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By the time you read this the Writer’s Guild of America’s (WGA) strike will be over. The Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and American Federation of Television and Radio Artists’ (AFTRA)—not yet.

So what can we take from the strikes? I saw one placard from the picket lines I thought was very pertinent: A Career Not A Gig.

In simple terms—the concerns of Artificial Intelligence (AI) aside—the writers wanted to be paid fairly, to ensure that their opportunities for work were safeguarded, and that there was a development path for new and junior writers into sustainable careers.

Fair pay relates to both the amount they are paid for the work they do as well as residuals, which are payments for the reuse of the work after the initial play. While broadcast and other reuse such as on cable, etc. generates residuals, streaming does not. And with streaming dominating the world and other reuse declining, writers weren’t getting the income they used to get from residuals. And they weren’t getting any from streaming.

In America, writers, directors, actors and some other key creatives get residuals, all of which are negotiated by the guilds there, to help contribute towards sustainable careers for their members.

Do we have residuals in New Zealand? Sort of.

Screenrights collects revenue for reuse from Government, Education and Retransmission in Australia, but in New Zealand only from Education. The Australian Screen Directors Authorship Collection Society (ASDACS) collects any revenues owing from Screenrights and distributes them to NZ directors.

International organisations who collect revenues from a variety of rights on behalf of directors also pass this on to ASDACS for distribution to its members.

A share of the back-end, typically being net profit, is kind of a residual, but is dependent on sufficient revenue coming back from the income of the production and there being something left after all of the other obligations and costs have been deducted. Directors must negotiate a net profit share in their contracts to get it.

A share of the producer’s corridor that flows to the producer from NZFC for non-New Zealand Screen Production Rebate films, and a share of Producer’s Equity from New Zealand Screen Production Rebate films and TV shows can also be negotiated by the director in their contract with the producer.

Screenrights, ASDACS, producer’s corridor and NZSPR producer equity are all mechanisms by which directors can help build sustainable careers for themselves. And the opportunity to do this should be taken advantage of.

With the Screen Industry Workers Act, we hope to remove the need for directors to negotiate individually for their shares of these revenues through collective bargaining, just like the DGA does for directors, the WGA does for writers, and SAG/AFTRA does for actors in regard to residuals.

The news coming out of the negotiations is that the WGA got a lot of what they were after, including residuals from streamers. We expect that SAG/AFTRA will now quickly conclude their negotiations as well.

For New Zealand guilds, we are working towards having our negotiations in the first half of 2024. For us at least, residuals are definitely on the agenda for collective bargaining.

 

Tui Ruwhiu
Executive Director

Last updated on 29 September 2023

Season 4 of the beloved Netflix series Sex Education is out now, with two of the eight episodes directed by 2018 Incubator alum Michelle Savill.

The show is known for being awkwardly hilarious, following the lives of the students, staff, and parents of an English secondary school. As the name implies, the show isn’t one to shy away from taboo topics. One of the show’s ongoing plots is the main character Otis’s involvement in an underground sex clinic for his peers.

However, Michelle’s episodes this season dive into darker themes of death, grieving, and postpartum depression. As the series comes to a close, with season four being the show’s finale, the characters and their relationships face their biggest challenges yet. Despite the heavier drama, Michelle’s episodes still balance the comedy just right, covering more sexually awkward topics.

In an interview with Stuff earlier this year, Michelle talked about how ending Sex Education will be bittersweet. She shared,

It’s been such a great project. I’ve loved everyone I’ve worked with. On every film or TV show you become a family and then the project ends and you will leave and there is a sense of sadness because you will never be together like that again. But it’s nice to move on and catch up on sleep and spend time with your family – and release what you’ve made into the world.

You can catch Sex Education on Netflix now.

Last updated on 28 September 2023

Congratulations Rebecca Tansley (DEGANZ) for winning the Special Mention Award for Extraordinary Artistic Achievement at the Golden Prague International Television Festival for her film The Strangest of Angels.

The Strangest of Angels is a chamber opera inspired by the life of author Janet Frame, which Rebecca directed and produced for the New Zealand Opera. It premiered earlier this year at NZIFF and received praise for its moving depiction of the imagined relationship between Janet and her fictional nurse, caught between duty and empathy.

The judges provided the following justification for the film’s win:

New Zealand film director Rebecca Tansley successfully transforms the chamber opera The Strangest of Angels into a film on location, raising doubts about who is sane and who isn‘t.

The festival showcases productions centered around music, dance, and theatre. Each year they award the Grand Prix Golden Prague, the Czech Crystal award for three categories, and the Special Mention for Extraordinary Artistic Achievement. Competition was tough this year, with 30-odd films in the running for the single Special Mention award of the night.

Rebecca shared with DEGANZ how excited she was to be part of the awards show, which was broadcast live in Czech. She said it was even more exciting when her name was called out!

Last updated on 28 September 2023

DEGANZ member Shane Rangi (Ngāti Porou) is set to have his directorial debut with his semi-autobiographical feature film, Taonga. Long-time collaborator and Oscar-winning filmmaker, James Cameron, is one of the production’s executive producers.

While this is Shane’s first excursion into directing, he is one of Aotearoa’s leading motion capture and stunt performers. He is best known for his work on a plethora of blockbuster films including Thor: Ragnarok, The Wolverine, the Lord of the Rings, Hobbit, and Narnia franchises, and both Avatar films. He met Cameron through his work on Avatar, and the two continued working together through the development of Taonga.

The film is inspired by Shane’s life. It follows an indigenous Polynesian rugby star who becomes homeless and barely survives a violent encounter with law enforcement. While writing the script, Shane aimed to tackle the realities of homelessness and modern-day policing.

Fandomodo Films, a boutique film and television development, production, and financing company, is independently funding the film. The company aims to raise underrepresented voices, telling stories that accurately reflect our society with all the horror, pain, and love that exists in every human being.

The hope is for filming to begin in Aotearoa in 2024 but will depend on the SAG-AFTRA strike.

Read more.

Last updated on 28 September 2023

Award-winning docuseries Still Here is back for season two, with multiple DEGANZ members on the team! Litia Tuiburelevu (DEGANZ) directed and co-produced the series with fellow member Josh Yong as supervising producer and executive producer. Josh also edited episode four and provided additional editing for the first three. Also on the editorial team is Frangipani Foulkes (DEGANZ) as assistant editor for all four episodes.

Still Here celebrates the Pasifika community living in inner-city Auckland despite the decades of gentrification attempting to push them out. Season two profiles millennials from the remaining Pasifika families living in Tāmaki Makaurau’s affluent suburbs of Grey Lynn, Herne Bay, Ponsonby, and Western Springs. This season expands on season one’s core themes of resilience, identity, and identification, using an intergenerational lens to tell the story.

Some stories highlighted this season include Leki Jackson-Bourke, a community centre youth leader fighting to revitalise the Niuean language and culture, and Samoa House, the first-ever fale built outside Samoa, hidden in plain sight on K’ Road. Each episode is a love letter to the community it focuses on but emphasises the issues that threaten them.

The show is an unapologetic reminder of the Pasifika community’s unique Central Auckland indignity, proudly embraced by the younger generations, and that they and their families are still here.

You can watch season two on Re: or TVNZ+.

Last updated on 26 September 2023