Protecting Director’s Contracts

Protecting Director's Contracts

Protecting Director’s Contracts

A director’s role when it comes to creating a movie is incontrovertible. A director not only conceptualizes a movie, but structures and executes it. Most of the success of a motion picture comes from the director’s vision. Thus, director’s contracts are put in place in order for their prominent role to not cause any friction among others involved in the production and leave a director’s compensation bereft. In order to understand how director’s navigate their compensation, we have to take a deep dive into their universe of rights and negotiations.

A director’s compensation is negotiated based on the following prescriptive standards:

  • DURATION OF SERVICES: According to the duration of services rendered by the Director.
  • COMMERCIAL SUCCESS: According to the production’s commercial success, namely additional contingent compensation.
  • MEDIA USE OR REUSE: According to the use or reuse of media encompassing residuals fees.
  • EXPENSES: According to the director’s expenses for directing the motion picture.
  • DGA MANDATED PAYMENTS: According to DGA (Directors Guild of America) mandated pension, health and welfare payments.


Types of Director Compensation:

-Fixed Fee: Directors receive compensation according to the duration of their services. A fixed fee is a flat sum of money earned for a set period of time. If a director works beyond this set period of time, their fee could be increased by a prorated salary. This fixed fee is separate from other compensation and is sacrosanct against other parts of a director’s compensation package.

-Contingent Compensation: In addition to a fixed fee, a director must request and receive compensation based on the production’s commercial success. Contingent compensation is often based on net profits or gross participation. A director’s benefit is to negotiate a sizable portion of gross profits collected by the distributor.

-Reuse / Residual Fees: Directors have the ability to ask for more compensation in the form of residual fees. If the motion picture the director was involved in is used in different mediums or repeated they can negotiate a residual payment. For productions subject to DGA jurisdiction, usually, a mandatory residual schedule is used for additional uses in domestic or foreign territory.


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