Obama Visits DreamWorks: Time To ‘Go Green’?

President Obama will be visiting DreamWorks Animation this Tuesday, November 26th:

“The motion picture and television industry is a growing industry, and continues to create thousands of jobs across the country,” the White House official said.

With all due respect to the White House administration, Los Angeles would be the last place to tout film and tv industry growth, especially for the visual effects industry which has been virtually destroyed by international subsidies. While VFX pros at Dreamworks Glendale facility have fared better than their colleagues at Digital Domain, Sony Pictures, and Rhythm & Hues, they have seen a 15% drop in employment over the last year with 804 in 2012 down to 689 in 2013. Things have got so bad that there is a petition going around urging for a countervailing duty to offset locations that offer subsidies.

Given this situation, I feel it would be imperative for us, in the words of Jeffrey Katzenberg, to “Go Green” by simply demonstrating solidarity by having professionals at DreamWorks wear green that day. I’m pretty sure if President Obama saw a sea of green he would ponder to ask “What’s with all the green?” and hopefully someone will explain the huge losses in VFX employment to him.

Scott Squires says you can order a green shirt and get it delivered by Monday:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00E4XR37M/ref=ox_ya_os_product

Will there be a demonstration outside of DreamWorks? Right now we’re doubtful as it’s likely security won’t let anyone who isn’t a DreamWorks employee near the facility. However if anyone hear’s anything different please advise in the comments below.

As you know, I’ve written heavily against subsidies which has caused a massive amount of price distortion in the VFX industry and leading to huge job losses in the US. If I were in that audience and was asked a question I’d simply say this:

Mr. President, while this should be a growing industry, many of my colleagues in VFX are losing their jobs and being forced to move out of the country to places that offer huge subsidies. Would you support our effort to place a duty to offset these distorting subsidies? You have the sole authority to solve this problem right now and you can do it without Congress.

Now I doubt anyone would get a chance to ask the question but my point about our CVD effort is this: We don’t need the President or Congress to do this. All we need is two things: Prove that we’ve been injured by these subsidies, and demonstrate that the majority of the domestic industry supports this effort. We are working hard to move forward and always appreciate the support. Wearing a green shirt is all you need to do to get the media to ask what this is all about.

Soldier On.

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130 Responses to Obama Visits DreamWorks: Time To ‘Go Green’?

  1. Dave Rand says:

    I can send the plane over, need help with a slogan for the banner.

    • Dave Rand says:

      Looked into this further…looks like we have considerable air space restrictions on Presidential visits. The gimmick helped the gain press at the Oscars for sure……as would the green shirts… a GREAT idea.

      I’d gladly donate towards a bulk order and have it sent to a contact person within Dreamworks to be handed out. I know there’s support for this in many peoples hearts, just need one person to set the spark. Email me at dave@daverand.com

      • Andreas jablonka says:

        Great idea! Do we still rally the troops and see how far outside dream works we can demonstrate? Could be tricky due to normal president gawkers I’m sure. Still a vital opportunity!

  2. Tom Atkin says:

    Sadly, the ‘green’ awareness you seek for Obama is not the same color of green which keeps him coming to LA….$$$$$$$$$ for democrats. Jeffrey is a major ‘bundler’ for Obama and the party, and neither are particularly focused on the difficult life for vfx artists in California.

    Slogan for plane: “i didn’t know about vfx. No one told me…your president.”

      • Tom Atkin says:

        You, too, Dave…after you order the t-shirts. Hope you find the ‘one person to set the spark’.

      • vfxmafia says:

        I think its a great idea with the green T-shirts…..and i would split some of the costs of the shirts with Dave….

        but Tom brings up and interesting point…..Jeffrey Katzenberg threw a $30,000 a plate fund raiser at George Clooney’s house this past election……(which is not the first time)

        Then there is Chris Dodd (X-presidential nomanee) who is head of the MPAA…..

        The big six studios pay Mr. Obama well……..”They wanted Jeffery to take the lead in funding a new super-PAC to support president Obama’s reelection”. Katzenberg gave $3.15 million to Democratic super-PACs during the 2012 cycle

        http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2013/05/jeffrey-katzenberg-dreamworks-barack-obama-fundraiser

      • minoton says:

        Mr. Obama has stated in many speeches that he is fighting for the middle class, the people trying to make ends meet, against corporate interests. If he is made aware of our situation, I’m sure he’ll do the right thing regardless how much money Mr. Katzenberg is forcing upon him.

        (yes, this post is dripping with sarcasm)

      • David says:

        Perhaps you should wake up. Our industry is infested with gullible, stupid religiously ideological liberal zealots that don’t realise that Obama is a puppet of the bankers and is only interested in furthering their world government agenda which means global economic and societal collapse in order to push through their Orwellian world government over the ruins, offering it up as the ‘solution’ to the world’s problems.

        Perhaps the first clue might have been the breaking of all his promises: the expansion of war in the middle east and his resulting nobel peace prize, his expansion of the removal of human rights via the NDAA and his refusal to shut down Guantanamo. His persecution of whistleblowers and the increasing surveillance of citizens. Finally he arrests not one banker responsible for the theft of trillions and the destruction of the world economy…I wonder why.

        Then again, everyone in the industry kisses ass and tows the line for fear of not getting hired, they put forth a smiley liberal persona and don’t rock the boat.

        If Obama is interested in Dreamworks it’s either to shut it down or try and use it as one of the hubs to monopolise and centralise the entertainment industry to ensure control over what the public sees and/or to perhaps heavily subsidise it in order to destroy the industry outside of America.

      • vfxmafia says:

        To David…

        Obama is coming to dream works because Katzenberg raised $50 million dollars for him during the election.

    • dir says:

      thank you for saying this. The liberals in our industry just will never understand.

  3. Michael says:

    Barrack and Michelle just can’t seem to get enough of Hollywood and celebrity. If they only focused as much time on running the White House rather than being on talk shows and handing out Oscars maybe our country would be better off. Not sure how this publicity stunt is to help DreamWorks p.r. but in all honesty having a president with the lowest public approval in history would be someone I would decline visiting. He’s a joke, and quite frankly so is Katzenberg and Speilberg. Didn’t Steven already throw in the towel claiming funding days for blockbusters are over? Steven only knows how to make films that cost over $350 million. Hell I can do that too.

