A Soldier’s Story

vfxsoldierABC 7 News Report

FXGuide 1 hour interview with VFX Soldier author: fxpodcast #267: I AM VFX Soldier
Variety: Vfx Soldier Blogger ‘Outs’ Himself to Lead Protest
KCRW David S. Cohen Interview at 4:20 mark: President Obama Visits DreamWorks, VFX Animators Protest 
The Hollywood Reporter: VFX Workers Stage Protest Outside DreamWorks Animation During Obama Visit
The Wrap: Anonymous VFX Blogger Reveals Identity: ‘It Was the Right Time’
The Verge: Visual effects artists use Obama’s trip to DreamWorks to protest ‘bleeding’ industry
The Animation Guild Blog: The Outing
Cartoon Brew: VFX Soldier Reveals Himself To Be Daniel Lay
Animation World Network: ‘VFX Soldier’ Reveals Identity

I’d like to extend my deepest thanks to everyone who has supported the blog over the years. As hard as it looked, I loved every minute of it. To those who thought they could end me:

Soldier On.

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90 Responses to A Soldier’s Story

  1. Thank you for being a voice. Thank you for bringing us a place to argue, debate, and become informed. I live in LA and I can’t wait to meet you and shake your hand in person one day.

    I still support and respect you! Solider on!

  2. X_LA_VFX_WHORE says:

    I thought you’d be taller…..actually.

    I’ll still buy you a drink anytime….

  3. Rob says:

    Wow. it’s unfortunate that it had to come to this, since everybody knows how important it was to you to keep this anonymously. And contrary to Mike Seymour, I value anonymity very much and find it very questionable that it’s basically gone from today’s virtual environment. With people spreading out their private lives for everyone to see, not worrying about any consequences that might have.

    Anyway, I still very much look forward to listening and watching all of these things regardless and wish you best of luck for the future!

  4. Marc Rienzo says:

    You’ve got my support. It’s sad to see how few were there though.

  5. Thanks for all you have done. Your interview was great and you touched some very interesting subjects.

    Soldier on.

  6. Thank you for your bravery and for bringing the debate to the industry when others were too afraid to acknowledge the truth. Thank you for fighting for the VFX industry and the disenfranchised employees who have been harmed by unethical practices along the way. Thanks to ADAPT for their hard work.
    Never stop. You guys give me hope.

  7. Andreas jablonka says:

    You know you have my support! Let this open a new kind of discussion where we can remove the debate about weather you are the studios, interest groups or Internet troll.
    Maybe we can remove the farming sunsidie comparison and cut through all the junk to the real issues and ADAPT!

    • Stop US Subsidies Too! says:

      Senate votes down proposal to end tobacco crop insurance subsidy: http://ae.cqrollcall.com/farmcredit/latest-news/farm-bill-news/senate-votes-down-proposal-to-end-tobacco-crop-insurance-subsidy/

      This is a big victory for Kentucky’s tobacco growers and their families. I was happy to lead the fight to protect our farmers from another assault by Washington to go after our home state jobs,” said Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Louisville, in a statement afterward.

      • VFX Soldier says:

        And guess what, there are duties on imported cigarettes meant to offset the effect of those US subsidies :) You’re just helping me at this point.

        http://customs.gov.au/faq/AlcoholCigTobacco.asp#Q60

        http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/rates/tobacco-duty.htm

        Sent from my iPhone

        >

      • Easy says:

        @Stop US Subsidies Too!

        This is known as a “red herring”.

        red herring
        n. – Something that draws attention away from the central issue.

        Good luck with those farming subsidies. Let us know how that works out, mmmkay?

      • Not so fast says:

        “Do it better, do it cheaper and do it smarter.”

        Ah not so fast, I have sat in countless meetings where bids were better, cheaper and smarter, and the answer was.. But we won’t get the subsidies if you don’t open in XYZ. The LA VFX companies didn’t choose to open facilities in other locations becuase they wanted to, they did it because they had too (in most cases) or they wouldn’t get the big work.

        Also who cares about IMBD credits? I’ve worked with guys that have been “working” for 20 years and they had no idea what they were doing. Also with guys that work 5 months and were amazing. Vice Vera also, so credits don’t mean shit.

