VFX Demonstration Talking Points On Subsidies

Some have requested a “talking points memo” on subsidies in case the media or anyone else asks a question.

- Many VFX facilities have been forced to move or have gone out of business because of underbidding exacerbated by government subsidies that drastically distort the price of VFX.

- Last year, the province of British Columbia spent $437 Million to subsidize film production.

- For every $100 paid to a BC VFX worker, the government pays $60 back to the studio. This is not a tax credit, it goes beyond the tax liability. It’s free money for rich US Studios.

- Subsidies violate many international trade agreements and we have hired counsel to challenge them.

- Every impartial study on film subsidies has shown that they do not pay for themselves.

- No matter how successful or efficient our work is, we are ultimately at the mercy of the next government willing to distort prices and put the companies we work for out of business.

- We want to end the race to the bottom so we can compete on a level playing field and begin the race to the top.

Frequent commenter Adrian Mcdonald will be at the demonstration. He is an expert on film subsidies and has been a BEAST on getting the facts out. If you are interested in learning more say hello to him. He’ll be wearing a Film Works hat.

Soldier On.

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91 Responses to VFX Demonstration Talking Points On Subsidies

  1. wearevfxsoldier says:

    Hope for the best for the vfx community and a more prosper film industry.

    • randallvfx says:

      I dont believe that a 60% tax credit on VFX labor actually exists. From the BC Film Commission website, it is 17.5% which is 17.50 credit per $100 on VFX labor. If the 60% credit doesn’t exist, this misinformation will cause more damage than the subsidies themselves.

      • SayWhat? says:

        Agree with Randall. The tax credit, as far as I’m aware (and have worked with when bidding) is up to 30%. I’ve never heard of a 60% tax credit.

  2. itsART! says:

    From London – We love you!!
    If you are in the city and a vfx artist, please go!! Numbers mean everything.

  3. itsART! says:

    You can post messages in the BBC twitter channel to get them aware before tonights coverage.

    https://twitter.com/BBC_HaveYourSay

    • Peter says:

      I don’t think I agree with the VES stance to introduce yet another subsidy in California. They are prioritizing these distorting subsidies as a race to the bottom as a first tactic. I talked to Entertainment Weekly today and gave my opinion.. I think to expect Gov. Brown to do any sizeable subsidy is fiction anyway, as he just got his budget passed, and it involved so many cuts across the board…he’d be hard pressed to cut revenues. The this attached link is to the new new open letter to the VFX community from Eric Roth, see for yourselves: http://us2.campaign-archive2.com/?u=3ca9b54d75b9a3b8dbabefd4f&id=2bcf72f6b4&e=847c804368

  4. Dave Rand says:

    Thanks you sir for posting this.

    • Dave Rand says:

      I believe subsidies are keeping the fences up, barriers to entry of a truly free market based on talent and branding. They help keep the concentration of power in the hands of the 6 studios that will the only winners of this race to the bottom where they can stand and look at each other and “OOPS!” There should be lots of winners, more fresh and new ideas able to bubble up and be seen.

      These subsidies keep the visual effects industry in a weakened state as we chase each other around the globe scatter accumulated wisdom and tools to the four winds.

      It’s should not be just about ideas of a small group from one country.

      • shaner says:

        Unfortunately Dave too many people today think free markets = corporatism.

        Good luck to you all tonight.

  5. Dave Rand says:

    Also looks like temperature in Hollywood will be on the chilly side 50-68 for the afternoon evening ….bring a jacket

  6. Call me Sam Lowry says:

    I hope that anyone who works in The Industry would lend their voices to this cause. This is not a VFX only issue. Is there any department that has not been negatively impacted by subsidies? How many Line Producers, Production Managers, Grips, Coordinators, Makeup Artists, Assistant Directors, Location Managers, Production Accountants, Actors, Stunt Performers, Script Supervisors, Production Designers, Electricians, Decorators, Carpenters, Props Masters, Sound Mixers, Costume Supervisors, Production Assistants, Screenwriters and yes, even Producers and Directors and all of the other folks that contribute to the production of a project – how many are out of work or have been up rooted to chase jobs across states and countries? Competition is one thing but subsidies – now that is a horse of a different color.