    • rfk says:

      Go back to sleep

      • Michael says:

        to VFX Mafia
        Thanks for the support and the link. This underscores my point exactly.

      • vfxmafia says:

        Michael,

        People have to realize that the interests of the VFX owners and the CEO’s of the studios are different than Labor’s interests…

        The CEO’s are part of the problem……Jeffery is worth about $800 million …….and bought a $35 million mansion, which wasn’t finished in time for the Obama fundraiser……(which is why the $35,000 a plate fundraiser was thrown at George Clooney’s mansion).

        A question to add to the list…. is to Jeffery Katzenberg…..how much of the bonus you give yourself is from Subsidy kickbacks?

        If you get subsidy money you too can buy yourself a $35 million mansion…..

        The Big 6 CEO’s ARE the problem….

    • Michael,

      Michele Obama is not an elected official. She is not in charge of running the White House or the Nation. For the causes she does champion, her approval ratings are through the roof. Handing out a single Oscar on the most watched TV event on the air, seen by 1 billion people globally, has not hurt her. It seems to have the opposite effect.

      Obama does not have the lowest President approval rating in history. The 40% approval rating as of this week is the lowest for Obama’s own Presidency, but his low is still double that of the actual lowest approval ratings in history (see Truman, Nixon, Carter etc).

      While I have no doubt Steven Spielberg would know how to make a $350 million film, those are not the “only” ones he knows how to make. Why? Because he has never directed a single film with a budget over $185 million (Indy 4). His last two (War Horse and Lincoln) each cost under $70 million. The average budget on all his films in the last 25 years is actually around $75 million. In reality (the place you seem disconnected from), he “only” knows how to make mega hits for modest budgets.

      Given your inability to produce a single accurate fact, I highly doubt your directing ability is up for the $350 million challenge.

  4. minoton says:

    I can’t afford to sign up for Obamacare without a job. I guess I get a subsidy, too.

  5. Jeff Heusser says:

    When the Oscar protest was being organized I was not going to attend as of the day before…. I didn’t think artists would show up and it would accomplish little. I could not have been more wrong. It was the beginning of an emotional day that rolled into months of media attention on the issues. Sadly, that was it. Since then we have seen the complete decimation of the industry in LA and conditions for vfx artists around the world have gotten worse.

    By all means, keep the issues in the foreground and take any opportunity to shine a light on the problems. But I implore artists everywhere to do more than that. Show up at meetings, sign union cards, get in touch with vfxsoldier and find out what you can do to help get the CVD ball rolling, make viral videos that show tax payers how they are funding movies that make billions with no return… be creative, be an activist. There is no superhero coming, it’s up to all of us.

    • Tom Atkin says:

      @jeffheusser

      +1

      Totally agree. These efforts must be organized, well planned and executed with both short and long term planning. And, they must be done regularly with certain specific goals in mind. I do not think last minute ‘get sone press’ events are the best way to go. For example, Jeffrey has a ‘great’ relationship with Obama. Jeffrey has his own mission and point for this visit. Truly, I doubt that he would be too happy if his employees were all wearing green t-shirts. He might even, perhaps, want to know who assisted this effort with jobs on the line.

      I know you want dedicated folks, but putting those already employed at risk may not be a fair position to put them in…just saying.

      So, please, if you do proceed with such efforts…do so without putting those you wish to assist in jeopardy. And, yes, I do fully understand the impact that the loss of work and jobs has had in California, and I have been a strong advocate for the community to come to consensus on key issues and move in that direction to make things better wherever possible.

      Protesting is easy…consensus is the bitch.

      • Andreas jablonka says:

        Tom,
        I understand your points. But, with all due respect, the argument sounds VERY similar to the ” lets not rock the bait out of fear of blacklisting/getting fired/not rehired”
        We cannot afford to be safe anymore I think.

      • Tom Atkin says:

        Andreas,

        That’s the way you hear it, but it is in no way “let’s not rock the boat (bait?) of fear…..”. What I always have stated is somehow some way folks must get together to agree on at least a few major issues. If this consensus is a valid one, then and only then should plans be made carefully to exploit the goals of this consensus.

        Andreas, those who are employed reasonably well are the ones who most validly might wish not to rock their boats. And, I fully understand their perspective.

        Point is that until there is some specific issue(s) with a large enough consensus to get things done…going for the easy press under the guise of “awareness to the problem” has not yet and may not be the most effective way to advance the cause for California VFX artists. And, specifically, good cases can be made that the Oscars were not the right place as well as Obama’s visit to Dreamworks to make the case especially without an established consensus…that’s all. Finally, I am from the school that any press is better than no press…but, I never really agreed with that philosophy.

        With all due respect.

      • Andreas Jablonka says:

        I agree with your philosophy. I do think the Oscars made the BIGGEST splash in awareness we had though. would you disagree? I think it helped. sue the momentum came and vanished. Thats sad but it was MUCH better than not doing anything.
        the DW thing again could be doing nothing or SOMETHING.

        They are focus groups in LA trying to plan and get things rolling. Id love for you to join one of our discussions soon day if possible.

      • Tom Atkin says:

        Except for this and a few other sites and one or two things a year…I am retired and loving it. Every day I walk and see the line of cars with many on cell phones backed up for miles going over the canyon…and, I smile because I am just walking.

        That being said, it would be most insincere for me to post and not doing something requested.

        As such, let me know the details. And, know that I will keep harping on getting consensus on something, for without consensus…there is only the continued angst of where the industry is…and, after twenty years of this more or less…feeling sorry just does not cut it. Detailed vision is required.

        tomatkin@sbcglobal.net

        Let me know.

    • DreamWorks is a unionized shop, isn’t it?

  6. linus says:

    Dreamworks is a unionized shop with amongst the best working conditions in the world. I feel your pain but I think this is kind of lame way to go about things.