        Also most of those 20+ year veterans are the ones that said if LA unionized all the jobs would leave… Well we didn’t unionize and the jobs left, and most of us now don’t have any of those nice union benifits. Like 2 pensions and a 401k that fallows you from union shop to union shop, and free health insurance for life (15yrs or more of union work) no I’m not saying the union would have protected job becuase they have said they wouldn’t, but sh$t those benifits should would and are nice.

        So when people like to talk about thier more years experience = knowledge, most have been wrong so far.

      • Not so fast says:

        ^^^ post on the wrong thread

  8. Easy says:

    No good deed goes unpunished. The irony that you’re trying to make this a healthier industry only to be attacked by members of it is sadly, believable. Those guys who spent all of that time hacking your emails certainly deserve a round of wedgies and noogies but perhaps what they should get is prosecution for their efforts instead. The good news is that they are vastly outnumbered by the rest of us who aren’t backstabbing scumbags. We appreciate your efforts and courage.

  9. jonavark says:

    Actually.. now that I know who you are and I can see your credit list I am surprised you had the balls to say you didn’t believe I had ever worked on a film.

    • VFX Soldier says:

      I said you didn’t work in VFX

      >

      • jonavark says:

        You need to learn that not everyone who has or has had a career in VFX is hopping on your train my friend. And that is no reason to jump to conclusions about them. Some of us have been watching trends longer than you’ve been working in VFX.

      • X_LA_VFX_WHORE says:

        @ Joanofarc…

        Cut him some fucking slack already….the guy stuck his neck out….why don’t you….

      • Easy says:

        Jon, do you mean to say that not everyone wants to see their tax-payer funded gravy train end? It’s a shocking revelation! Seriously though, the world is full of sycophants and corporate yes-men, so tell me something new.

      • X_LA_VFX_WHORE says:

        @ Joanofarc…

        Im so sick of whinny VFX artists (or X-VFX artists) like yourself…who was hater on this blog…

        You’d make a great Dreamworks employee…

      • Rob says:

        @ jonavark

        Yeah, there are those who watch trends and then there are those who do something. Personally, I’d much rather have some guy who has been in the business for even just one year who immediately gets how much is wrong, who realizes that something has to be done about it and actually goes out and tries to do just that than some other guy who has merely been watching trends for 20 years but has never tried to actively improve things and who maybe just bitches constantly about how powerless everybody is and about how nothing can be done anyway.

      • jonavark says:

        @Rob

        Many people feel that the solutions he is seeking are likely to exacerbate the problem, not solve it. And as I said before, even if it were possible to enact what is essentially a tariff, which I believe is a non-starter it won’t stem the tide of US production companies expanding to China and elsewhere. So you get your tariffs and unions and you lose everything.

      • VFX Soldier says:

        Who are these “many people” beside yourself? lol

      • jonavark says:

        Childish replies aside, some of them have attempted to express their opinions here and were met with a mob mentality. Others respond in articles posted on other sites. I understand that you believe you speak for everyone but it just isn’t the case. Why that response instead of addressing my points?

      • VFX Soldier says:

        I never said I speak for everyone. Here’s the difference between you and I: I have built my credibility on basing my opinion on cited facts. You have yet to do that. When you’re ready to do that, I’m ready to listen.

        Many of your opinions you’ve expressed give me the impression you don’t work in the VFX industry.

      • LaAnimator says:

        @jonavark
        The opposing opinions you’re talking about often get attacked because they come in with no facts or with opinions that are directly contradicted by facts. So they for good reason get smacked down. Saying stupid things like “LA centric” or “Xenophobic” or “Wont work” like you said.

        But things as they stand now aren’t working. Tarrifs/CVD’s would HELP negate the distorting effect of Subsidies. VFX houses can keep opening locations all around the world wherever they want. In the end the work is re-imported to then be distributed. At that point the CVD kicks in off setting the benefits of the DISTORTING subsidies in that location.

        Locations, by the way, which are often SUPER expensive to live and operate in.

      • LaAnimator says:

        The thing a lot of people in the subsidized locations don’t want to realize is that subsidies don’t expand the market. They distort it…They artificially balloon it. And all balloons pop causing much pain. Its best to wean ourselves and the industry off the artificial tax subsidy teat and get to expanding the industry in a healthy way and begin getting paid what we’re worth.

        VFX producers are getting accustomed to getting VFX at vastly discounted prices. And when subsidies end…and they will…they will fight tooth and nail to stop prices from rising to what they ACTUALLY should be.

