Los Angeles – Directors Guild of America President Taylor Hackford made the following statement upon learning of the passing of Tom Donovan: “We are saddened to learn today of the passing of Tom Donovan, a key player in the merger between the Screen Directors Guild and the Radio and Television Directors Guild in 1960 that led to the formation of the modern Directors Guild of America. “Tom’s mark upon the new DGA was indelible. He was president of the New York Local of the RTDG when discussions first began in the late 1950s about forming a new, unified organization to represent film and television directors and the teams that support them under one roof, and then in 1962, he chaired the committee that organized a restructuring of the new Guild that eased regional friction and consolidated power in a National Board in which both the East Coast and the West Coast were fully represented – an organizational structure that continues today.”
The agreement covers a three-year term from December 1, 2011 through November 30, 2014 and addresses wage increases (2% per year, plus a wage increase of 15.8% for 2nd 2nd assistant directors in the first year of the contract); health coverage (including a 17.65% increase in the employer contribution rate for all members plus additional contributions for directors); and the global marketplace for commercials (provides producers with additional flexibility to compete for jobs outside of North America while preserving existing employment opportunities for 1st assistant directors).
NEW YORK, NY – DGA President Taylor Hackford today announced the host and presenters for the eighth Directors Guild of America Honors, to be held at the DGA Theater in New York City on Thursday, October 13, 2011 and followed by an after-party at Nobu 57.
Comedian, actor, talk-show host and author Richard Belzer will serve as the event’s Master of Ceremonies. He previously hosted DGA Honors in 2002, 2003 and 2008.
Following is a list of confirmed presenters:
The Directors Guild announced today that retired TV broadcast network sports director and DGA Lifetime Achievement recipient Joseph R. Aceti has died. Here is the statement by DGA President Taylor Hackford:
We are saddened to hear of the passing of Joseph R. Aceti, beloved DGA member and the ninth recipient of the DGA Lifetime Achievement Award in Sports Direction. Joe received the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006, capping a career that by all measures placed him in the pantheon of sports direction. Present at most of the seminal sporting events since the late 1960s, Joe worked for all four major networks on every type of major sporting event including
The DGA will need extra space in its National Executive Director office after the guild announced today that it is giving execs Russ Hollander, David Korduner and Bryan Unger the title of Associate National Executive Director, each with different responsibilities. The moves come as part of an effort to “provide greater clarity about leadership roles and responsibilities for each of the guild’s core functions while also more clearly defining the role of the National Office and the regional offices,” the DGA said.
LOS ANGELES – Director Taylor Hackford was re-elected President of the Directors Guild of America by acclamation at the Guild’s National Biennial Convention held today at DGA National Headquarters in Los Angeles. Additionally, 140 delegates representing the 14,500 members of the DGA elected a new slate of officers and members of the National Board of Directors. Steven Soderbergh was re-elected National Vice President; Gilbert Cates, who formerly served two terms as DGA president, was re-elected Secretary-Treasurer. Also elected were First Vice President Paris Barclay; Second Vice President William M. Brady; Third Vice President Betty Thomas; Fourth Vice President Gary Donatelli; Fifth Vice President Thomas Schlamme; Sixth Vice President Vincent Misiano; and Assistant Secretary-Treasurer Scott Berger. A complete list of the new officers and board members is below.
