FACT: Government Pays 60% of British Columbia Resident VFX Salaries

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Image by Todd Vaziri

1/28 Update: Mike Seymour of FXGuide reiterates the same 60% number. Doubt he would have posted that if I was lying like some of the commenters have accused me of.

In my last post many commenters were surprised by the fact that 60% (58.42% to be exact) of the salaries of BC resident VFX artists were paid by the government. Quickly after that post, commenters accused me a lying and all kinds of wacky outrage.

We’ve verified this before with the BC government after a BC worker who wrote an OP ed in the Vancouver Sun explaining how he understood how the film subsidies work. He was dead wrong.

Why the outrage?

Here’s what I don’t understand: There are many people in VFX who condone the current subsidy race. They believe more government money for the industry is good and without it, the industry in BC, NZ, etc would collapse. So why is there this outrage at the fact that it’s a 60% subsidy of a BC VFX worker’s salary?

Yes that’s high but it’s supposed to beat other locations that offer similar subsidies for VFX. The reason for the outrage is probably because they tacitly admit this is creating a huge artficial bubble in BC that will burst and BC taxpayers would be angry to learn the facts. Look, many VFX workers in BC are making around of $100,000. The idea that the BC taxpayer is paying almost $60,000 of that salary to US producers while there are budget problems and cuts in education and healthcare in BC reeks of improper priorities.

So this time I once again contacted the BC government to verify this info and once again, they agreed we are correct. I’ve attached an email confirming this below:

dave_vfx

Secondly, we also contacted VFX producers to independently verify this. They all came back to agree that we are correct and they have been able to confirm and claim a 60% rebate on those qualifying salaries.

I also asked both the BC government and the producers in what situations would you not be able to claim that amount or something less. BC Finance Minister Mike De Jong has pointed out how costly the film subsidies are with $437M budgeted for 2013. Given that, I’ve been told that the BC government is auditing more productions to determine the exact number of qualified BC residents instead of relying on the facility to report it. Some BC workers are recent transplants and are not qualified to be an official resident until they file a tax return. Regardless, if you’re a legitimate BC resident, a US producer can claim a 60% rebate on your salary and let’s be clear, the goal is to push as many workers to move to BC and become a resident so producers can get a huge subsidy.

Some commenters may has also been confused thinking that 60% of all VFX production costs are paid by the BC government. I’ve made it clear this is only for VFX associated labor of BC residents. A producer estimates that of the total production costs, 65% generally tends to be the percentage of labor. That being said, you can see why Montreal is a better deal. They offer competitive labor subsidies and on top of that, are willing to pay 25% of non-labor production costs.

Soldier On.

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158 Responses to FACT: Government Pays 60% of British Columbia Resident VFX Salaries

  1. mr3dbojangles says:

    One thing that would help me being a visual person and I would imagine many others is for some very well designed diagrams to show how the money flows. Perhaps a chart to show what a subsidy is, what a tax credit etc. Show Flow of money from film company to vfx house, from vfx house to employees, from employees into local economy, from government back to film company etc. Having this sort of information in graphic form could really help clearly show what everyone is talking about whereas pages of text, stats, numbers, %ages are always open to confusion/interpretation etc.

    • vfxmafia says:

      Yes that is a great idea….i think we need to see the calculation method……i think thats why people are so confused on the legitimacy of the numbers.

  2. stowaway says:

    So now that we can’t endlessly derail the discussion by challenging your math and your sources with the friendlier, fluffier numbers we pulled out of the source of our chair-bound asses… I’m eager to see what new strategies develop as the verbal game of factual dodge-ball progresses.

  3. VFX_Boom says:

    Seems that are are currently only 2 types of folks working in Visual Effects today…….

    1. Those are are against subsidies

    or.

    2. Those that are employed because of subsidies.

    • paul herrin says:

      what you’re really saying is that it seems like there are 2 types of folks in vfx:

      those that are employed because of subsidies
      those that are unemployed (or fear it) because of subsidies

      the issue here with this entrenchment and why it *seems* like there are only two positions to have does come down to a LOT of vested interests.

      but there are some people, like myself, who have made a decision not to be in the industry but legitimately want what’s best for the longterm sustainability of mass-media and audio-visual storytelling, both in this country, in canada, and everywhere else.

      i do not believe this inter-competitiveness is good, it feels like a distraction of energy from actual issues in the industry. subsides are a symptom…

      all this talk about finance and studios points to… studios and finance. ta-da!

      • LG says:

        I don’t think this dichotomy recognizes the large number of people who are employed in subsidized regions, and don’t desire to be in California/US/SoCal, but are nonetheless against the subsidies for a variety of practical and principled reasons. These people are key allies, but they are less vocal and are easily turned off when the conversation takes a US-centric, California-centric turn.

