Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Below are some of the more frequently asked questions from applicants seeking placement on the DGA Qualifications List. While the answers in response to these questions are intended to provide accurate information about DGACA’s application process and procedures, it should be kept in mind that the administration of the Qualifications List is governed by provisions in a collective bargaining agreement between participating studios and the DGA. The provisions in that collective bargaining agreement will control in the event of any variance between those provisions and the information presented below.
- What is DGACA?
- How do I know which Qualification List is right for me?
- How do I contact the other Qualification Lists?
- What if I live in Texas, but my production center is LA?
- Can I use days worked as a Production Supervisor for placement on the QL?
- If I am listed on the 3rd Area QL, where am I eligible to take employment? Southern California QL? New York QL?
- What if I’m a UPM on the QL but I get a job as a 1st AD? I’m a 1st AD and I get a job as a 2nd AD?
- Can I change from one QL to another?
- I’m already in the DGA. Why do I need to submit paperwork to DGACA?
- I don’t have my call sheets or production reports. Can’t you just look up my shows on IMDb?
- Is there a fee to apply to the QL?
- Do I have to join the DGA as soon as I am placed on a QL?
- I am a 2nd AD and I would like to upgrade to a 1st AD or UPM. What do I need?
- I have a job starting very soon, but I know DGACA needs about 6 weeks to process my application for QL placement. What do I do?
- I’m ready to apply to the QL. What do I need?
- Can I apply online?
The purpose of DGACA is to administer the Qualification Lists (QL) established under the collective bargaining agreement between participating studios and the DGA. This collective bargaining agreement is called the DGA Basic Agreement and the QL information can be found under article 14, section 200.
Additionally, DGACA and the QLs attempt to provide some stability to a freelance workforce: to allow persons working in Guild represented classifications some modicum of continuity in their careers, and to insulate production companies from pressures to employ inexperienced people.
DGACA, or Directors Guild of America Contract Administration, should not be confused with the Directors Guild of America itself or the "contracts" department of the DGA. DGACA is a separate entity and is not managed or overseen by the DGA.
DGACA, or sometimes called DGACA West, administers the Southern California Qualification List (SCQL), Third Area Qualification List (TAQL), and the Multi-Camera Qualification List (MCQL). The type of work you do and where you typically take jobs may determine the best list. Please contact DGACA if you need more information.
Keep in mind there is a separate New York QL, administered by DGACA-East, which is a different entity from DGACA. Additionally, there is a third entity that administers the Commercial Qualification Lists, also based out of New York. To work on commercials or to submit Production Assistant (PA) days, you must contact the Commercial QL. For film and television work as an Assistant Director or UPM, the Southern California QL supersedes the other film and television lists (NYQL, TAQL). **
**You cannot be listed on two different Qualification Lists in the same job category.
Many people confuse their Qualification List "area" with "production center," but one has nothing to do with the other. To find out more about your production center, you must contact the membership department at the DGA. (310) 289-2000.
The title of Production Supervisor is not a title covered by the DGA Basic Agreement and any days worked as a Production Supervisor will not be credited for placement on the QL.
If I am listed on the 3rd Area QL, where am I eligible to take employment? Southern California QL? New York QL?
Being on the 3rd Area QL allows you to take work anywhere outside of the Southern California and New York City areas. Southern California is defined as San Luis Obispo, across the state, and south to the Mexican border. New York City is defined as a 75-mile radius from Columbus Circle.
Being on the Southern California QL allows you to take work anywhere in the country in your job category. The New York QL allows you to take work anywhere but Southern California as defined above (but please contact the New York QL for more information).
You can always work below your QL category in the appropriate area.
Yes. This is called an interchange, typically done from 3rd Area to Southern California. Check our website for more information about the number of required days for the QL on which you are seeking placement. If you don't know how many days you have already "banked" in your file from your previous QL placement, please call our office.
As a general rule, production companies that are signatory to the DGA may only hire Assistant Directors or UPMs who are on the appropriate Qualification List, unless there are no persons on the QL available to work in those classifications.
DGACA must be able to verify the following: the types of projects you worked, when shooting took place, where shooting took place, the job title you held, the duties you performed, and that you were compensated for your work. We need the back-up paperwork to verify all of these details before placing you on a QL. That is why we ask for five elements: call sheets, production reports, pay documentation, crew lists and deal memos. If you worked DGA jobs, you are entitled to copies of your deal memos, as well as an earnings summary from the DGA Pension, Health and Welfare.
DGACA cannot verify work experience with IMDb listings, resumes, DVDs or videos of show credits, purchase orders, invoices, or letters from employers. If you have any doubts about the paperwork you are submitting to DGACA, please call the office.
There is no fee, but you are responsible for your own shipping and/or parking charges at our office. We cannot validate parking.
Joining the DGA is determined by whether and when you worked on a production covered by a DGA collective bargaining agreement. DGACA does not impose, and is prohibited by federal labor laws from imposing, requirements for joining the DGA, either as a condition of getting placed on a QL or after getting placed on a QL.
Depending on which list you've been placed, your upgrade requirements may be different. The days already submitted to the QL are "banked" and subsequent days can be added. If you are unsure of the requirements, or how many days you already submitted, please contact our office.
I have a job starting very soon, but I know DGACA needs about 6 weeks to process my application for QL placement. What do I do?
If you have a legitimate job offer already in place, it is possible to request a "rush" on your application. Please contact our office for more information about this procedure.
Please submit the following:
- The application downloaded from our website, and filled out completely.
- The "Document Return Form" signed and dated.
- A box or accordion file with paperwork broken down by production. Binders are okay but not required. Be sure not to punch holes in pertinent information.
- The five elements of paperwork per production (deal memos, pay documentation, call sheets, production reports, and crew lists).
- Documentation of work within the last six months before your QL application submission. In other words, you need at least one recent day of work. This is required of all applicants.
- If you are shipping your documents to DGACA, please include a prepaid FedEx or other shipping label if you want your documents returned. You may alternately include a U.S. FedEx account number and we would be happy to generate the shipping label for you once placement is complete. *We do not accept labels with written credit card information. **We cannot ship FedEx Ground.
- You must make an appointment if you would like to hand-deliver your application. We cannot accept applications after hours, and they cannot be left with security. If an application arrives and no one from DGACA is available to accept it, the application will be turned away (that includes couriers).
Can I apply online?
Our website is almost ready with online application capabilities. Please call our office before registering because you may already have a profile to which you can add application paperwork. Applications that are partially electronic and partially hard-copy are not permitted. You must either apply completely online with .pdf versions of all of your paperwork, or print out all of your documents for a hard-copy application.
Again, please call our office first. We can provide the information you need. Thank you.