      • jonavark says:

        @LAAnimator
        Thank you for your reply. While I agree with most of it the problem lies here:

        ” And when subsidies end…and they will…they will fight tooth and nail to stop prices from rising to what they ACTUALLY should be.”

        Because I believe that is when the exodus will expand, leaving US workers with less than they had previously. Corporate production entities have zero loyalty. I think we can agree on that.

        Thanks again for the discussion.

      • LaAnimator says:

        No….the exodus wont expand if everyone begins charging the ACTUAL fair market price.

      • LAskyline says:

        “No….the exodus wont expand if everyone begins charging the ACTUAL fair market price.”

        The business doesn’t work that way – over the long term the clients will always try to get more for the same money or pay less for what they’re already getting. For good or bad the current situation has ratcheted the average cost of a shot downwards – they’re not *ever* going to return to the levels of ten or even five years ago. If someone can work out how to deliver quality VFX at that price point and not fall foul of some putative tariff then they’re going to get the work.

      • LaAnimator says:

        Thats fine….competition is fine. But subsidies are not competition. They’re bribes…Pay for work jobs.

        Take them away and let the chips fall where they may.

      • Easy says:

        You know Jonavark, I have read this blog for a while and I find it interesting that someone who is so frequently pro-capitalist and free-market, you would take a position that is anything but free-market. Like what LA said, let the chips fall where they may and let the market dictate where the work goes.

      • jonavark says:

        @easy. How tariffs a free market? How are they really any different than subsidies? I believe the market will go where the work can be done for the lowest price. That’s what is going on now with subsidies isn’t it? Hard to imagine that changing, for me anyway.

      • jonavark says:

        @Soldier. Well. I believe the fact that nothing is manufactured here in the US anymore is a ‘cited fact’. As I said before VFX are easier to transplant than an electronics manufacturing facility. So I see a direct parallel. Anything you do to increase costs to productions will be met with an effort to avoid those costs. Between the time I began posting here and now there are more than a few new facilities and agreements being made with China.

      • VFX Soldier says:

        The fact you continue to compare VFX to manufacturing shows a lot right there.

        >

      • jonavark says:

        ” If someone can work out how to deliver quality VFX at that price point and not fall foul of some putative tariff then they’re going to get the work.”

        That, is the only solution actually.

      • jonavark says:

        @soldier
        “The fact you continue to compare VFX to manufacturing shows a lot right there. ”

        Yes. I guess it does. To me it is in indicator that you either haven’t worked in any other jobs or you believe there is something special about procuring VFX that makes it impossible to draw the same conclusions. Even in light of the current trends.
        There are no differences Daniel. A product is made and sold. Very simple stuff.

      • VFX Soldier says:

        VFX is not like manufacturing and your comparison only reveals to me that you haven’t worked in the industry:

        Compare 2 iPhones. What’s the difference? Nothing.

        Compare two shots in a VFX film. what’s the difference? Lots. Each shot is its own challenge and takes dedicated technical and creative knowledge. This isn’t something you can send to a sweatshop to get done.

        >

      • Andreas Jablonka says:

        Ill offer an olive branch here and will say that while manufacturing, which is repeating a pre designed task (like assembling iphones) is not like vfx they ARE certain similarities. the “sweatshops” throw manpower at simple tasks eg. roto/paint. While not exact replicas we can admit that the level of skill to execute them does exist in these sweatshops by now. what does NOT exist is the “design plan” the knowledge of when to do what. if the roto guy gets a new challenge he is helpless until the higher ups figure it out. thats why so many indian/chinese companys that have manpower and money STILL need to buy themselves westerners to train them and lead them as they are, by culture, not trained to think for themselves as much and can reach our western level of creativity or execution. i realize this sounds very xenophobe and i dont intend this as a racial statement. Indians/Chinese are not “worse” than us. They are just not trained the same way in their homelands.

        While the million dollar factory cannot be moved easily vfx facilities have less overhead and can be moved. BUT the new location will IMPORT the same vfx artist and fill the rest with local talent while the factory will just hire new local crew. thats the difference between subsidies: they dont create jobs, the move them around. the factory actually created many jobs (and im sure some higher up ones are moved as well).

      • Easy says:

        @jonavark At what point did I say it was. It’s not free-market as long as you have governments injecting themselves into the situation. Whether or not it qualifies as the strict, dogmatic interpretation of what is a “free-market” is irrelevant. A CVD is a counter-measure to the actions of another sovereign state in collusion with corporations. So the other question I have is, what do you do? Are you a VFX artist or not?