  7. hilscreate says:

    from Singapore. Good luck to all you guys there.

  8. skaplan839 says:

    All ..

    Please remember when you’re out there, be courteous, be polite and be safe. Don’t block driveways or building entrances. Stay on the sidewalks and be aware of your surroundings.

    Talk from your heart. Tell anyone who asks that you want a better industry for artists and vfx facilities alike. You’re out tonight to bring awareness to the fact that VFX is being used as a profit generator and the time has come to stop exploiting this corner of the industry.

  9. Ivan DeWolf says:

    there should be a good showing of support for the “piece of the pi” event up here in Vancouver as well

  10. zippy says:

    After being badly burned by the slump in VFX work in London last year and still trying to recover from it financially, any and all ways to try and making things better for all of us is hugely appreciated!

    Despite what the US movie studios would like us to think, we’re not factory workers building iPhones, we’re directly contributing to the work on screen in both a creative and technical capacity and we deserve a share of the financial return for the work which is the key reason behind the revenue of those VFX driven movies!

    Subsidies have been discussed extensively on here so I won’t comment on that in much detail other than agreeing that how they are being used is wrong both legally and ethically!

    Good luck guys and girls!

  11. Dennis Hoffman says:

    First, I want to commend Dawn Macleod, who is organizing a gathering in Vancouver as you all gather in LA to bring a focus to the challenges that exist in vfx. I am planning on attending the Vancouver event. I am doing so with some hesitation as I do not agree with all the talking points. When it comes to tax incentives/out sourcing there is much to discuss and there are certainly pro’s and con’s worth reviewing. I am reposting something I wrote yesterday on facebook. I am not the most eloquent writer, which is why I work in a visual medium, but hopefully it gets my point across. As I write this I am reminded of a scene out of “All the Presidents Men” where Deep Throat is meeting with Bob Woodward, after the Post publishes that Bob Halderman was named in a Grand Jury report as being one of the organizers of the watergate break in, which he wasn’t. Deep Throat says, ” You missed the big picture….” We have an opportunity and we can’t miss the big picture. Here is my repost

    Dawn, this is a good idea and I will try to make it, if I can get out of a personal commitment. Are we going to gather at R&H Van or Vancouver Art Gallery as listed above. It would be bad to divide the meetings. This is a time of solidarity as has been mentioned in a number of postings. On the subject of solidarity and community I have been reading the postings and I agree there is a great amount that we can unite around and try to change to create a healthier vfx community/work evnironment and business. I have seen a heavy amount of focus on tax incentives/out sourcing as a major cause of the plight of our industry. We can debate the pro’s and con’s of this, but I believe the issues that existed in the 90’s and early 00’s that brought about the closing or disappearance of Apogee, Boss, and Dream Quest, to name a few, are the same core problems that challenge us today. These are the issues we need to face and change. During the 90’s , the vfx world primarily existing within the LA-SF corridor. Today we are in New York, Louisiana, England, Germany, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, India and Asia as well. this is the power that we need to harness and not divide to bring about significant change. I hope to see you tomorrow

    • Scott Squires says:

      Hi Dennis,

      Dream Quest closed because Disney didn’t want to pay for having their own vfx company and all that entailed.

      As you say we should be focused to solidarity. But the companies refuse to organize themselves or strive to change the business model. Just getting 200 people to gather in Hollywood is very hard. Trying to get vfx workers worldwide to be on the same page seems to be incredibly difficult. As workers what is the solution? Can we get the majority of worldwide workers to stand together and not work under poor conditions, non pay, too much overtime, etc? How are we as world wide workers supposed to fight the studios? Here in the US we can ignore it, quit the industry or join the union.