      • minoton says:

        Mainly because the studios raking in the foreign subsidies are California/US/SoCal centric.

  4. Studio_Spotter says:

    “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his job depends on not understanding it.”

    -Upton Sinclair

  5. Jackadullboy says:

    I am employed because of subsidies, and I am against them.

    • VFX_Boom says:

      Jack, you are right, there can be a lot of crossover with my statement. I made the statement out of frustration with the situation as a whole. So many good friends have been affected by this issue. I, like many, want this BS to end. Hang in there.

      • vfxmafia says:

        Ill do you one better….

        I am employed because of subsidies, and I am against them for their unstability. (But subsidies will be in BC for the next 3-5 years……and LA VFX will be gone.)

    • Andreas jablonka says:

      I wish there were more of you sir!
      Ca. You to to your subsidized brotheren please!

  6. Dave Rand says:

    I wonder how pissed off the Montreal taxpayer would be to learn that a similar subsidy was not only paid out of the country but the paychecks it was supposed to give their residents …

    …..never happened.

    Meteor, Lumiere, DAMNFX, Big BANG, RED FX, Fake Studios, and Now Newbreed all worked on films that profited in the hundreds of millions yet the local VFX subsidized salary went unpiad to local artists.

    Newbreed workers still stiffed on the yet to be released film Horns.

    http://variety.com/2013/digital/news/newbreed-vfx-trouble-cementing-montreals-bad-rep-1200497301/

    The best question is …

    Where is all the money going….?

    • minoton says:

      I think we all agree that taxpayers would be outraged if they knew how their taxes were being used to fund American studios and motion pictures that they get ROI if the picture is a huge block buster. So why don’t they know? Or do they? It’s like we’re in an echo chamber in these blogs. tweets, FB groups, etc. We all know what’s going on and repeat it ad infinitum. We need to get the information in front of the non-vfx artist, tax paying Canadian, I would suspect New Zealanders are quite aware after the Hobbit and Avatar rapings.

    • Rob says:

      I really wonder about this… which scenario is more likely: that X million went to the US for projects but was never put into budgets for Canadian VFX houses in the first place (which should be fairly easy to detect by the government) or that they actually at least promised the money to those VFX companies but never paid up (in which case I would think those companies would press charges – after all, if somebody owed you millions for months, wouldn’t you?).

      OR… that all that money WAS paid to Canadian VFX companies but they purposely underestimated the work load to be able to bid lower and then had to go way over budget to actually finish the projects.
      Considering that such moronic business decisions (at least “moronic” from an anti-capitalist point of view with long-term sustainability as the goal. Because from a capitalist point of view, it’s of course smart to rack up as much debt as possible before declaring bankruptcy and then go on to start up the next company. Collect millions while the bubble grows, pay a fraction of that once it bursts because of limited liability or whatever it is called in whatever western country. But as far as I’ve read/heard so far, owners of bigger companies are never fully held accountable when the thing finally blows up) seem to happen at VFX companies every day, I wouldn’t be surprised if this was really what happened.

      • The money isn’t paid to the Canadian companies, or even to their American or British affiliates — it is paid directly to the studios or producers. The companies don’t have to, or get to, lower their bids based on subsidy money; but the movie producers can do the math. They’re actually pretty good at it.

  7. paul herrin says:

    FACT: there are more than 2 perspectives…

    • stowaway says:

      …which many people prefer to facts

    • VFX Soldier says:

      Yes opinions are like assholes: everyone has one.

      However there are facts and either my 60% subsidy figure is right or wrong.

      We’ve verified this twice with the BC government and pro subsidy commenters actually accused the government was lying in the last thread!

      We spoke with producers independently and they both arrived at the same 60% number which they have claimed systematically.

      Why are you so offended by that 60% number? You know it’s costly and it can’t last.

      Time is on my side.

      Free money doesn’t last forever.

      Sent from my iPhone

      >

      • paul herrin says:

        stand down soldier, did i say i was offended by a number?

        the facts are the facts. and the fact is that a subsidy is a subsidy is a subsidy. what i want to talk about is reality. what if we can’t end all subsidies at once? what’s the plan? do you realize that many industries have local, regional, and/or federal incentives? are we going to end ALL subsidies?

        forgive me if i’m uncertain that it’s a realistic, fool-proof strategy to put ALL of our effort towards. it’s not good to put our eggs in one basket.

        please don’t make a straw man, i’m not those people. i’m very much worried about the sustainability of subsidies, but i’m even more worried about the sustainability of the industry in general.

        in response to your question… what offends me is that we’re spending so much time striving against each other on one symptomatic issue instead of looking towards the source of industry trouble.

        i’m very much sympathetic to your cause (at least i think), but i question the strategy. please don’t get mad at me for that… i’m trying to help (:

        so, do you want to listen, or do you just want to keep talking?

