Navigating the DGA: A Member Orientation

December 2, 2019 An Eastern AD/UPM Council Event

On December 2, the Eastern AD/UPM Council hosted the orientation event, Navigating the DGA, prior to the regular monthly meeting of the Council. East Coast based Assistant Directors and Unit Production Managers gathered in the boardroom of the Guild’s New York offices for a primer on the basic workings of the DGA. The event also provided a forum for these members to discuss a variety of issues that affect ADs and UPMs with veteran members and have their questions answered by members of the Guild’s professional staff.

Following a welcome from Eastern AD/UPM Council Member Education Committee Chair Michael Reichman, he spoke about the work of the Committee that presents events such as this with the aim of furthering the knowledge of members in these categories and invited all the attendees to stay for the Council meeting that was taking place after the orientation. Then he introduced a screening of the Martin Scorsese-narrated segment “Doubling Down” from the 75th Anniversary short film series, DGA Moments in Time, which details the early history of the Guild.

DGA Assistant Executive Director Mary Hatch and Contracts Administrator Renae Robinson presented an overview of the operations and procedures of the Guild, explained how the collective bargaining agreements and DGA Field Reps protect the membership, and introduced the staff and Field Reps attending this session.

Eastern AD/UPM Council Chair Lyn Pinezich spoke about the governance of the Guild and explained how the National Board and the Councils work together to maintain the DGA and deal with issues both local and universal.

Reichman and 2nd AD Les McDonough covered the responsibilities and privileges of DGA membership. Reichman handled the responsibilities portion, explaining such basic items as how members may only work for signatory employers, should always report their work to the Guild in a timely manner and must undergo mandatory safety training before being employed on DGA-covered projects. McDonough outlined some of the many benefits that come with a DGA card such as the Pension and Health Plans, the DGA publications and access to the screenings, special events, workshops and seminars.

Council Secretary-Treasurer Michael Kriaris spoke about the importance of maintaining good community relations on a location shoot and how to avoid the NIMBY (Not In My Backyard) backlash by being a good neighbor in a production environment that sometimes finds work being done outside the studio.

In the final presentation, DGA Administrative Assistant John Hollahan led members on a brief tutorial of the services available on, and how to find information on the Council’s section of the site.

The orientation ended with a Q&A session moderated by Reichman where new members could have their questions addressed by Council members and DGA staff.

About the Council

The Eastern AD/UPM Council is the elected body that represents the Assistant Director and Unit Production Manager members of the Guild who reside and/or work in film, television, commercials and new media the East and Midwest regions.


photos by Marcie Revens

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