“After two weeks of informal talks to lay groundwork, the Directors Guild of America is set to begin formal negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers on Saturday, Variety‘s Cynthia Littleton reported a few minutes ago, noting that “the perception in the biz is that DGA has become the de facto negotiator for the WGA given the lack of communication between WGA and AMPTP since the latter broke off talks on Dec. 7.”
The interesting part is Littleton’s statement that DGA leaders “are known to have held extensive backchannel conversations with AMPTP reps during the past two weeks in an effort to hammer out details [to] ensure that the sides will be able to make significant progress when the formal sessions begin.” She’s right, but I was told by three sources last night (including a name director) that the progress of the back-channel talks has in fact been pretty bad. The director’s impression was that DGA negotiators concluded a few days ago that the AMPTP wasn’t even half-serious. “They just seemed belligerent,” “not constructive,” “they’re looking to break the union,” etc. The WGA, I think he meant.