A few months ago, the Visual Effects Society called for all members of the VFX community, artist and studio executive alike, to send them concerns and wishes about the industry to be used as reference for a Visual Effects Industry Bill of Rights. Today, the VES released that document to the industry.
A few of the finer points:
A Visual Effects Artist or Practitioner has the right to:
• A clear understanding of the work he/she is being hired to perform, including knowing what they are being paid per hour, per week or per job, as well as the duration of the assignment, with strict adherence to all local labor laws and tax codes regarding overtime, sick time, vacation time, working conditions, safety and other aspects of a professional work environment. This would include a minimum of an industry-standard turnaround between work shifts;
• Negotiate a modification in the terms of employment should the realities of the position change in any material way, or decline work that is outside the terms of the employment agreement;
• Quality health care coverage no matter where in the world he/she may be working;
• Be paid on time;
• Work under conditions conducive to the work they are expected to perform and the creative process it entails;
• Be given a reasonable amount of notice when being asked to work overtime. If asked, to be able to turn down such requests without reprisals;
• An appropriate and certifiable credit;
• Show their work after the project is commercially released for the purpose of securing more work.
The Hollywood Reporter quotes VES Chair Eric Roth on how the Bill was created:
We have taken significant steps to make this a collaborative process throughout the industry .. At this time we have engaged in a vigorous dialog with key stakeholders at all levels and believe our Bill of Rights lays out the vital concerns of each segment of the industry. Our next step is to focus on bringing all parties together to seek solutions.
The cries from the industry for positive and lasting change are getting louder and more frequent. The new document from the VES is another step toward preserving the art of Visual Effects while allowing those who call it their profession the ability to lead healthy, productive and satisfying lives.
Of course, the best way any visual effects artist can help with that change, would be to start a conversation with Jim Goodman about organizing the artists at the studio for which you work. Achieving a Collective Bargaining Agreement that offers portable health and pension benefits to the artists of visual effects would be a strong, positive step towards making those changes.