×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Late scripts hamper helmers

DGA survey finds that the problem is widespread

Tardy scripts have become a growing problem for TV directors, specifically those working in episodic, single-camera skeins, according to a study commissioned by the DGA and the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers.

Researchers began tracking script delivery in the fourth quarter of last year and found 318 of 651 one-hour TV scripts came in late — 20% by as much as seven to 15 days.

A survey sent to DGA members last spring found that of 199 member directors, 80% had received at least one tardy script. Respondents also estimate that half of the scripts they directed arrived late, coinciding with the study’s findings.

Contractually, writers are required to turn in scripts at least eight days in advance in order to give directors time to prep. Writers claim it’s become harder to deliver scripts on time due to budget cuts and networks’ insistence on increasingly sophisticated fare.

Issue is also a problem for studios, as delays in script delivery lead to cost overruns that add to a show’s budget.

Findings were released Wednesday at a confab between the orgs and top studio and net execs. DreamWorks’ Jeffrey Katzenberg, CBS topper Leslie Moonves (both repping AMPTP), DGA creative rights committee chair Steven Soderbergh and DGA TV committee chair Rod Halcomb were in attendance.

“There is a real need for improvement in the culture and practices that permit what’s happening to directors in television,” Soderbergh said. “The lack of preparedness does not just affect the ability of directors to do their jobs but makes work more difficult for the entire cast and crew.”

The DGA and AMPTP resolved to deal with the issue of tardy scripts last year during the last round of negotiations.

“The tracking data reinforces our concerns,” Halcomb said. We now have hard evidence to back us up –proof that late script delivery has proliferated into an industrywide problem — and that we need to stop it in its tracks.”

“We’ll work with the exec producers, showrunners and writers to take appropriate measures to ensure that shows come in on budget and at their creative best,” Katzenberg said.

Also in attendance: Touchstone TV exec VP Howard Davine, NBC Studios prexy Ted Halbert, Universal TV production prexy David Kissinger, Columbia/TriStar Domestic TV programming and production prexy Russ Krasnoff and Warner Bros. TV Prods. senior VP Gregg Maday.

More Film

  • Berlin Film 'The Ground Beneath My

    Berlin Competition Film 'The Ground Beneath My Feet' Sold to Germany's Salzgeber (EXCLUSIVE)

    Salzgeber has acquired the German rights for Berlin Film Festival competition title “The Ground Beneath My Feet” from sales agent Picture Tree International. Variety has been given exclusive access to the film’s trailer. Salzgeber will release the film, directed by Marie Kreutzer, mid-May. Trailer for Berlin Film Festival competition title “The Ground Beneath My Feet” [...]

  • Donald Glover'Atlanta' TV show premiere, Arrivals,

    Childish Gambino Surprises Beverly Hills Crowd With Reimagined 'Redbone'

    Donald Glover made an unexpected appearance at Film Independent’s “An Evening With…” series tonight (Jan. 15), held at the Wallis Annenberg Center for Performing Arts in Beverly Hills and presented by the HFPA. Joining “Black Panther” composer and Childish Gambino collaborator Ludwig Göransson, who was the subject of a Q&A conducted by “The Treatment” host Elvis [...]

  • 76th ANNUAL GOLDEN GLOBE AWARDS --

    Film News Roundup: Glenn Close Selected for Oscar Wilde Award

    In today’s film news roundup, Glenn Close gets an honor, AFI names its Directing Workshop for Women participants and Teri Polo gets cast in a Christmas drama. CLOSE HONOR Glenn Close will be honored on Feb. 21 by the US-Ireland Alliance at the 14th Annual Oscar Wilde Awards, held at J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot in [...]

  • Jason Reitman Ghostbusters

    Jason Reitman to Direct Secret 'Ghostbusters' Movie

    Sony Pictures is getting the wheels in motion for the next installment in the “Ghostbusters” franchise, and it knows who it’s going to call to direct: Jason Reitman. Sources tell Variety that Reitman, whose father, Ivan, directed the first two “Ghostbusters” movies, will direct the latest pic in the famous franchise. Reitman has also co-written a [...]

  • L.A. Teachers' Strike: Hollywood Studios, Unions

    Hollywood Studios, Unions Support Parents and Educators as L.A. Teachers' Strike Rages

    Hollywood unions and entertainment companies have stepped up to support the 31,000 Los Angeles teachers in the second day of a massive strike that’s affected nearly half a million students. More than 50 SAG-AFTRA members picketed at a Tuesday afternoon rally in the driving rain next to the Hollywood & Highland Center with secretary-treasurer Jane [...]

  • SAMUEL L. JACKSON in Glass. M.

    ‘Glass’ Again Tops Studios’ TV Ad Spending

    In this week’s edition of the Variety Movie Commercial Tracker, powered by the TV advertising attention analytics company iSpot.tv, Universal Pictures claims the top spot in spending for the second week in a row with “Glass.” Ads placed for the superhero thriller had an estimated media value of $9.89 million through Sunday for 1,183 national [...]

  • Danny Glover

    Danny Glover Joins 'Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle' Sequel

    Danny Glover has joined the cast of Sony’s “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” sequel. His role is being kept under wraps, as is the storyline. Glover will star opposite Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, Kevin Hart, and Karen Gillan, all of whom are set to return. Awkwafina is in final negotiations for a significant part in [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content