Sides remain too far apart on key issues

Despite much buzz in the blogosphere, the DGA is still far from reaching the bargaining table with studios and producers.

Though neither side will confirm details, recent informal talks have not yielded enough progress to justify setting an official date for the start of formal negotiations. Insiders indicate the two sides remain too far apart on key issues to go forward.

“They’re not yet within shouting distance,” one said.

The helmers had been expected to move with dispatch after announcing on Dec. 13 that they had lost patience with the WGA’s inability to reach a deal and would wait only until the end of the year before setting up their own talks.

But the DGA has also said it would announce the start of talks only if an “appropriate” framework could be established — an indication that it would have to be satisfied that an acceptable deal can be made.

The DGA has indicated that its proposal will focus heavily on new-media compensation issues — one of the key areas in which the WGA-AMPTP negotiations derailed on Dec. 7.

If the DGA can make a deal, the pact’s new-media terms could well be used as a template for the majors’ subsequent agreements with the WGA and SAG. The DGA and SAG contracts both expire June 30.

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