      • VFX Soldier says:

        I suggest you write a post about your strategy on how to fix the VFX industry and if it’s worth it I’ll refer to it.

        This thread is about a fact that many disputed was not true in the last thread.

        Sent from my iPhone

        >

      • minoton says:

        Paul, it’s called a counter veiling duty, essentially a tariff. The idea is not to end each individual subsidy, but to make the recipients of those subsidies, the American studios, pay an equal amount in tax regardless where the subsidy comes from, thus neutralizing their financial benefit of sending work outside the country.

    • Rex Lewis says:

      In LA we have a word to describe people that will do anything to be near the limelight: STARFUCKERS!

  8. Paul says:

    Bend, bend, bend, bend, bend…right there thank you! More?!

  9. Jo Fergus says:

    As to where all the public funds go for subsidized VFX, I recall that infamous expression:

    ” The only thing that’s truly creative about big-budget film-making is the accounting “

  10. premultPain says:

    How is it no-one has leaked any financials from these places yet? I always thought the 60% was a theoretical maximum. I heard the actual subsidy returned 25%-40% depending on a bunch of factors. Still huge, but the 60% number feels like a “We only use 10% of our brains” kind of technicality. Come on bean counters! Show your hand! Give us some ammo

    • C Robertson says:

      Because most facilities will not guarantee 100 percent of crew are BC Eligible for the rebate. So even earn they do get 60 percent it could be only for say 65 percent of the total crew spend. Also wages only make up a part of the actual cost of the revenue.

      What would be interesting would be to see the total revenue spent in BC on film to then calculate taxes on the company profits if there were any.

      • premultPain says:

        So in that case its 60% of 65%? I’d kill to see the true bottom line and to see what we’re up against. Has anyone at a facility a VFX financial position confirmed the 60% take home?

        Sadly I don’t think we’ll ever get true numbers. Too many heads on the chopping block if its in the red

    • paul herrin says:

      we’re only talking about millions. let’s talk about billions. let’s leak… http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hollywood_accounting

  11. C Robertson says:

    Why no uproar.

    Because in the grand scheme of things 400 million dollars is a drop in the ocean especially when you then offset it by the income it generates both directly or indirectly. Its the indirect income that most most the locals care about. Those who rent property, own coffee shops, bars, restaurants and the list goes on. As we know VFX artists generally are fairly well paid and usually have deposable income that they spend on all of the above and more. And come on lets face it we have all spent a fair amount on restaurants and alcohol alone that are very nicely taxed here in BC. And I know I will get the usual response that it is still a loss but imagine if there was no VFX industry here. It would leave hundreds of downtown apartments vacant with coffee shops empty and the knock on effect is obvious . Just look at Alberque when sony pulled out, how many people took a loss on there home?

    So many local businesses all see the benefit of attracting these types of workers too a city where they can directly benefit from our spending. You may not like it but thats a FACT. Compare that to the 5 Billion in foreign aid that Canada passes out where none of us directly or indirectly benefit from.

    Are you also going to try and alter Canadian foreign policy because you care so much about our hard earned tax dollars when it goes to some starving child in Africa or the military aid we give to Israel.

    It may return a loss to the government by tour numbers but for the guy on the street it in some way benefits them by creating indirect jobs and revenue. Thats why governments do these things in many industries not just VFX.

    I am sure I am going to get shouted down but hey whatever.

    • VFX Soldier says:

      And you know why Sony pulled out of New Mexico? Because there were larger subsidies in BC.

      And now there are larger subsidies in Quebec.

      http://www.Imageworks-montreal.ca

      Have fun.

      >

      • C Robertson says:

        No they pulled out because of a change in management as the brain child of the old management .

        As for the web address it is pretty standard practice these days to buy up domain names to stop others highjacking them. I used to buy up domain names in the early 2000’s for that reason.

        And here is why VFX subsidies are just like pocket change when you compare it to oil subsidies we pay to the US. 24 BILLION

        http://www.bullionbullscanada.com/canadian-commentary/26208-canadas-24-billion-oil-subsidy-to-the-us

      • minoton says:

        C Robertson, I was at the Sony ABQ location. Sony pulled out because of the greater Vancouver subsidies. Otherwise they would have tried to move the employees back to Culver. But they put the hard sell on to try to convince us to relocate to Vancouver. In order to bid on other studio projects, they had to meet the requirement to send the work to Vancouver so the client studio (in this case Disney on ‘Oz the Great and Powerful’) could rake in subsidies.

