Campaign To End VFX Subsidies Begins

If you are interested in making a pledge, please go to the easy-to-remember short link below and help take action.

tinyurl.com/EndVfxSubsidies

I’ve also created a simple flyer that you can print and distribute at work. Place it in the bathroom, on cars, on John Textor’s boat if you’d like:

tinyurl.com/VfxFlyer

Fellow VFX Professionals, the time has come for us to take direct action. As many of you know, this blog has written extensively on the harm that subsidies have caused by distorting the price of visual effects work. This has led to a race to the bottom where many of our colleagues are forced to constantly move around the world as US studios chase subsidies for their films.

I’ve received many emails from professionals about meetings pertaining to pay cuts and requirements by various companies that they must uproot and move to a subsidized location or they will be fired. These are all the result of the subsidy race that many of the facilities we work for are engaged in.

As you know, I have pointed out that many of these subsidies violate international trade agreements because they distort the market. I have been in contact with a law firm that specializes in international trade law and has the ability to challenge these subsidies. In order to achieve this we will need funding.

We’ve teamed up and developed a strategy that we feel will help execute this goal. We have broken the campaign up into distinct stages. Each stage will have an objective and a funding goal to help meet that objective which will be put on a crowd-funded site where you and your colleagues, and for that matter, anyone interested in supporting this issue, can make a pledge. If the funding goal is NOT reached then no funds will be withdrawn from the accounts of those who make a pledge. On the other hand, if we do receive enough pledges that reach the goal, the funds will be withdrawn and go directly to a PayPal account linked to the law firm.

I do not receive any money for this. None of the funds enter my pockets — it goes directly to the law firm.

The first stage requires funding of $15,000 ($15,000 + $1,130 PayPal and Indiegogo fee) for a “feasibility study” that the law firm will conduct to determine what legal strategy, if any, is best to achieve our goal. Once they devise a strategy that I feel will work, they will determine how much funding they will need to execute it and we will put it up for crowd funding. If the feasibility study demonstrates that there is little or no chance of success for a legal challenge, then we will make the decision to not continue to the next stage.

Soldier On.

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146 Responses to Campaign To End VFX Subsidies Begins

  1. VFX Los Angeles says:

    Let us see if we can truly speak with one voice on an issue.

  2. How long do you think the feasibility study will take?

  3. Andreas Jablonka says:

    We have to fund it first!

  4. Andreas Jablonka says:

    PLEDGED $150 lets get this out to as many people as we can.

  5. Clikin' Bandido says:

    Outta curiosity, is what they are charging the usual price for these sort of things? I just ask since I am a little worried the firm is just doing this to get money out of VFX artist who support this move. Sorry about being a bit distrustful of the firm, but since we don’t know who they are…

    Although I am sure you made your homework and covered your/our bases. :)

    Once funded, is there some sort of timeline?

  6. Bob Coleman says:

    Great idea! Can you provide name of firm and representative? Would appreciate doing my own research on them and like Andreas I will pledge $150.00.

  7. VFX_Boom says:

    Time to Walk the Walk, folks.

  8. VFX_Monster says:

    Anyone know how many likely-pledgers this article is reaching? Might give us a clue as to how much people should donate so it’s possible to reach the goal instead of falling short because we didn’t know we needed to pledge higher. If it’s 100 pledgers, that’s $160 each. If it’s 16 pledgers, it’s $1000 each.

    • Andreas Jablonka says:

      judging from 9 pledgers already after I just got the email this article is up i dont think it will be just 16!

  9. AnonymousPeople says:

    Need to do due diligence on this first. Who’s the law firm? Why do I send money to an anonymous person on the internet to fund and anonymous law firm? Where’s the accountability?

    • Andreas Jablonka says:

      indiegogo is a reputable company like paypal. the funding will refunded if it fails to reach its goal. there is a pledger protection.

      • AnonymousPeople says:

        So who’s the law firm, then? I don’t want to put money into a process that I can’t see.

        “indiegogo is a reputable company like paypal”

        ROFLcopter.

        This is the worst execution of an idea that I’ve ever seen. Show me real people and real accountability. I’ve won ebay auctions where I’ve known more about the person I’m sending money to.

      • Studio_Spotter says:

        AnonymousPeople,
        Nice try … Warner Bros

      • i_used_to_care says:

        Actually, no. Indigogo is not like Kickstarter. Even if the goal is not reached, the party recieves the money, only IndieGoGo takes a bigger cut.

      • VFX Soldier says:

        Wrong. We chose indiegogo because kickstarter only allows funding for creative projects.

        There are 2 funding options. One is what you mentioned above and the other is fixed funding where if we don’t reach our goal the pledges are withdrawn and no money changes hands.

        We are using fixed funding.

      • Andreas Jablonka says:

        http://www.indiegogo.com/indiegogo-faq:

        What if I don’t reach my funding goal?

        If your campaign is set up as Flexible Funding, you will be able to keep the funds you raise, even if you don’t meet your goal. If your campaign is set up as Fixed Funding, all contributions will be returned to your funders if you do not meet your goal. Flexible Funding campaigns that meet their goal are only charged 4% as our platform fee, whereas campaigns that do not meet their goal are charged 9%.

      • AnonymousPeople says:

        So who’s the law firm?

  10. vfvfx says:

    so what does this do if successful? subsidies are stopped in these foreign lands and states outside california? Aren’t the jobs still going to continue to go to asia because the cost per person is still cheaper in asia than US or UK. Isnt there a chance that the top execs will have to pay artist less or raise the price of movie tickets/ games?

    I’m not trying to undermine the campaign but to understand its effects thoroughly if pulled through.

    • scottsquires says:

      Part of that would be what paths are possible and what paths are taken given legal advice from the sounds of it. Currently most of the jobs don’t go to Asia. Lower costs doesn’t matter if the quality is not as good. Studios are still making money off these projects. Movies cost the same to audiences whether they were done for $1 million or $300 million. (with exception of 3D glasses surcharge)

  11. Bambam says:

    ah nice ! Spending money to noname people wto support noname company. this person keep the money and tell couple of weeks ” oh it did not work out, sorry!”
    nice way to rip off ! how we know the money get to right person to right place ?

    • Andreas Jablonka says:

      if you actually read the website you would see this is NOT possible. worst case it fails to fund and your pledge will be refunded.

  12. what-a-joke says:

    VFX Soldier finally got that retirement plan he’s been asking for!

  13. P-Fi says:

    Yes Bambam you’ve found him out. He’s secretly launched this website and maintained it for years just so that one day he could ask for a little money and walk away. He’s duped us all….Please don’t type on here if you can’t convey reasonable thoughts.

    I’ve made my pledge!

  14. Greg Maguire says:

    If you want to gather funds for this may I suggest Kickstarter or a similar service.

    Let me also add that here in the UK the Exchequer has just announced 25% tax relief for high-end tv, games, and film along with a $10M fund for education straight into this sector. In Irelands budget they just announced Section 481 is going for another 10 years to subsidise film.

    Having worked in the US for 16 years I really understand your plight. I had to move to the US to work in film. The writing on the wall for this was a long time ago. I tried to unionise the vfx/animation industry back then but was met with such anger and disbelief. People really thought I was doing it to protect my job for when I was old and not able to do the 9am-1am work day like the young kids could.

    Please, don’t hate me for saying this and I could absolutely be wrong but I really see this as bolting the door when the horse has gone.

    I changed careers. I now work in games. And you know what. It’s as much fun as vfx is. I don’t look at it as being defeatist, I enjoy the new challenges.

