You’re probably coming into work and wondering what the fuss is with all this green stuff. First off, this isn’t to make DreamWorks look bad. I’ve showered praise on how DreamWorks treats it’s workers and as a former Animation Guild member, I’m a converted evangelist for what they offer the VFX community. You all deserve the praise and recognition by President Obama.
However beyond the walls of DreamWorks there are some bad things happening. No matter how good things are at Dreamworks, we all know that employment tends to be project based and if and when you get laid off you usually pick up work at Disney, Sony, Digital Domain, and Rhythm & Hues. That’s no longer the case as VFX production has been virtually destroyed in that region.
I predicted this tidal wave 3 years ago and spent days and nights writing about this issue. The main culprit for the collapse of the VFX industry in the US are massive international subsidies offered in countries like Canada. Essentially they are paying US studios to move work there making it completely unsustainable to do any work here. If you get laid off you will likely have to move out of the country. Even if you are lucky to stay, there is less demand for work leaving you with less leverage to negotiate wages.
I flew to Washington DC to meet with law firms that specialize in international trade law to devise a resolution. This past summer we released the results of the study and intend to execute it. You can read about it here. Basically we can discipline these international subsidies by instituting a duty that offsets the effects of these subsidies. I’m not saying this will bring everything back but it will allow the US to compete on a level playing field. You might be suprised to learn that this could benefit DreamWorks Animation. Many of the animated films you compete with are heavily subsidized.
This brings me to why I need your help. I’d be a fool to think that you should ask President Obama to support my effort. While his support would be great, I don’t need it. I need your support. You see I don’t need Congress, or the President or any politician to institute this countervailing duty.
This law already exists and all our law firm needs to do is go to the International Trade Court and demonstrate:
- Subsidies are injuring the VFX industry.
- We have the support of the majority of the domestic VFX industry.
If we prove those two things the resulting countervailing duty tax is mandatory. The investigation only takes a year and we could turn things around quickly.
By simply wearing a green shirt during the Presidents speech you will garner media attention for this cause that will propel it into the spotlight to help us get the support we need. We’ve already yielded a lot of media attention already. An image of the President arriving to a sea of green would be a game changer. Many of your former colleagues will be outside doing the same. If you were on the outside wouldn’t you want your colleagues to do the same?
Stand with us in front of our President. Help us win the crowd. Help us give the VFX world something they’ve never seen before.