements are separate from the Guild’s Basic Agreement and are negotiated every three years.
The tentative contract will be presented to the DGA’s National Board at the regularly-scheduled board meeting on October 19 and if approved, the contract will then be sent to the membership for ratification. The new contract incorporates annual wage increases and other negotiated benefits for directors and their teams. Further details will be released after the tentative agreement has been presented to the National Board.
This Golden Age of Television we keep hearing about is — just like the un-Golden Age before it — directed almost entirely by white guys, according to the Directors Guild of America‘s latest study about director diversity in episodic TV. Under a DGA agreement for the Internet, online series such as House Of Cards, Arrested Development, Hemlock Grove and Orange Is The New Black are included in the study for the first time. And while, as House Of Cards star Kevin Spacey keeps speechifying, they’ve made great strides in undoing the prejudice toward pilots in the industry, Caucasian males still directed nearly three-quarters of all episodic television. The remaining 28% of episodes were divided among minority males (14%), Caucasian females (12%), and minority females (2%).
Analyzing more than 3,300 episodes produced during the 2012-13 broadcast TV season, and the 2012 cable season, from more than 200 scripted TV series, the report found that one-hour series were the white-guy-directed-est of all – 74%. Things were a teensy bit less white guy-ish in the half-hour genre: 70%.