    Please, please don’t flame me. I know this may come across as flame bait but I honestly love you guys and after all it is only my opinion. Oh, and if you see me back in the halls of ILM or Disney again then print this out and I’ll eat it for you. ;)

    (vfx soldier, not that you need it, but you also have my permission to delete this. I won’t be offended.)

    • Andreas Jablonka says:

      how is kickstarter different than indiegogo?

    • scottsquires says:

      Every single time the issue of unionizing or subsiding has come up, it’s been claimed as too late. In another 5 years we’ll be hearing the same thing. Would it have been easy and better to do 10 years ago? Probably but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be attempted now. Rather than look at the past we should look at the present and make a stand.

      Seems like the game industry has many of the same problems.

      • Jen says:

        If the VFX industry continues to deteriorate, I’m skeptical that it will be able to attract and keep top talent in the future.

        Why would the best artists struggle to survive in VFX when they can get better compensation from 839 gigs at Disney and Dreamworks?

      • scottsquires says:

        “Why would the best artists struggle to survive in VFX when they can get better compensation from 839 gigs at Disney and Dreamworks?”

        Many could but there are only so many openings at Disney/Dreamworks and not all vfx jobs are covered in the animation world. It’s also a different issue of animation versus visual effects. Ones not better than the other but they are different types of projects. Many people have a preference what area they’d like to work in.

      • Jen says:

        True. Maybe I should phrase the problem this way:

        “Ten years from now, why will top artists work in VFX when they can get better compensation working for UPS or Costco?”

  15. frankO says:

    No offense, just trying to understand this, but why would anyone in say, Vancouver, pay you for having their jobs removed?
    This doesn’t make sense to me, the only one from all over the world who profits from this are the artists based California.
    You are addressing every VFX Professional, thereby asking everyone outside of California to shoot themselves in the knee and literally pay to have their jobs removed to support the California people?
    Do you have a response to that?

    • Dave Rand says:

      Monreal could not copete or pay it’s artists, where was all the money going? Shop aftter shop could not make payrolll yet th projects coming from there were going onn to make 100’s of ilions of dollars. Montreal lost a lot of work when Vancouer made it’s push. Now New York is offerring 30-35% to compete futher. MIdland Canada recently just gave up and dropped all subsidies after realizign it’s just a drain on their economy. You’d think all thiis infrastructure and talent would promote more local funding of local enterprise, new studios popping up in Vancouver funded by local Canadian private enterpise to take adantage of all the local talent and structure, after all it’s a hightly profitable game ..these great VFX fims.. but that is not happening. It can’t happen, they would have no leverage. Your seeing the same six American studios control our life through our politicians and move us around like chess pieces. This is why our nations signed agreements not to do this or allow it. This is what we are questioning. We want to make it inpossible to plan a future or a family. When things are in your favor, sure it appears to be great, then like the Sony families in the Midwest discovered when Vancouver offered a better deal…..or the Florida families discovered when DD blew all of the state’s money (or whatever they did with it) This is not free trade this is a rigged game and in the end it truly is a race to the bottom. Will it all go to Inida and China because we act? Everything will seek it’s level but if governments are in the busieness of steaing each others industry it will always be corrupt an only benefit a few, and it won’t be us. I admire the Straus Bros for making Skyline for 10 milion, fighting the battle with the locals and watching their film top 80 million and rising. We need more of that, and less of this creative dust bowl of over priced sequels and prequils. Working close to the decision maker is the answere, getting the director to direct his movie locally in the same breathing space as the artists, wheher he’s Canadian, American, or Oz or NZ or the UK, or China or India that’s what works, that’s free trade and smart business.

      • Dave Rand says:

        sorry for the typos, damn tiny ipad keyboard.

      • frankO says:

        I absolutely get your point, but you have to understand and try and see it from a non American point of view.
        What this will achieve is that the industry is locked away in California. This is what you want, I get that.

        Do you have any idea how hard it is for a non American to get a work permit in the US? And I am not talking about your $130.000 senior artist, I am talking about mid level, heck even juniors.

        Whereas now there is always some place somewhere where you can get in, not being from the US.

        Again, I get your point, but what makes me a bit angry is that you try to make ‘everyone’ support your cause which is an American one, not one that helps ‘every VFX professional’ as you say.
        Try to think outside the American box please to understand my point.

        I will rather chase my job all over the world than not being able to work in this industry at all.

      • VFX Los Angeles says:

        The idea of ending subsidies is good for everyone. If you think you can chase the job all around the world, you will still do that. Each market should not be forced to become a vfx market just because of tax breaks. Let each market compete on capability and price.

        You say you want to chase the work because, I assume, you love the work. Then come to Los Angeles or go to Vancouver. Go to Singapore. There are plenty of markets that are hiring. America could do better to get work visas to younger talent to help develop them in a more robust market.

      • Dave Rand says:

        I becomes crystal clear when finally it happens to you …and it will. All’s it will take is one politician to challenge the very challengeable notion that your area is booming because the Americans are getting paid to make it so and like every other study being done that proves this is a fallacy they get voted in and drop all subsidies like they just did in Michigan this year.. Meanwhile any one wanting to start their own Canadian movie studio to create VFX films is not allowed in the club. We just want to chip away at that. I appreciate you keep saying you see our point. it’s a tough argument not to but you have realize that even given all of this it’s still about talent, it’s rare, we are not a dime a dozen. I believe this pay cut experiment will prove that again. Eventually the talent will be sought out. Half the people around me right now are not US citizens here in Los Angeles. We are just 1/3 of our way to our first 60 day goal on the first day so there’s no reason for me to convince foreign money to jump in other than I have many friends in Vancouver and Montreal, NZ and OZ, and the UK. The Montreal half has seen the damage…I feel Vancouver and everyone else …it’s just a
        matter of time. On a level playing field controlled by no one, amazing growth is possible in Films, Games, design, Marketing and Education. I’d love to work in a free market rather than this film Mafia. I do wish you best of luck and appreciate your honest input. I do not in any way want it locked away in California that’s completely myopic. Inida’s middle class is larger than both our countries populations combined. We all have along way to go from here, we are just not on the right path to real international growth.

      • grammarNazi says:

        @Dave Rand
        I enjoy reading your comments, honestly.

        But please, for the love of god. Split them into paragraphs.

      • Dave Rand says:

        I need a grammar Nazi, and thank you!

    • scottsquires says:

      Each local should be pushing for their own products to be done where they are. To actually have a sustainable industry of their own. Artificial subsidies simply means that your job is more at risk of going away regardless of your experience, expertise or skill level. There will be another place that offers high subsidies or where you are located will reduce theirs. Everyone in other countries act as if this will not be happening to them but it will. History will repeat. When China and India make a big push and subsidize their industry further, those in current areas will be saying to themselves, too little too late.

      Ultimately what we all want is a strong vfx industry that can stand on its own in different areas and not be whipped around the planet simply due to back end deals by politicians.

  16. El Davo says:

    If this succeeds, what it means is that all vfx work will remain in the US, as the film studios (Warner Bros, Universal etc) will have no need to go to other countries for their VFX work. Where does that leave the rest of us? Why should we all have to move to America? That is if we were allowed to come and work there with any kind of ease…

    Most likely, people working in other countries like England, Aus, NZ et al will have to deal with lower wages so as to compete with the US. And how long will it last in the US before the companies need to underbid each other again? Then wages in the US will be driven down as studios try to compete domestically. Then things will be sent off-shore again, only now for even fewer dollars. It will be a vicious circle that is worse than the one we’re currently in.

