Navigating the DGA: A New Member Orientation

June 11, 2013 An AD/UPM East Council Event

New Assistant Director and Unit Production Manager-members were treated to a detailed primer on the workings of their Guild during the Navigating the DGA orientation held by the AD/UPM Council East on June 11. Members of this category came to the seventh floor boardroom of the Guild’s New York offices to hear informative discussions about a variety of issues that affect ADs and UPMs given by Council members and DGA staff.

The session began with an introduction and welcome from AD/UPM Council East Member Education Committee Chair Michael Reichman, who invited each of the new attendees to introduce themselves, and also spoke about the mission of the Member Education Committee.

DGA Assistant Executive Director Neil Dudich introduced himself and other staff members, including the DGA Field Reps who are the first line of defense in protecting the legal and artistic rights and creative freedom of the membership. Dudich also spoke briefly about the operations and procedures of the Guild and explained how much information is available via the DGA website.

Council Alternate and National Board Member Steve Glanzrock presented a brief tutorial on the governance of the Guild with information about its Constitution, National Board, upcoming National Convention, the other Councils and Committees, and the DGA Annual Meeting membership meetings and the rules about attendance. Glanzrock also described the Guild’s ‘open door’ policy and how any member may bring an item to the Board’s or Councils’ attention.

Reichman returned to speak about the responsibilities of DGA membership such as: reporting work, reporting problems, Council and committee involvement, filling out deal memos and other necessary paperwork, and maintaining etiquette and safety on the set. He also stressed that one of the main pillars in maintaining the strength of our collectively bargained agreements is that Guild members do not accept non-Guild work. Council Alternate Les McDonough presented a complementing discussion about the privileges and benefits of DGA membership such as: the ever-present protections offered by the Guild; the health insurance and pensions plans; online job search tools such as the Production and Availability Lists on the DGA Website; residuals; and other perks like the frequent screenings, events, workshops and seminars held at the DGA.

DGA Fourth Vice President Gary Donatelli was on hand to discuss the importance of supporting the DGA PAC, and its ongoing mission to fight for the rights of DGA membership through legislative efforts.  The final report came from 2nd AD Michael Nickodem, who spoke about the importance of maintaining good community relations on the job when working on location, and urged his fellow members to be good neighbors and thus avoid a ‘Not In My Backyard’ backlash from irritated residents.

The orientation ended with a Q&A session, moderated by Reichman where new members could ask questions of the Council members and DGA staff. All attendees were then invited to stay for the dinner and the Eastern AD/UPM Council meeting which immediately followed. Before the start of the meeting, Eastern AD/UPM Council Chair Thomas Whelan presented a certificate of service to Council Alternate and National Board Member Steve Glanzrock.

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