May 22, 2013
The DGA held its annual membership meetings at Guild headquarters in Los Angeles on Tuesday, May 14, and at the DGA New York Theatre on Wednesday, May 22. DGA President Taylor Hackford presided over both meetings.
President Hackford opened by acknowledging the recent passing of former DGA President Jack Shea and closed with the announcement that he would be stepping down as president at the Biennial Convention in June.
Hackford’s state-of-the-Guild speech recognized the accomplishments of the Guild during his tenure including: the 75th Anniversary celebrations in 2011; negotiating two Commercial contracts with the first Creative Rights provisions for commercial directors; the launch of the new DGA website, and the decision to allow members to receive DVD screeners during Awards season.
“But I believe our most important achievement during my tenure was the remarkably successful negotiation in 2010 of our current Basic Agreement and Freelance Live & Tape Television Agreement,” said Hackford. “Going in, we had one major priority, securing the protection of our Health Plan, and through those negotiations, we achieved the largest increase in Employer contribution rates to our Health Plan since it was founded in 1960.”
Hackford took this moment to look ahead to the next round of major contracts negotiations and voiced his confidence in the new Negotiations Committee Co-Chairs Michael Apted and Thomas Schlamme, who were appointed in January. “We are extremely fortunate to have the benefit of their wisdom, negotiating prowess and many years of professional and Guild experience to spearhead our negotiations alongside our fearless National Executive Director, Jay Roth and his executive team.” He also encouraged the membership to share their ideas about the coming negotiations with Council leaders and Guild executives. “For a successful negotiation, it takes a membership that cares about our contracts, that knows their rights, and calls on our professionals to inform them when they encounter problems in the workplace.”
During the speech, Hackford applauded the work of the various DGA Councils and Committees and the Guild’s professional staff. “As president, I have been fortunate these past four years to work with some amazing leaders.”
In addition to President Hackford's State-of-the-Guild report, attendees of the New York meeting also heard a special address from DGA National Vice President Steven Soderbergh that covered items of specific interest to members on the East Coast. The meetings in both locations also featured the following series of reports from Guild officials:
- Financial Report Los Angeles - DGA Secretary-Treasurer Michael Apted
- Financial Report New York - Assistant Secretary-Treasurer Scott Berger
- PAC Report Los Angeles - DGA First Vice President Paris Barclay
- PAC Report New York - DGA Fourth Vice President Gary Donatelli
- AD/UPM Council West Report - Council Chair Marie Cantin
- AD/UPM Council East Report - Council Chair Thomas J. Whelan
- AD/SM/PA Council West Report - Council Chair Valdez Flagg
- AD/SM/PA Council East Report - Council Chair Joyce Thomas
- Special Projects Committee Report Los Angeles - Committee Chair Jeremy Kagan
- Special Projects Committee Report New York - DGA Fourth Vice President Gary Donatelli
- Directors Guild Foundation Report Los Angeles - DGF Chair Donald Petrie
- Directors Guild Foundation Report New York - DGA Foundation First Vice Chair Scott Berger
- Pension and Health Plans Report (both locations) - DGA-Producer Pension and Health Plans CEO Lisa Read
In closing, Hackford chose once again to look to the future and issued a challenge to the members in attendance. “Now that I’m stepping down, I have no doubt that my successor will take this Guild to new heights, using the solid foundation built by our founders. But what I’m really hoping is that my words tonight will inspire some of you out there to step forward and help lead this great Guild. I’m a ‘Lifer’ … I’ll always be around to do whatever this Guild asks of me, but we need new blood on our Committees and Councils to keep the DGA’s flame burning brightly for the next 77 years.”
Prior to adjournment, the floor was opened to questions from the membership. Members of the Guild's management team were present at both meetings to provide answers and insight. Both events ended with a cocktail reception, giving attendees an opportunity to catch-up with their colleagues.
photos by Byron Gamarro/Los Angeles and Marcie Revens/New York