    I understand what you’re trying to do, but you need to think a little more globally, and take into regard people in this industry who aren’t from America.

    • frankO says:

      Exactly that’s the problem. What they want is an American solution almost a monopoly like it used to be back in the day. They say on the one hand they want the directors to work with the local talent, but then when you argue that what this will do is lock the industry to the US since all directors are there they say no, other studios can bid too of course… So what now?
      Removing the subsidies won’t change anything for this industry. It only shifts the locations, making many thousands of artists loose their jobs so California can profit.
      And when China and India make their move the same thing will happen all over again, without subsidies. Don’t let yourself be fooled, all this campaign is going to achieve is that the industry goes back to California. Nothing else will change. Studios will still underbid each other to the bare minimum and the Industry will be as messed up as before only that many will have lost their jobs in favor of California.

      • Dave Rand says:

        Please then list for me the industries that you feel should be up for grabs from your country by any government willing to subsidize them and move them to thier shores. Then explain to me how that would feel and how you’d consider it a good way to spread things around. How maybe then your country outsubdidizes the one that started it, and how that eventually evolves into a thriving market place being fair and competitive. I won’t wait for your list because you’ll never provide one of course…somehow you expect us to and that is the rub. That pits artist against aritst because when it comes down to it, it’s all fear, fear of losing your job, fear of the guilt of stealing someone else’s job, fear of even being able to use your real name to talk about it. We don’t want an American monoply we want to breatk it and have fair international competition and growth without maket socialism. They tried it in Russia, in China, and it’s all crap that’s is why it all failed.

      • yet_another_anon_vfxer says:

        Californians would like studios to compete on grounds such as:
        * Having top talent whose specialization matches the project
        * Being able to do the job for less money
        * Being able to do the job more smoothly with less hiccups
        * In general, being a better place to go to to get that job done.

        As is, studios are competing almost entirely based on this:
        * Regional taxpayers will give you a boatload of money if you do your project at our studio.

        This is a bad thing. Not just because the artists who grew this industry are increasingly unable to find work, but because these bribes make VFX look cheaper than it is. Because even as we ship people to these subsidized locales like truckloads of flour to train people so the project can get done despite the subsidized studio’s shortcomings, some other locale is trying to figure out how to get an even bigger bribe going. There are many locales with far, far cheaper cost of living than Vancouver.

        Ask Albuquerque, whose work just recently dried up and moved to better subsidies. Ask Florida how they feel. Who’s next? I heard rumors about another locale in Canada starting to offer even better bribes than Vancouver. But to work there you have to speak French in the office at all times… so maybe that one won’t pan out. Unless the locale really wants that business, and turns the other cheek on that rule.

        And can you honestly say the subsidized location is benefiting as much as they think? What percentage of employees in Vancouver are actually Vancouver residents, and not Californians shipped up there in crates because if they didn’t take the job, their family might lose their home or their kid would have to drop out of college?

        Wouldn’t these subsidized locations like to be making movies for their own country, in their own language, with their own culture and not just the next Marvel remake?

      • Concerned artist and proud citizen. says:

        Hardly. You’re thinking too hurtful with some idealistic country pride. A lot of studios who are overseas currently exist without the need for subsidies. Why? Because they’re that damn good. It won’t shift locations necessarily if people doing good work can compete based on that and the contacts they’ve made within the industry. Subsidies are hurting your country. Backhanded deals by governments are using monies which could be better suited for social programs within said country.

        We all know studios in far away countries who landed some good work not based on a tax write-off they received but by their expertise. That should and will continue. Hollywood isn’t getting a dime from Bulgaria if a studio there works on some shots on a film. Get real.

      • El Davo says:

        @ DaveRand – The thing is, it’s not America’s industry, and America’s alone. Half the stuff coming out of Hollywood is made by non-American Directors, using funding from many international sources (although yes, largely American) and vfx talent that is often more than 50% non-American. The films are also written by people from the world over. It’s a Universal industry. Having studios in other countries is not taking away from the US film industry. I understand the subsidies in other countries mean some work leaves the US, but that work doesn’t necessarily belong to the US to begin with. I can, however see why you would think so.

      • Suzanne Hunter says:

        @Dave, you are sooo right on your comments below. This issue effects all of us. Whether you live here in the US or abroad. It should be an international issue. Why are some VFX artists so unwilling and untrusting to join a team effort to help save our jobs. Why should we have to uproot our lives constantly and work ungodly hours until we become ill. I can relate to this type of circumstance because I have lived and seen it in action. Would you rather work in a sweatshop environment just because you want to work in the industry. We all know how hard VFX artists work and how much work it is to weave the magic that evolves into a movie or game. Come on, ‘there is no team in I.’

    • StatingTheObvious says:

      Why are you relying on Hollywood (i.e. US production companies) to give you work?

      Organize your own production company in each respective country and move away from having to rely on ridiculous subsidies to receive work.

      • Ymir says:

        ^^^This!^^^

      • FacilityGuy says:

        Because there is a ready-made market with money to spend. Creating a domestic market healthy enough to have substantial VFX budgets is an enormous undertaking and arguably the US is the only one to have done it. The major US studios are biggest purchaser of VFX services globally so it’s fair game to bid on the work if you think you have a chance of winning the award.

      • scottsquires says:

        You do realize in some areas the local government is already paying for 1/2 the cost of the workers. The studios for their part are only providing the other part. A vfx company could employ half the people and still operate even without studios, just based on their own government covering the salaries. Not much different than now.

        ‘The major US studios are biggest purchaser of VFX services globally so it’s fair game to bid on the work if you think you have a chance of winning the award.’

        It’s not a fair game if you can bid 1/2 the amount to win the award. What if you bid on something on eBay and others were able to buy the same item for 1/2 the amount simply because their government thought it would be a good idea? What if the person next to you was hired and you weren’t simply because the government randomly chose to cover half of his wages and none of yours? Do you consider that to be fair as well?

        For those sitting currently on the winning side of these lopsided arrangements this may appear fair. Once the winning side shifts (which it will) I think you may have a different perspective.

      • FacilityGuy says:

        I meant fair in the sense of the rules of ‘the game’, i.e. it’s not breaking any rules (although the WTO may eventually say otherwise). I agree it’s not a level playing field and very harsh on those being punished with lack of work simply because they work in an uncompetitive region, or one principled enough to think subsidizing is wrong.

        Personally I would prefer there were no subsidies at all but that would require such a seismic shift by multiple independent policy makers that I don’t believe it will happen. More power to those who think it would and are willing to make a stand.

        For my part, I know the rules will keep changing and business success in VFX means adapting or dying. This is good for business and bad for artists wanting stability.

        I believe the only way to really improve the artists’ lot is to use leverage, probably in the form of public opinion or public policy, to force the major studios to have more socially responsible and ethical procurement policies for live action VFX services. Without that, they will continue to do all they can to drive down costs without taking any responsibility for the impact on the workers that they are so removed from.

      • scottsquires says:

        “This is good for business and bad for artists wanting stability.”

        Unfortunately the companies do not respect their workers which is their true assets and evidently many workers refuse to respect themselves.

        ” believe the only way to really improve the artists’ lot is to use leverage, probably in the form of public opinion or public policy, to force the major studios to have more socially responsible and ethical procurement policies for live action VFX services.”

        Thanks for the laugh.

        Leverage only comes from workers united. Evidently most in vfx do not want leverage.

  17. RickyBurgers says:

    What is the name of the law firm? I’d like to research them first.

