The Director’s Guild of America (DGA) announced on Friday, June 23, 2023, that a new three-year agreement with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) has been ratified by its membership. 87% voted in favor of ratification, with a 41% turnout. According to the Director’s Guild, this is the highest ever turnout for a ratification vote.
The new agreement takes effect July 1, 2023, and extends the basic agreement for a further three years with important changes that will affect your production’s workflow and bottom line. These are the biggest changes to expect when adding a DGA member to your payroll.
Under the new agreement, Directors, Assistant Directors, Unit Production Managers, Associate Directors, and Stage Managers will receive an increase in wages and minimum salary scales.
Starting on July 1, 2023, all salary rates will increase by 5%. Beyond that, rates will rise 4% on July 1, 2024, and 3.5% on July 1, 2025, compounding annually.
Overtime for Assistant Directors
First Assistant Directors, Key Second Assistant Directors, and Second Second Assistant Directors will begin receiving their overtime rate an hour earlier under the new DGA agreement.
Fee and Allowance Increases
The new DGA agreement also sees the increase of various fees concerning directors, including:
- Excerpt fee: 5%
- Lead-in fee: $121
- Underwater allowance: $194
- Aircraft allowance: $194
- Dinner allowance: $33
- Incidental allowance: $24
- Wrap Supervision fee: $62
Pension, Health, and Parental Leave
Directors’ salary cap for pension contributions, for each theatrical film, will increase from $250,000 to $300,000. The cap for Unit Production Managers and all other employees represented by the DGA will see their pension cap rise from $200,000 to $250,000. These increases will increase fringe expenses for all pensionable hours.
The negotiating committee has also agreed to recommend to the Trustees of the Directors Guild of America—Producer Health Plan the establishment of a Paid Parental Leave Fund to provide income replacement to qualifying members. If successfully implemented, the program will begin no earlier than July 1, 2025, and employers would be responsible for contributing 0.5% of the employees’ salaries.
Residuals Increase, Streamers to Pay More
DGA members will see a benefit from rising residual payments from streamers and from reruns and syndication overall.
Residual bases for network non-prime time and syndication, basic cable, AVOD, foreign free TV, domestic reruns of non-dramatic programs in network prime time, pay TV sports and non-staged event programs will increase by 3% each year starting July 1, 2023, through 2025, compounding annually.
The formula for calculating residuals for domestic SVOD platforms (Subscription Video On Demand—Streamers) on which high budget SVOD program are initially exhibited will be modified. Residual bases will increase 2.5%. Subscriber “Tiers” have been consolidated, lowering the bar for payment. These modifications will affect programs that start filming after July 1, 2024.
Netflix is the latest studio to join the DGA’s list of studios that are required to establish and maintain a television director development program.
Employers agreed to work with the DGA to make “good faith efforts” to train and employ more racial and ethnic minorities, women, and other individuals from historically underrepresented groups to work as Directors, Unit Production Managers, First Assistant Directors, Second Assistant Directors, and Associate Directors.
The DGA and AMPTP will also establish a Joint Diversity Action Committee dedicated to opening a line of communication, raising awareness, and developing initiatives to increase diversity in hiring.
The DGA and AMPTP have committed to meeting in the first year of the agreement to discuss the creation of a safety training program. They will decide on factors such as the contents of the program, funding requirements, implementation, and whether to require members to participate. The deadline for launch is July 1, 2025. Producers, as represented by the AMPTP, will have final approval of the contents of the program.
Limiting Artificial Intelligence
The first AI provision to appear in a guild contract maintains that generative AI does not constitute a “person,” and that AI shall not replace the duties performed by all guild members. However, this is not a full prohibition on AI, as the agreement stipulates “consultation” on the use of AI is allowed.
Get Help Navigating Guild Rules
The new agreement between the Director Guild of America and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers marks an important milestone in the continued expansion of rules and wages.
When hiring a guild-member, it’s important to understand the nuances of the new agreement, the rules it requires production to meet, and the wage minimums you must pay as they are certain to affect your budget and bottom line. Luckily, you don’t have to go it alone, always consult your lawyer, accountant, and payroll company to help demystify the requirements of hiring and paying employees.
Need to know more about the latest guild rates and rules? Talk to a union expert today.