    DW has been great to it’s employees and does not engage in the hiring/firing per film cycle that almost all other studios do.

    Why try to sully and commandeer JK/Obama’s event for your own ends. In any case I doubt you will get within a mile of the studio and I can’t imagine myself or anyone else who works here being interested in wearing a green tshirt on the day.

    I think it’s inappropriate.

    • vfxmafia says:

      Oh how quickly you forget….too bad the lamb can’t see what awaits him on the other side of the stall……

      “We’ve never had to lay anybody off … but it’s the right thing for us today.” —Jeffery Katzenberg

      http://www.cartoonbrew.com/business/dreamworks-will-layoff-350-employees-78471.html

      Oriental DreamWorks, is currently developing four feature projects. These include “Kung Fu Panda 3” and one other U.S.-Chinese co-produced animated feature, as well as two live-action Chinese-language projects.

      http://variety.com/2013/film/news/oriental-dreamworks-rewrites-its-china-production-strategy-1200601504/

      • linus says:

        Mate you have no idea what you a talking about. We had layoffs because we couldn’t do the 3 films a year, we are going back to a two film a year schedule. We tried, it didn’t work. Shadows got axed and their was no work now or into the future.

        Oriental Dreamworks is actually a huge opportunity for dreamworks to tap into the Asian market and give the company more stable revenue streams. Please stick to your own cause and don’t try to drag us into your tin foil hat xenophobic, “they took our jeeeerbs!” ranting. You are living in a dreamworld. Life is difficult, companies do things that are in their best financial interests, the world changes, the sky is blue.

        The VFX industry is broken, yep it sucks, DW is not a VFX studio though.

      • vfxmafia says:

        Linus…

        In all honesty I wasn’t trying to stir up Xenophobia. My point was that giant corporations do what is best for the interest of the company…and not necessarily in the interests in labor.

        When I hear that Kung fu Panda 3 has become a China production…mixed with alot of friends who work for Dreamworks…..living in fear ….waiting for the next round of job cuts….its probably not the best time to be towing the company line…..

      • DeezeM says:

        And your point is?

        Sorry but I agree, it would be inappropriate to wear these at work.

      • vfxmafia says:

        Deez..

        Then don’t wear the shirt….

        I understand Dreamworks is a great place to work….During the last round of layoffs….people received a great golden parachute…extended health benifits…couple months coin in the pocket as a farewell gift…..etc..

        but you can’t hide for very much longer……

        The industry is completely offset right now……the only way to make things bearable long term…..is fight….and the fight is now…

        I don’t think they can fire you for intelligently voiceing your opinion during a work function……you do have some protection from the union if the demonstration is appropiately done…

        But I tell you what is in appropriate…Obama coming to Los Angeles and giving a speech on how many jobs there are because of the movie business…if you can sit there and listen to that speech without throwing up in your mouth…..your a better man than me.

      • Andreas jablonka says:

        Hear hear! Nicely put

      • DeezeM says:

        I’m not going to ‘throw up in my mouth a little’. Not everyone shared your views.

      • vfxmafia says:

        To Deez…

        Please tell me you are a little concerned at the unstable state of VFX?

        Don’t you think making a speech about….. quote…. “The motion picture and television industry is a growing industry, and continues to create thousands of jobs across the country” and doing it in Los Angeles with about 2,000 out of work VFX artists is a little inappropriate……and outright an untrue and ridiculous statement?

      • jona says:

        Yes.. it is ironic that DW was chosen for this visit. Considering their move to offshore work. Ironically funny. Almost as funny as expecting Obama to do ANYTHING at all for the state of VFX in the US. As you can tell by his statement he hasn’t got a clue. Not to mention.. his big donor isn’t about the be humiliated by Obama taking ANY moves to change the current paradigm. Wear any color of T-Shirt you want. I think it is pretty naive , actually.

    • Andreas jablonka says:

      Linus,
      It’s great that your and your DW buddies have a great job. I know irs tough in LA. The issues for the rest if us still persist and it’s VERY appropriate to pull attention onto this situation by wearing green. You not saying DW is a bad place to work. It’s standing up for your brothers and sisters in this industry.
      Your comment is very selfish and shows the problem we have in our industry clearly.

      • linus says:

        I have worked in the vfx , have been hired, fired and overworked in that and many other industries. I sympathize with the plight I just don’t think its the time or place.

        And Kung fu Panda is 3 not a china production. It’s being made here, probably a couple of easy sequences and background characters here and there will be done in china, as they have been doen in india on all our movies since puss in boots. Nothing new.

        The guys in india and china have as much right to the work as we do, why aren’t you out their picketing for their rights and conditions since they are your “brothers and sisters”?

        Because it doesn’t effect you directly.

        *drops mic*

      • chexmix says:

        @Linus

        Hey Eminem….

        Can you really listen to a speech that says…

        “The motion picture and television industry is a growing industry, and continues to create thousands of jobs across the country,”

      • DeezeM says:

        Brothers and sisters in the industry??

    • Another DW worker says:

      Yeah, this guy does certainly not speak for DW workers in general.

      • anoninsider says:

        Linus,

        Dear Linus. I hate to break it to you, but it’s only a matter of time. Whistling past the graveyard won’t do you any good. Plans have been made & China is full steam ahead.

        Denial – it’s not just a river in Egypt…

  7. jona says:

    “The motion picture and television industry is a growing industry, and continues to create thousands of jobs across the country”

    Which country is HE talking about?

    • vfxmafia says:

      Jona,

      Ugh…that would be China…

      “Katzenberg Unveils China Film Project”. The Securities Exchange Commission is investigating DreamWorks for bribing Chinese officials regarding the development of a $2 billion production studio in China.

      http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424127887324763404578432491119398344

      alot of the layoffs at Dreamworks…is because alot of work is now being done in China…

      • linus says:

        You are truly and idiot.

      • jona says:

        True. No matter how many times this trend has been discounted I have always maintained that China will eclipse this business as it has some of the others I have been involved in. It is unavoidable and can not be stopped.