      • Studio_Spotter says:

        “No they pulled out because of a change in management as the brain child of the old management ”

        wat?

        It was subsidy motivated. There is no question about this.

      • C Robertson says:

        Wow someone must have had a time machine to know that montreal was going to be the place to open up shop.

        Domain name: imageworks-montreal.ca
        Domain status: registered
        Creation date: 2007/03/09

      • Rob says:

        @ C Robertson

        Oh come on. For one thing, everybody knows that companies register domains they MIGHT use. And Sony isn’t exactly a company that couldn’t afford registering hundreds of domains. Wouldn’t be too surprised if imageworks-london.co.uk or something is already registered as well.
        Also, Sony may even have participated in lobbying the Canadian government for years and has seen indications that it will be successful.

    • minoton says:

      You make it sound like if it weren’t for VFX artists, Vancouver would be going broke. Trust me, those apartments and condos are not going to go empty. That’s why they are going for the high rates that they do, the demand. And coffee shops, restaurants, and bars are going to suffer? Really? You can’t throw a rock without hitting a coffee shop in Vancouver. How did Vancouver ever survive as a city before film subsidies?! Please.

    • $400 million means it costs each BC resident $100 every year. Since 99.9999999% of them don’t work directly or indirectly in the film industry (much less VFX), I suspect most would rather pocket that $100 themselves.

  12. vfxmafia says:

    Dan…

    Im not outraged. I was just wondering if the stat is true……or how the number was calculated.

    My question….does the %60 figure come from a pre-taxed number or after taxes…..(my guess is the %60 figure is taken from a figure that isn’t taxed yet, which would explain the high % people are so mystified at.) Im sure your number is accurate based on your calculation method……i think all the outrage is from people who are calculating by different formulas..

      • vfxmafia says:

        thats why people are so confused…….because I was calculating the number after taxes…….you can see why people are having the reaction like they are?

      • VFX Soldier says:

        Because they don’t know how to do mizzath?

      • vfxmafia says:

        Dan..

        you have to admit 60% is a loaded number. You might make a good lawyer when you argue like that…….but this is a blog and not court room.

        When you throw numbers out their like 60% without stating how you calculated that number…..you are gonna get the incindiary response from people….

        Every President manipulates Jobs numbers to his favor….(depending on how you calculate it)……political statistics can be manipulate…and you might be guilty for politicizing numbers……

        And releasing the 60% number (with out disclosing it is calculated pre-tax paycheck)….all though this is technically accurate….it is a cherry picked number. (because when the paycheck is cut…Canada gets its cut and number would be much lower than %60)

        So what is the % after taxes?

      • VFX Soldier says:

        vfxmafia,

        You’ve been one of the most frequent commenters on my blog. When you lived in LA you couldnt stand subsidies and you would say some very critical things about BC on my blog. I find it very interesting that now you are in BC, you tend to try to defend it a bit more. More power to you and your welcome to do what you want.

        But please, stop trying to dance around this sombrero. It’s a simple fact I’ve recited for over a year: 60% of BC resident VFX salaries are paid by the government. Live with it.

        Stop trying to come up with weasely ways around it to justify it. You keep trying to come up with a different way to look at the numbers but you can’t get around the facts.

        Next thing you know people will be asking to verify if the subsidy money is paid in Russian Rubles to argue its not as much as the government says it is.

        The most people fight that facts, the worse it looks. I presented facts. Live with it.

        On Mon, Jan 27, 2014 at 10:32 PM, VFX Soldier

      • vfxmafia says:

        Dan..

        I still oppose subsidies….I keep my luggage packed. I know in 3 years it could end.

        Im just asking you to clarify a number……does it really help the movement if you fudge numbers….so what if the after tax number is smaller than 60%….? Subsidies still distort economies..

        The number that really scares me is the lawyer bill for the CVD case……the lawyer don’t work probono do they?

      • VFX Soldier says:

        I didn’t fudge anything. My numbers have been right since last year. Verified with the government twice.

        On Mon, Jan 27, 2014 at 10:56 PM, VFX Soldier

      • vfxmafia says:

        Yeah….so the %60 number is only good as a whole paycheck…when Canada takes %40…when the check is issued to me……your %60 number will drop….no? Then you factor in taxes taken from Gas, alchohol, Cell, (Money back into the local economy)…the % shrinks further……

        Im not bashing you…..or the movement….or the CVD case. Trust me im on board…..

        Canada subsidizes…..the US does not….and that is injury on the American economy …..case closed…

        Using inflated statistics just pisses people off….

