2019 DGA Annual Meetings in Los Angeles & New York

AM LA 2018

May 21, 2019

A record audience filled the Beverly Hilton Ballroom on Monday, May 13 as members gathered in Beverly Hills for the DGA’s West Coast 2019 Annual Membership Meeting. A strong turnout also marked the Guild’s East Coast Annual Membership Meeting at the DGA New York Theater on Tuesday, May 21. DGA President Thomas Schlamme presided over both meetings.

In his President’s Report on the state of the Guild, Schlamme pointed to the source of the DGA's strength, which boils down to a simple approach: “Honor our past, stay flexible in the present and keep a keen eye on the future.”

Schlamme then jumped into the subject that’s close to everyone’s minds, the upcoming round of negotiations. “This is the most important thing we do as a Guild,” said Schlamme. “It’s where we exert our collective bargaining strength and leverage on this business. While our major contracts expire on June 30, 2020, just over a year from now, we’ve been ramping up our preparations.”

Before touching on some of the major issues that would be addressed in the upcoming rounds of negotiations, Schlamme reiterated the recent appointments of Directors Jon Avnet and Todd Holland – who have served on a number of past Negotiations Committees – to lead the Basic Agreement negotiations as Co-Chairs together with DGA National Executive Director Russell Hollander. They will take on this challenge in concert with a Negotiations Committee made up of nearly 80 members from all over, and across categories and genres. He also noted the upcoming work of the Theatrical Creative Rights Committee, chaired by Christopher Nolan and Jonathan Mostow, and Television Creative Rights Committee, chaired by Paris Barclay and Matthew Penn to formulate ideas to protect and expand the role of the director.

“Right now, it’s far too early in the process to make definitive statements about our negotiating priorities,” continued Schlamme. That will be the work of the committee. But rest assured we will be as forceful as we always are in ensuring that compensation, working conditions, residuals, pension and health, creative rights and inclusion are addressed.”

In New York, Schlamme also spoke about the recent appointments of Directors Brett Holey and Lily Olszewski and Associate Director/DGA Assistant Secretary-Treasurer Scott Berger to co-chair the Guild's Network News, Sports and Local negotiations alongside Eastern Executive Director Neil Dudich. Schlamme closed his report by thanking the contributions of the various councils and committees of the Guild as well as the work of the DGA staff led by National Executive Director Russell Hollander. He also sounded the call for members to get more involved with the Guild.

“There are so many active working members serving, giving up their time for our Guild, and looking out for each other. That is who we are. That is what we do. And it’s what I’ve now seen on an entirely new level as President. It’s what truly inspires me every day … It’s all possible because of people like you who’ve been motivated to get involved. So for any of you who haven’t been able to .. come join us, and be part of this process. It makes us all stronger.” ”

In addition to President Schlamme's State-of-the-Guild report, attendees of the New York meeting also heard a special address from DGA National Vice President Vincent Misiano 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:

  • Secretary/Treasurer’s Report, (both locations) - DGA Secretary-Treasurer Michael Apted
  • PAC Report, Los Angeles – DGA PAC Co-Chair Carl Weathers
  • PAC Report, New York - DGA PAC Leadership Council Co-Chair Gary Donatelli
  • Western AD/UPM Council Report - Council Chair Cleve Landsberg
  • Eastern AD/UPM Council Report – DGA Board Member Kathleen McGill
  • Western AD/SM/PA Council Report - Council First Vice Chair Jerri Churchill
  • Eastern AD/SM/PA Council Report - Council Chair Glenna Meeks
  • Special Projects Committee Report, Los Angeles - Committee Member Randal Kleiser
  • Special Projects Committee Report, New York – Eastern Region Committee Member Dennis W. Mazzocco
  • Directors Guild Foundation Report, Los Angeles - DGF Chair Donald Petrie
  • Directors Guild Foundation Report, New York - DGA Assistant Secretary-Treasurer/DGF First Vice Chair Scott Berger
  • Pension and Health Plans Report (both locations) - DGA-Producer Pension and Health Plans CEO Lisa Read

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 Howard Wise/Los Angeles and Marcie Revens/New York