      Subsidies – Everyone has to face the fact that subsidies have been a big distortion and making it impossible to keep a good company running profitably. BC film production is going to Montreal and Toronto. VFX from London is starting to go to Montreal. Where will it be next year? How can any vfx company continue to make money if they’re competing against the big pockets of government? Where do they even need to be located on any given year? If we can’t stop subsidies how can we achieve a level playing field? How can the work stabilize? It does the workers in a given area no good to stand together if all the work streams to another country or state because of subsidies. How do we get companies to compete on quality and efficiency if that doesn’t’ matter in the grand scale with subsidies?

      The studios will always strive to save money. If an area offers a subsidy it’s like offering candy to a child. They can’t help themselves and will demand more candy.

      • Brent says:

        How to combat subsidies? By lobbying our state and local government for subsidies. Does anyone know who lobbies for the specific interest of the vfx industry in California?

      • Scott Squires says:

        Or stopping subsides.

      • Brent says:

        How do you deal with a country like China. Provincial governments are providing the facilities, buying the equipment, training the labor and looking the other way when it comes to software piracy. These are subsidies, but not as quantifiable as the Canadaians. And frankly if I have to travel I would rather keep the work with in 3 time zones.

      • Scott Squires says:

        Everyone talks about China and India. Can they do the top 20 vfx effects film this year? The answer is no. If they could the studios would have dropped all the subsidized places and run to India and China where living wages are very low. It would be cheaper than 50% off. In the future they may be able to, especially with as much help as the vfx companies themselves are giving them, but that’s not this year and it’s not next year. This seems to be the boogieman response to anything. The fear that all work will go immediately to these other places. i don’t know international law or how the WTO would see their types of arrangements but there have been a few industries that have filed lawsuits for dumping from the Chinese.

      • Brent says:

        Hugo – Oscar winner VFX. Clock tower sequence done pixomondo Beijing. Magic show sequence pixo Shanghai. There are thousands of feature shots being outsourced to China this year. Call your local state legislator let him know what’s going on and ask him what he’s doing about it.

      • Miodrag says:

        I worked at Pixomondo Shanghai on Hugo and I was the Lead Comp. we did the chasing tower sequence plus other shots, I believe that we had around 40 shots. wages were good. there were few Chinese on my team. they are very good in modelling ( they modelled the CG train plus some other stuff) and roto ( huge amount , even for Pixomondo facilities ). Comp wise I don’t think they are ready. Also to working in China isn’t that easy, you need a work permit and you can’t work with a F business VISA, FYI, that’s illegal. taxes in China are very high, however cost of living is cheap.

    • Miodrag says:

      Also Shanghai is becoming expensive. if you wanna live a good standard of life as a western, then you are going to pay some extra money. If a company wants to open an office in China is not that easy. There are too many political problem inside China that people dont even imagine.

  12. Charlie, Vancouver says:

    Please ensure you also protest the $80.4 billion annual subsidies that you seem to dismiss: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2012/12/01/us/government-incentives.html

  13. Paul Herrin says:

    this isn’t an LA vs. BC problem. it’s not even a subsidy problem. wake up, soldiers.

    • Anise says:

      Agree, it’s a divide and conquer issue. Americans complain that subsidies distort the market, Canadians complain that Americans nuked our entertainment industry and the only way we can survive beside our “friendly neighbour” is to give tax incentives to hire our citizens. 99% of movies in Canadian movies theatres are American, why can’t we offer tax breaks to companies who are willing to give us jobs in the entertainment we consume?

      • Brent says:

        I agree this attack on Canada seems misplaced. Write Sacramento for not doing a damn thing to keep these jobs. How about the major VFX houses hire a lobbyist for 300k a year to work the legislative channels in California. We are really just pointing fingers and placing blame. Here’s the bottom line the salaries are to high in LA to compete. Other States and Countries want VFX jobs and support (subsidies) the industry. And our’s does not. The Premier of China made a public speech that animation was a priority. A country of 1.5 billion people. Has the Mayor of LA ever made a speech about the importance of animation or visual effects. No. We have to understand that this is what happened to 2D animation, jobs were going overseas artist got scared and the unions came in and killed it. Now the host of last nights Oscars produces all his animation in Korea.