      • minoton says:

        2/3 of the 60% is paid for by your 40% paid tax. The other 1/3, or 20% still has to come from other Canadians’ (non-vfx artists) taxes. The 40% you pay does nothing to benefit the local economy (streets, law enforcement, hospitals, social services, etc.) because it is going directly into funding your own job.

      • I hate to copy and paste the same thing, but this message really needs to sink in:

        Again, the average income tax liability is well under 40%. Only dollars above a six-figure salary are subject to a rate as high as 40%. For a VFXer making $75K, the combined income tax rate is under 30%.

        And (again), most of that income tax is going to the federal government….and the feds are not the ones who pay for the BC incentives.

        The HIGHEST possible ROI BC could EVER get for the wages paid to a resident VFXer is 17%…..and that rate ONLY kicks in for each dollar paid above $150k of income.

        2/3 of the cost is NOT recouped by BC. The outrage over phony numbers needs to focus on this line of reasoning: http://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/topic.page?id=E90F9F1717DB451BB7E4A6CC0BDC6F9F

      • LG says:

        It’s misleading to say that 2/3 of the 60% comes from the 40% taxes you pay. The taxes you pay aren’t “profit” for the government — they pay for the benefits that all residents receive, such as schools, roads, health care, armies, fire departments, consumer protection, courts, etc. And since BC is not running a surplus, that means that on average, every penny you’re paying in taxes is already spoken for in services you are receiving back from the government while living there.

  13. C Robertson says:

    Never said they would go broke but it injects a lot of money into the economy . You can look at the effects of industry leaving in areas like detroit and the car industry and the effect it had on local economy. If we take my coffee shop as an example.

    Say 1000 artists buying a cup of $4 joe a day over 50 weeks is what $1,000,000 . Take those artists away and not replace them thats a lot of coffee and I am sure some locals would feel it. And thats just coffee.

    But we are not economists as people always point out.

    • minoton says:

      Starbucks/Blenz/Tim Horton’s is not going to feel that, when you spread it across all locations across the city. Maybe if these were little mom and pop coffee shops, but that’s not the reality. Again, look at the studies. It’s a loss. The former minister for Finance Canada even says the subsidies are a loss and should be done away with. The locals would benefit better if the money was given directly to them.

      • vfxmafia says:

        Minotan….look at Santa Monica and Venice and Culver city..and marina del rey…and downtown…….you know how much sound companies, film transfer houses, editing houses, production companies, and vfx houses…bring to all the hotels, shops, bars, and restaurants….and BMW dealerships….?

        Garcetti is right……Los Angeles is throwing away the baby with the bath water.

      • minoton says:

        Mafia, you’re right. They do contribute, and none were lured there by governmental subsidies.

    • VFX Soldier says:

      You’re going to need a ton of coffee to make up for the $437M in costs for BC taxpayers alone. Look I know you want to believe this is not a costly program or it generates a positive return but every independent study has shown massive losses. You’d have to manhandle the indirect spinoff numbers to even get close to breaking even.

      Mike De Jong is the finance minister. Read that article I linked to. Why do you think he is complaining about the costs? Because its costing alot of money.

      and for those of you pointing out all the farm, oil, red herring subsidies. Here’s the difference: Those industries can survive without subsidies, BC’s VFX industry wouldnt live for long once those subsidies are removed. Just wait. tick. tick. tick.

    • minoton says:

      As for Detroit, it had a long history with the automotive industry. The automotive industry built that city. The only city I know of that was built by film making is Hollywood. Vancouver bought it’s current film work from another country. They might as well invest in sugar cane for all the history film and VFX has in Vancouver.

      • vfxmafia says:

        Hey Minoton…

        I live in Vancouver now…..why don’t you lighten up on the Vancouver bashing…..

        Im from NYC originally and you don’t hear me talking shit about Los Angeles which is a young piss ant city less than 100 years old….with no football team ….and more fake titties and smog that will kill you…..and pot holes…and their shitty beaches…..and stinking ass Lakers….and that goddam 10 highway…and the over priced houses…..

        Out of all the US cities…I count my top 3 as NYC, San Francisco, and Chicago. If California lets LA and Hollywood fall it will loose its brand just like Detroit lost to BMW, Audi, and Mercedes……

      • minoton says:

        Mafia, I’ll stop criticizing Vancouver when they stop their economic warfare on the US film industry. For the record, I don’t live in L.A. And for the record, I consider NYC, Chicago, and S.F. festering urban shitholes, as well.

      • vfxmafia says:

        Minotan,

        I don’t understand the fervid patriotism for a city. Los Angeles did nothing to help the plight vfx workers…nor has it done anything to stop film jobs leaving California for 20 years.