  18. scottsquires says:

    No, the UK and other areas got work even before the subsidies. A project may choose to shoot in the UK. The director may be based in the UK. The UK actually makes some films and if they put some of the subsidies into those they’d have more.

    Peter jackson would prefer to work with his Weta team just as George Lucas preferred to work with his iLM team.

    What this is attempting to do is to remove the artificial market manipulations (subsidies). Let the companies compete on quality, talent, cost, etc.

    Companies are already underbidding even in areas with subsidies so that will happen either way until the companies get their act together and organize.

  19. El Davo says:

    It seems that organization of companies is a little more of an issue then. Removing subsidies will do nothing until that happens. Let’s Hope Scott Ross can get something off the ground (I doubt the necessary companies will get fully behind it, but worth a shot).

  20. SalFletcher says:

    Eh? There are many countries that need subsidies. This is a very American-centric campaign. The VFX industry is not just an American industry.

    • Dave Rand says:

      No but the films are almost all American and they should not be…if it were a free market your government would not have to break the trade agreements and hijack our industry, they be able to grow their own. The subsidies are just another tool to maintain American control. If you comfortable with that for the future or see better one evolving from these practices please write your thoughts.

      • StatingTheObvious says:

        Agreed.

        Countries need to figure out how to finance their own film industry and stop relying on Hollywood to give them work through ridiculous subsidies.

      • SalFletcher says:

        Eh? Sorry, but this still sounds like a America vs Rest of the world argument. It’s very insulting to people who are not American and work in the industry.

    • LAartist says:

      The studios that produce/fund these films are American Based. And a lot of the VFX studios, especially in Vancouver, are American based/owned….so you’re wrong.

    • Concerned artist and proud citizen. says:

      It’s not just country-based. There are lots of regions within any one country competing as well. A lot of these states (or regions) are competing too, taking away monies they could be using for social programs and lasting job growth.

      Let’s face it, most governments (regional or country) can’t afford subsidies anymore with the way the global economy is going.

  21. LAartist says:

    I would agree with some of the other comments that in order for things to be completely above board the Law firm that the funds will go to should be disclosed.

  22. scottsquires says:

    And why do other countries need subsidies? Because they don’t have a film industry to support their own production. Majority of global films come out of Hollywood currently and are financed through the studios in Hollywood. Since much of the source of the money comes from studios and the profits end up back in Hollywood it would make the most sense for most of the work to be done here.

    The work on UK films should be done primarily in the UK. Canadian films, Australian films, China, etc all have the opportunity to make their own films and to support them.

    You could subsidize a snow ski resort in Miami but does that make the most sense? If it’s never able to support itself then it’s not a good idea to set it up.

    Choose an important industry in your country and an important export. Now imagine another country subsidies it so much that most of the work goes to the other country even though they may not have the talent or infrastructure. It would be much better for countries to invest in new business that they can create and own instead of merely pulling business from elsewhere artificially and paying the true owners of those businesses. Use that same money to actually invest in your own country.

    • El Davo says:

      So basically what you and Dave Rand are saying is that because these films are financed by American Studios, that all of the VFX work should stay in America. And that every other non-American film industry should ‘buck-up’ and start growing and deal with it themselves, ie; grow your own film industry in order to make vfx work, because all of the other vfx work is ours.

      Because the British, Aus, NZ film industries are so miniscule, their artists should miss out on employment in the vfx industry?

      I also think it’s a case of the pot calling the kettle black to say that other countries break the trade agreements and hijack your industry.

      • psyence says:

        The only reason why they ever left in the first place is because of subsidies. At the end of the day it’s the studio that wants to make the biggest buck, and they are willing to set up shop where they’ll get incentives doing so. It was never about giving artists around the globe a chance at being in the industry, c’mon man.

        You say it like artists would actually be missing out on employment in the VFX industry, but are they really? Are they not talented and skilled enough to go where the industry bolsters on its own? Does New Zealand REALLY have that many home-grown artists that pump out Avatars and the Hobbits every year? Do other major studios across the globe?

        The biggest issue is that it’s creating artificial dependencies(you know, government funding) that could be cut at any point, the next fiscal year could not have these subsidies in the plan, what happens to all the artists at Weta on contract? Do they look for work elsewhere locally? Are there other major studios in NZ? It’s comical, even. Atleast in places like the UK/USA you can walk across the street and apply for a job at the next shop. We shouldn’t be pandering to the government for creating jobs for us, that’s not how business is supposed to work, subsidies are made to stimulate new industries so they can “eventually” hold on their own, meaning that they will be cut at some point.

      • scottsquires says:

        The most important thing here is to eliminate the artificial manipulation of the vfx industry. Each company can bid on and be awarded work from where ever to where ever based on their own merits. There are now quite a few companies that have been bootstrapped and would do fine on their own. There will be projects that get done throughout the world because the studio or director chooses to go there based on a number of factors. Right now the subsidies create artificial incentives and dis-incentives. It’s impossible for a company in one location to provide 100s of millions of dollars that a country is willing to provide.

        My suggestion is for the long term that countries and regions would be better off investing in industries that are already prospering in their locale or building new industries. Part of the money going into inflated vfx industries could go to the locale film industry that could be maintained.

        I wouldn’t want California to put subsidies into big musicals to try to get Broadway shows to relocate entirely to California or into fashion shows to get work from Milan. I’d rather they focus on new developments such as solar power and other industries that would be new, productive and not reliant on simply shifting jobs from other states or countries because those jobs won’t last.

        If I was interested in working in Broadway musicals I would move to New York. If I wanted to focus on French pastries I’d probably go to France. I came from the midwest to California specifically to work on film projects because that’s the hub of US filming, the same as other regions and countries are hubs of their respective crafts and industries. I didn’t get mad about it or think that my small town in Indiana should lure film work there for my benefit.

      • Paul says:

        El Davo, you present a very reductionist summary of what Dave Rand and Scott Squires voice.

        I’ve worked with Dave; he’s more than a name on a board. My feeling is that neither Dave nor Scott are suggesting that artists and houses outside the US can’t or shouldn’t work on US Studios’ films. What they do ask is that such work be rewarded without what in essence are bribes to the US studios to award the work outside the US (or California for that matter).

        The point of growing native film industries in New Zealand and Australia and elsewhere is this: rather than use government money to lure American films, which at best provides temporary economic gains, those governments should instead invest that money on film projects originating in their own country.

        Growing the base of British films and filmmakers, for instance would provide a more stable source of work for British film workers, including those VFX. And with the films made locally, British post facilities will have the advantage of locality, time zone, etc, that California studios theoretically have with Hollywood based productions. Where excess capacity exists, by all means bid on US projects, but do so on a level economic playing field.

      • El Davo says:

        @Paul and @Psyence
        I agree with a lot of what you say, and yes it would be amazing for other countries to be able to bid on films largely financed by US studios without subsidies, but there are a couple of issues.

        Firstly, differing currency values between countries will always play a huge part in where the work goes. Even without subsidies, a country with a weak currency will always draw production (to an extent – not going to get into the India/China debate). Would these still be called bribes? No, but you’ll be pretty pissed either way.

        Secondly, it doesn’t necessarily matter how talented you are, you can’t just go and work anywhere you want. Even seniors have trouble getting work visas for the US without a 4-year degree under their belts – even if they have 10 years experience. And foreigners certainly can’t walk across the street and apply at the next shop when they’re on a US/UK work visa. It just doesn’t work that way. So yes, I think it will harm other international artists (mostly juniors and those without the formal qualifications necessary to obtain a work visa), if the majority of work were to go to LA.