      • Paul Herrin says:

        perfect illustration of how we will fail. “a nation divided against itself cannot stand.” we’ve pointed fingers everywhere – in the end we must point it at ourselves and decide to act as one.

  14. Talking point suggestions:

    I don’t think it’s enough to criticize subsidies.

    Please, criticize the big Hollywood studio’s habit of demanding low, fixed bids for VFX budgets!

    Why are we allowing the big studios to starve the VFX industry?

    The big studios don’t pay such low, fixed bids for live action crew, actors, composers, sound, stock footage, directors and writers, do they? So, why do we allow them to discriminate against the VFX industry?

    We need to put more pressure on the big Hollywood studios, the studio producers and the VFX executives at these studios.

    Support an industry VFX Trade Association, so that VFX companies can negotiate with the studios using collective bargaining power.

    Support Unions. Worker unions and VFX companies need to agree and co-ordinate strategies to negotiate with the studios. A united front is more powerful.

    Keep American innovation and excellence alive! It benefits everyone to have leading companies in the US doing ground-breaking work. Support international trade agreements, to help the work be divided as fairly as possible. Let’s save at least some part of the US industry.

    The US remains the world’s leading market for the box office and it’s the market the big Hollywood studios care about the most. Discuss the possibility of US trade tariffs. If necessary, the threat of tariffs on imported VFX product for big films should be used. I don’t like tariffs, but the threat of tariffs can be used to force negotiations.

    This is not just about one country. Collective industry action and regulation is required to keep prices and trade practices fair, so the industry can be profitable, for everyone.

    Draw attention to these artificially low, fixed bids:

    http://wemovepictures.com/industry/scott-ross-knows-how-to-fix-the-vfx-industry/

    http://effectscorner.blogspot.com/2011/05/vfx-business-models.html#.USpeT2d7Z8E

    http://www.comp-fu.com/2013/02/an-article-about-bad-vfx-business-practices/

    D

  15. aidenvfx says:

    I wish the protest luck but with the the talking points seem to be a direct attack on the B.C. film industry I am not sure the point of the protest. I thought this was about making sure VFX workers get paid, not have to work crazy hrs. When they have to work crazy hours being paid OT for this work.

    You can get rid of all tax credit programs and that will not change the VFX artists reality of no health care, no OT, long work weeks, no end credits etc.

    Even if it makes some of the companies more stable with no tax credits it doesn’t change the 5% margin VFX companies are making. Until the companies and the artist team up and become one unite and get their fair share of the pie nothing will change.

    • LAbasedAnimator says:

      While I agree with some of your points, the BC problem is based around dying work in the LA area. 2-4 years ago if you were laid off from a project, Zoic, MPC, DD, R+H, Luma, Hydraulx, any number of these places had something going on and you could go to there without having to uproot your entire family, or worse yet, leave your family here while living in a rented room or tiny studio far away from them. So while yes, the no healthcare, always freelancing working long hours with no OT is indeed something that needs to be addressed as well, BC tax credits are also a big part of it.

      • aidenvfx says:

        Let me ask you this. How do you think the State of New York will handle having to remove their tax credit program?

        How will VFX be able to go against every Hollywood studio to get rid of tax credits which many producers in Hollywood say are critical?

        I get how B.C. and Canada has hurt the L.A. film industry but I are you aware that the tax credit programs will never go away completely because it is how Canada funds their domestic film industry. Therefore I would suggest that looking at working with foreign governments to address how the programs work and likely reduce the scope of how they function would be a better and more successful route to go. Just my opinion.

        What about true Co-productions? Now keep in mind that Hollywood believes China is key to the future of the box office. How do you think Hollywood and China will react to getting rid of Co-rpoductions?

