The Directors Guild of America and the Alliance of Motion Picture and TV Producers are heading to the bargaining table on November 4, more than six months before the current agreement expires. As announced earlier this year, Thomas Schlamme and Michael Apted will serve as co-heads of the DGA’s negotiating committee. The latest three-year Basic Agreement and the Freelance Live and Tape TV Agreement are up on June 30, 2014. Unlike the DGA and SAG-AFTRA, the WGA’s agreement ends on May 1 not June 30, 2014. While the DGA is going first this time, starting in the fall is fairly typical for the guilds. In fact, last time round, SAG had already wrapped up its deal by the fall of 2010 when the DGA started its talks. The last agreement between the AMPTP and the DGA as well as SAG and the WGA back in 2011 saw low single digit increases in pay and pension fund contributions for guild members. Those rather benign negotiations came after the harsh talks of 2008 that followed the 100-day writers strike that shut down Hollywood. Part of the earlier start this time round is, I’m told, also to avoid a repeat of 2001 and 2004 when talks went past the contract expiration date. These negotiations will take place at the Sherman Oaks HQ of the AMPTP. The now merged SAG-AFTRA has indicated that it won’t start talks until early next year.