      • jonavark says:

        @Daniel. it isn’t important that I prove anything to you. My credit list is indeed longer than yours and it started when you were just a kid. If you can’t see the obvious parallel I don’t know what to say. I bounce in and out of VFX because I like to pay my rent and I don’t like traveling to do it. I don’t know any artist who worked on films in the 80s who felt their jobs were secure. So that actually hasn’t changed. Just the locations have changed. The rates are lower now because more people are available to do the work. THAT is what you’re really up against in the long run.

        Comparing iPhones isn’t the actual problem. Compare it to another phone and you will soon realize that it took creatives, engineers and a lot of other people to produce the product. What you seem to be saying is that for every shot there is only one place that can do it. That isn’t wholly true, the bulk of work done in VFX is NOT shots that only one crew can do. Even if it were the grunt work can and is being done by people all over the globe.

      • VFX Soldier says:

        I dare you to post your imdb. Dare you.

        >

      • Andreas Jablonka says:

        thats the problem when your “out” people compare personal IMDB rather than discuss the general issues. Its a dick measuring contest people, lets move on already! (and before people bitch me out, here is mine http://www.imdb.com/name/nm2246176/ even though you could have googled it )

      • VFX Soldier says:

        Good point. What drew jonavark out was to point out that his imdb was longer and thicker and more uncut than mine. Uh okay so show us your imdb.

        Show us your greatness.

        >

      • jonavark says:

        @Daniel. Thanks. If this were a less abrasive site and your ego wasn’t monumental I would. Sometime you can contact me personally and I will send you the link. I will remain anonymous.

      • Andreas Jablonka says:

        what are you afraid of exactly? Abrasive? people bitch at everybody. you read this here no matter if its your real name. i doubt you get confronted in the real world (i only had one 1 issue). so anonymity can have its uses, see batman/vfx.soldier/symbol discussion. but when somebody who clearly states they have experience and a strong voice does not want to reveil their names it makes you wonder what they are afraid of. im not a troll, im genuinely interested in hearing what you fear.

      • LAskyline says:

        “Thats fine….competition is fine. But subsidies are not competition. They’re bribes…Pay for work jobs.”

        I’m not arguing with that, but I’ve been doing this for long enough and sat in enough meetings to know that it’s a falsehood to say that *all* the work lost from LA was *entirely* due to subsidies, just as it’s a falsehood to say that subsidised competition was the sole cause of DD & R&H’s failure. There are plenty of examples of shows that ended up outside of LA just because the other guy did it cheaper and it still ended up looking the same. Those guys will still be able to do it cheaper tomorrow.

      • Andreas Jablonka says:

        i agree. you are right, BUT did te other guy do it cheaper or did the government make it appear cheaper? India/China is cheaper than Vancouver or UK. but i dont see 60-80% of the work going there.
        R&H was able to match a bid from subsidized Vancouver and the studio STILL did not award it as they cannot loan money against a bid, but they can against a refund check from the canadian government.

      • LaAnimator says:

        @jonavark

        The only reason tariffs exist is to counter subsidies/distorted markets. Take away subsidies and tariffs disappear as well.

        And I dont know where you keep getting the whole “work will flood back to LA” Nobody is saying that. Many believe, myself included, work will naturally flow back when the distorting subsidies vanish. But Vancouver and London arent going away. And neither will Weta when NZ ends its subsidies. But they wont be the only game in town like they are now.

        And there is no greater sign of subsidies distorting effect than the examples of vfx studios not being able to bid or having to pay a penalty if they weren’t in a subsidized location.

      • jonavark says:

        @LAAnimator

        Thank you for the reply. I don’t think I mentioned work flooding back to LA. But I don’t see it returning to any acceptable level which would make everyone here happy. Chinese billionaires building mega studios. Hollywood paying attention to that. I can only come to one regrettable conclusion. If they shoot there, they will do VFX there eventually. It isn’t an attitude of resignation on my part. Its just how I see the trend occurring. It seems like part of the solution is to recognize that and not ignore it.

      • Look at the big picture says:

        @jonavark

        Do your credibility a favor and don’t start talking about credit lists and years spent in the industry while simultaneously clinging to your anonymity so that no one can verify your claims. Ok?

