DGA President Paris Barclay Leads Guild’s Progress on Diversifying Workforce

Paris Barclay is ready for another two-year term as the 25th president of the Directors Guild of America, despite a seriously busy schedule.

“I enjoy a lot of what the president does,” he told Variety recently. “I’m likely to continue.”

DGA presidents typically serve two terms, as was the case with Barclay’s predecessor Taylor Hackford, and they tend to continue working in the industry on projects while in office. In Barclay’s case he’s finished executive producing the last season of FX’s drama “Sons of Anarchy” and recently journeyed to Wales to shoot a pilot for “The Bastard Executioner” from Kurt Sutter’s script.

“It’s set in the 14th century and there are no motorcycles,” Barclay says.

Twenty months into his presidency, Barclay’s pleased with the DGA’s three-year successor deal to its master contract that went into effect in July — particularly in the requirement for 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 he’s working toward similar diversity provisions covering work in feature films. “That part is far more complicated than TV,” he says.

Barclay’s pleased that overall gains in TV programming are translating to more money in the pockets of the 15,000 DGA members.

“We are also increasing contract enforcement, making sure that our members are not taken advantage of,” he adds.

Barclay credits research efforts within the DGA along with outside consultants for achieving the gains in the new contract — and asserts that the DGA has been stepping up those initiatives for the next round of negotiations in 2016.

“Our research department occupies pretty much an entire floor,” he adds. “We’ve increased our research spending 10-fold so we can have the best information at our next negotiations.”

As for the awards ceremony on Feb. 7 at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza, Barclay’s particularly enthused over Jane Lynch returning for hosting duties after becoming the first woman to do so last year. He’s also excited about the launch of the DGA’s first-ever lifetime achievement award in TV that is being awarded to James Burrows and Robert Butler.

“The theme for this show is ‘breaking the rules’ and we’re getting the new lifetime achievement awards started with a bang.”

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