Coronavirus Update: Your Guild Is Here For You

DGA Logo

March 16, 2020

A message from DGA President Thomas Schlamme and National Executive Director Russell Hollander

Dear Members:

We know that so many of you are filled with anxiety about the unknowns of such an unprecedented, fluid situation – changing by the day, by the hour, by the minute. These feelings are everywhere. We understand. We get it. And that is why we are doing everything we can at the Guild for you, to reassure you, and to remind you how meaningful it is to be united. Especially at a time like this.

First and foremost, your health and safety continue to be our top priority. That’s hand-in-hand with our commitment to supporting you. As everything continues to change, we’re working hard on your behalf, and continuously re-evaluating how we adjust to meet your needs. Weeks ago, we appointed a multidisciplinary staff task force to actively monitor CDC, WHO, state and local guidance around the clock. To ensure keeping everyone safe, we have been consulting with medical and other experts on how best to conduct our operations and provide support for our members. Here’s a snapshot of that work, and important information we wanted to share with you.

Right now, leading medical authorities are advising that the most important way to prevent the spread of coronavirus is through social distancing, especially for the most vulnerable among us. For the film and television industry, this has led to many productions shutting down, and those that remain open taking additional steps to protect your health. We want to remind you that your Guild is here to protect you. We are, and will continue to be, in touch with the Studios, Networks and other employers about their plans and their obligations to you. As you’ve seen, most but not all productions have temporarily hit the pause button, which we fully support. If you continue to work, or if your production has been halted, and you have questions, please do not hesitate to call the Contracts line at (310) 289-2010, or email the DGA Contracts Department at If you communicate by email, please be sure to include the nature of your inquiry and your phone number, and you will receive a call back from an experienced Contracts team member.

Another way we are working for you is by implementing special procedures to fast-track all residual checks that are already at the Guild. The Residuals team, supported by staff from other departments throughout the Guild, worked around the clock to get thousands of checks in the mail immediately. As additional checks are delivered, we will continue turning them around as quickly as possible.

We are also concerned for the people we employ as a Guild. On the advice of our medical consultant, we have been hard at work implementing plans for our staff to work remotely beginning today. We will remain fully operational, and ask that you reach out to us by phone or email only, and refrain from visiting Guild offices in person. We are here for you, but please be patient as the volume of inquiries has increased considerably, and it may take a bit more time than usual to return your messages. Remember, we are all in this together.

We have also joined with our sister unions to call on Congress for financial relief for our members. As freelance employees, some of you may be particularly vulnerable to production shutdowns related to coronavirus. That’s why we’re pushing for legislation to provide economic relief to employees in the entertainment industry. We are working with a coalition of industry unions through the AFL-CIO Department for Professional Employees including IATSE, SAG-AFTRA, and Actors Equity – together with our allies in Congress.

Given the importance of testing for coronavirus/COVID-19, the DGA-Producer Health Plan Board of Trustees has approved coverage of COVID-19-related testing and doctor visits for currently covered Health Plan participants. Effective immediately, all patient cost-shares (co-pays, co-insurance, deductibles) will be waived for all COVID-19 related testing through June 15, 2020 as long as it is: medically necessary; ordered by a network provider; and performed at a network lab/facility. This includes patient cost-shares for office visits, urgent care centers and hospital emergency room visits for the purpose of COVID-19 testing.

For more information, including tips on how to protect yourselves, your families, and your communities, visit the DGA Health Plan website at

For members who have other questions regarding their Pension and Health benefits, the Plans’ staff is available to assist you, and can be reached at Participant Services at 323-866-2200 extension 401; or toll free at (877) 866-2200.

For members who begin experiencing financial emergencies or hardship, there are resources available to you including the Directors Guild Foundation which offers confidential interest-free loans to members in need (email: Additionally, the Motion Picture Television Fund (MPTF) remains fully committed to its mission of helping the entertainment industry workforce, and is available to provide financial assistance and case management to those experiencing hardship related to coronavirus including production shutdowns, work slowdowns, layoffs or other issues. The MPTF can be reached at 323-634 3888.

As the coronavirus situation evolves, your Guild is working overtime to help provide you with some stability in these difficult times. While the days ahead may seem cloudy, we should all be comforted in knowing that our work will continue to be highly in demand by billions around the globe. All of the creations you’ve worked on are so necessary to entertain, and will provide relief to so many. We are so proud to represent you.

And again, please know we are working hard on your behalf. Do not hesitate to reach out to us. We are here for you. And we will be responding to your needs. In the meantime, please keep checking the coronavirus section of our website (accessible directly from our homepage at, for the latest developments.

We hope you and your families remain safe.

Thomas Schlamme

Russell Hollander
National Executive Director