        Otherwise I’ll just assume your a wannabe with an extensive Cinefex collection who could never make it in this industry… and I’m sure I won’t be the only one.

      • mOZd says:

        It is important to understand how the whole film industry works and more importantly the challenges it faces. http://tinyurl.com/kq4rke5

        If these guys fail to secure project funding the film community will die off and film vfx along with it. A lot of the guys on this blog are carrying on like someone just took away their sandpit. Many many industries have evolved, changed and disappeared. Go talk to your local film lab…if you still have one. A job is not a right. A job is something you have to work for and at. Quite frankly bitching about dreamworks guys who didn’t don a lime t shirst and an amateur sign makes you look less like advocates for change and more like a feral pack. You are trying to raise awareness of the amazing visual work that has now left for other countries. Scribbled signage and mismatched t shirts doesn’t really convey that message. You are supposed to be visual professionals. Maybe you should have engaged a pr firm

      • VFX Soldier says:

        So your telling me that if I continue Ill stop the whole film industry from making movies? Where do I sign up ;)

        Seriously every industry facing discipline from duties on subsidies has always argued: Well stop making this product without subsidies!

        If that was true we would see a correlation between the rise of duties and the decline of global trade:

        Last year the total amount of duties collected was near record highs: $25 billion on $1.3 trillion on imports, a record also.

        In other words, well be just fine. Is this the best argument out there against the CVD effort? I hope not.

        >

      • jonavark says:

        @Look at the big picture says:

        I was responding to Daniel’s assertion. Live with it. He made it because I disagree with him.
        I do have a small collection of CinefX mags. Just a few. Only the ones with my name in them. Since I don’t know who you are my credibility with you isn’t of any concern.

      • VFX Soldier says:

        You know who I am now and you wanted to let me know how great your credits are. Put up or shut time.

        Sent from my iPhone

        >

      • jonavark says:

        @MozD
        “a feral pack”

        I’m feelin’ that.

      • mOZd says:

        Sorry guys. You clearly don’t understand the market forces of the industry. The only way you guys are going to bring the work back to your town is through some serious innovation like what done in the old days. Do it better, do it cheaper and do it smarter. Btw why are demanding credentials from artists like that is a way to validate what is essentially a political argument. Most of you have never done a full shot yourselves. Directing someone to your imdb page when you’ve sat in the dynamics department running sims for half your career or some other secondary effects work is a bit of a misrepresentation. That’s just pissing in the wind… running a flip solver.

      • VFX Soldier says:

        Jonavark brought up my imdb to compare to his. I didn’t bring it up, he did so talk to him.

        >

      • Andreas Jablonka says:

        Now I am kinda curious of the demographic of this blog.
        “most of us” have never finished a shot? I dont pretend to know if this is true. I certainly feel the oscar protest and the dreamworks rally had many SENIOR people but hardly ANY newbies or even students. Its kinda sad really that the same old tigers fight for all the younglings. Its Daniel’s blog he knows who comes here but I feel we have 1/3 veterans that know their stuff and are shit of the way its going, 1/3 wannabies that just disrupt and have never done anything themselves and 1/3 bystanders that are aware of the issues or that d their research and I invite those the most as we need more public awareness!

      • Gemma says:

        Jonavark…post your credits son. Don’t talk shit. At the least state what your exact role is in the industry. Director, producer, DP, Art Department???

  10. scottross996 says:

    Thanks for all you’ve done and been Daniel. Now let’s get ADAPT to happen!

  11. otherthings says:

    “You’ve done a man’s job, sir!”

    Seriously, great work, Daniel. You should not have to buy yourself another beer for a long, long time after this. Keep us all posted as to what comes next!

  12. planetapeman says:

    Great work man! It takes courage to do what you did.

    I was thinking that it would be an interesting ploy to see how far studios would go, chasing subsidies. Perhaps start a rumor that Greenland or the Arctic is offering a 50% subsidy and see if they bite. Supplying electricity and power to the newly created facility might become a problem, but hey, that’s just the cost of doing business, right? :)

  13. Tom Atkin says:

    Daniel,

    You not only devoted resources, but more importantly, your time and commitment for what you believe.

    No one…and I mean no one…could ask for more.

    Well done. You have been a shining light in a dark world.

    Thanks you for all you have done.