        In the long term, yes it all sounds brilliant, but can those artists go without that work for 10 years while the economy turns around and this Subsidy Ban/Trade Organisatio/Artist Union stuff kicks in?

  23. If I own a company in “City X” and in another country/city the cost of living is half, yes I expect that the company in that cheap city will cost less. Very simple!
    However, let’s say a company is located in “City Y” and “City Y has similar cost of living as “City X.” Now, that city/country in which “City Y” resides donates 15-45% of the cost of the operations back to the studio then I cannot compete in any possible way. Basically I need to reduce my cost by 30-50% to be competitive. You can see where the issue starts to get a foot hold. I want everyone to have a reasonable and level playing field. For me this is not an issue where I don’t want work done in a non-American country. I have issues with -any- state/city/country subsidizing this work regardless of location. Why should we (the taxpayers) invest in films without any say in what films we invest in? Seems pretty ridiculous.

  24. I was disappointed to see that this was just for the feasibility study, so it could still not happen. But since this is still the only action being taken against such an important issue I’m still in full support. Liked, Shared, Tweeted, Plus 1ed, and supported!

  25. DDvfx says:

    Donated. Why are people in this industry (world-wide) so shortsighted? Yes, the path to having fair treatment of VFX professionals will be LONG. This will NOT be over in a month, or even a year. Know why? Because these massive production companies (that you can count on both of your hands) make hundreds of millions of dollars in profits. This isn’t necessarily about American artists vs. the World’s artists. It’s about the higher-ups at Marvel, Warner Bros., Sony, Disney (etc…) that are all treating VFX professionals like little peasants, like absolute shit, like little pawns in their game. We mean NOTHING to them. All they see is money. It doesn’t matter if The Avengers made over $1 billion. How much of that money do you think the companies that worked on the movie saw of that profit? NONE.

    Something needs to change. This isn’t everything that needs to be done. A Trade Organization is a necessity; more so than a union. The root of the problem is the greed at the production companies. Their greed will not stop. Their thirst for more money will continue to grow. Unless we (at least some of us) band together, this industry will crash. You can not have a perpetual race to the bottom, because eventually you will hit the bottom.

    • Suzanne Hunter says:

      Honestly, as a whole I think that most artist’s are distrustful. We are distrustful because of competition, because someone may steal our latest and greatest idea, because nowadays the world is full of corruption, embezzlement and distortion. I am really amazed that many of us are able to work in teams. Right now, all I see is a big fat unorganized hoopla of ideas. VFX Soldier is trying to help…..yet we still argue amongst each other and we are distrustful.

      Many of you have a point, WE DO NEED TO KNOW THE NAME OF THE LAW FIRM BECAUSE WE ALL NEED TO BE ON THE SAME PAGE. So if you please, VFX Soldier……and I for one cannot donate $150+. I think any amount that anyone can give should be appropriate. WE NEED TO STOP THINKING SEPARATELY…. rather we need to unite GLOBALLY. Who knows… Joe Shmoe working in the UK or India or China may want to work in the US some day or anyone in the US may want to work abroad. It would be wonderful if we can all work from where we live online which I believe to be the future. All I can say is this bickering has to stop or we will not come to an consensus.

      • scott squires says:

        ??? Law Firm was announced ages ago. They were live in a video event at SIGGRAPH. fxGuide published an interview with them and did a recap of SIGGRAPH.

      • Andreas Jablonka says:

        not everybody reads the timestamps of these post my friend *sigh*

      • Suzanne Hunter says:

        Well…..thanks for the update Scott and Andreas :) Since I did not attend Siggraph this past year, I would not have known that…..and it seems like I have been out of the loop. I just got the latest posting yesterday after months of nothing? Sigh…..

      • scott squires says:

        You can follow vxfsoldier on twitter for latest updates as they happen.

      • Suzanne Hunter says:

        Thanks Scott, but I am not a tweeter. Like Facebook a whole lot more. Although I did sign up for updates via this blog:)

  26. Dull says:

    Many artists are afraid lose jobs and everything goes back to America. Thats unrealistic. Ilm will be busy with star wars movies and who should do all the marvel movies? Of course the where are the artists. Like vancouver etc. So your jobs will be save without the subsidies!

    With subsidies:
    One Iceland starts new program with huge subsidies. Than the studios will force the vfx_shops to move studio to iceland. So 2-4 years you have to move to Iceland if you wanna work on avengers 3.

    Without subsidies studios have reason to force vfx-shops to move and you can stay in Vancouver. The loser in the game is the local Iceland artist, because Hollywood is coming to his town.

    With subsidies you have move where the studios get more back.
    Without subsidies you stay where you are/ vfx_shops will stay at places with most talented artists.

    • frankO says:

      Wrong! Without Subsidies the Studios go back to the US and everywhere else thousands of artists, mainly in Vancouver will loose their jobs.
      Without subsidies there wouldn’t be any VFX in Vancouver. But there is now. It’s a bit late to cry about subsidies now.

  27. jovfx says:

    So basically what B.O is saying is he has a problem when other countries provide better value for money in the form of subsidies. Coming from the leader of the most capitalist country in the world I can’t help but think “what an idiot”.

    The bottom line is subsidies are not illegal and they never will be. Do they need regulating? Yes. Can they be regulated? not a chance!

    Does anyone seriously think they can set up a worldwide system where subsidies are abandoned or reduced? It’s just not going to happen. However, what DOES need to happen is post houses of a reasonable size need to create their own content or shall we say adopt the “pixar” business model. Yes it’s expensive, yes it is hard but you will see more cash on the flip-side….

    I’ve got a lot to say but my lunch break is over!!!!

    • VFX Soldier says:

      > Does anyone seriously think they can set up a worldwide system where subsidies are abandoned or reduced?

      Yes. There already is one and it’s been around for decades: the WTO and various trade commissions in each country. They deal with regulation of subsidies on a yearly basis.

      • jovfx says:

        ….coffee break….. ;)

        I don’t dispute the fact they’ve been around for decades but they’re about as much use as a cock flavored lollipop.

        It is also immoral to ask a country X to remove/reduce their tax incentives just to appease country Y.

        Don’t get me wrong I am 100% on your side with regards to creating a union and getting people to sort out their subs but I don’t think this is the way forward for us vfx artists. When/ if we unionize what will stop studios from saying “see ‘ya” and shipping all work to the middle/far east where there will be no unions?

        Studios have artists and post houses over a barrel (or should that sentence be revised to “Studios and post houses have artists over a barrel”)?.

        Anyway, I think the answer is something far more complex (not that your proposals aren’t)…

    • Subsidies truth says:

      Subsidies are illegal if they are used to subsidize imports into another country where a comparable industry exists that suffers harm as a result. Countries can subsidize production of goods and services for their own markets, but not for export to other markets. Think about it – makes sense. And if a country is a member of the WTO, it has agreed to play by these rules.

    • scottsquires says:

      Everyone in vfx has the idea that every vfx company can simply create their own content and become rich and self sufficient, just like Pixar. Making content is no guarantee that you will make money. There have been a number of failed animated projects that lost money, some of them funded by vfx companies. It takes very deep pockets and a long time to create animated film. If vfx companies are already having problems making payroll how will they fund a big animated film from scratch? Who’s to lend them the money? If they do it for someone else then they’re still a service and may have minimal backend. And don’t assume because the vfx companies have animators that they can easily become storytellers and full animation studios.