        Here are some box office results look at domestic compared to world wide and you will see world wide has taken far more then domestic. Now not in all cases Argo did better in the U.S. but the shift is happening.

        http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=bond23.htm

        http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=batman3.htm

        http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=lifeofpi.htm

        http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=avengers11.htm

        http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=battleship.htm

        I guess what I am saying is that the tax credit issue is a very complex issue that will likely not be resolved for years if ever. I believe that there are many things that the VFX community can accomplish regardless of the tax credit systems in place.

        I would think worrying about proper work hours, paid OT, health benefits, proper credits in the films you work on are far more important.

  16. Here’s a great 3-point from Scott Ross:

    Get rid of all tax subsidies & tax incentives – and if you can’t, offer them to [the vfx companies], not the [production company] studios.

    Form a trade association, to represent a singular voice that’s not from a specific individual at a single studio, along the lines of the AICP model. This group can’t price fix, but you can set criteria, with standards like a 48 hour approval window – the client has to approve the work in that amount of time, and anything beyond that triggers an overage. Payment schedules. Kill fees – VFX studios currently block out months of time for a job that is then free to change or cancel the scope of work.

    Change the model on which facilities are compensated, whether this means moving to cost plus a fixed fee or back-end participation in gross revenue. VFX companies currently are effectively funding feature films while accepting a thin profit margin, to a meaningful degree.”

  17. Charlie, Vancouver says:

    Actor-director Ben Affleck and producer George Clooney’s film, Argo, received $6.21 million in tax credits from the California Film Commission. Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln, featuring Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field, and Tommy Lee Jones, hauled in $3.5 million in tax-free film credits. Silver Linings Playbook bagged a cool $5.6 million.

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/realspin/2013/02/22/as-oscar-nominated-hollywood-moguls-bag-tax-cuts-they-seek-to-raise-yours/

    Reply

    • Paul says:

      None of the three films could be considered VFX-driven films. Of course they make use of some VFX, Silver Linings probably least of the three. And all would be considered lower budget films, especially Silver Linings which has received the largest subsidy as a percentage of it’s budget.

      The numbers (taken from BoxOfficeMojo.com):

      Film Budget Subsidy as % of Budget
      —– ———- ———- ——————–
      Argo: $44.5M 6.21M 15%
      Lincoln: $65M 3.5M 5%
      Silver Linings Playbook: $21M 5.6M 27%

      (total) $130M $15.3M 11.5%

      This is not to defend the subsidies for these films per se, however it’s a bit specious to cite these 3 films which take together received a smaller subsidy than a single VFX-driven tentpole feature.

    • Scott Squires says:

      Charlie, we’d like all subsidies to stop. No sense in using taxed money to support private corporations. We’re not ignorant about us and state subsidies. Bac spends far more than california does in terms of film incentives.

  18. […] una buena idea, pero según VFX Soldier “Por cada $100 que se pagó a los trabajadores de VFX en British Columbia, el gobierno paga […]

  19. John says:

    “we are ultimately at the mercy of the next government willing to distort prices and put the companies we work for out of business.”

    …Quite possibly the dumbest thing I have read on this site since I heard that the generosity of our Florida studio was somehow responsible for the fact that our California VFX shop couldn’t make it’s own payroll.

    The people of our industry are completely incapable of pointing the finger at the true culprit of our predicament because we are so afraid of biting the hand that feeds us. We are actually wasting time talking about rebates as a cause of anything? Seriously?

    Have a little courage. This problem can be solved by 15 people…5 top directors, five top producers and the heads of five (maybe six) studios. Those 15 people just need to get together and decide whether or not they want a VFX industry in America / North America. We know it’s needed. We know we contribute, creatively, in ways that go way beyond polygons…but we need the 15 strongest of our customers to decide that caring about us is in their self-interest. We’re pretty sure they understand self-interest within the upper echelons of Hollywood, so we just need to combine that self-interest with intelligence. Take care of VFX in America and take care of yourself…it’s that simple.