        When i first started in the business in the early 90’s the productions went to Canada…for the currency difference…..

        If you want to be pissed off at something try….blaming the producers, the studios executives, and the american impotent and corrupt politicans…

        You also have to accept that the business has changed…….not just subsisides…but the work force is competitive now….on a global scale……My own government ….my own former city (Los Angeles)….did nothing to stop the economic meltdown..

        And if you saying NY and San Francisco are shit holes….you might want to get out more……There is more to the world than Hollywood land…

      • minoton says:

        Again, I don’t live in L.A., or even in CA. I did at one time, as well as in the SF Bay Area, so I type from experience. I’m more fervently patriotic towards the US so am not prone to take a ‘I got mine regardless who I work for’ position. I believe in being less of an enabler for those pushing subsidy behavior. Yes, I hold the studio heads accountable, but I also hold the subsidizing governments to a higher degree of accountability, as if the money was there in the first place, the studios would have no temptation placed in front of them.

      • Hollywood Reporter says:

        Vancouver didn’t buy its industry, the value of the Canadian dollar did in the late 80’s. Blame Stephen J. Canell and MGM TV for opening that door, long before incentives.

      • minoton says:

        Reporter, that’s just normal international economic activity based on currency exchanges rates without intentional governmental intervention. I’m sorry, but when some one, in this case the BC government, gives away money in exchange for an intended good or service from another party, that is buying. Rather than investing the taxpayers’ money building their own filmmaking infrastructure and productions, they are buying the work from America. But since the work can actually be lured away due to the end of a subsidy program, or a greater subsidy someplace else, you’re really only renting, rather than buying.

    • Easy says:

      You’re going to compare the US auto industry leaving Detroit to the VFX industry in Vancouver??? What’s with you people? It’s like you have no concept of the scale of things or math that doesn’t apply to making pretty pictures. Vancouver wasn’t built in the last 2 years because of VFX. That’s an idiotic comparison.

      Honestly why does someone on this blog have to explain the simple concept of how tax brackets work? You are taxed at a different percentage from bracket to bracket. If you get taxed at 40% for most of your earnings you are a Bank VP or a studio executive not a VFX guy.

      I swear, for a smart group of people most VFX artists are practically retarded when it comes to money and business.

  14. vfxmafia says:

    Here is a calculation for you…

    if you take $500,000,000 and just give the money away to the 2,000 or so Vancouver VFX workers we would all get….$250,000 each….I saw they just subsidize us by direct deposit from now on!

    • minoton says:

      At least the money would stay local to BC/Van instead of padding American studio execs’ pockets. Isn’t that the basic idea of a subsidy, to benefit local industry?

      • vfxmafia says:

        Ugh thats my point…..

        During the housing meltdown in 2008.. If the government just bought up all the bad mortages directly…and never gave a dime to the banks…..it would have been cheaper than bailing out the banks…..

        Same could be said for a film subsidy……if they just gave free money to the workers rather than funneling it through the top of companies…….

      • Look at the big picture says:

        vfxmafia:

        “If the government just bought up all the bad mortages directly…and never gave a dime to the banks”

        Think about that for a second. Who owns the mortgages? How is one supposed to “buy up all the mortgages” and and at the same time “never give a dime to the banks”?

        Also, 60% is a known figure, a constant, that’s why it is being used. Your specific tax rate has many variables (and it is NOT 40%) and the “externalities” and “multiplier effects” that you keep inadvertently referring to involve nearly endless variables which is why studies commissioned by film studios rely on them so heavily to show net gains. The 60% figure is a rock solid starting point and everything after that is subject to creative accounting.

        Look, I’m sure you are an excellent VFX artist but I think you should stick to that instead of dabbling in economic discussions.

  15. Idiot says:

    Except if there are only 2000 VFX workers who earn a total of 750 million in wages based on what 60percent subsidy rebate surely we are all earning top whack.

  16. meanbow says:

    Point is that the rebate whether it’s 33% or 58.4% is not what ‘the govt pays’.

    You completely fail to account for the revenue that returns TO the state via taxation. Even your friend Adrian H Macdonald admits you haven’t been taking this into account.

    It is literally impossible for the full level of rebate to be the amount ‘the govt pays’ unless every single BC VFXer is some kind of tax evasion genius.

    To say the govt is paying 60% of salaries is let’s face it a blatant deception but hey that’s the level this ‘campaign’ has reached.

    Soldier on.

    • minoton says:

      2/3 of the 60% (40% of income) is being paid by the vfx artist in his/her own income taxes. Since this money is not going to the BC coffers, but being paid back out as only 2/3 of the full subsidy amount, how is having this person in BC helping to local economy? Sales tax on coffee and sushi? Lunch meat and groceries? I really doubt BC is making up $437 million on sales taxes on project based temporary jobs.

