Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Variety on Unionization of VFX

Posted in today's Variety, David Cohen writes of the "Tech Tussle" over the organization of Visual Effects. If you've subscribed, read the article on their site. If you haven't renewed your subscription yet, you can read a copy of it here.

David writes about Academy governor Bill Taylor's introduction of the recent Visual Effects Bake-Off evening held at Kate Mantilini in Beverly Hills. He summarizes the opening statement by saying Mr. Taylor asked the community to:

.. not squander its power in squabbling.

We agree with Mr. Cohen that the squabble Bill Taylor is referring to is the recent and strong push for organization of the visual effects industry. The idea of organizing visual effects under a union contract has reached a level its never seen before. Artists are speaking regularly and often about the process and benefits of organizing. TAG and IATSE Organizer Jim Goodman have held countless meetings with visual effects artists across Los Angeles where we've answered questions and even countered a few slanderous comments about unions.

We are not surprised that the sentiments of "its too late" or "it will just chase the jobs away" are present. We are saddened that they reside in such high profile names like Robert Legato and Jeffrey Okun.

On the contrary, we feel that there is never a bad time for artists to band together and use the leverage that is inherent with their skill and numbers to get for themselves contractually stipulated benefits and minimums that the rest of the laborers, actors, directors and even producers enjoy.

We also acknowledge the effects studios attempts to increase their profits by chasing tax subsidies across state and even federal borders. However, we have to point out that for as many VFX houses that closed in the Los Angeles area this year, a greater number have opened. We postulated in an earlier post that the work will remain because of the available talent and the proximity to those ordering the work.

Finally, we have to acknowledge the sentiment recently Tweeted by Jeff Heusser of FX Guide:

@neonmarg: Re-reading that Variety article - it is clear the unions have not gotten their message out from the quotes from #vfx people

We'll keep trying Jeff.


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