Tag Archive for: SIWA

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I went to a Screen Industry Guild of Aotearoa New Zealand (SIGANZ) membership drive event last night. And this morning I read a blog post out of the US about the effort to establish an independent producers union.

SIGANZ, like DEGANZ and other membership organisations that work to represent their members’ interests, and the efforts that the producers in the US are making to establish a union to represent their potential members’ interests, are faced with the same issues—the incredible apathy of many of the people they are seeking to represent.

SIGANZ has a membership of about 6 – 700 of the possible 5 – 10,000 below-the-line people in the NZ screen industry who could be a member of that guild. We have just over three hundred members of the possible 1,000 – 1,500 working directors and editors in New Zealand.

In the US article, many reasons were given for why they weren’t getting the support from the producers they needed to establish a truly representative organisation. One paragraph from that blog stood out:

“There was also a large group of producers who were sceptical of our efforts and whether or not being involved would be detrimental to their relationships with financiers and studios. Then there was another type of producer who couldn’t see the bigger picture. For example, in one town hall, I had a very prominent producer ask, “But how does this benefit me?” While I understand this question, I explained that it’s not just about one producer. The work we were doing is also about the next generation and ensuring that they aren’t exploited in the same ways we have been. It’s about preserving the role of the producer in the future.”

You could substitute the word ‘producer’ with the word ‘director,’ ‘editor,’ or ‘techo,’ and it would have the same relevance for us.

Having worked in this job for close to seven years now, I’ve been faced with the same difficulty those seeking to set up the producers union in the US faced—getting directors and editors who aren’t members to understand that the work we do is more than just about the immediate benefit to the individual, i.e., it’s also about the bigger picture work.

I have multiple big-picture meetings each week with some or all of the EDs and GMs of the other guilds and associations, together with funding bodies, government ministries, and others involved in whatever discussion we are having. Recent examples are the Reform of Vocational Education, The NZ Screen Sector Investment Review, the Screen Industry Workers Act (SIWA), and the proposed merger of RNZ and TVNZ. In the past, it’s been the Copyright Act Review, the NZFC CEO conflict of interest situation around David Strong, and input into the NZ On Air and NZFC strategies. There are others. Some of those went on for years.

The Film Industry Working Group meetings that DEGANZ and many of the other screen industry bodies participated in took place regularly over four long years and resulted in SIWA. All of these things are somewhat abstract when it comes to answering the individual question: How does this benefit me?

A lot of the work that DEGANZ and all the other NZ guilds and associations do is not just about the ‘you’. It’s about the ‘you’ and who comes after ‘you’. Thankfully we all have members and board members who understand this. There just aren’t enough of them. But there could be.

Last night SIGANZ took a different tack by serving up a partnership programme that helps to answer the “what’s the benefit for me” question for them—something they are well positioned to do as representatives of the below-the-line Art Department where the business partner they’ve found could have a significant bottom-line benefit. Not so easy for others of us with small memberships and little buying power.

Every guild and association in New Zealand could significantly grow its membership if a lot of those non-members who could afford it joined the guild or association that best represents them, understanding that we work on their behalf as well as on behalf of future generations of screen workers.

This is a call out for you to encourage those you know to join a guild, whether it’s DEGANZ, SIGANZ, NZWG, Equity NZ, SMSG, VFXPNZ, MDGNZ, or SPADA. We will be more representative, financially independent, and better able to do the work we do now and into the future. There is a significant benefit in that for us all.

 

Tui Ruwhiu
Executive Director

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Over the last two and a half months, we have been having educational evenings on the Screen Industry Workers Act (SIWA) across four sub-sectors:

  1. Advertising & Marketing Content
  2. Factual & Entertainment
  3. Scripted
  4. Film – Narrative & Documentary

Directors, editors, and assistant editors have been coming together to learn what the Act is about, how it affects them, what rights they have, don’t have, and could have, and what they can contribute to, allowing us to define the ‘claims’ (i.e. the minimum pay rates, terms, and conditions), which we will negotiate for in collective bargaining. Working groups are forming with four to six members in each, one for directors and one for editors, in each of the sub-sectors except for Film, which will have separate working groups for Narrative and Documentary. Each working group is led by a highly experienced practitioner in that sub-sector.

Up to the end of September, the working groups will be formulating thoughts, taking input, asking for feedback, and shaping potential claims, with the aim to put a draft set of claims in front of as many directors, editors, and assistant editors as possible within each of the sub-sectors. The feedback we receive on these draft claims we hope will allow us to settle on the final claims we will take into bargaining. We will also hold additional hui to update you on progress as we go.

We would like you to start interacting with the working group leaders/members in the sub-sectors that are relevant to you. We need to get as much input and feedback as possible to ensure that we are truly representing your interests and desires when it comes to helping determine the minimum pay rates, terms, and conditions that will govern your work once collective agreements are in place. Please contact me directly at the Guild to find out who is in the sub-sector that you wish to communicate with.

I would like to extend my thanks to the Australian Screen Directors Authorship Collecting Society for their financial support as we go through this entire process. ASDACS is a vital organisation that works with us to improve directors’ rights and remuneration and to administer the collection and disbursement of royalties due to directors for the screening of their work.

 

Tui Ruwhiu
Executive Director

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Here at DEGANZ, we are working through an educational and information campaign as part of our work around the Screen Industry Workers Act (SIWA).

One of the things we are asking editors, assistant editors, and directors to do for themselves is to look at the last ten jobs they did, the number of episodes and durations of the content, the platform it was for, what the total budget was, and then to write down the rate that they were paid to do those jobs. (You can often find the total budgets on the NZ on Air, NZFC, and TMP websites under funding decisions.)