      • Again, the average income tax liability is well under 40%. Only dollars above a six-figure salary are subject to a rate as high as 40%. For a VFXer making $75K, the combined income tax rate is under 30%.

        And (again), most of that income tax is going to the federal government….and the feds are not the ones who pay for the BC incentives.

        The HIGHEST possible ROI BC could EVER get for the wages paid to a resident VFXer is 17%…..and that rate ONLY kicks in for each dollar paid above $150k of income.

        2/3 of the cost is NOT recouped by BC. The outrage over phony numbers needs to focus on this line of reasoning: http://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/topic.page?id=E90F9F1717DB451BB7E4A6CC0BDC6F9F

      • Jackadullboy says:

        Hmm, that definitely enhances the picture… Personally, I tend to suffer from acronym overload and had to look up ROI, but yep, thanks for clarifying.

      • SteveM says:

        “how is having this person in BC helping to local economy? Sales tax on coffee and sushi? Lunch meat and groceries?”

        Those are tiny drops in the bucket. What the government is REALLY after are property taxes. They’re after good paying jobs because they drive rents and mortgages. That’s why from the government’s point of view, $437 million looks dirt cheap compared to the almost $400 billion property market in the province. This is what VFX solider and Adrian McDonald and all the other major posters on this board completely fail to understand. BC, and especially Vancouver, is after high income jobs for this exact reason, and it views money spent on them as investment, not as waste.

        If you talk about the Vancouver’s economy without mentioning real estate, you really aren’t talking about it.

      • minoton says:

        News flash — VFX workers are not high income workers. Especially in Vancouver. If they want high income, they should go after petroleum or high finance or some other industry. VFX companies are lucky if they make a 1 – 2% profit.

      • StevenM says:

        “If they want high income, they should go after petroleum or high finance or some other industry.”

        It’s too late. They’ve already made up their mind.

        http://www.bcjobsplan.ca/technology/

  17. Rex Lewis says:

    Thank you for keeping up the fight. SOLDIER ON!

  18. VFX_Boom says:

    I would love to get a feel what folks outside the US feel about subsidies in the long term.

    Let me ask this to those in the heavily subsidized areas…………….At what point do you feel the Government should stop paying for the US studios to make their films in that location, so that they may stand on their own?

    3 years? 5 years? Forever pay the US studios? Or, when everyone else stops giving the US studios free cash to compete? Or…………….?

    What do you feel the long term goal/plan in those areas should be?

  19. vfxvet says:

    And so the endless parade of fake “facts” continue and this site continues to slide further andd further into the abyss. I guess this is your horse, so you’re going to beat it to death even if you’re wrong. Good luck with that. The rest of the vfx industry is laughing at you. Let me point out a few fallacies with your logic.

    1) Verifying a theoretical maximum based on Government spreadsheets and then calling it a FACT is a complete straw man argument. I can justify any number or policy I want based on theories or pre-fitted data. That’s what politicians do, and you’re not a particularly good one.

    2) Show us the REAL numbers you have from the large VFX facilities in Vancouver that are getting 60%+ rebates. I have worked at or for most of the big ones, and NONE are getting remotely close to the numbers you’re suggesting. So just because you found some 5th tier producer or someone who made a show in Vancouver once and got a large rebate on a tiny indie film means nothing. The BIG companies doing hundreds of millions of $ in work in BC like DD, ILM, Sony, MPC, etc., aren’t getting anywhere CLOSE to 60% rebates. First of all, a good chunk of their staff at any time doesn’t even qualify. Secondly, the rebates are not cut and dry the way you make them sound. They are sliding scales and there are all sorts of intricacies that you’re glossing over.

    3) If Vancouver was really getting subsidies across the board even CLOSE to 60% then every Studio and VFX shop in the world would be putting all their work there. There would be no Weta, no Dneg, no Animal Logic, no Dreamworks, etc. None of those places would be thriving, hiring, and doing the work they are doing if this 60% number you keep throwing out were real. Period.

    I get that you think if you keep framing the discussion with this 60% number you’ll scare enough people and make it some kind of fact. The problem is that when you pull numbers like this out of your ass to prove a point, and ignore the REAL day to day numbers and what’s really going on you just weaken your entire argument and your site becomes a joke.

    But I guess since all the other tactics haven’t worked this is your latest tact to try to gain traction. Good luck with that.

    • The faux outrage like this needs to end. Soldier has NEVER said its a 60% rebate on ALL VFX spending in BC.

      He (and people like myself) have ONLY repeated the truth: 60% of wages paid to BC RESIDENT VFXers is subsidized. That’s it. And that is a fact.