      • Tom Atkin says:

        @jona

        For what it is worth, years and years ago when everyone was freaking out about the developing production business in Canada…I found myself saying. “You are looking in the wrong direction…sooner or later…it will be China.”

        Granted, this has taken much longer than I anticipated, but without question, the move is on to China. They are aggressive, motivated and smart people in an endless supply. The transfer of skill sets will continue to be the major hurdle, but it will be done.

        So, I agree that China is the future…and, that future is now.

      • vfxmafia says:

        To Linus….

        Why am I truly an idiot??

        For stating that Dreamworks is a publicly traded company and is beholden to their stockholders…..and quarterly profits…..than to a lone loyal employee like yourself……

        Do you really think if it came down to Jeffrey’s Annual bonus and laying off people…….Katzenberg would layoff people in a heartbeat……just like Meg Whitman did at Hewlett Packard…

        But then again…Im an “idiot” for accepting you and I are both Cogs in a machine…..that are truly replaceable.

        Keeping towing the company line……and see where it gets you in the long run….

      • jona says:

        @Tom
        I’ve taken shit for my predictions. But they’re not really predictions. They’re just a simple connection between this and other industries that are essentially gone now. Things haven’t improved in the year since I last made that statement on the subject of VFX. The trend continues. No one has done or can do anything to stem the tide of money and talent flowing to China for media/film/vfx development. I am sure a lot of it is being done behind closed doors as well so we’re probably only seeing the tipi of the iceberg.

      • anoninsider says:

        I have inside knowledge on this that I will not spill.

        But, yes, China is very real & full steam ahead. Linus, your days are numbered, sorry to say.

      • China is a real risk… Cheaper labor and the govt doesn’t bend over backwards for Hollywood like the rest of the planet does.

      • vfxworker says:

        I’ve been saying it for years, and this board and many of its members have their heads up their ass with the anti-subsidy rhetoric. The REAL issue is sweatshop labor in countries like China. BaseFX is already doing production shots on ILM films. Soon DWA China will be at full steam. This isn’t like India. China is going to decimate the VFX industry while you are all worried about Vancouver. They’re just laughing at you over there while you try to pointlessly get rid of subsidies in English speaking countries because guess what, IF you do, all the work is going there. Realistically, it’s all going there sooner or later anyway, but most of you are too stupid to notice because your company set up a temporary Vancouver office.

      • minoton says:

        @vfxworker, if that’s the case, then fine. let it happen. At least it won’t be on government funded price manipulation. It will be based on PRICE and MERIT. Not SUBSIDIES. If it’s all going to go to China and India anyway, then why are you so worried about an anti-subsidy/CVD/tariff campaign? If the work all goes to China and India (which it hasn’t), we can cross that bridge when we get there. This is the bridge we’re at now.

      • VFX Soldier says:

        Agreed. If India and China can create better work at a cheaper price then more power to them.

        Even with subsidies it’s still vastly cheaper to go to India and China and while you can pin to exceptions, the macro exodus to those locations hasn’t happen.

        Looking forward to competing on a level playing field.

        >

      • jona says:

        @soldier

        The problem is.. all of your hard work will end up being wasted. You’re fighting a battle on one front while the enemy (competition) is sneaking up behind you in full armor. I haven’t had time to fully contemplate this but I do know it will take a clever act of genius to stay in the game. I was looking for that when I first got involved in this discussion.

      • vfxworker says:

        ” At least it won’t be on government funded price manipulation. It will be based on PRICE and MERIT. Not SUBSIDIES.”

        Mino, you think competing with China is competing based on price and merit?? Please. You’re talking about taxing and taking away work from socialist countries with EXCEPTIONAL labor laws and medical care because their taxpayers are fine subsidizing that work. But you want to send it to a country that has NO labor laws and primitive health care for the majority of it’s people. Does anyone else see this effect as completely ass backwards. You want to take work away from modern, socially progressive countries like Canada, New Zealand, Australia, and London, because you don’t like that their taxpayers decided to give subsidies to the film industry. And you want to give that work to a 3rd world, communist dictatorship, with no worker rights, and few environmental restrictions?

        And you think that’s competing on price and merit?? Tell that to the autoworkers in Detroit and Flint whose neighborhoods are slums because the Big 3 automakers could make those cars cheaper in Asia. Tell that to the television manufacters, who used to build tv sets and electronics in North America. Tell that to Walmart, as it rapes and pillages every mom and pop store in the United States because it can push volume through its Chinese factories.

        If you think China/India are going to be competing on “merit” and are a good thing for this industry you’ve got another thing coming my friend.

      • minoton says:

        @vfxworker,
        “If you think China/India are going to be competing on “merit” and are a good thing for this industry you’ve got another thing coming my friend.”

        No, I don’t think it would be a good thing, but according to your own words, it’s going to happen anyway. So whether I think it’s good or not is a misdirected attack aimed towards me, not addressing the issue. I don’t happen to think it’s a good thing, but if it does happen anyway, then at least it will be happening based on what China charges for the work and how well or not they produce. Not because their government paid corporate welfare to large American studios to divert work to their shores using money better spent either towards local services, or building a local film industry.

        “You’re talking about taxing and taking away work from socialist countries with EXCEPTIONAL labor laws and medical care because their taxpayers are fine subsidizing that work.”

        What do you think the subsidizing governments are doing?!?! I guess it’s okay for your socialized government to take work away from another country, but heaven forbid it happen to you? Does anyone else see this as ass backwards?

        Did the taxpayers vote to give subsidies to foreign film studios? Over their own social services such as education, streets, police, et.al? Was there really an actual ballot initiative for this, or did some elected pol decide it would be a ‘good’ thing’. I can dig up links, posted many times here by VFXSoldier and others elsewhere, where governmental finance ministers and the like actually state and make the case for getting rid of their film subsidy programs. Can you post the same types of links from the electorate where they state how happy they are to be giving their tax dollars away to American studios for pennies on the dollar return? I bet if you actually laid out the numbers for the tax payers and they saw how little return they were getting for tax dollar investment, they vote to have them dropped. I bet the public is actually uninformed as to what’s really going on.