Complete List of DGA Officers and Board Members
President – Taylor Hackford
National Vice-President - Steven Soderbergh
Secretary-Treasurer - Gilbert Cates
Assistant Secretary-Treasurer - Scott Berger
First Vice-President - Paris Barclay
Second Vice-President - William M. Brady
Third Vice-President - Betty Thomas
Fourth Vice-President - Gary Donatelli
Fifth Vice-President - Thomas Schlamme
Sixth Vice-President - Vincent Misiano
Board Members – Michael Apted, Kathryn Bigelow, Stephen Glanzrock, Lesli Linka Glatter, Cleve Landsberg, Michael Mann,
Donald Petrie, Scott L. Rindenow, Liz Ryan, Ed Sherin, Jesus Treviño
Associate Board Members - Alan Curtiss, Duncan Henderson, Dennis Mazzocco, Barbara Roche, Mary Rae Thewlis, Alternate Board Members – Laura Belsey, Theodore Bogosian, Jon Favreau, Victoria Hochberg, Rod Holcomb, Jeremy Kagan,
Randal Kleiser, Linda Laundra, Garry Marshall, Oz Scott, Millicent Shelton,
Second Alternate Board Members – Lee Blaine, Tim Engle,
Julie Gelfand, Kathleen McGill, Jennie O’Keefe, Joyce Thomas
The Senate Judiciary Committee has approved the Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act (PROTECT IP Act), sending the legislation to the floor for a full vote. The unanimous bipartisan action today drew swift praise from the Hollywood creative community, which has lobbied for the bill, which would target foreign-based websites that are pirating American content for profit and close loopholes that shield them from U.S. laws. The Independent Film & Television Alliance, the National Association of Theatre Owners and the MPAA released statements in support of the vote, as did a group comprised of the American Federation of Musicians, AFTRA, the DGA, IATSE, SAG and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT). ”The Judiciary Committee took an important step today to stop theft and save jobs,” said Michael O’Leary, the MPAA’s EVP Government Affairs. “By helping shut down rogue websites that profit from stolen films, television shows, and other counterfeit goods, this legislation will protect wages and benefits for the millions of middle class workers who bring America’s creativity to life.”
Below is a composite Q&A that’s the truth your Hollywood Guild leaders are saying in private and not telling you to your faces at a time when nearly all writers, actors, and directors are hanging by their fingernails to maintain their livelihoods under the studio and network rollbacks. Today the WGA membership voted to ratify their new TV/Theatrical Contract reached last month with the AMPTP. I was shocked and appalled by the lack of public dissemination of info by the Guild to its members during the process. But this kind of secrecy has marked all of the Hollywood Guilds dealings with its memberships on these contract negotiations and ratification votes. That’s to cover up the fact that neither SAG nor the DGA nor the WGA bothered to bargain hard for pay increases or barely at all for New Media increases despite promises to that effect during the last contract go-rounds.
I emailed and spoke at length with several members of the WGA negotiating team and board of directors to be able to collect the following behind-the-scenes information (see composite Q&A below). What I learned goes way beyond the ratification ballot statement from negotiating committee co-chairs John Bowman and Billy Ray explaining why the talks had been completed in little more than two weeks blaming “an economy still recovering from a deep recession; an economic pattern set in negotiations with other unions; and the willingness of the Companies to address the Guild’s most pressing economic need, regarding the solvency of the pension plan.” Or the cover letter from WGA West president John Wells and WGA East president Michael Winship that said, “We highly endorse ratification of this contract” and noted the unanimous recommendation of the negotiating committee, WGA West Board and WGA East Council.
Really? REALLY? Then why did one of the above WGA leaders email me to agree when I crapped all over this lousiest of lousy WGA deals with the AMPTP when it was announced a month ago: “Off the record, your analysis of this deal is spot on.”
Who else agreed with me? Stephen Diamond, the Santa Clara University Law professor and one-time candidate for SAG’s executive director, who called the deal a “clean sweep for big Hollywood studios as WGA negotiations end” and “the final domino in this year’s Hollywood collective bargaining round”.
My analysis included calling this the worst deal writers had ever been handed. Saying the Writers Guild leadership clearly decided it had no leverage after the Actors and Directors Guilds threw them under the bus by accepting bad contracts and even the WGA membership gave them no hand by overwhelmingly (and understandably) opposing any mention of a strike. Noting that the Big Media companies finding their financial footing again after the depths of the economic crisis. Stressing that New Media increases have gone the way of the VCR and the DVD: what was negotiated first is what you’re stuck with now and seemingly forever if the AMPTP continues to have its way. Laughing at the flimsy new meetings on sweepstakes pitching and one-step deals, and “contract provisions [which] have been added that require each studio to send to its creative executives a bulletin stating clearly that spec writing is not to be condoned” as if this will stop these hated but institutionalized practices. It’s such a WGA betrayal after guild leadership and Hollywood agencies pledged to work together to stop the studios’ blatant exploitation of movie scribes.
