Madeline writes in:
I have a lot of questions and they relate to DGA so I apologise if they aren’t the right questions for this blog. I did try to do my own DGA research but I’m very confused.
Once your in the DGA, are you allowed to have multiple titles? e.g be a UMP on one show and a 2nd AD on another?
Do you need to join the DGA if your end goal is to be a 2nd 2nd AD?
What are the requirement for a “day”?
Do you always have to take the same position in production for it to count towards your days?
How do you know if the production your being hired on is eligible to count as a day? And if you need to ask, what are the right questions to ask without being an annoying?
Can you collect your days as a PA or do you basically need to be a 2nd AD on a project that flips?
We’re open to all types of PAs here at TAPA. Doesn’t matter if you’re a set PA, post PA, office PA, or some other kind of 0f PA, we’re here to help. Let’s tackle your questions one at a time.
Almost everyone in the film business has many titles. I’ve been all of the above listed PAs, and more. I believe each title has its own specific initiation fee to join the guild in that position, but there’s nothing wrong with being available for more than one type of job. You might be a great 1st AD on a small show, but on a bigger show, they need a more experienced 1st; it’s smart if you’re open to being their 2nd.
Of course, you don’t have to be in the DGA to be an assistant director. However, if you want to work on union (i.e. large budget) shows, then you have to join.
I think you need to get 600 days as a PA to join as a 2nd 2nd AD. There’s also requirements about some of those days occurring outside the studio zone, although I can’t seem to find the specifics on the DGA site.
What counts as a “day”? Mostly, it has to be a legitimate, professional production. This means you have to be paid, and you need paystubs and callsheets to prove it. Whatever work you did that day (art PA, camera PA, etc) is what that day counts towards.1
Of course, having your show “flipped” is an easier way to join. This means the show starts as non-union, but decides to become a union show for one reason or another mid-shoot. When this happens, they don’t just fire all their non-union employees; as long as the crew member pays their dues, they get to join the union.
- Commenters pointed out that this is unclear. Only set PA days count towards the DGA. PAing in other departments count towards those departments.↩