Our staff are able to provide a range of general and specific legal, contract and financial information for members, as well as career advice and dispute resolution.
The Guild strongly recommends that you seek independent, professional legal advice before signing a contract.
We are gradually building a set of standard contracts for use by directors and editors who are members of the Guild. These can be found, along with our other guides, under Resources and are intended as a recommended guide.
Available DEGANZ standard agreements:
- Feature film editing agreement
- Feature film director’s agreement
- Online series director’s agreement
- How To Set Up An SPV For Filmmakers
- DEGANZ Director’s Guide To Remuneration
Code of Conduct
For Professional Screen Directors and Editors
The Directors and Editors Guild (DEGANZ) is the professional association and trade union representing screen directors and editors in Aotearoa New Zealand.
DEGANZ, its board and members, is committed to promoting safe workspaces in the screen production sector, irrespective of whether the work undertaken is paid or unpaid.
With this Code of Conduct we are encouraging directors and editors to behave responsibly and to be a credit to our profession. This entails acting in good faith and showing respect for every person that they work alongside.
Like all workers in this country, directors and editors are bound by the Health and Safety in Employment Act. This means that everyone is responsible for ensuring that work spaces are free from sexual harassment, discrimination and bullying.
This Code of Conduct is a living document and, as such, is subject to ongoing review. DEGANZ welcomes suggestions for amendments and acknowledges the need for continual examination of our industry’s working practices and standards.
We believe that this Code is an opportunity for everyone to work towards a more collaborative, communicative and empowering workplace.
Directing and editing are artforms. The work and process can and should be challenging, experimental, exploratory and innovative. Artistic freedom of expression is essential. For these things to happen, though, the creative space must be a safe space. This means that everyone feels confident that they will not be exposed to emotional, cultural or physical harm.
The ways in which we work are broad. They may encompass administration, auditions, rehearsals, technical work, late nights, parties, public-facing frontline work and in some cases working away from our home bases. A large proportion of arts sector and screen production workers are freelance, and so we must be extra vigilant to ensure that there is no space for problematic behaviour to exist.
Directors in particular are in a unique position of power on a production, especially with feature film. Directors must acknowledge that what they say and do has a potential for both significant positive and negative impacts on those they work with. They therefore must take full responsibility for their actions and exercise the utmost care in their interactions with others while striving to deliver the best for their projects.
When does this code apply?
This code applies to all screen directors and editors. This includes (but is not limited to):
- Professional (paid) directors and editors
- Student directors and editors
- Volunteers, interns and unpaid directors and editors
- Assistant directors and editors
The code applies in all aspects to the work of directors and editors, wherever that may take place, including (but not limited to):
- When working with writers
- In interactions with funding bodies
- In relation to working with actors, during but not limited to auditions – including in the audition waiting room, rehearsals and on set, with special regard to young/child performers
- During workshops or devising kaupapa
- During production meetings
- During shoots
- With interactions with audiences
- In relation to working with agents, casting directors, producers and technical crew
- In relation to working with wardrobe, hair and makeup artists
- In post-production meetings
- In edit and post-production sessions
- At social events with other performers, including wrap parties and sponsorship events
- On social media posts that are production-related
All directors and editors have a responsibility for ensuring they treat their colleagues and contacts in the workplace with dignity and respect, and to be aware of the potential impact their behaviour has on others. With this code, DEGANZ encourages all those on a production to call out inappropriate behaviour as soon as it arises. (See raising a complaint section, below.)
The nature of production and post-production involves an intense interaction with many creative individuals. This process can expose many to vulnerable situations. This is especially the case when rehearsing, staging, filming and post-producing scenes that depict close physical intimacy, nudity, violence or verbal abuse. In accord with our peers at Equity, DEGANZ recommends that such scenarios be thoroughly discussed well in advance as part of pre-production, rehearsals and post-production. Where required, an intimacy coordinator, cultural safety advisor or other field expert, should be engaged as a production/team support mechanism.
During rehearsal, production and post-production processes all team members must be able to exercise their own agency at all times, particularly if they are feeling unsafe.
What is inappropriate behaviour?
Harassment of any kind is about the abuse of power. DEGANZ encourages directors and editors to take responsibility for the power they have in the workplace, and not use it abusively over others who may be more vulnerable than themselves. In particular, DEGANZ encourages directors and editors to avoid any behaviour that marginalises or diminishes their colleagues and their mana.
Some general guidelines are:
- Colleagues should not be subject to negative commentary and/or stereotypes on: sexuality, gender identity, age, physical attributes or abilities, race or ethnicity, class, size, attractiveness, or personality characteristics, clothing or sexiness.
- Avoid being dismissive and rude.
- Making assumptions about gender, sexuality, race, class or religion of colleagues is disrespectful.
- Strive to use people’s proper names, pronunciation and pronouns.
- Shaming or public outbursts are threatening and have absolutely no place in a professional
Harassment on the grounds of gender identity, marital status, family status, race, age, religion, size, sexual orientation or disability is defined as any unwanted conduct which has the purpose or effect of violating a person’s dignity and creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for the person.
Unwanted conduct may consist of acts, requests, spoken words, gestures or the production, display or circulation of written words, pictures or other material.
Examples of harassment might include:
- Verbal harassment – jokes, comments, ridicule or songs.