I had long predicted Hollywood could most likely expect quick and easy negotiations this time around. So let’s see… SAG/AFTRA spent just 6 weeks of jointly negotiating with the studios and networks on a new 3-year TV/Theatrical contract. The DGA took just 3 weeks and change. And the WGA could have bargained right up until its May 1st when its current contract ends but didn’t. The moguls behind the AMPTP always intended to negotiate with the writers last (even though their pact was expiring sooner) to ensure there would be the most Hollywood pressure (synonymous with antagonism) towards them if they negotiated too hard. Although SAG/AFTRA and the DGA traded information during their talks, they left the WGA out in the cold.
The whole point of this lead-in to contract negotiations for for all the Hollywood Guilds to better coordinate bargaining in order to present a united front to the AMPTP. Promises were made to “next time” secure better wages, benefits, working conditions. Even the AMPTP pledged it would reopen bargaining over those paltry New Media revenues. True, no one wanted another strike. But was the only alternative for the WGA to wimp out like the other Guilds? So now all the Hollywood Guilds rubber-stamped what crumbs the AMPTP offered despite this rapidly improving economy. The DGA was first to make it plain early on that they weren’t going for big wages (just a 2% increase) or even a better New Media deal. Instead the DGA negotiators were focusing on increased Health Plan and Pension contributions. Same with SAG/AFTRA. The WGA also focused on the pension plan. But all the writers I know in the guild who aren’t yet or once were big names are most concerned about losing their health insurance. Nothing for them.
I’d been pressing the Writers Guild with questions to respond to my analysis that WGA negotiators caved to the studios and networks. I’ve now collected their off-the-record answers (with the proviso that the responders not be identified) and put it into a Q&A format. If you read this and realize how much you and your fellow Hollywood Guild members got played, then hasn’t the time come to throw out all the current bums and install new union leadership?
Here’s the composite Q&A:
DEADLINE: I’m shocked at how bad this deal is. Can you give me insight into what happened?
WGA NEGOTIATIONS INSIDERS: You have it right in your post. The companies singled out the weakest of the Guilds — SAG/AFTRA — to negotiate with first – and for whatever reason, the actors Guilds went along with it. The actors’ health and pension funds were (and are) in dire shape, with significant possible unfunded legal and accounting liabilities for the companies. So the companies put a lot of money on the table to try and shore some of this up (and limit their own liability). The AMPTP then refused to make any movement on anything else of consequence – and the actors accepted the deal. We’ve all know that the actor guilds were in “cave to merge” mode, and that’s exactly what happened. The AMPTP is smart: they forced them to sign an early negotiation clause 18 months ago to close out their last contract and then jammed them.
We don’t want to be too critical here of the actor unions, they’re in very bad shape, SAG in particular. SAG has to merge or they will cease to exist – and soon. They’re certainly in grave danger of no longer being able to provide even the most basic health benefits for all but the most successful of their members. They’ve been raising eligibility and co-pay requirements at a shocking rate that makes it difficult for many of their members to even qualify. Thousands of actors who used to routinely qualify for health benefits that allowed them to pursue the craft can no longer provide security for their families. And both actors unions were very close to being unable to meet their pension obligations and entering the “red” zone. The zone system for evaluating pension plans was enacted during the Bush administration as part of the PPA (Pension Protection Act.) Entering the red zone would have been catastrophic for all actors – and would have allowed the companies to enact draconian measures that could have significantly reduced pensions for actors long retired and dependent on these earned benefits. All that said, they made a crappy deal on everything other than pensions and health and left the other two creative guilds hanging out to dry.