      • DeezeM says:

        Why China ugh??? It is doing really good work

  8. yeyo says:

    Creativity is not their strong point. How much ORIGINAL art, entertainment, products and in particular films have you watched or enjoyed from china in the past few years.

    They do have a huge population hungry for content however. One man’s problem is another’s opportunity.

    • Ridiculous says:

      More of that classic VFX industry racism. Keep it up! Dark skinned people just can’t do what we do, can they…

      VFX Soldier: Giving people new reasons to hate us every day.

      • “Creativity is not their strong point.” Not Hollywood though, more comic book movies and movies about shit going down at the White Houses for everyone!

      • jona says:

        “dark skinned people”? I didn’t see any racism in that comment.

        yeyo’s argument is one I have been hearing for 20 years. I have always contended that a 5000 year old culture is imminently creative and capable. It only takes one person to come up with an idea or a process or a plan.. though there are many worker drones in China there are probably more extremely creative people than there are in America just waiting for their chance.

      • Ridiculous says:

        Jona, my post was sarcastic, and as a “dark skinned person” myself, I was pointing out yeyo’s completely offensive remark of “creativity isn’t their strong point.” Yeyo views different cultures and races as “others” and not up to par with his/her race and culture. This attitude is highly prevalent in VFX, and it’s disgusting.

  9. linus says:

    @vfx mafia: Yes, we are cogs in a machine. You could always do something else or make your own machine. What exactly do you expect, the tooth fairy to come in and give us all guaranteed permanent jobs forever and nobodies allowed to make more money than us. You are are dreaming.

    The VFX ind has been broken by a complicated, global race to the bottom. Jeffery Katzenberg who employs union employees and spend a lot of time raising money for the mptf, is not your problem. A business cannot sustain paying people to do nothing if there is no work, so when theres no work ppl get layed off. Demonizing CEO’s will get you nowhere.

    • vfxmafia says:

      Where do you think all the subsidy money is going to charity?

      Its going to the top of the company…..(its certainly not going to artists who keep getting pay cuts or seeing their benifits disappear)

      • vfxmafia says:

        Further more…why do you think Katzenberg is the Czar of fundraising for Obama? so that at the MPAA and big studios can impose their will anywhere in any country…..

        Look at Mike Ovitz who was fucking wiretapping people a couple of years ago……they are no friends of labor…..

      • linus says:

        It’s like talking to an ill informed brick wall. Keep fighting the good fight buddy, put on your tin foil hat and wish on a star.

      • vfxmafia says:

        Keep drinking the koolaid….don’t spill a drop

      • anoninsider says:

        Tin foil hat is going to beat the Kool aid, just so you know.

        Clock is ticking…

  10. Dave Rand says:

    I’ve purchased 500 green T shirts that will be delivered to DWA’s union president Monday am for the VFX artist of DWA. Consider it a gift and wear it Tuesday with pride for your talent and hard work.

    The press will be asking the question posted above by VFX soldier, but if any of the VFX artists get to ask a question, it would be great if could come from one of us.

    This is a once in a life time chance to be heard by our President. Our industry needs a voice, it needs your voice. So please wear a green shirt and encourage your friends to do the same.

    Remember everything we do that shows any glimmer of solidarity is additive.

    So roll out a green carpet for President Obama. Lose the fear, trust your talent, and help change the course of your own life.

    • minoton says:

      Horrible title to the article. Sounds like VFX artists don’t want the president to visit DreamWorks.. Maybe they should throw the word “at” in there.

  11. […] latest post on the VFX Soldier blog, a popular destination for the vfx community, urges the community to act. In particular, it points to next Tuesday’s scheduled stop at DreamWorks […]

  12. […] latest post on theVFX Soldier blog, a popular destination for the vfx community, urges the community to act. In particular, it points to next Tuesday's scheduled stop at DreamWorks […]

  13. […] latest post on the VFX Soldier blog, a popular destination for the vfx community, urges the community to act. In particular, it points to next Tuesday’s scheduled stop at DreamWorks […]

  14. schizo says:

    “If you like your VFX job, you can keep your VFX job… period.”

    Maybe he can have Sebelius set up a new VFXCare website. Or raise our taxes and subsidize failing VFX houses.

  15. […] Soldier blog, a &#1088&#959&#1088&#965l&#1072r destination f&#959r th&#1077 vfx community, urges th&#1077 community t&#959 act. In particular, &#1110t points t&#959 next Tuesday's scheduled […]

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  17. […] latest post on theVFX Soldier blog, a popular destination for the vfx community, urges the community to act. In particular, it points to next Tuesday's scheduled stop at DreamWorks […]

  18. […] most recent article on the VFX Soldier blog, a prominent location for the vfx area, urges the community to act. Specifically, it points to upcoming Tuesday’s planned stop at […]

  19. lolvfxworkers says:

    Sorry kiddos,

    Wearing green around Dreamworks isn’t going to do a damn thing. The time to strike was at the Oscars. It got some buzz, but only a handful of vfx workers actually did anything about it.

    Stop wearing green and start signing union cards…something that will actually have some sort of an impact.

  20. […] latest post on the VFX Soldier blog, a popular destination for the vfx community, urges the community to act. In particular, it points to next Tuesday’s scheduled stop at DreamWorks […]

  21. VFX Realist says:

    I wish you luck getting Obama’s attention but what happens if you are successful cause nobody seems to be discussing that.

    Get that CVD and then what? You think jobs will just flow back to Hollywood cause of these tariff’s and cause a few of you whined about having to go live somewhere else? Technology is disruptive and it’s not going to get any better.

    If Tariff’s are imposed on other countries, states will pick up the slack and increase their incentives. So if you don’t like living in Vancouver have fun in Atlanta or Detroit or…

    Have fun living in China or India cause companies like SONY will just send more talent there faster to take advantage of the low labor rates. Heck, just a couple of days ago Amy Pascal even mentioned tax incentives as being crucial to SONY’s success moving forward:

    http://variety.com/2013/biz/news/sonys-amy-pascal-says-studio-will-trim-film-slate-1200864659/

    “Pascal also outlined the ways that the film division has trimmed back first-look deals as well as first-dollar gross deals with talent. She said that the studio has been seeking a “more equitable balance between risk and reward.” She also said that the studio has been averaging about $100 million per year in savings from taking advantage of government production tax incentives.”