    In the meantime, tell the people that don’t really matter to be quiet. We don’t need their excuses and we don’t need their faux pity. They are the mid-level studio folks that seem powerful as they award work, but ultimately have nothing to do with our future as an industry. When Victoria puts out the word to other studios that they should step up and support DD (or the next guy), ask her to do the same. She shoved a 14% gross margin down the throat of DD on IM-3 that is not enough to even cover the light bill…and she has the gumption to challenge other studios to step-up and help. Victoria, just send DD a bonus to cover the coffee machine in the break room, then you can get on your soap box…until then, you are no different than every other studio person that starts the bidding conversation with a dishonest story of how the third sequel of a massive property just doesn’t have the profit margin available to allow the artists to eat. (“…but, don’t worry, I’ll take care of you next time”). Really, a 14% gross margin? That’s exactly the kind of help that leaves an Oscar winning VFX house begging the bankruptcy court for a life-line.

    Back to the point, this thread of discussion is a joke. Most of what I see in this larger debate is a joke. Until we have the stones to demand respect from our clients, we should not expect things to change. Cost-plus, bid-driven, services/people based industries in the US are generally doomed. Nepal, China and India have already won. Creative industries and work models will survive…but not if those same creative leaders allow themselves to be treated like sweat shops.

    How can we change the debate? Stop complaining about this on anonymous web-sites…and stop smooching the rear of Hollywood leadership with your school girl crush. That same film director/producer that you fawn over at the bake-off is the person keeping food away from your kids. They really are not bad people. They care about our industry and they care about their films. If you hold them accountable, and ask for their help (directly and personally), they will help. So stop pretending this is about rebates as if some new trend is responsible for our problems. It’s a simple problem that can be fixed by a benevolent 15 folks. How tough can that be?

    • Josef Bloomfield says:

      John,

      can you clarify regarding “14% gross margin down the throat of DD on IM-3 that is not enough to even cover the light bill”.

      Most discussions about vfx studio finances talk about profit margins around 5%.

      • John says:

        ‘Gross Margin’ is the percentage of profit on the project itself, before overhead items like rent, electricity, marketing, administrative, non-production salaries, etc.

        It’s Revenues from the work, less the cost of the actual work (primarily the artists). The gross margin needs to be much higher than 14% to provide enough money for company overhead. For a vfx studio to have 5% net profit, the gross margin would have to something like 35%

      • VFX Soldier says:

        Just to verify, is this really John Textor or someone claiming to be him?

      • tazzman says:

        That 5% is net. That’s what’s left over after after.

    • VFX_Boom says:

      So does this mean Vitoria Alonzo plans on trying to take down ILM now that they are in bed together? Or, will Kathleen Kennedy tell her to go to hell?

      Fun Times!

    • crosendahl says:

      I don’t understand why you would take a job with a 14% gross margin that won’t even cover the light bill. I’m not defending Victoria, I’m curious how she can force that down your throat – how come no one had the stones to say no, especially knowing how much money you’d lose on it (20+%)?

      • Scott Squires says:

        I would expect with the amount of competition and with the fact Marvel has a number of big projects that they could get a low number assuming each company is desperately trying to cover their basic payroll and costs. (i.e. underbidding) Especially bad when all the studios are in the same game and holding the projects just out of reach. Losing game for the vfx companies (and even studios) in the long term.

      • JT says:

        you take the job because any positive gross margin allows you to keep people employed. its better than laying everyone off. it also comes with the regular promise that when the show grows above its original scope, that the new work will be more profitable because much of the fixed production overhead was covered in the original bid. but you are right, it’s always very tempting to just say no.

      • crosendahl says:

        Taking a job at a loss on occasion may help you make payroll, but that doesn’t hold true for large projects that take many months to produce, and it certainly doesn’t hold as a sustainable business model.

        The net result of taking a job without at least breaking even is that you have less cash at the end of the job than you did at the beginning. If you bit the bullet at the beginning and laid people off, at least you’d be able to pay them what you owe them. By taking a losing job, you’re forced to lay people off at the end of the job and you don’t have the cash to pay them for the work they’ve already done for you – work you took to “keep them employed.” Employed, yes; paid, no.

