Frequently Asked Questions

DGA Reality Television Agreements: Works for Producers, Works for Directors, Works for the Show.

Employing DGA Directors under the Guild’s new reality television contracts provides your project with the nation’s best talent through cost-effective individual show agreements that fit your production budget.


“I think every individual wants to tell their story, to be heard. To facilitate a person’s ability to do that is a great privilege, and a joy. I do this work because it allows me to explore our common humanity.” -Jeannie O’Neill

“There is always a story to tell on a reality TV show set, and I love being the one to find that story and guide the cameras to it.” -Rebecca Taylor Henning
1. Isn’t it too costly to go Guild?

No. The flexible staffing provisions in the DGA’s new Reality Television Agreements are more cost-effective than you may expect. The minimum rate for a Network, Syndication or Pay Television show is only $8,075 per episode and in Basic Cable the Director’s minimum rate is fully negotiable.


2. Do I have to hire a full Guild crew?

No. The Guild recognizes that each reality show has unique staffing issues. Staffing requirements are dependent on the needs of the individual show and are not based on a universal template. The Guild never requires unneeded staffing.


3. If I sign for this show, will I have to sign all my shows?

No. The DGA signs reality productions on a show-by-show basis and companies are not obligated to produce all their other shows under a DGA agreement. We believe your experience with the DGA will be favorable and make you want to sign for subsequent shows.


4. Have other shows used DGA agreements?

Yes. Since September 2003, more than 950 reality television shows have signed DGA agreements. And many of these are for some of the most successful shows on air. Amazing Race, Fear Factor, Big Brother, The Biggest Loser and America’s Next Top Model are only a few of the many reality shows produced under DGA Agreements.


So what should I know about the basic conditions/terms of the DGA Reality Agreement?

Network, Pay TV and Syndication

“As the director you have to not only worry about the shots, but more importantly, you hve to get the story that in unfolding right before your eyes. Because if you have a pretty show with no story, not many people are going to invest their Thursday night to your show.” -Rick Telles

Show director rates: minimum of $8,075 per show for a maximum of five (5) days work (prep, shoot, edit).

If the overall Show Director is not available to shoot segments, Segment or Field Directors are required only when segments involve: re-enactments with professional performers portraying a role, and/or acting or performance instructions with non-professional principals; major program events and/or ceremonies; coordination of more than one camera; stunts; and other instances as determined by the circumstances. In all other cases, they would be discretionary.

Associate Directors and Stage Managers are employed only as needed.



The Guild has created flexible reuse terms to help promote your show.


“We have merely scratched the surface of reality TV.” -Penelope Spheeris
Basic Cable:

The terms and conditions for reality shows produced for broadcast on basic cable are completely negotiable. The DGA requires only that producers hire DGA members when there are Guild functions to be performed and that they pay Pension and Health contributions on our members’ negotiated salaries. Salaries, working conditions, credits and residuals are completely negotiable in this arena. So talk to us about the needs of your basic cable show.


For more information about DGA Reality Contracts please contact:

Lisa Layer
Associate Western Executive Director
(310) 289-2067(310) 289-2067

Committee Chairs
Reality Television Directors Contact Guide

This booklet contains basic information, an FAQ about the DGA's flexible agreements designed for Reality Television productions, and a directory of DGA Reality Television Directors.