Then came the DGA. Coming in early as they have so often done (jumping in front of our earlier contract date again). They also have problems in their health plan. They took an equivalent amount to the money SAG/AFTRA had gotten, and put it in their health plan. Made some very minor steps in basic cable that we think are counterproductive for writers (increases on very high budget minimums – that only one or two shows will hit, if ever). And called it a day.
Then, and only then, was the AMPTP prepared to have even preliminary conversations with us. Candidly, we were concerned (the leadership and staff) that they were planning to push us into a “take it or leave it” pattern offer right up against our contract expiration date. We felt we could maneuver them into giving us a bit more than the pattern if we could force them into an earlier deadline. We were worried they were going to jam us with rollbacks at the last minute, and if they did, we’d have no time to go back to our members and properly organize to get enough of head of steam going to push the rollbacks off the table.
This was all predicated on what you intimated in your post – our members were not in the mood for a strike unless the companies put significant rollbacks on the table. How did we know this? We asked them. Extensive polling, set visits to TV writer’s rooms and we held membership meetings. The response was overwhelming – “we’re only just beginning to recover financially from the strike and the massive recession” “please, please, please, don’t strike…” So we wanted to go in and see if the companies would be foolish enough to put large rollbacks on the table that we could use to galvanize the membership. They didn’t. Lots of petty crap that we had to get rid of, but nothing to convince the membership to take another strike vote only 3 years after the last.
On top of all of this, our pension fund was (is) in trouble. The stock market hit of 2007-2008 shaved hundreds of millions of dollars off our plan. While not in the same shape as the actors’ funds or the DGA health plan, we were in danger of moving from the good “green” status into the “yellow” danger status – and then into “red” status sometime in 2014 to 2015. The PPA danger to future and present retirees was and is real. The AMPTP knew this because half of the trustees are management trustees and have the same actuarial info we do. We knew we needed the money (1.5% increases in contributions) that the other guilds had gotten to shore up our pension fund, but wanted to try and get something else to go with it. The companies are a little frightened of us – and we tried to jam them to get the pension money we needed and some more in basic and pay. We got a little bit, but not much. And that’s why you didn’t read any self-congratulatory crap in our letter to the membership like you saw from the other Guilds. We did what we could under difficult circumstances. We’re disappointed we couldn’t do more. Relieved we’ve shored up the pension plan and protected our retirees and future retirees.
DEADLINE: What was your biggest obstacle to getting a better deal than this one?
WGA NEGOTIATIONS INSIDERS: We had no credible strike threat, not even vaguely; and we had no effective alliance with either SAG/AFTRA or the DGA. Hence: no leverage. Regardless of contract expiration dates, the AMPTP negotiates first where it can get the best deal, then tries to impose the pattern on everyone else. In the absence of leverage, there’s little that can be done once the first deal is set.
DEADLINE: Is there any good news from what you did get?
WGA NEGOTIATIONS INSIDERS: This deal will cost out to approximately $60M across the life of the contract, as opposed to $40M or thereabouts in the previous negotiations.
“This is a very sad and frustrating day for daytime dramatic television and our members who work on these productions. DGA members are employed on daytime serials as directors, associate directors, stage managers and production associates. The cancellation of these two long-running shows will affect dozens of our members,
LOS ANGELES, CA: The 63rd Annual Directors Guild of America Awards were held tonight at the Grand Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland in Los Angeles. Only 6 times has the DGA Award winner not won the Academy Award for Best Director (1968/Carol Reed for Oliver!; 1972/Bob Fosse for Cabaret; 1985/Sydney Pollack for Out of Africa; 1995/Mel Gibson for Braveheart); 2000/Steven Soderbergh for Traffic; 2002/Roman Polanski for The Pianist) Here are the winners (in progress):
Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film for 2010:
TOM HOOPER, The King’s Speech (The Weinstein Co.)