    • Ivan DeWolf says:

      “It’s a simple problem that can be fixed by a benevolent 15 folks. How tough can that be?”

      sounds easier than changing the incentive policies of every government on earth or unionizing every effects shop on earth, but, it still doesn’t sound “easy”…

    • Michael says:

      Considering the many people who lost their livelihoods directly through the actions of someone with your name, knowledge, and questionable grasp of business strategy, I’m impressed that you’re using that name and that knowledge here.

      While I do think the above are some legitimate criticisms of the industry’s bidding structure, they wrongly put a lot of the emphasis of blame for Digital Domain / DDMG’s issues of last year well and truly outside of the actual zone of responsibility.

      While these are all valid criticisms of the people who control the spigots, could it not be equally or more valid to point out a myopic rush towards going public with an unknown underwriter (after the original legitimate underwriter backed out) which was itself both preceded and followed by unsustainable expansion, including into completely illogical territories with no historical basis for filmmaking, no infrastructure for same, high labor and land costs, but a naive government willing to shell out cash and swampland and naming rights to a high profile back-yard privateer? Could any criticism at all be levelled at the captain in charge of a ship that went from $9 to $0.09 in under a year, while everyone else on it was not responsible for pointing it into the reef? The captain who was so intent on chasing public money and wistful dreams of animated elephants that he neglected to realize that tying up entire (overhead) departments on servicing those in-reasonable-foresight-very-bad-idea expansions would deplete the narrow profit margins of the core (and only real) business even further?

      In my opinion, this industry would be much better served by an honest accounting of exactly what went wrong there when someone with your name and knowledge totally overstepped the limits of his own hubris and took a lot of innocent people with him, rather than another screed against customers who, shockingly, rarely want to enhance the bottom line of their vendors.

  20. Jcho says:

    Can the VFX industry learn something from the Writers Strike?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2007–2008_Writers_Guild_of_America_strike

  21. VisualEffects.United says:

  22. Michael Michael says:

    It wouldn’t hurt to frame this discussion in the larger context of not just VFX jobs leaving our country, but American jobs in general. Clearly this is an issue that resonates with the great majority of the American people, thereby offering political leverage.

    Also when VFX jobs leave our shores, so too do the jobs of IATSE members who work in VFX, plus other PA’s and front office people. Not only are American jobs destroyed, but so too are the income taxes that would have been paid and the sales taxes on materials that would have been purchased.

    Michael Everett, IATSE 728

    • James B says:

      I don’t think subsidies are what killed R&H. If they did life of Pi in LA, (and everything cost more), they still would have bid as low as they could to get the work. They knew this was going to be an Oscar opportunity. They bet their company on it and lost. The subsidies issue is a different matter, and it’s dishonest to continuously skew the conversation that way to push this different agenda. The anger and insults directed to international VFX workers is not helping that cause, and certainly fractures any solidarity we’ve gained this last 2 days for workers rights, benefits, paid OT, and liveable hours

      If you want support from artists outside of LA, you’re going to need to adjust the dialog.

      • Ryan Peeters says:

        Based on a lot of the comments on this site, I don’t think most LA artists care one bit about artists outside of LA. Which is why they’ll probably get no sympathy in return when they describe their plight. It’s pretty hard to get artists outside of LA on board with their cause when their main agenda is to make sure such international artists don’t get work.

  23. tylerART says:

    In reguards to these comments and comments on the internet overall. We need to stay away from hateful speech, bickering among ourselves, and divisive language. Please lets put forward a clear message that all people, rich or poor, from all countries and nationalities can get behind. Us vs them tactics will only divide us when we need to be united.