    Take her $100 million away and what will she do? Just say cool, c’mon back to Hollywood kids? No way. She’ll just ship more Joe’s to India, and there are tons that will go:

    http://www.thehindu.com/features/cinema/a-touch-of-magic/article3888580.ece

    So don’t knock Yaletown or Yorkville or Soho so quickly. No cows shitting in the streets in these cities.

    Governments will also rewrite the existing tax credit laws to skirt the CVD issue, and the studio lawyers will help them.

    Plus, can you really count of Obama to bite the Hollywood hands that feed him???

    Yes, as mentioned in posts above it seems inevitable that more work will migrate to the East over time, but passing this CVD has the potential to accelerate it ten fold.

    Too many companies are in the space and every time a VFX Super gets a regular client he feels compelled to use it as the basis to start his own company. No bueno.

    That model worked in the sound business for years but no more and sound for the most part has even stayed in LA for now. Most of the boutique sound companies have folded or consolidated if you haven’t noticed, they just killed each other in the bidding process, plus there’s no profits in it when unions dictate minimum rates and the studios decided they don’t really have to pay markups on labor. And technology killed it too cause there was nothing left to mark up other than a room and a computer. Will Sound work be heading off to Vancouver or India someday? Count on it.

    I hope you get what you wish for, whatever that may be.

    • Dave Rand says:

      After a careful review of the solutions proposed by the last to postings I realized there weren’t any. Must be a slow day at Fox News. I’ll choose to Soldier on and listen to our experienced trade law attorneys who are not afraid to use their real names thank you !

    • Say what!! says:

      Interesting points, but what should be done then? Nothing? If we don’t try something, then Nothing will happen. The Oscars was the most VFX action I’ve seen, and now people are rallying again.

      Another person made a good point, green shirts are great but we need to sign cards.

      I worked at a union shop a couple times, and it’s the best experience I’ve had. So put on the green and sign a card, also the union minimums aren’t much different then what people are and should be making everywhere, you can look them up. Also it’s DIFFERANT MINIMUMS FOR EACH STUDIO. So a smaller VFX shops minimums might not be the same as at Disney, or Dreamworks.

      With that said “plus there’s no profits in it when unions dictate minimum rates” this statement is based on nothing factual.

      Exposure is key at all levels, the more we try the more people will open thier eyes.

    • VFX Soldier says:

      Sony Imageworks has been in India for more than 5 years and Imageworks has always been a pain on the books… What makes you think they are waiting for the CVD to go through to push work to India?

      The simple fact is while some roto and paint is done in India the effect everyone thought Imageworks India would really never happened. Everyone thought ALL the work would be there now.

      Actually sony’s recent meeting is promising for Imageworks: they want to make more animated films instead of live action films with expensive actors.

      Anti-CVD folks are lashing out at us because we have a winning play and it’s getting in front of the media very quickly now.

      >

      • LAskyline says:

        “Sony Imageworks has been in India for more than 5 years and Imageworks has always been a pain on the books… What makes you think they are waiting for the CVD to go through to push work to India?”

        You make the same mistake the many do when they see US VFX houses opening up overseas outposts. Sony haven’t shifted all their VFX work to India because they haven’t had to – yet. The current balance works for them. Balance is the key. You’re betting on Sony – and the other remaining US VFX houses – pulling everything back to LA in the wake of a CVD ruling. Does anyone know of any modern industry that decided to roll over when a $100million price hike was imposed on it? A CVD, if successful will have one overriding effect – *nothing* will remain in California afterwards. First some of it will move to other US States where the CVD is powerless and then it’ll all go overseas to wherever will do it cheapest. But at least you’ll have fucked it all up for everyone who currently lives works in Vancouver, Wellington, Montreal, London, Berlin, Munich, Stuttgart, Paris, Madrid, Stockholm, Melbourne, Sydney, Singapore etc. I guess that’ll keep you warm at night.

      • chexmix says:

        @LAskyline

        You really think studios will move their head quarters to another country? whose being naive..

        The big 6 studios are american companies…..which makes them beholden to the CVD law….I can’t see them moving…

      • Studio_Spotter says:

        LAskyline
        “Does anyone know of any modern industry that decided to roll over when a $100 million price hike was imposed on it?”

        Yes, and it was a very similar situation to ours. And the fix was a very similar fix to the CVD.

        http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/09/11/AR2009091103957.html?hpid=topnews

      • LAskyline says:

        “The big 6 studios are american companies…..which makes them beholden to the CVD law….I can’t see them moving…”

        Have you ever left the US at all? All the big six have major production assets over varying scales overseas, from the Fox studios in Sydney to the vast new WB facility outside of London – they have been outsourcing production for decades, long before the current flurry of incentives/subsidies. The CVD is supposed to be about *subsidized* production. All the big six have to do is move it to somewhere that’s merely cheaper. The fact that they haven’t already done this – gone to the *cheapest* possible location – doesn’t mean that they won’t in the future, it just means that they don’t need to *right now*. In Hollywood you don’t win fans for doing something cheaper than the target price – if you do that and bounce up like the puppy that brought back the stick twice as fast they just think you’re a schmuck.

      • LAskyline says:

        “Yes, and it was a very similar situation to ours. And the fix was a very similar fix to the CVD. ”

        The articles you link to make no mention of subsidies here. The US response is just straight forward protectionism; the Chinese work cheaper – fuck them. Maybe a VFX CVD can be swung on the same basis. I doubt it. If it’s just going after subsidies – and if the definition of subsidy is too narrow – then you’re naive to think that corporations with many millions of dollars at stake won’t try to work a way around it.

