Writers' Strike: Hollywood Directors Agree to Settle

No word yet on how this will affect the striking Hollywood writers, but the film and TV directors have settled with the motion picture industry.

Hollywood’s movie and television directors agreed Thursday afternoon to a new contract with production companies. The accord would appear to send a none-too-subtle message to striking screenwriters: This is not the time to get hung up on new media.

Some deal terms below:

The agreement achieves a breakthrough for union members in several digital areas. It roughly doubles the residuals rate that was paid for decades when films and television programs were resold on cassettes or DVDs. And it requires Hollywood studios and production companies — for the first time — to pay a residual when advertising-supported programs are streamed for free over the Internet, as many television networks do now on their Web sites. The residual kicks in after a 17-day time period, and is pegged at about $600 per episode of a one-hour network prime-time drama, for 26 weeks. That is a rate considerably higher than was last offered to writers when their negotiations with the producers fell apart in December.

As to why the writers may be less than thrilled with the directors' deal:

Key provisions of the contract assure that its formulas governing new media will not become a precedent in the next negotiation, when the economic prospects from new delivery forms are expected to be much clearer. The deal, in effect, postpones a fight that writers are waging now.

The directors’ victory on digital compensation and the decision to re-open the thorny issue of new media payments in the future present an immediate dilemma for the writers.

The Writers Guild has released this statement:

Now that the DGA has reached a tentative agreement with the AMPTP, the terms of the deal will be carefully analyzed and evaluated by the WGA, the WGA’s Negotiating Committee, the WGAW Board of Directors, and the WGAE Council. We will work with the full membership of both Guilds to discuss our strategies for our own negotiations and contract goals and how they may be affected by such a deal.

For over a month, we have been urging the conglomerates to return to the table and bargain in good faith. They have chosen to negotiate with the DGA instead. Now that those negotiations are completed, the AMPTP must return to the process of bargaining with the WGA. We hope that the DGA’s tentative agreement will be a step forward in our effort to negotiate an agreement that is in the best interests of all writers.

Director's Guild statement is here. The fact sheet on the deal is here. The fine print is here (pdf).

Writers Guild West website with statements and more information is here.

< Chris "Tweety" Matthews Makes Amends | Hillary Still Compelling: Highest Rated MTP In Years >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft

  • Display: Sort:
    Looks like the directors punted (none / 0) (#1)
    by scribe on Thu Jan 17, 2008 at 05:52:56 PM EST
    and, instead of "don't get hung up on new media", the alternative message could be "The DGA is a bunch of wussies."

    Pretty much (none / 0) (#2)
    by DA in LA on Thu Jan 17, 2008 at 05:57:50 PM EST
    They are what they always have been:  Weak.

    Either that or they felt (none / 0) (#3)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Thu Jan 17, 2008 at 06:09:58 PM EST
    an increase in salaries, resids, etc. in the hand is worth more than two resids, etc., in the bush.

    Looks like someone needs a rewrite. (none / 0) (#4)
    by DA in LA on Thu Jan 17, 2008 at 07:12:07 PM EST
    Fair critique. Writing is rewriting, (none / 0) (#5)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Thu Jan 17, 2008 at 11:43:22 PM EST
    or so they say.

    Either that or they felt a fair increase in existing salaries and resids in the hand is worth two non-existent new media resids in the bush.

    But I'm sure you got the point...

    I do get the point (none / 0) (#6)
    by DA in LA on Fri Jan 18, 2008 at 12:49:40 AM EST
    I just think you have overestimated the word "fair."

    It's a crap deal, most writers will not be voting for it based on our message boards.


    Maybe so, maybe so. (none / 0) (#9)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Fri Jan 18, 2008 at 11:38:07 AM EST
    With no disrespect to the directors - (none / 0) (#7)
    by scribe on Fri Jan 18, 2008 at 09:57:21 AM EST
    without the writers, the directors have not-too-much left to direct.

    I mean, they might be able to do stuff that's public domain (like Shakespeare), but that's a finite, exhaustible universe of language and (I suppose - I dunno how involved the writers are in) any reshaping the dialogue (or stage directions) would take writers, not directors.  And, Shakespeare in the original is just not as appealing as, well, anything not on PBS.

    True enough, (none / 0) (#8)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Fri Jan 18, 2008 at 11:37:36 AM EST
    and w/o directors, the writers' scripts would just be stacks of three-hole punch paper gathering dust on a shelf. And w/o actors, the writers and directors would spend their days at Starbucks dreaming into their lattes about something that would never be. And w/o the camera dept it'd be radio. And w/o the studios and networks, et al, there would be no distribution of content and no resids for anyone to fight over. And w/o grips, electricians, set designers...