No longer "one lone artist, ... you are now one of many, and you have your rights," said director Donald Petrie to the approximately 50 new DGA members who attended the New Member Orientation on October 9 in the DGA Boardroom. Petrie and director Lesli Linka Glatter were the keynote speakers at the event, which included opening remarks by DGA Secretary-Treasurer Gil Cates.
Cates impressed upon members the importance of having the DGA as a support system. "A lot of you will marry and divorce and change agents, and it's hard, in this business, to find anything that is a consistent buoy, that you can rely on. The Directors Guild can and should be that buoy."
Petrie told the new members, "When you work from now on you've got something you didn't have before — which is that DGA contract. Don't take that lightly. That contract and your Guild membership are like a safe haven. Get to know your creative rights."
"The first time I got a residual check I realized, 'Oh my goodness. This comes to me,'" Glatter said. "I felt like I was protected in some way, that there was someone out there, bigger than myself, working on my behalf." She also told the story of going to Canada to direct a pilot and finding out from the Guild that it was her right to take an AD with her. This prevented her from being forced to hire an AD in Toronto who, she felt, would most likely have been a PA on the project preceding hers.
Glatter also encouraged each new member to participate in the Guild, and said, "I've found that there's really room for everyone to get involved in their own way. Whether it's going to an event run by the Special Projects Committee on digital media or getting involved with the Women's Steering Committee or the Western Directors Council or Creative Rights, it's inspiring."
UPM and West Coast AD/UPM/TC Council Chairperson Kim Kurumada and other committee and council representatives spoke and mingled, encouraging new members to attend meetings and get involved.
Petrie's final advice was: "The DGA is strong. But, we face many challenges in the years ahead. We'll be dealing with studios that more than ever are run by corporations whose only view of art and artists is from the bottom line. We'll be dealing with our jobs leaving for other countries and fights over intellectual property and freedom of speech. Stay informed of your rights. Stay informed of the Guild, because together; that's where we have strength."