      • Andreas jablonka says:

        Of course they will try to find loopholes. But by the time the cvd are in effect a producer has to think twice if it’s worth the risk. Take it as an informed scarecrow.

    • vfxminion says:

      VFX Realist, you are SPOT on, but I don’t know if anyone on this blog wants to confront that reality. Having been in the business a while (10+ years) I know and regularly speak with the heads of production at the Big 6, and smaller vfx shops. Does anyone here think that if this CVD tariff thing is successfull those places are sending the work back to LA?? Because I can assure you they’re not. ILM is expanding in Singapore, about to open its Sandcrawler building. DWA/DD are expanding in China. MPC continues to go around the globe chasing better subsidies. The London shops used subisides to grab most of Ep. 7, both for production and post. Weta uses high profile films like Avatar to get the government to change laws.

      Will all of their efforts be successful? No, probably not. I think India has stagnated for instance, and you don’t see as much development going there now. But seriously, do you guys think it’s coming back to LA?? Because it’s NOT. ALL you are doing with the infighting, and protests, and trying to demonize places like Vancouver, is rapidly accelerate the move of work to 3rd world countries where you have NO pull. None. You going to unionize in China? Lol. People on here are so short sighted because their friends job temporarily went to a Vancouver office, that they don’t realize their whole industry is disappearing and they’re helping to accelerate that process.

      I would love to see this visit become a rallying cry against outsourcing jobs to 3rd world countries. Against DWA moving work from India to China in and endless loop of exploitation. The problem is that this blog and other vfx protests don’t have any consistency or common ground. This week it’s anti-DWA, last week it was Weta, and the week before Vancouver. Until VFX workers and the people organizing these efforts figure out who they are fighting and how/why this whole thing is doomed to fail. Or as VFX Realist put it, good luck at your next job in China with cowshit in the street.

      • urizen says:

        “The problem is that this blog and other vfx protests don’t have any consistency or common ground. This week it’s anti-DWA, last week it was Weta, and the week before Vancouver.”

        And here all along I thought the ‘anti-‘ part of this blog was actually just ‘anti-subsidy’. (With a heaping side order of ‘anti-worker and taxpayer exploitation’, regardless of geographical or corporate context).

        -This week, last week, last year, and the year before.

        Guess I haven’t been paying attention.

      • pixelmonkey says:

        Urizen..

        No one is anti-Dreamworks….DW is a great place to work and is a union shop. What people are against is the president coming to Los Angeles and saying “Wow what a great industry Film is and how many jobs its creating in the US”.

        I think your reading too much into it….

      • Andreas jablonka says:

        For over 5 years people like you are telling me it’s all going tomindua and china. Get your head in straight! Have you seen hiw little work
        Is actually done there? It as increased in 5 years sure. But I yet haven’t seen a single film being done just in china or India that we westerners watch!
        Scarecrow tactics. Don’t be afraid. It will come but not that fast and not without our help. Otherwise why would PF hire all westerners to go to mumbai for sin city 2?
        I’m tired of the same arguments and fearmomgering

    • vfxminion says:

      VFX Realist, you are SPOT on, but I don’t know if anyone on this blog wants to confront that reality. Having been in the business a while (10+ years) I know and regularly speak with the heads of production at the Big 6, and smaller vfx shops. Does anyone here think that if this CVD tariff thing is successfull those places are sending the work back to LA?? Because I can assure you they’re not. ILM is expanding in Singapore, about to open its Sandcrawler building. DWA/DD are expanding in China. MPC continues to go around the globe chasing better subsidies. The London shops used subisides to grab most of Ep. 7, both for production and post. Weta uses high profile films like Avatar to get the government to change laws.

      Will all of their efforts be successful? No, probably not. I think India has stagnated for instance, and you don’t see as much development going there now. But seriously, do you guys think it’s coming back to LA?? Because it’s NOT. ALL you are doing with the infighting, and protests, and trying to demonize places like Vancouver, is rapidly accelerating the move of work to 3rd world countries where you have NO pull. None. You going to unionize in China? Lol. People on here are so short sighted because their friends job temporarily went to a Vancouver office, that they don’t realize their whole industry is disappearing and they’re helping to accelerate it. You should be GLAD you can still find a decent paying job in London, Vancouver, or New Zealand, because in 5 years you may not be able to.

      I would love to see this Presidential visit become a rallying cry against outsourcing jobs to 3rd world countries. Against DWA moving work from India to China in and endless loop of exploitation. The problem is that this blog and other vfx protests don’t have any consistency or common ground. This week it’s anti-DWA, last week it was Weta, and the week before Vancouver. Until VFX workers and the people organizing these efforts figure out who they are fighting and how/why this whole thing is doomed to fail. Or as VFX Realist put it, good luck at your next job in China with cows in the street.

      • pixelmonkey says:

        no one is demonizing this WETA or DW…we are just asking for an end to subsidys….a level playing field…..why can’t you understand that?

  22. charlie says:

    I agree with the level playing field, Ask Tesla to give back its $465 million subsidy from Obama while you are there.

  23. charlie says:

    Yawn indeed, we North Americans are all human beings living on a continent our ancestors effectively stole from a thriving 1st nations civilization. In addition to assuming that California is “yours”, you assume that the motion picture business is yours. Trade wars have never benefited the working man. Any duty you are talking about would have to be applied to all of these amazing subsidies your fellow US citizens are enjoying right now: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/govbeat/wp/2013/11/12/washington-just-awarded-the-largest-state-tax-subsidy-in-u-s-history/

    I am not a fan, but it is how the world is working right now.

    • minoton says:

      Or not working, as the case may be. I suppose we shouldn’t try to make that global warming thing any better, by your logic.

      Yeah, sucks that Washington is giving a huge tax incentive/subsidy to that non-American based Boeing, doesn’t it? Not like how BC, UK, et. al. are only supporting their own motion picture industries . . . .

    • VFX Soldier says:

      Comparing the atrocities toward native Americans to a duty tax meant to end price distortion in VFX is really absurd.

      Subsidies are a reality and I accept that but so are duties levied to offset them: you seem to want to accept subsidies but not duties. All I’m saying is accept both.