Most people are required to work a 10-hour day, so it’s then a good idea to look at the hourly rate you got.

The current Minimum Wage is $22.70/hr; the current Living Wage is $23.65/hr. So if you do a 50-hour week that’s $1,135.00 Gross at the MW and $1,182.50 at the LW. By looking at your Gross weekly figure, you can see how you compare against the minimum and living wages.

But did you do a 50-week? Or did you do more hours and not get paid anymore for them? This will naturally decrease your hourly income. Why not average out your estimated hours per week and then see how well you did in comparison.

Directors, editors, and assistant editors don’t normally get paid overtime, but are required to work the same work day, being 10 hours, that crew on set work, who do get paid overtime.

The current Blue Book, which lays out the terms and conditions under which crew work, specifies that a standard crew day for a short-term engagement is 10 hours including paid lunch, with overtime at T1.5 for the 11th and 12th hours, and T2 for any time over that.

Most directors already understand that they are often the lowest paid person on set from the start for all key/HOD roles, and it just gets worse if they factor in the hours over 10 they do, while the pay to their key/HOD collaborators climbs with the overtime rates they receive.

All of the above and more will factor into our thinking when it comes to considering what minimum rates should be under SIWA for the various roles we represent in the sub-sectors the work is done—Factual and Entertainment, Scripted, Film – Narrative and Documentary, and Advertising and Marketing Content.

Then there are terms.

NZ crew as we know work hard, but as anyone will tell you, there are times when the crew isn’t working because they are waiting for talent, light, rehearsals, or myriad other things.

Editors and assistant editors however don’t have the luxury of downtime waiting for others. They are usually at it for all those hours of that 10-hour day. That’s significantly different in comparison to the crew. Who decided on the 10-hour day in the edit suite many are now starting to ask, not just because it affects their well-being but because it can affect the quality of the work.

We are having to weigh up many aspects of the current paradigm of work in the screen industry for directors, editors, and assistant editors before we settle on what we will negotiate for when it comes time to enter collective bargaining. What to do about public holidays, turn-around times, the working day, creative rights for directors and editors, and a host of other issues are all under discussion. And then of course we have to solidify our thoughts and come to you all to see whether or not you agree with where we have gotten to before we can start collective bargaining. If you don’t, then we will need to do more work.

Collective bargaining for us requires the employment of a democratic process designed to ensure that the majority are involved in the decision-making leading up to, during bargaining, and in settling on the final terms and conditions we will work under going forward.

There’s no better example of this in action than the screen guilds negotiations happening in the United States at the moment. The Writers Guild of America has kicked it off. The Directors Guild of America is about to start. And the US Screen Actors Guild will follow shortly.

A 98% majority vote by WGA members gave their board the endorsement to call a strike. And they eventually did after negotiations between the WGA and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) reached an impasse. Democratic votes will be employed at various steps by all those guilds from here on in, in negotiations until they reach solutions.

We’ll be doing the same under the Screen Industry Workers Act, but in our own way, not following the US model.

And that’s why it’s so important right now for every screen worker to join the guild that best represents them: DEGANZ, NZWG, Equity NZ, SMSG, SIGANZ, VFX, Motion Designers and Animators, or the producers’ associations SPADA and APA (formerly NZAPG). These organisations will be negotiating on your behalf and they need your support to make it work for us all.

 

Tui Ruwhiu
Executive Director

When it was least expected, DEGANZ went for it… we are proud to present our brand-new TikTok account. Join us to hear about the latest DEGANZ news, events, and workshops, all while enjoying some funny memes (we promise).

@deganz_online

#CapCut wanna learn more about SIWA? Come to one of our huis 🫶 (l!nk !n b!0)

♬ original sound – Directors & Editors Guild NZ

What people (the marketing team mainly) say about our TikTok:

  • A place to unwind, plus something worth keeping an eye on.
  • 10/10 for that Office meme.
  • The marketing manager sure knows their job!
  • Followed yesterday and never regretted.
  • Can’t wait for more SIWA Hui memes!
@deganz_online

wanna enjoy this feeling? sign up to be a member at the 🔗 in our insta b!0 #deganz #nzdirectors #nzfilm #nz #fyp #abcxyz #meme

♬ Ill do it – 2000s☆

Content warning: Only hilarious, DEGANZ-oriented content.

“We wish we discovered them earlier…” – Weekly Entertainment (if they followed)

 

As the Screen Industry Workers Act (SIWA) is now in force, DEGANZ wants to ensure that all directors, editors, and assistant editors are as informed as possible.

Don’t miss out on our SIWA huis for the opportunity to learn more about how the Act specifically relates to you in your occupational role.

The huis will take place in Auckland but will be accessible across the country via live stream.

Check the dates below to see which hui best suits you:

SIWA Hui: Advertising and Marketing

This hui will discuss how SIWA will affect contractors working in advertising and marketing.

Directors, Editors, and Assistant Editors

Wed 5 April, 6:30 pm

Register here.

SIWA Hui: Factual and Entertainment

This hui will discuss how SIWA will affect contractors working in factual and entertainment. This includes short films, docu-series, and other forms of short-form documentary.

Directors, Editors, and Assistant Editors

Thurs 20 April, 6:30 pm

Register here.

SIWA Hui: Scripted

This hui will discuss how SIWA will affect contractors working in scripted TV drama. This includes comedy series, web series, short films, and other short-form scripted content.

Directors, Editors, and Assistant Editors

Wed 3 May, 6:30 pm

Register here.

SIWA Hui: Film

This hui will discuss how SIWA will affect contractors working on short or long-form narrative and/or documentary film.

Directors, Editors, and Assistant Editors

Wed 7 June, 6:30 pm

Register here.

 

We hope to see you there!