Hollywood film directors and studios said Tuesday that they agreed to start early negotiations next Monday on a new contract to replace one that expires June 30, 2002.
The decision by the Directors Guild of America and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers to start talking so far in advance differs sharply from the recent negotiating philosophy of writers and actors, who pushed contract talks to the 11th hour this year in an effort to gain leverage.
But proponents of early talks, including DGA and other union officials in Hollywood, have argued that better contracts can result when deadline tensions are defused. They say early talks also can prevent the kind of production disruptions experienced this year when studios accelerated filming schedules to beat potential strike deadlines, and then suffered a slowdown after contract agreements were reached.
Gil Cates, chairman of the guild's negotiating committee, said, "We hope to avoid the uncertainty that inevitably comes when negotiations are extended to the hour of expiration."