  14. Dave Carlson says:

    Daniel! Way to go dude! Thank you immensely for all that you’re doing and all that you’ve done!! That must have been strange keeping anonymity all this time while hearing us blab at work on a daily basis about the latest news on your blog!
    Most of us are behind you on this, Daniel. Epic work. :-)

  15. Chris Stanczak says:

    I am sorry i did not know about this rally or i would of been there…I would like to join the Association of Digital Artists, Professionals and Technicians …please send me details when you can to acecompute@aol.com I am former employee of Rythm and Hues.

  16. ed says:

    So is this blog over??? Why??? Keep it running…it doesn’t matter they know who you are…

  17. Dave Rand says:

    Thank you Daniel, you are and always will be my friend.

  18. maple Leaf says:

    Thanks for your efforts and sharing information. I’ve learned a lot from this blog.

  19. hector says:

    You are doing a great job. Will be nice to have you here as well, Daniel. ( Canada).
    You had and always have my support.

  20. polyphemus says:

    Thanks for providing a forum to rant about these issues. Anyone remember VFX Hell and how quickly that got shut down in 2005/2006….

    Or the mods on places like cgtalk that delete threads that bring up these issues.

    • Andreas Jablonka says:

      I used to run vfxtalk.com before it got sold and the new owners killed it. we tried to revive it but they did not want to sell it. I always encouraged talks about these issues as it IS an international industry and every view is important. VFX hell was fun but motre bitching than constructive. i HOPE we are not approaching this level here.

  21. makeitstop says:

    That podcast made me shudder. Full of yourself much, Daniel? I am so sick of this Extreme Navel Gazing, mutual back-slapping, whining about the First World problem of not having enough jobs in your very favorite niche of the industry going around in your own neck of the woods.
    Spinning around in self-absorbed little circles, with a silly attitude of California entitlement and American Exceptionalism to boot. Like a bunch of kids playing labor organizing, this whole thing is a self centered bitch fest and comes across as highly unprofessional.
    And never forget that it is everyone’s own – and often vain and ego-driven – choice to want to work in feature film VFX.

    • VFX Soldier says:

      Did you listen to the same podcast? What specifically did I say about california and American exceptionalism that offended you. Let me know I’m very curious how you came to this baseless conclusion.

      Sent from my iPhone

      >

      • makeitstop says:

        I am not offended. But the general attitude of California having inherently more rights to “the industry” and playing at a higher level artistically and technically is dripping out of most posts, and in the FX guide podcast specifically it was the “While we thought we had to fear jobs going to go to India and China, Vancouver turned out to be the place draining the L.A. jobs and people were forced by their studios to move to Vancouver” – something to that tune. This is by no means a baseless conclusion, but an observation of the general attitude presented on this blog.

        Let’s not forget we’re all whining at a very high level, and there should be some kind of reality check kicking in. It is everyone’s choice to make a sacrifice, such as a move, because they do by all means want to work in feature VFX and not “lower” themselves to work in commercials…

        These just aren’t the days of candy-land-free-for-alls. Staying put in California and going into commercials or games doesn’t sound like something to cry about, considering the overall employment situation. Consider for example the issues the low wage workers at in the fast food industry or at Wal-Mart face, they don’t even earn a living wage…

        These are tough times for everybody, but working in this industry is still a pretty cushy life compared to many other industries. Honestly, protesting at Obama’s Dreamworks visit just came across to me as a bunch of kids frustrated that they didn’t get the toy at the top of their wish list for Christmas. With the overall situation of rampant poverty in the U.S., I as a president would see no choice then to shrug off this kind of protest, and possibly revisit it once all the really pressing issues are solved (yeah… sadly, most likely never.)
        And if it was a measure to gain public awareness? I don’t think you can expect a swell of solidarity from the general public, as most people are much, much worse off.

        Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying don’t stand up for your rights… just sometimes a reality check and looking around a bit to stay aware of the issues other people face would be helpful, and have all of this feel less like a very particular tiny-niche special interest group. Unless it is meant to be exactly that, of course.

      • LaAnimator says:

        @makeitstop

        “I am not offended. But the general attitude of California having inherently more rights to “the industry” and playing at a higher level artistically and technically is dripping out of most posts, and in the FX guide podcast specifically it was the “While we thought we had to fear jobs going to go to India and China, Vancouver turned out to be the place draining the L.A. jobs and people were forced by their studios to move to Vancouver” – something to that tune. This is by no means a baseless conclusion, but an observation of the general attitude presented on this blog.”