- Written harassment – texts, messages, social media posts, emails, letters and notices.
- Physical harassment – unnecessary touching, non-consensual touching or any form of assault.
Sexual harassment is any form of non-consensual verbal, nonverbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature which has the purpose or effect of violating a person’s dignity and creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for the person.
This conduct is not limited by the gender(s) of the complainant and the alleged perpetrator(s). The non- consensual conduct may consist of acts, requests, spoken words, gestures, physical contact or the production, display or circulation of written words, pictures or other material.
Examples of sexual harassment include:
- Unwelcome sexual gestures
- Unwanted displays of sexually suggestive objects including images, text messages or emails
- Unwelcome sexual comments and jokes
- Unwelcome physical contact such as pinching and groping. Or more benign touching that is unnecessary or it has been communicated is unwanted.
- Physical force, or threat of force, for sexual objective
- Threat of disadvantage for rejection of advances
- Promise of advantage for sexual concessions
Workplace bullying is repeated inappropriate behaviour, direct or indirect, whether verbal, physical, online or otherwise, conducted by one or more persons against another, or others, at the place of work and/or in the course of employment which could reasonably be regarded as undermining of the individual’s right to dignity at work.
Bullying is deliberate and intentional. It is usually not a one-off incident, but is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated over time.
Many types of conduct and actions can constitute bullying with some being less obvious than others. Bullying can consist of persistent offensive, abusive, intimidating, malicious or insulting behaviour carried out by any individual or group against another person, either directly or indirectly, which makes the recipient feel upset, threatened, humiliated or vulnerable.
By way of example only, a pattern of any of the following (non-exhaustive) types of conduct amount to bullying:
- Sharing content about co-workers online that is derogatory and/or shaming
- Personal insults and name calling
- Persistent unjustified criticism and/or sarcasm
- Public or private humiliation
- Shouting at colleagues in public and/or private
- Instantaneous rage, often over trivial issues or genuine mistakes Unfair or unrealistic delegation of duties and responsibilities Aggression
- Making offensive comments about a co-worker
- Not giving credit for work contributions and ideas
- Intimidation and threats in general
- Physical and emotional abuse
- Spying or stalking
- Pressuring someone to drop a complaint
Bullying can have a physiological, psychological and behavioural impact on an individual. Victims can lose their self-esteem and self-confidence and are at increased risk of suffering stress-related conditions that can trigger further trauma. Apart from the direct impact on a victim’s health, long-term exposure to bullying may also have consequences for the victim’s livelihood, through absenteeism and resignation from work in order to avoid contact with the bully.
Steps to take where harassment has occurred
Anyone who is asked to stop any harassing behaviour should comply, immediately.
If you are being harassed, or witness inappropriate behaviour, speak out about it. Seek support for yourself or offer support to the person harmed. If you feel comfortable to do so, call out the inappropriate behaviour, immediately. You might find it helpful to use this type of language: “That is not appropriate – it makes me feel uncomfortable”. Or, you can raise it at a later time.
The “bystander effect” is all too common. A culture of silence perpetuates harm.
If the behaviour is not rectified immediately, or if you do not feel comfortable addressing the perpetrator directly, contact someone in the production company or contact the DEGANZ office as soon as you can.
Making a complaint of sexual harassment
Every workplace should have policies to deal with sexual harassment, discrimination and bullying. If you experience or witness sexual harassment in any setting you have a right to speak up and, if appropriate, to make a formal complaint. DEGANZ can support you with this.
Who you report an incident of sexual harassment to may differ on each production. It could be a dedicated Human Resource (HR) person, stage manager, Intimacy Coordinator, Safety Officer, Assistant Director (AD), Head of Department (HOD) or Producer. Arrange a time to talk to that person privately. You have the right to bring a person for support if you need one.
If you decide to make a complaint then you should expect the following to happen
- The complaint should be taken seriously by the production company or organisation where you are working.
- Your complaint should be documented regardless of whether or not a formal investigation is conducted.
- There is an obligation on the production company or organisation to discuss with you the steps to be taken to ensure your safety.
- Your complaint should be addressed in a fair, timely and confidential manner. If a serious crime has occurred there is an obligation to report it to the police.
- You should be given information by the production company or organisation about what complaint procedures are available to you. These may be formal or informal processes.
- The production company or organisation should follow the complaints procedure you elect, and you should be allowed to have a support person with you throughout the process.
- Only you, and those people who need to know in order for the complaint to be properly and fairly investigated, should be provided information about your complaint.
- In the case of a formal complaint, the person you have made the complaint against should be notified and given an opportunity to respond.
- If a person is found to have sexually harassed you there should be clear consequences for their actions.
- By law you are protected from being adversely affected as a result of making a complaint of sexual harassment.
DEGANZ Office: (09) 360 2102
Police / Emergency services: Call 111 (emergency) or 105 (non-urgent)
Safe to Talk – 0800 044 334 Text 4334 24 hour support
Help – 0800 623 1700 (support for sexual abuse survivors)
Rape Prevention Trust – (for services throughout Aotearoa)
Mental health helpline – Text 1737 (support from trained mental health professionals)
Youthline – 0800 376 633 or text 234
WorkSafe advice for bullying & sexual harassment
ACC’s Find Support service for those who have experienced sexual harassment:
Code of Conduct endorsed by the Board of DEGANZ 12 July 2022