      At some point then vfx companies have to decide to be animation companies or vfx companies

      • jovfx says:

        Scott,

        not for a minute would I begin to question what you have to say as you’re one of the greatest supe’s ever and have more pedigree than most on this forum but in my opinion we all need to forget a local or worldwide union.

        I’m not going to insult anyone’s intelligence here by suggesting ways in which a shop could fund a project but it can be done. heck, why cant it be done? everything has to start somewhere.

        And you’re right, there have been some huge failures in the past and no it isn’t a choice for many companies but just imagine if some of them did adopt that business model, a sustainable business model, christ! i’d send my reel over…..

        (btw, you da man Scott. Such an awesome career !!!!)

      • scottsquires says:

        jovfx,

        I’m not saying it can’t be done or that certain companies shouldn’t try to do it. Some people want to start new vfx companies as well. I just caution people from assuming it’s an easy path. There are no easy paths.

        Yes, a vfx company with alternate sources of income and workflow are welcome. Animation, software, medical animation, television, commercials, etc are all possibilities for branching out. That’s one way to strengthen a company IF it is done right. If it’s not done right it can be a disaster.

        The other things discussed on this board that would help stabilize and strengthen the vfx industry is a trade association, a union, removal of incentives, etc. None of these is a perfect and all encompassing solution but each would go a long way to try to balance things out for the actual artists.

        If all companies were bidding on a level field and the companies refused to underbid the cost of doing the work that would go a very long way. The studios can not send every project, including all tent pole movies to Asia tomorrow. Star Wars, Avengers, Marvel, Avatar, etc, etc can not be all done in Asia at the same time. Good companies around the world could continue to do good work when given the opportunity to let their abilities and capabilities speak for themselves and not be forced to use subsidies as a crutch or as a barrier.

        People seem to be making as many excuses as they can to not do something. It’s too late. It will all go to Asia. The world will end. My toe’s asleep. Blah, blah, blah. Apathy is the real problem today with vfx artists.

        What they don’t get is that they in fact have power if they’re united. Today those in the US could sign union rep cards. That doesn’t fix the ills of the industry but that does make some significant improvements for workers in the US and will in fact lead to better improvements elsewhere. Yet many don’t even make that trivial of effort. They let others control them with fear.

        People have the opportunity to fund an effort to try to reduce subsidies in this industry. Our industry would be stronger if we weaned ourselves from away from hand outs and the control of politicians and studios. We should be working as creatives with the directors just as the camera and art departments do. Instead we’re treated as a commodity to be sent to the lowest bidder and we as an industry are encouraging that type of behavior.

      • Dave Rand says:

        Talent is the key to any crreative success story. That is the value of the “Artist” component of “Visual Effects Artist”. Talent is rare and can not be taught. I’m still a believer in that. The exapanding demand globalliy for stunning visual imagery across many industries, Films, Games, Education, Marketing, and Design is not waining. Right now I’m in a room in Los Angeles where there are four of us, I’m the only American. That’s happened because like any HR person will tell you…when they are not trying to sell you, It’s not easy finding quality. So having all the crayons does not make you a master artist. Having all the hardware, software, good AC, and lots of warm bodies does not make you the nex Pixar either. We are rare. They know it. Have some courage and faith in that.

  28. Dull says:

    I don’t believe ever you even get a chance to change something. at least you need a world top lawyer company, but this will take a lot more money than lousy 15K. I hope, i am wrong.
    canada cut the subsidies, becaue UK will not cut. UK will never chang it, theyeven say “no” to everything what european union deides/talk.

    you to attak from other side, on battlefield you can control. with a union, you can go on strike. the vfx-shops have talk to the studio ” look i can not do it this way anymore, otherwise we have no artists anymore!”

    anyway, luck luck with thats ! dream on !

  29. Supah Dupah says:

    Outta curiosity, how long does it take for a non-British Columbia resident to become a resident and for the studio to be able to claim them for the tax breaks?

    • FacilityGuy says:

      Someone is classified a BC resident for tax rebate purposes if they paid BC tax in the previous tax year (same as calendar year in Canada). Hence the rush to start contracts in December.

      Ontario is the same. Quebec doesn’t care whether labor is resident or not, provincial rebate is paid regardless.

  30. VFX_Boom says:

    Lots of folks are asking some good questions, while others just have plain doubts about the success of this undertaking. I’m hoping more info will become available as we get closer to the goal.

    As for the other folks thinking to themselves, or even out loud, why should we even try?

    Follow me here………………

    Say you are sitting at a bar/pub/social house, and across the way is a really cute male/female. You make eye contact a few times and smile a little bit. But, the hour is getting late and you need to leave. You can either take 30 seconds to walk over and say hello, OR…… you can not even try, and walk away. At some point in life you need to get off your ass and try.

    Who knows, the universe might smile on you even if you think the odds are stacked against you.

    • AnonymousPeople says:

      We can’t even tell if this male/female is “really cute” because we’ve been given precisely zero details. Who am I pledging money to? What’s the name of the law firm? Who is the lawyer at the firm who’s handling the study? What are their rates? Are there better suited firms for this type of task?

      We are trusting an anonymous man on the internet with $15,000+ to give to a law firm whose name we don’t know, and whose credentials are unknown. All just to keep a mask on some scared blogger. Shameful.

      • scottsquires says:

        So vfxsoldier setup and has run this blog for years just to…solicit money for him/herself? People are fine with donating to films and potential products at $100,000 without knowing the people and in many cases getting nothing in return. But taking a stand for something and breaking it into phases is treason.

        Anonymous – Look at yourself and the number of people commenting or funding under anonymous or fake names. If you wish to call someone out then you should step forward and use your real name.

        If I was taking an opposing view to vfxsoldier I’d want to know who he/she was so I could do things to slow them down or discourage them. I suspect that’s why most involved are anonymous themselves since they don’t want to be blacklisted or avoided when job positions are open. Yourself included.

        Law firms –
        Given the care vfxsoldier has gathered the materials presented through the blog, I’m sure he/she did a bit of investigation. Here’s a question for you and others … Do you know law firms inside and out? Do you know the lawyers at the law firm? Are you going to have to weigh in and provide notes on the law firm chosen before you donate? Are you going to have to meet and talk to the point lawyer first?

        If I was taking an opposing view to vfxsoldier I’d be very interested in the law firm and consider contacting them ahead of the funding and possibly persuade them to do me a favor ($) and not take the case or in some manner reduce their effectiveness. Take a look at the corporate and political shenanigans that $ can buy.

      • jaded_DD_artist says:

        What is shameful is the way the vfx industry is treated by our clients – the major studios – forced to underbid each other for the privilege of staying in business for another year. What is shameful is that I provide expert 3d work on massively popular films that gross millions in profit yet reasonably priced and basic portable health care is unavailable to me in a first-world country. What is shameful is that despite the leverage my coworkers have they are too apathetic to use it even to take a stand against unfair wage cuts. What is shameful is that friends I know have relocated their families around the country / world to chase subsidy driven jobs only to have those jobs vanish on a whim.

        And what is especially shameful is that you suggest maintaining this status quo over taking a chance to challenge it all because of the small possibility that the only real effort so far to challenge it *might* be a scam. That is what I find shameful.

        It is precisely because of this bullheaded attitude that we as vfx artists are in this predicament today. If you don’t want to take a chance on change then you don’t have to – and if change does come then you can sit pretty knowing others fought for you…but I personally would put a few hundred dollars into a fire if I thought it might have a chance of making a difference in vfx…

        Call it stupidity or optimism…at least I can put my money where my values lie…even if I don’t see that money again.