        Where is the American entitlement in that quote?

        You’re grasping at straws for something to find offending/outrageous.

        It is simply a fact. Were it not for the Studios DEMANDING Vfx companies open up shop in Vancouver it is highly unlikely that they ever would have. Vancouver is crazy expensive to live and operate in.

        Nobody is saying there weren’t talented people in Vancouver. But the FACT remains that vfx houses probably wouldn’t have opened up shops there were it not for the subsidies. How anyone can view that simple observation as “american entitlement” or “xenophobic” as others have stated is beyond me.

        The people who oppose vfxsoldier/cvds like to bash him saying he’s pushing for “american artists only”…these same people also like to say that artists in London/Vancouver are just as good and Americans dont have sole claim to the work. And I would agree….there are AMAZING artists and studios in Vancouver and London.

        …so if thats the case then why do you need subsidies to get work? If your artists and studios are so amazing let them stand on their own to feet without subsidies.

        ALL anyone is really talking about is fairness.

      • makeitstop says:

        @LaAnimator, as I said, I feel this L.A. entitlement is generally dripping out of this blog, not just that random quote. This was a singular example, because Daniel was very curious how I came to that “baseless conclusion”.

        Since you mention fairness – overall, it seems to be that there are a lot of people here just generally discontent with how the VFX labor market has changed to their disadvantage. And I don’t believe that even if, after a long fight, a levy against subsidized work outside of the U.S. will be implemented, it will help anything.

        Let’s hypothetically assume this plan would work and lots of new jobs would open up for VFX artists in L.A./California. My guess is that lots of “oldtimers” and experienced people would STILL have a hard time finding work, just because the studios would go for cheaper, younger, less-experienced people, and the experienced ones would not be willing to lower their rates. Instead, they’d have something else to cry about…

        But my best guess is that the studios would outmaneuver this levy in one swift move. They might move the other production components out if the U.S. and call it a Canadian production altogether… and then, all this will have accomplished is harm to the on-set people in California.

        I just wanted to say that while I am all for standing up for your rights, in this case to me it feels like a very small crowd of people is all up in arms, but this “movement” will never have any weight – in a world where millions of people in the U.S. work full-time and still are in poverty. These are real problems! Personally, even working in the vfx industry I feel more compelled to stand up for the rights of the fast-food-workers and fight Wal-Mart’s poverty wages etc. than join this futile effort.

        Also, again just a personal observation, but from the comments on this website I’d say the “movement” is way too divided and Daniel certainly doesn’t handle criticism well – he gets instantly defensive and attacks. No movement will succeed with a self-appointed “leader” like that. This would need someone who can not only mobilize and rile up, but also unify.

        But… I don’t believe it’s possible for anyone in this industry to create that kind of movement. Not enough people working in this industry suffer enough for that. It’ll always be a hardcore handful bawling because they got kicked out of that wonderful, lush world they got to enjoy for some time… and the rest will feel like, “yeah, of course things could be even better, but I don’t have it too bad…”

        To me it feels that this whole thing is the equivalent of cabin crew crying about glorious 5-day layovers in Fiji no longer being the standard…

      • Easy says:

        There’s injustice in the world so how dare you concern yourself with your own problems? Is that it??

        You first, let me know when you’ve emptied your bank account to help all of those poor folks. The truth is, I think this little schtick of yours is all an act.

        An old guy I used to know had a saying: Your broken leg doesn’t make my broken toe feel any better.

        In the meantime, I will continue to not shop at Walmart, because it sucks and that’s about it.

      • makeitstop says:

        @Easy,

        easy man, read carefully … I am just saying don’t be surprised when there won’t be lots of compassion for the poor abused VFX artists going around… about their golden days being over and boohoo wahaa, we used have it so much better.

        Most everyone’s got it tough these days. And, we have it still pretty darn fine in this industry.

        ESPECIALLY, let’s not forget this is a self-centered boohoo of people who CHOOSE to work in feature film VFX.

        Doesn’t it seem really ludicrous to you to kick up a fuss because certain people neither want to lower themselves to work in commercials, nor move…? – those same people, they’ll never be content, no matter what. Good luck getting sympathy for your plight in the public eye.

