Directors Guild of America president Gene Reynolds charged Jan. 23 that a Writers Guild of America contract proposal to be able to view and challenge final cuts of feature pix would “threaten us severely” if it became a part of the scribblers’ pact with the producers.
The WGA is currently in final negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture & TV Producers to hammer out a contract. According to sources close to the talks, a contract clause does exist that asks for the writer’s right to view the director’s final cut.
Reynolds said such a clause would be fighting words for the DGA.
“I can’t begin to say how important this is to us,” Reynolds told Variety. “Once the film is turned over to the producer, he’s certainly entitled to show it to whomever he wants. But we don’t want somebody stepping in and seeing it before the producer. They would view it, challenge it and complain about it. It’s a very serious matter.”
Normally, Reynolds explained, the writer and other creative team members are allowed to view the cut after the director has turned it over to the producer. If it were to happen any earlier in the process, he said, “it would challenge us severely. It would threaten us severely.”
WGA exec director Brian Walton in a statement offered no comment on the actual proposal. But he said that once the scribe guild’s negotiation committee and its governing bodies approved a tentative agreement on a contract, “That will be the appropriate time for our members and other interested parties to comment and debate the terms of the contract.”
The DGA is also extremely protective of its right to ask producers for a possessory credit for helmers. That is the three-word credit that says: “A Film By…”
WGA sources said that the possesory credit has taken a back seat to other contract points.