Directors to press for TV drama agreement
The Australian Directors Guild plans to start negotiating a TV drama directors’ agreement with producers as soon as the guild is registered as a union with Fair Work Australia.
ADG executive director Kingston Anderson tells IF that FWA status will give the guild “some legal strength to bargain on behalf of directors for an agreement that will be binding.”
Securing registration is an administratively complex process and Anderson can’t give a timetable but hopes it will be before the end of this year.
In the ADG’s latest newsletter he says the TV drama directors’ agreement will cover remuneration, standard rates, pre-production time, post-production rights and the director’s copyright clause.
“It will be a tough negotiation and just because we have become a union does not mean we will automatically get what we want for directors,” he tells members. “It will be a negotiation with our colleagues at SPAA and various production companies who are not members of SPAA."
Anderson tells IF, “It’s not just about money; it’s about a number of issues that directors face.” FWA status will enable the ADG to pursue its claims for directors to receive remuneration for the retransmission of their programs.
Negotiations with SPAA to have that copyright clause included in contracts are on hold pending the FWA registration. Some production companies have agreed to give directors that right while others have refused.
Anderson says a TV agreement is the top priority while noting that a feature film agreement is less urgent as the film industry faces structural problems in funding and static levels of production.
In the newsletter he says, “Directors’ work has been reduced from the major creative input to one of a ‘gun for hire.' This has been particularly evident in the work of television drama directors. We have also seen an assault on the role of documentary directors with a reduction in the number of single documentaries that are currently being supported in the industry.
“We need to reassert the role of the director in whatever medium as the primary creative force behind the production of screen content.”