    • AnonymousPeople says:

      “And what is especially shameful is that you suggest maintaining this status quo over taking a chance to challenge it all because of the small possibility that the only real effort so far to challenge it *might* be a scam. That is what I find shameful.”

      So why can’t it be done with transparency and accountability? A group of people with names and faces, and a law firm who can be vetted. I can’t think of another legal pursuit in recent history where an anonymous plaintiff solicits money to give to an anonymous law firm. It simply doesn’t happen, and you know why. When workers want to unionize, a union with a name, meets with people with names, and they take a risk together. This effort is just sad. Possibly criminal.

      ” If you don’t want to take a chance on change then you don’t have to”

      I would, gladly, under the right circumstances. And I’d sign my real name on the line. These are not the right circumstances. This is a shame.

      “If I was taking an opposing view to vfxsoldier I’d be very interested in the law firm and consider contacting them ahead of the funding and possibly persuade them to do me a favor ($) and not take the case or in some manner reduce their effectiveness.”

      You do not understand how law works.

      • jaded_DD_artist says:

        “I can’t think of another legal pursuit in recent history where an anonymous plaintiff solicits money to give to an anonymous law firm. It simply doesn’t happen…”

        Plaintiff anonymity is a common convention in the United States. Just because you can’t imagine it happening doesn’t mean it “simply doesn’t happen.” Roe v. Wade is a famous case involving an initially anonymous plaintiff. The point being that it is not unfathomable. I would eventually hope, should this move beyond the feasibility stage, names are produced. But to that end discretion is also a common convention in the early stages of planning litigation…

        “You do not understand how law works.”

        And clearly neither do you so we’re all just blowing hot air in here huh!

      • AnonymousPeople says:

        Really? Roe v. Wade was funded by an anonymous fundraiser for an anonymous attorney?

      • jaded_DD_artist says:

        No. It wasn’t – the main point being that anonymity is not, in itself, cause for a red flag in the early stages of a proposed legal battle and does happen regularly (John Doe laws etc).

        I guess the point of all of this is that you really and truly believe that the plan here is for either a) VFXsoldier to steal 16k, or b) the plan here is for the entirety of the lawsuit proceedings to be clandestine…then we will just have to agree to disagree because I think at this stage your clamoring is a bit paranoid.

  31. jovfx says:

    hold on vfxBoom…

    “and across the way is a really cute male/female”

    are we talking about a transexual?

    the tone of this blog is going downhill…
    ;)

  32. vfxgirl says:

    yay VFX soldier – you’ve always been my hero! :) i pledge to commit money…every little bit helps even if some of us are only “working on personal projects” at the moment ;) hats off to u for getting the ball rolling on this, in spite of the inevitable naysaying and doubting thomases :) every movement , every change in history, has started out like this…. grass roots with alot of of fear, and questions, hopes, and doubts…some valid, some not since there are always pros and cons. but i believe change happens when someone takes that first step. we can adjust, we can correct, later… but it has to start somewhere. baby steps. otherwise all we are as a collective group of VFX artists are people who complain alot but do nothing to change the status quo one way or another. we may try and fail, but we might also succeed… but bottom line is, we won’t know until we try. i was terrified getting my first job in this industry, alot of people discouraging me, but am still here years later :)
    i’ve posted on facebook… we should crosspost on fb, linkedin groups… anywhere else to get the word out. VES website? CInefex.com ? any others people can think of.
    here we go! :)

  33. edwardh says:

    Wow. I believe this is the first time that a comment of mine was removed on here. At least the first time I noticed it. And there sure were some heated discussions and even moments where I put my foot in my mouth in the past. All of which, to VFX Soldier’s credit, he left there for the world to see (again – as far as I noticed).

    Which is one of the reasons why I always thought that VFX Soldier was largely credible and worth supporting (the things I didn’t agree with were very rare), why I have been following this blog for probably about two years by now and why, whenever I talked about labor rights in our field with co-workers, I kept pointing it out to them. Hell, I was even considering putting down some money for this cause, partly depending on how the discussion went (of course now people will never know why I even hesitated).

    As I am not someone who follows blindly, you can soldier on without me.

  34. Anon says:

    Now there is a push to just cut out the foreigners from coming into vancouver. Listen to this from this school in Vancouver BC. Think you have a job just by moving to Vancouver, well, how long will that last when they dont need you. Lets get this nipped in the butt before we all loose our jobs and careers to illegal subsides.

    http://academy.cg-masters.com/cgma-visual-effects-school/

  35. Junkie VFX says:

    Just one thought, Is this all about Californians? :) Hells yeah. and I thought it was a global business I guess not.
    I think this country has bigger problems than VFX! But saying that, I know everyone is entitled to their opinions so here is mine, I am sorry but this is will NOT work, I have had a word with a bunch of council labor lawyers in Cali and NY who are family and guess what the answer was?
    ‘This country and state has bigger problems than a bunch of artists. You will be heard for a price (15-20K), frowned upon for a couple of days or weeks at the most and then.. “business as usual” as most of the studio will concur’ This a relationship between governments to establish a balance in the economy, Studios ARE getting foreign aid to bring back money into the states to fulfill the growing demand for global entertainment. No one can say it’s unfair business practices when the books are opened to prove that more money is coming in than going out. Obama’s speech is well placed and worded for business sectors of consumer manufacturing of goods and services NOT Hollywood!

    I say look for other fall back options, I know most of the fellow ‘artists’ are getting an education I hear.

    • Anon says:

      They are exploring the position that the subsidies offered by other countries, like Canada, violate international trade agreements. In which case, it might be possible to legally challenge them. The focus of this particular campaign is more on work leaving the country than on the various subsidies offered by state and local governments. Its not about only California, its about the entire country. Where do you get your information from. There are thousands of artist in this country that are having to move or choose another career, simply because India, Canada, China, and Bulgaria offer to do the work via subsidies or because you can pay someone $2 a day. If we are to have a global economy, then it should be a level playing field. Not lopsided. Obviously you are not from the US, you just graduated from some school, and have not a clue about this industry. This country is UNITED and any work lost to another country for unfair practices hurts. There are thousands of artists that this affects, not just a few hundred.

    • Dave Rand says:

      “This a relationship between governments to establish a balance in the economy, Studios ARE getting foreign aid to bring back money into the states to fulfill the growing demand for global entertainment” ***Over 90% of the work we do comes from six studios in the United States. Subsidies are just one of many tools used to keep the that leverage and keep the fence up. Three lists to think about 1. The lists of new studios that have sprung up due to this new world order. 2. The list of other industries that should be paid by foreign governments to move their productions to a different country and hire their citizens instead so that the home country can fight back by paying those industries to come back home. 3. The list of even moderately stable places to buy a home and raise a family as a vfx artist.

  36. SPIAlumnus says:

    I still have yet to see the name of an attorney or law firm, despite repeated requests throughout this thread. You’re asking us to donate a collective $15,000 and we aren’t supposed to know who this is going to?

    I smell fish.

    • VFX Soldier says:

      If this was some plot for me to make me rich would t I ask for a little more than 16k?

      The law firm will take 2-3 months on the feasibility study. Their name will be revealed in the second stage.

      • Paul says:

        Just my green card cost $5k, A law firm will review 2-3 months a far bigger and more complex problem for $15k?! A feasibility study my ass! Either you can do it or not regardless of the outcome, they’re the professionals and should know right off the bat if this is something they can tackle. Just does not compute my friend.

      • ConcernedArtist says:

        “The law firm will take 2-3 months on the feasibility study. Their name will be revealed in the second stage.”