  24. […] Again I searched for answers.  What happened to R&H is detailed by several articles on the internet, including some that the authors were forced to […]

  25. […] When various companies competitively bid on work, government subsidies use taxpayer money to pay the US studios to do the work in certain locations. For example, in BC, you can get 45-60% of labor costs paid to the studio. […]

  26. […] basically offers cash up front, are often better. The VFX community argues those foreign subsidies violate many international trade agreements, and are calling for an end to both foreign and U.S. […]

  27. padster says:

    By talking about ‘distorting the market’ and ‘distorting prices’ you are subscribing to the Chicago School fantasy that there is such a thing as a perfect, undistorted, virtuous ‘Free Market’.

    There, is, in fact, no such thing, and all trade and markets operate with a complex, socialised (not ‘socialist’, calm down), regulated world of trade.

    Not that I believe that subsidies are necessarily a good thing in the long term, but when I see the phrase ‘distorted market’ I reach for my revolver.

  28. frankie wilde says:

    The UK subsidy is sustainable and has been used to help build an industry. All studies show that the UK Government investment (in the form of subsidies) has huge wider economic benefits. They would not have continued to pursue it year on year if it didn’t. So much so that more film studios are being built and current ones expanded. UK VFX companies are now receiving phone calls from ex R&H artists looking for work and their salary demands are astronomical. I wonder why they went bankrupt?

  29. […] la nueva petición parece haber sido usando palabra por palabra uno de los artículos de VFX Soldier. La nueva petiión que comenzó a circular pide a la Casa Blanca que eliminen definitivamente los […]

  30. […] The new petition that started circulating today, however, asks that for the subsidies to be eliminated once and for all. “Many VFX facilities have been forced to move or have gone out of business because of underbidding exacerbated by government subsidies that drastically distort the price of VFX,” reads the petition. Comparing this petition to one of VFX Soldiers’ articles one can see that they are both very similar in their wording. […]

  31. billyshakes1492 says:

    I understand the plight of the VFX artist all too well in this current situation. However, no one has a clear plan. Unfortunately, I think the condition is exasperated by the “glamourous” nature of our business, as it seems to attract young kids wanting a career in it. As a result the market is flush with plenty of people who lack the talent or mettle to do what we do. There is also no clear entity that grants industry recognised credentials. What this industry needs in my opinion, is a singularly accepted vetting agency that hands clear credentials to each person in VFX, without which they cant work. There are too many people who are self titled, running around and muddying the VFX pipeline. The under bidders driving the prices down are often the ones who aren’t sought after, and without adequate training, talent, skill and/or experience. Once there is earned credentials with a charted way for upward mobility, I believe the problem would ease. There is now way the VFX industry is tenable the way it is now. There is also no way in hell the industry can fight natural market forces. First thing to do is clear the ranks, and establish earned credentials. Given that no one seems to have a clear plan, this seems to me like a good start… – ajoy mani

  32. […] the weekend I heard from blogger “VFX Soldier” asking if this comment on his post regarding the visual effects demonstrations held the Sunday the Oscars were held might […]

  33. Greetings from Ohio! I’m bored to tears at work so I decided to browse your blog on my iphone during lunch break. I love the information you present here and can’t wait to
    take a look when I get home. I’m shocked at how fast your blog loaded on my phone .. I’m not even using WIFI, just 3G
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  35. […] because their governments offered huge amounts of free taxpayer money. For example, in Vancouver, for every $100 paid to a VFX worker, US studios could get a $60 rebate back from the government. Soon they would require facilities do the work there even though the VFX […]

  36. 旅行社 says:

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  38. […] is available online as a Google doc. VFX Soldier has long maintained that tax subsidies promote a “race to the bottom” in the industry. As tax incentives pop up in different regions around the world, studios move […]

  39. I do not write a leave a response, but after reading through a bunch of remarks here VFX Demonstration Talking Points On Subsidies |
    VFX Soldier. I do have a few questions for you if it’s allright. Is it simply me or does it look like like some of these responses appear as if they are coming from brain dead folks? :-P And, if you are writing at other places, I would like to follow you. Would you make a list of every one of all your social sites like your Facebook page, twitter feed, or linkedin profile?

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