Visual Effects Workers on Planned Protest of Obama’s DreamWorks Visit: ‘We’ve Already Won’
The artists and effects wizards demonstrating near DreamWorks Animation want the president to acknowledge the outsourcing hurting their industry
Members of the visual-effects community are protesting President Barack Obama’s visit to DreamWorks Animation’s Glendale campus on Tuesday in order to draw attention to foreign and state film tax incentives that are luring work out of Hollywood.
[Meantime] ... White House deputy press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters Monday that the choice of DreamWorks Animation for Tuesday’s speech reflected the number of jobs being created by the company. The venue was not chosen because DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg was a top bundler for Obama during the 2012 presidential election and one of his most important contributors.
Okaay. Nothing to do with political contributions. (What could everybody have been thinking?)
And I'm happy to say that, over the years, DreamWorks Animation has created a lot of jobs in Glendale. However, from mid 2011 to Spring 2013, the Guild is down around 200 jobs at DWA. (I know because I checked. But to be fair and transparent, the company is now in the process of hiring for its new television division. So there will be an uptick.)
Regardless of DreamWorks Animation's ups and downs, the larger visual effects community in L.A. has been absolutely kicked in the backside by the massive subsidies offered by other states and countries. Be nice to see a level playing field, but it would also be nice if we all got to frolic in rolling, verdant fields with pretty white unicorns.
And that ain't going to happen, either.
... President Obama’s schedule on Tuesday includes a meeting with studio executives and other entertainment industry representatives at DreamWorks Animation, where economic issues specific to Hollywood are expected to be discussed, sources said on Monday.
DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg has been inviting studio chiefs to the meeting, sources said, and among those expected at the closed-door event are MPAA chairman Chris Dodd, CBS’s Leslie Moonves and possibly Warner Bros.’ Kevin Tsujihara and Barry Meyer and Fox’s Jim Gianopulos. Although no agenda has been set, such issues as the economic impact of entertainment, as well as the fight against piracy, are expected to be brought up. ...
Maybe even ... oh ... outsourcing?
Add On Too: Obama on DWA's Glendale campus:
President Obama took to the stage today for a speech on the economy at DreamWorks Animation, the company run by one of his biggest Hollywood bundlers Jeffrey Katzenberg. After being introduced by Mellody Hobson — the DWA board chairman from Aerial Capital Management, a Chicago native and longtime friend — he thanked Katzenberg for inviting him before launching into a pro-Hollywood and pro-economy message tailored to the crowd estimated at 1800-2000 that included DWA employees and pretty much every entertainment mogul in the city. “His place in the entertainment business is legendary … don’t need to puff him up too much he has a healthy sense of self”, Obama joked about Katzenberg, with the president adding that “my ears were the inspiration for Shrek”. The president called the entertainment biz “one of America’s biggest exports” and “one of the bright spots of our economy”, adding that he’s figured out what his next job will be. “I told Jeffery I’d like to work here”, Obama said to cheers from the crowd. As he wrapped up, after his customary “God bless America” line, Obama said, “Can’t wait to see your next movie”.
The Glendale stop, on the second day of a two-day LA fundraising swing, drew a who’s who of Hollywood moguls including CBS Corp’s Les Moonves, NBCUniversal’s Ron Meyer, Jeff Shell and Robert Greenblatt, Sony’s Amy Pascal and Michael Lynton, Paramount’s Rob Moore, Fox’s Jim Gianoplulos and Peter Rice, Lionsgate’s Jon Feltheimer, Warner Bros’ Kevin Tsujihara, Disney’s Bob Iger, Alan Horn and Anne Sweeney, LA Film Czar Tom Sherak and the MPAA’s Chris Dodd. Those execs participated in a closed-press meeting with Obama ahead of his speech ...