As Co-Chairs of the DGA Creative Rights Committee, we spend a lot of time talking to Directors about their work problems. Often we find that trouble begins with those who are unclear about or unaware of creative rights protections they already have as members of the Directors Guild of America.
Some DGA Directors have voiced frustration over practices in the editing room; they did not know that the DGA Basic Agreement protects them from interference when they are preparing their cut. Some television Directors have expressed concern about being excluded from the looping and dubbing process; they were unaware that they, like feature Directors, have the right to participate in both. And many Directors did not realize that, because they are Guild members, they have a right to additional cutting time if necessary to incorporate temp effects for the preview of their Director's Cut.
We have developed a Creative Rights Handbook to help raise awareness of your rights during all phases of production. It is important for every member to understand that these are "use them or lose them" rights; each time we choose not to exercise them, we further the chances of their erosion.
As you enjoy the benefits of DGA creative rights on your next directing assignment, hold a special thought for the Directors who have fought battle after battle to win these protections for us all. And if you find yourself with any creative rights questions or problems, please call the DGA.
Jonathan Mostow & Steven Soderbergh
Co-Chairs Creative Rights Committee
CREATIVE RIGHTS - TELEVISION
The Television Subcommittee of the DGA Creative Rights Committee seeks to raise member awareness of rights that have already been established and address various challenges that still remain.
In the following Q&A from May 2011, Co-Chair Michael Zinberg and former Co-Chair Rod Holcomb tell us about some of the most pressing creative rights issues facing television directors.
| Co-Chairs Matthew Penn & Michael Zinberg
Click here to read what they had to say...
The companies feared a "Director's Cut" would mean increased post-production costs. Capra proposed that the companies and the DGA draw up a list of the top 12 Directors in the world. In the event that any Director held up post-production in the way that the companies feared, the Guild, at its own expense, would fly in any one of those Directors from anywhere in the world to finish that work, even if it was only a half-hour TV show. Impressed by the sincerity of the proposal, the studio heads agreed that the Director is entitled to prepare his or her cut of the film.
"The difficulty arose because the only right we had in the contract back then in the early '60s was to make suggestions for improvements in a 'rough cut' to the associate producer. We called many directors together and all of them agreed that they were having similar problems. So we met under the supervision of Joe Youngerman over a period of time to see if we could draft what we called a 'Bill of Creative Rights.' George Sidney, who was President of the Guild at the time, asked Frank Capra to chair a special negotiating committee to obtain acknowledgment of these rights. And that's how it started."
– Elliot Silverstein, original member of the 1964 DGA Creative Rights Committee and Chairman from 1968–1992.
"We gotta show 'em how much we care!"
– Frank Capra, first Chairman of the DGA Creative Rights Committee, recommending to his directorial colleagues in 1964 the way to convince studio heads that directors should be entitled to a "Director's Cut."