Paris Barclay Juggles Guild Duties with
Michael Lewis

The DGA President Keeps Active Behind the Camera

Paris Barclay is not slowing down — even with the additional responsibility of being the 25th president of the Directors Guild of America.

He’s executive producing the last season of “Sons of Anarchy,” shooting the 100th episode of ‘Glee” and directing an episode of “The Good Wife.” When he was elected last June, Barclay had already directed more than 130 TV episodes.

“The DGA president traditionally is a working director,” Barclay says. “It makes a difference to be out there in the field.”

Seven months into his presidency, Barclay’s impressed with the DGA having achieved a new three-year master contract that goes into effect on July 1 — particularly in areas of sweeter terms on wage minimums, new media, basic cable rates and subscription video-on-demand.

“It’s probably the most forward-looking deal we’ve ever signed,” he says. “SVOD is going to become a lot bigger. I don’t think that’s something we would have thought of three years ago.”

Barclay credits research efforts within the DGA along with outside consultants for giving the guild’s negotiators the facts needed at the bargaining table. “We did a lot of homework,” he adds.

The DGA deal also requires major TV studios to maintain or establish a program designed to expand opportunities for directors in episodic television with an emphasis on increasing diversity. Barclay, the DGA’s first African-American president, says the provision is a key component to get employers to change.

“Addressing diversity really starts with the studios looking beyond business as usual,” he says. “We have 15,000 members and 22% of them are women. Only 13% of directors are women directors. So the employers have to ask for more than the status quo.”

Barclay credits the late Gil Cates, who headed the previous four negotiating committees, for forward-looking views.

“We have to see what’s three, six and nine years out. Gil always impressed upon us the need to do that.”
As for the awards ceremony on Jan. 25, Barclay’s particularly pleased that Jane Lynch is hosting — marking the first time a woman has done so.

“I’ve known Jane for 20 years and directed her,” he adds. “It’s going to be great evening.”

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