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The Screen Industry Workers Bill is back on the menu with the Government now wanting to to move it along. And that’s a good thing.

If there’s one issue that crops up more than any other at DEGNZ it’s individual contracts.

New Zealand moved away from collective bargaining with the changes to employment legislation that eroded a worker’s right to pre-agreed terms and conditions from the 70’s through to the 2000’s. Individual workers are left to negotiate their own remuneration and terms and conditions with the engagers (companies) if they become classed as contractors, which applies to a very high percentage of screen industry workers. This has been particularly bad for directors and editors, unless you are an in-demand person.

There are now generations of workers who have never had union representation, or benefitted from collectively negotiated agreements.

You, the individual director or editor, are required to negotiate your remuneration and the terms and conditions under which you work with the production company or broadcaster that has the resources in most cases to either engage a lawyer or have their own in-house legal counsel. This creates a playing field that’s ripe for exploitation by the unscrupulous. Many of you sign the contracts you are given with little or no negotiating power, and it’s these contracts we often see when people become unhappy with how they are treated.

The Screen Industry Worker Bill is one approach, agreed to by all unions and associations in the screen industry, to provide minimum protection to screen workers. It should prevent outright exploitation and offer the opportunity to get fair terms and conditions in a collective manner. There will still be the opportunity to negotiate individually as there is now. There will be a floor below which no engager can go, but no ceiling except that beyond which the individual engager will not go. In other words, you can push up, but they can’t push down below the minimums.

At DEGNZ we have worked hard with all the other screen guilds and associations to get the Screen Industry Worker Bill in place. The three unions in the screen industry—us, the Writers Guild and Equity NZ, the actors guild—are working with the Council of Trade Unions to try and get the best legislation for screen workers we can. But the battle is still not won.

New legislation is tricky to get through Government. It gets changed, watered down, and other things get in the way, like the Fair Pay Agreements that Government and other non-screen industry unions are hot on at the moment.

While we continue to work on getting the Screen Industry Workers Bill passed, I’d like to ask each and every one of you to familiarise yourself with the Bill, because it’s for you. You can read the current draft here, which we are seeking improvements to. You can learn about the legislative process here. And most importantly, you can talk to others about it, because once it is in place and we negotiate a collective agreement, each one of you will have an opportunity to vote on whether you want the minimums we bring to you. And if you don’t, your vote can tell us to go back and try again as long as you are a member with rights to vote.

That’s democracy in action in a union.

 

Tui Ruwhiu
Executive Director

Last updated on 22 April 2021

Wonderful to see the launch of the dystopian, black comedy series Creamerie, directed by member Roseanne Liang. DEGNZ member Jochen Fitzherbert edited the series, alongside Academy Award Nominee Tom Eagles. The series is set eight years after a plague killed all men, and follows three women who run a dairy farm, who accidentally run over the last surviving male human on the planet.

Creamerie is now available on TVNZ OnDemand to binge, or if you’d rather sit down in front of the tele and savour it slowly, the show is being broadcast on TVNZ 2.

Last updated on 22 April 2021

Rebecca Tansley (DEGNZ) directed the cinematic version of NZ Opera’s live production of Semele late last year. Now you can grab tickets to enjoy this powerful story of ambition on the big screen, with select screenings coming up in Christchurch, Wellington and Auckland.

Drawn from Ovid’s Metamorphoses, the sensual story explores a love triangle between Jupiter, King of the Gods, his wife, the goddess Juno, and his lover, the mortal princess Semele.

The site-specific production was made in Auckland’s Holy Trinity Cathedral, and stars Emma Pearson, Amitai Pati and a host of other New Zealand-born and international operatic talent.

 

Last updated on 22 April 2021

The first of six-episode series Vegas, kicked off this week, on screens across Aotearoa. DEGNZ members were involved in the production and post-production of this action-thriller, filmed entirely in Rotorua. Peter Roberts (DEGNZ) edited the series alongside Carly Turner, while DEGNZ’s TV Drama Director Attachment Scheme allowed members Tim Worall and Cian Elyse White to develop as directors during production.

Tim directed an episode as part of his attachment, and Cian was given some scenes to direct. Cian also stars in Vegas as wahine toa Toni Poulan, a local business owner who becomes the central suspect in a drug deal gone wrong.

New episodes Mondays.

Watch now

Last updated on 22 April 2021

Rehearsal & Performance logo

The Rehearsal & Performance series provides regular opportunities for directors and actors to practise their craft and communication. Each workshop brings in an experienced moderator to guide participants as they explore a workshop scene in groups (one director, two actors) in a safe and non-pressured environment.

This May, join us for workshops in Auckland and Wellington with director Danny Mulheron.

Moderator

Danny Mulheron graduated from the New Zealand Drama School in 1983, becoming an experienced director, writer and actor in all mediums – stage, screen and television. He is known as an ‘actor’s director’ due to his particular strength in directing actors and getting extraordinary performances. 

Danny has directed award-winning television dramas (One Lane Bridge, Jonah, Runaway Millionaires), feature-length documentaries and episodic documentary series (The Kick, Why does love?, Hillary), and smash hit theatre productions. In the 2020 New Zealand Television Awards, Danny won Best Feature Drama for the TV movie Runaway Millionaires

Danny is currently editing Under the Vines, which he co-directed with Erin White. The film’s set in Central Otago and stars Rebecca Gibney (Wanted) and Charles Edwards (The Crown).  

Preparation

Selected directors and actors will be expected to do some script prep beforehand. DEGNZ will provide the scene at least one week in advance.

Cost:

DEGNZ / Equity NZ member – Free
Ngā Aho Whakaari Full member – Free
Non-member – $69
(Includes lunch and tea/coffee)

Register your interest:

Registrations close Wednesday 12 May, 11pm.
Spots are limited to four directors and eight actors. If your name is selected, DEGNZ will contact you directly to confirm your participation.

Auckland

When: Sat 22 May, 9:30am – 2:30pm
Where: MTG RM, 2 Kingsland Terrace, Kingsland, Auckland

Register now for Auckland

Wellington

When: Sun 23 May, 9:30am – 2:30pm
Where: Massey University, Wallace Street, Mt Cook, Wellington 6021, NZ

Register now for Wellington

 

The Rehearsal & Performance series is hosted by Directors & Editors Guild of NZ with the support of Equity New Zealand and funding from the New Zealand Film Commission.

Last updated on 5 May 2021