Hooper’s Directorial Team:
Production Manager: Erica Bensly
First Assistant Director: Martin Harrison
Second Assistant Director: Chris Stoaling
This is Hooper’s first DGA Feature Film Award Nomination. He was previously nominated for the DGA Award for Movies for Television/Miniseries for John Adams in 2008.
Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Documentary for 2010:
CHARLES FERGUSON, Inside Job
Representational Pictures, Sony Pictures Classics
This is Ferguson’s first DGA Award nomination.
Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Movies for Television and Mini-Series for 2010:
MICK JACKSON, Temple Grandin (HBO)
Jackson’s Directorial Team:
Unit Production Manager: Scott Ferguson
First Assistant Director: Philip Hardage
Second Assistant Director: Shawn Pipkin
Second Second Assistant Director: Kayse Goodell and Richard E. Chapla Jr.
Additional Second Second Assistant Director: Glen Moorman
This is Jackson’s fourth DGA Award nomination. He is a three-time winner of the DGA Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Movies for Television and Mini-Series with Indictment: The McMartin Trial (1995), Tuesdays With Morrie (1999), and Live From Baghdad (2002).
Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Dramatic Series for 2010:
MARTIN SCORSESE, Boardwalk Empire, “Boardwalk Empire” (HBO)
Scorsese’s Directorial Team:
Unit Production Manager: Harvey Waldman
First Assistant Director: Chris Surgent
Second Assistant Director: Takahide Kawakami
Second Second Assistant Director: Patrick McDonald
Additional Second Assistant Director: Sal Sutera DGA Trainee: Jamiyl Ihsaan Campbell
This is Scorsese’s eighth DGA Award nomination. He won the DGA Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature film in 2006 for The Departed, and was previously nominated in that category for Taxi Driver (1976), Raging Bull (1980), Goodfellas (1990), The Age of Innocence (1993), Gangs of New York (2002), and The Aviator (2004). In 1999 Scorsese was presented with the Filmmaker Award at the inaugural DGA Honors Gala and he won the DGA’s highest artistic honor, the Lifetime Achievement Award (for distinguished achievement in film direction) in 2003.
Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Comedy Series for 2010:
MICHAEL SPILLER, Modern Family, “Halloween” (ABC)
Spiller’s Directorial Team:
Unit Production Manager: Sally Young
First Assistant Director: Alisa Statman
Second Assistant Director: Helena Lamb
Second Second Assistant Director: Matthew Heffernan
This is Spiller’s first DGA Award nomination.
Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Musical Variety for 2010:
GLENN WEISS, 64th Annual Tony Awards (CBS)
Weiss’ Directorial Team:
Associate Directors: Gregg Gelfand, Robin Abrams, Ricky Kirshner
Stage Managers: Garry Hood, Peter Epstein, Andrew Feigin, Lynn Finkel, Doug Fogel, Jeffry Gitter, Dean Gordon, Phyllis Digilio Kent, Arthur Lewis, Joey Meade, Tony Mirante, Cyndi Owgang, Jeff Pearl, Elyse Reaves, Lauren Class Schneider
This is Weiss’ seventh DGA Award nomination. He won the Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Musical Variety in 2007 for The 61st Annual Tony Awards; and was previously nominated in this category in 2008, 2006, 2005, 2002 and 2001 all for the 62nd, 60th, 59th, 56th and 55th Annual Tony Awards.
Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Reality Programs for 2010:
EYTAN KELLER, The Next Iron Chef, “Episode #301” (Food Network)
Keller’s Directorial Team:
Segment Director: Stephen Kroopnick
Stage Managers: Tom Borgnine, Seth Mellman
This is Keller’s second DGA Award Nomination. He was previously nominated in this same category in 2009 for episode “201” of The Next Iron Chef.
Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Daytime Serials for 2010:
LARRY CARPENTER, One Life to Live, “Episode #10,687” (ABC)
Carpenter’s Directorial Team:
Associate Directors: Tracy Casper Lang, Teresa Anne Cicala, Anthony J. Wilkinson, Jen Pepperman
Stage Managers: Alan Needleman, Keith Greer
Production Associates: Nathalie Rodriguez, Kevin Brush
This is Carpenter’s seventh DGA Award nomination and all for his direction of One Life to Live. He won the Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Daytime Serials Award for One Life to Live – “Episode #9947″ in 2007, for “Episode #8849″ in 2003, and for “So You Think You Can Be Shane Morasco’s Father” in 2008. He was previously nominated for that series for “Episode #9686″ in 2006, “Episode #9385″ in 2005 and “Episode #8655″ in 2002.
Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Children’s Programs for 2010:
ERIC BROSS, The Boy Who Cried Werewolf (Nickelodeon)
This is Bross’ first DGA Award nomination.
I had predicted Hollywood could most likely expect quick and easy negotiations. And the DGA’s took just three weeks and change. And why not when your Hollywood Guilds are just rubber-stamping what crumbs the studios and networks are feeding SAG/AFTRA and DGA members despite this rapidly improving economy? The Directors Guild Of America leaders made it plain early on that they weren’t going for big wages or even a substantially better New Media deal (despite promising it would during the last bargaining go-round). Instead the DGA negotiators were focusing on increased Health Plan and Pension contributions, just like they were for SAG and AFTRA. The AMPTP’s current contributions are at 14% for the DGA, and probably go to 16.5% on the new contract if ratified. So that’s three big Guilds down, and only the Writers Guild of America still to go.
No date for the start of negotiations has yet been set for the WGA, whose contract ends May 1, 2011. But the moguls behind the AMPTP always intended to negotiate with the writers last (even though their pact was expiring sooner) to ensure there’s the most Hollywood antagonism towards them. Although SAG/AFTRA and the DGA traded information during their talks, they’ve left the WGA out in the cold. Now you can expect a lot of silly trade stories filled with false rumors about WGA “strike talk” in order to scare the Industry which in turn will pressure the writers to settle quickly. Don’t get me wrong: no one wants another strike so soon. But that also doesn’t mean that the WGA has to wimp out like the other Guilds. Excuse me, but wasn’t this year when all the Hollywood Guilds were going to join together and fight, fight, fight, for what is rightfully their share of the money pie? Anyone? Anyone?
The following statement was issued today by the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP):
The Directors Guild of America and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers have successfully concluded a tentative agreement on a new TV/Theatrical contract, again demonstrating the benefits of an early deal for the entire entertainment industry. These early talks allowed us to bridge the gaps created by uncertain economic times and deliver increases in areas critical to DGA members.
The DGA’s chief negotiator Gil Cates said the following:
Los Angeles – The Directors Guild of America today announced that it has concluded a tentative agreement on the terms of a new three-year collective bargaining agreement with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers.
Negotiations, which began on November 16, concluded this afternoon. Details of the tentative agreement will be released once the agreement has been submitted to the Guild’s National Board for approval at a special board meeting scheduled for Wednesday, December 8.
The DGA’s current contracts expire on June 30, 2011.
STRIKE DRAMA: IATSE Promises Its Pickets Will Face Strike-Breakers At ‘Biggest Loser’ Monday; Shame On NBC And Liz Murdoch
As you know, Deadline TV Editor Nellie Andreeva has been keeping you up-to-date on every development of this breaking labor story. (‘Biggest Loser’ Production To Resume On Monday With Replacements) Now here’s my opinion: NBC needs to put an immediate stop to this disgusting situation before someone gets hurt. Shame on the broadcast network for embracing a show that’s now bringing in scab workers on Monday to replace striking IATSE members. NBC can and should put its foot down after 10 seasons of airing The Biggest Loser and use its influence with Shine Group’s Reveille Productions and 25/7 Productions, and JD Roth’s and Todd Nelson’s Eyeworks-owned 3 Ball Productions, to stop the confrontation. And I’m calling on NBC Universal Television Group President/COO Jeff Gaspin to get personally involved. I’m also calling on Shine’s Elizabeth Murdoch to consider her prominence in the entertainment biz and do the right thing.