      • Easy says:

        I don’t recall anyone stating they expected a huge outcry from the general public. Has that ever helped a court case involving some esoteric trade policy in the past?? I can’t recall a single instance.

        I know lots of people who are doing very well right now. Some people aren’t, so what? I wasn’t doing so great this past year either. Economies cycle, boom and bust, it’s nothing new.

        I’ll have to apologize to FreeTradeLover because It was you who made the ridiculous claim that there’s just tons of work in commercials. I don’t know what you do, where you are or how long you have been doing it, but that’s not true, not even close.

        Getting rid of subsidies and having a free market with fair competition is the goal. The VFX industry in the US won’t go back to what it was and no one expects it to.

        I don’t know how many times that has been said to you and a few other people who seem to be really scared that this might happen, but there it is again… Level playing field, no subsidies, everyone makes it on their own merits and ability to deliver the work.

      • makeitstop says:

        @Easy ~

        so no “huge public outcry”, okay, then it will just be a handful of entitled, privileged guys in L.A. working in the film industry, crying and rallying to have it even better than they already have.

        And people will chuckle and shrug and forget about it instantly.

        “Your broken leg doesn’t make my broken toe feel any better”? – it does at least apply to my conscience. Many millions of people e.g. in the fast food industry are expected to pay for their living and feed their families for $7.25 hourly. Personally, I feel very grateful to be in an infinitely better position than that, and I would be ashamed to complain about my privileged position considering their plight.

        But yeah. Keep doing what you’re doing, y’all. Your call for a level playing field and abolishing subsidies will at least amuse people with a realistic assessment of worldwide economy. Not saying the status quo is awesome… just saying some people here need to wake up and do a reality check.

        This blog including its full-of-himself, divisive/judgmental author, as well as the whole childish bitch fest of a comment section (where any critical commenter is attacked by a pack of wolves, it seems, instead of discourse being embraced) needs that reality check direly.

        And “outing” himself won’t prevent Daniel from sliding into complete irrelevance, I’m afraid, to the contrary.

      • Easy says:

        What do you do makeitstop?

        I’d like to know how you can afford to not care about this at all.

        I ask because you do not sound like someone who has any experience actually working in VFX. I have yet to talk to someone in person who isn’t sympathetic at all.

      • VFX Soldier says:

        Haters gonna hate…

        >

      • Andreas jablonka says:

        Is your comment less bitchy?
        I feel to many care about soldier persona or attitude. Care about the issues. What can we do solve these issues. We think cvd’s. If you disagree, what would be better? Stop debating the right for work or entitlement issues in the us and outside. We all love Vfx. We all want to work
        On cool stuff in a home of our choosing no? Without having to move very 3 years?
        Let’s make it happen!

      • Easy says:

        The more I think about this, the more pissed off I am getting.

        Creatives get screwed over more than anyone in business, that’s a fact.

        I worked hard, got an education, paid for it, spent way more time keeping up with new technology than anyone else I know. Put in way more hours than other professionals, who work less and get paid more than I do. Spent years making jack shit money trying to carve out a life for myself. Now my ability to gain a return on that investment is placed in jeopardy mostly because of subsidies, but really it’s thanks to a bunch of wealthy, greedy pricks who (LIKE WALMART EXECUTIVES) don’t want to share the profits with anyone they think they can fuck over. According to you any effort I make to fight back is “entitlement”?

        Seriously man, you and everyone else who thinks this go fuck themselves.

      • makeitstop says:

        @Easy,

        Ah there we go again, you’re asking what I do?

        Very reliable pattern in this blog’s comment section, that anyone with a different opinion will attempted to be discredited somehow, as if not everyone’s personal experience was equally valid.

        Nothing makes my opinion less or more valid than yours. We all have different perspectives based on different histories. I assure you, nobody not working in this industry would waste their time hanging around here commenting.

        I’m not going to indulge this silly game… I fear Daniel’s going to make a fool of himself again, like up in this comment thread: “I dare you to post your imdb. Dare you.”

        Seriously? Yeah, keep going guys, you’re doing great.

        And, Easy… looks like you’re generally pissed think that life is not fair (who would have thought), the fat days are over and you didn’t get the expected return on investment on your education (or, as per your own words, this is in danger…). Well, I call that “reality”. Really, just step out of your bubble and look around.

        “Go fuck yourself”…? Again: Seriously? That’s your level of discourse? Good luck with your efforts.

  22. Christena says:

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