        Nope. I’m afraid it doesn’t work that way.

        I might be joining this party late, but let me see if I’ve got this straight:

        You are an anonymous group of artists looking to crowd-source thousands of dollars to be spent on an anonymous law firm that’s going to do a secret study that could end up saying the process needs to be abandoned? And you’re only going to reveal the law firm if the report says to go ahead?

        Is that correct?

        It looks like you’re over halfway to the goal and a payment. If $16,000 is actually raised online under false pretenses, that’s federal wire fraud my friend.

        I’d suggest giving a name for the law firm or you may just find yourself being investigated for fraud… Especially if this thing gets funded.

      • AnonymousPeople says:

        Maybe not a plot to get money (and maybe it is, scams have been done for less cash), but you could also be grossly incompetent at selecting and dealing with a law firm. Before dropping any money on the process (which I agree with the premise of), I’d like to have my attorney glance over the details. But I can’t. It’s just a black box that money goes into, and hopefully a result that we like comes out of.

        I’d be right there with you, with some cash and my name on a petition, if this were a transparent process with real accountability. This idea is just shameful, and I feel bad for the people who are going to lose their money on this “study.”

      • Well, for this to be a fraud, the ramp up time on this is VERY significant. Years of blogging…for…$16k ?
        It doesn’t make sense. Worst case I can see here is that yes it ends up being a fraud and then we can use Indie Go Go potentially to go after VFX Soldier. Once again, I don’t believe it to be a fraud and I believe in equality when it comes to bidding and awarding work, on a global scale.

      • Suzanne Hunter says:

        VFX Soldier, thanks for clarifying…..

  37. Paul says:

    I have to admit that all this give me the money I’ll know what to do with it is very sloppy if not shady to say the least. I think things are getting solid and concrete enough for you to tell everyone who the fuck is who and where that money is going to. Insane to even ask for this most basic info when hard earned cash is involved. Sorry for not being a useful idiot.

  38. Me says:

    I contributed, proudly. This isn’t about the jobs of Californians, it’s about keeping the dream alive we’ve all had for so long.

    So ‘it’s not all about money’ huh? Well, stand up and fight for what’s important.

  39. Balancing_Argument says:

    When people try to use the excuse that “years of blogging for $16k doesn’t make sense”

    Maybe he/she just came up with the idea a few months ago to finally cash in on his/her internet fame and it wasn’t some master plan from the start.

  40. Andreas Jablonka says:

    what really annoys me about all this negative criticism is this:
    1) vfxsoldier did us all a big favor by getting this started. you all kept talking but no walking.
    2) i have disagreed with hm before and will in the future im sure, but his intentions were clear for years
    3) we know he was/is a vfx artist and judging from him being an ex tag member he is at least a senior by now meaning he makes more than bloody 16k$ in 2 months so i cant see this being a scam. its not worth his time! besides the fundraiser only funds if it completes. if now it gets refunded. if its a scam well you can go after you 75$ for all i care. if THATS killing you, not the 20% wage cut you had to swallow.

    is this a gamble? yes it is. no guarantees. but i think its an easy donation to a good cause and might help many people getting a level playingfield.

    it seems more people are concerned to lose their money than if this actually works. I understand the questioning for the identity of the lawfirm, id like to know too, but then what? google them? look at BBB? ask your friends if they used them before? a trade law lawyer? i think its the wish for safety and control. if you want control, sign a god damn REP card and unionize then you control the stakes and the union will carry it out! we vote, we rule, they bargain.

    stop the petty fight and get this funded and see how far we can get!
    sorry for my french but i hate seeing all this negativity!

  41. Hello Kitty says:

    At least some guarantee that the study (and not just the law firm’s details) will be made public at the end would be nice.

    • Clicking Bandido says:

      Thank you Soldier. :) And don’t be discouraged. For every one person calling this a scam and putting your good intentions to questions there are tons more supporting you and the industry we love.

  42. Dani says:

    I think you meant to write “as of right now”
    Instead of ‘write now’, but I am supportive of your blessed struggle and so very just cause.
    Happy holidays !!
    DS.

  43. Vfxgirl says:

    Vfx soldier I’ve been following your updates via tweets on most days for years and I support you and the fight. I hope this is a step to help vfx artists maintain a lively hood in the city that they live in. I hate that this industry is such a nomadic lifestyle. All my family happens to live in the same city where a lot of vfx work gets done. The fact that I have to choose to uproot my life on a yearly basis is tiring. College was for that. It’s one of the reasons why I work more freelance projects so I can afford to work for less at studios. One day workers will have decent wages. And it’s true I haven’t been in the industry that long but I went to school thinking i wouldn’t have to struggle this much in order to pay back school loans. I’ve thought about on a few occasions just going to get a hire paid job in another industry but I won’t. Why should I have to give up my dream of creating beautiful images. This is the side of the industry that they don’t talk about in school.

  44. vfxvagabond says:

    Why do you want all the jobs back in California?

    Having read your blog, you talk about unpaid overtime and no access to healthcare as problems facing artists. These seem to be very US-centric issues.

    Having worked in Canada and Australia, I’ve always had overtime paid and accessed affordable healthcare.

    If the argument is because so many VFX artists are from California… well, I look around my team and I see a Spaniard, two Brits, a Dutch, a Kiwi, lots of Canadians, Aussies, a Mexican, a Frenchman, a Thai, and several Indians, but not a single, solitary Californian.

    So, unless you plan to *really* level the playing field by having US facilities pay the same maternity leave, sick leave, annual pay and superannuation that Australian facilities have to pay, I don’t understand what you hope to gain from this. Unless it’s to create a world where only VFX Soldier doesn’t have to leave home to find work, while the rest of us do – and leave home for a place where the conditions aren’t as good as what we can find elsewhere.

    Of all the issues facing our industry at the moment, it’s quite disappointing that this is what you’ve chosen to use your influence on.

  45. warrasp says:

    http://wh.gov/wqRF

    so I hope you don’t mind a made a white house petition and took your talking points and condensed them. It ain’t much but it might be something if we can get it signed enough. At least force a reaction from the government.

  46. Angad Singh says:

    Hi, VFX Soldier…. I am new to the VFX industry and I am still trying to understand is this movement all about? Is it about –
    -Getting Health Care and other facilities?
    -Companies leaving California because it’s cheaper to work someplace else?
    Probably among the many post you have written there is an explanation in them to the above, can be kind enough to just give me a link to it?

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  51. Tom Jones says:

    Lets put aside if we are paid well enough or not or if we are working fair hours or not. From the economical point of view, this industry generates quite a big revenue which of course any ‘right businessman’ and ‘right economist’ will be crying to loose. Including Obama and Polone.. And in any country.. I am working in the UK – its understandable that my country is doing everything to attract businesses here to profit of this industry. Like any other. The way they are doing it is without a doubt not right and that’s for one because someone have to pick up the bill somewhere down the road to contribute towards ‘subsidies tax hole’ created by the ‘generous’ subsidies. End of the day this is usually done by someone who doesn’t have an idea about this industry, someone who just pays for a ticket to go to a cinema and enjoy a movie. And the VFX production house in not even in the country anymore…
    Lets now leave subsidies aside. Lets pretend they are not here, never invented. Now can someone please explain to me: why do I have to move to California where I will be treated like a trash – just because I am foreigner there – to do a job that I love? Is world revolving around California in the US? If a director is happy to work with Framestore, Dneg or MPC London, should they stay in California because ‘ this is the only right thing to do’? Because VFX industry has been invented in US? Or what?

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