      >

  24. dwaworker says:

    Not to rain on anyone’s parade, but here is why this isn’t going to happen (at least on the DWA campus).

    Most people here at the Glendale campus have been here a long time (5+ years average), have job stability, and work at a Union shop with good benefits. They’re happy to grumble on blogs like this about jobs leaving for Vancouver and to appear sympathetic to their fellow VFX artists. But when the cold reality of protest comes to their/our door, do you really think anyone here is going to put their neck on the line given the realities of the work environment in Los Angeles? I’m just being real with you guys. No one here is going to disrupt Obama’s visit, ask a pointed question, or wear a green shirt to symbolize the plight of vfx workers in LA. Everyone here has a job, and they don’t want to lose it.. Ok, maybe a few will find their Shrek 2/3 crew gear and wear that as a kind of psuedo-sympathetic gesture of solidarity.

    And to me, this is the sad, but truthful microcosm of the issue our industry faces. No one wants to stand up and put their ass on the line until the axeman comes for them. Read all the posts on thelayoff.com in the Dreamworks section when they announced minimal layoffs last year. The sky was falling, everyone was outraged, and venom flowed from Dreamworkers. Today, things are good, the stock is up, and the President is coming. JK will no doubt deliver a rousing speech, there will be talk of Christmas bonuses, parties, and gifts, and everyone at DWA will go home that night to their cozy homes to relax with their families and post pics on Facebook of the President coming to visit.

    Our industry is a scattered collection of freelancers who work around the globe, try to find a decent gig, and hold onto it for as long as they can. The only people protesting the Presidents visit to DWA next week will be the unemployed VFX workers in LA. Not anyone at DWA.

    • vfxmafia says:

      the real truth is there is nothing to be afraid of….I’d love the Dreamworks Union leader to weigh in on this…

      You can’t get fired for wearing a green shirt…..(unless you have a work place dress code) and workers will have the protection of the union behind them.

      You can’t get fired for asking a question on an open mic…if they have a Q&A……

      Besides they are feeding the question to the media….which is a relevant question reguarding a speech on how many jobs Hollywood is creating…

      and no one is talking of disrupting the president or bringing an shame to DW as a company. Wearing a tee-shirt and acting professional is not grounds for termination…..

  25. hector says:

    “One is left with the horrible feeling now that war settles nothing; that to win a war is as disastrous as to lose one.”
    Agatha Christie (1890 – 1976), Autobiography (1977)

  26. Hover Dam is Drying Up says:

    Well, I know VFX artists usually have no wider understanding of the world around them other than CG movies and video games but here we go with the irony of a ‘green’ campaign in L.A. and Barak Obama.

    Obama is fully into the green agenda. So much so that he made legally binding commitments to the U.N. agenda 21 for sustainable economic development during his last term. That was a pretty big deal since it’s apparently unconstitutional for him to do this and private citizen groups have been brining a case against him to no avail. Agenda 21 clauses are written into nearly every trade agreement and are a lynchpin of globisation and the development of Goldman Sachs/WTO/Al Gore’s Carbon trading futures Exchange in Chicago.

    So what’s agenda 21 got to do with L.A.? The city has been labelled as unsustainable because of the grid lock trafic, falling water table and lack of green infrastructure. The greater L.A. area has to fall to a maximum population of 1 million by 2050. That’s one of the ‘green’ commitments.

    Yup, that’s right. L.A. is being nudged into depolution and deindustrilisation already. So Barak will probably see the green t-shirts and think everyone is on board.

    • VFX Soldier says:

      Alright time to pass out the dunce cap.

      It would be great to get Obama to recognize the problem but that isn’t the point. It’s to draw media attention to one of the core issues. It already has worked. LA Times, Variety, Hollywood Reporter have all reported this issue.

      As big and obvious as the problem is, there are still many people in the industry who don’t understand the issue. By bringing attention to it through demonstrations and media coverage, people in our industry gain knowledge on the issue, and we gain their support.

      That’s a big win.

      On Sun, Nov 24, 2013 at 10:41 AM, VFX Soldier

      • urizen says:

        Soldier is correct.

        This is about the media coverage, and it will be a big win- Obama himself is completely incidental here except in so far as he’s very graciously, albeit unintentionally, pulling in the cameras for us.

        Lets not waste this opportunity to be heard.

    • Andreas jablonka says:

      You do realize green has nothing to do with environmental efforts in our case right????

      • Hoover Dam is Drying Up says:

        Sure do understand the difference between ‘green lighting’ and environmentalism. Just pointing out the irony that dumb joe public sitting at home will probably think its just another hippy environmental campaign at the most environmentally unsustainable city on earth. Most people are dumb, they don’t care or are interested in finding out more. Still, don’t take my world for it, look into carbon trading, agenda 21 and the World Trade Organisation. You are fighting a losing battle. Everyone in the country knows that the desert town of Los Angeles on current trajectory will run out of water within 50 years. So much so that elected officials are writing into laws a detroit style future for the town. There is probably only really room in the future for small facilities of studio execs to remotely green light projects, certainly no larger scale industries and populations. Bet you feel a bit dumb now moving 6,000 miles to a declining desert town?

  27. urizen says:

    “Bet you feel a bit dumb now moving 6,000 miles to a declining desert town?”

    “The future Mr. Gitts! The future!”

    In any case, I do not detect an argument from you re. the matter at hand.

    Help me out. here.

  28. linus says:

    @anoninsider

    Please, you have no “insider information” you are just another angry artist. Of course China is going ahead. I welcome it, India has been helping out for years and our now doing their own feature. China will do same which I suspect will be the end of DW india eventually since it hasn’t worked out financially.

    China is a huge market, having a studio there and producing content specifically for them has opened up doors that no film studio has ever been able to open over there. We need new revenue streams.

    I understand you want the world to stay the same and everything to go your way, but it’s not going to. I don’t expect this job to last forever, but its been 7 years and many of my friends have been here 10-15 and this type of “end is nigh/they took our jeeerbs!” talk has been going since the inception of the studio.

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