      Or are you being willfully ignorant?

      • Jackadullboy says:

        Can we at least represent this as a ‘net cost’ to the BC taxpayer/govt, in which case, unless I’m much mistaken, we’re talking 20% (60-40) of all BC resident VFXers’ earnings, assuming the higher tax income tax band for those workers?

        Assuming an average salary of 100k, that would be:

        2000 workers x 20k = 40,000,000 net cost to the BC govt.

        Correct, or no?

      • I can totally get behind a net cost. But the ROI still blows. For about the 10th time or so, please follow:

        Again, the average income tax liability is well under 40%. Only dollars above a six-figure salary are subject to a rate as high as 40%. For a VFXer making $75K, the combined income tax rate is under 30%.

        And (again), most of that income tax is going to the federal government….and the feds are not the ones who pay for the BC incentives.

        The HIGHEST possible ROI BC could EVER get for the wages paid to a resident VFXer is 17%…..and that rate ONLY kicks in for each dollar paid above $150k of income.

        2/3 of the cost is NOT recouped by BC. The outrage over phony numbers needs to focus on this line of reasoning: http://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/topic.page?id=E90F9F1717DB451BB7E4A6CC0BDC6F9F

      • Look at the big picture says:

        Adrian, you have the patience of a saint. You must be getting tired of repeating yourself on this issue. It’s amazing that so many people don’t understand the difference between a flat tax and a marginal tax.

        To all those who don’t understand the difference…

        A flat tax is one where a single rate is applied to the entire taxable amount. A sales tax is an example of this. Income taxes are NOT. A marginal tax rate is applied to taxable income within defined tax brackets. In a progressive tax system this means that entering a higher tax bracket only affects income in that bracket and above, not income earned below that bracket.

        Otherwise someone making $95,000 a year would take home more pay after taxes than someone earning $100,000 a year.

      • vfxvet says:

        No, sadly it is you and sites like this that are being willfully ignorant.

        Shows do NOT automatically get a 60% rebate on money spent in BC for every resident on staff. That is a sliding scale and there are a TON of factors that go into how much you get back. When you keep repeating this 60% number as if all you do is fill out a simple form and the BC government sends you a check you’re WRONG. You keep quoting the THEORETICAL MAXIMUM. That’s like saying that because you can theoretically win 10 million dollars at the lottery because SOMEONE DOES and the WEB SITE SAYS IT, that it’s true. Yes, someone has won 10 million at the lottery. It’s possible. That’s a theoretical maximum. 99.999% of the people playing do not. 99.9% of the companies doing VFX work in BC do not get 60% rebates on the cost of doing shows up here. Deal with that. That’s called reality. If you want to keep throwing around fake numbers feel free because no one is listening to you guys anymore.

        And you can’t refute what I said. If BC were really giving out 60% rebates as you said EVERY SINGLE Vfx show in the world would be happening in BC. Weta would be out of business. The London shops would close. Every studio in LA like Disney and DWA (which have ZERO presence in Canada) would relocate their entire staffs to BC.

        Again, that’s the reality. But you don’t want to deal with that, nor does VFX Soldier. You want to throw out scare numbers and argue straw man reasoning to make a point. Well, you keep doing that and watch your credibility go down the toilet.

      • Jackadullboy says:

        Yep, that makes a lot more sense. Thanks for the extra clarification, Adrian.. And of course, apologies for the repetition.

        As a visual person, this stuff can be an effort to dredge through.

      • vfxvet, you said:

        “Shows do NOT automatically get a 60% rebate on money spent in BC for every resident on staff. That is a sliding scale and there are a TON of factors that go into how much you get back.”

        Sigh… I (nor Soldier) have ever said shows automatically get a 60% rebate for every resident on staff. Please stop putting words in my mouth. Only BC VFX workers wages get that rebate. A grip working on the set will generally get the 33%. DAVE does not apply to them.

        Assuming we are only talking about VFX workers who are BC residents, it’s actually pretty straight forward. If they are doing VFX work on a US production, wages paid to them qualify for the 33% PSTC, the 17.5% DAVE credit and the federal tax credit.

        All of these credits are 100% stackable. And when you stack them, you get 58% back. Period.

        That’s not a “theoretical maxim”. It’s just reality. It is pretty simple. It is also a fact that has been painstakingly proven to you. And I am baffled why you cannot concede the truth of it.

        There is NO sliding scale issue beyond what I have written above.

        There are not a “ton of other” factors.

        Stop telling me what I am saying isn’t true. Prove it. And please prove it with facts and actual evidence, not more of the same empty rhetoric. And you have the temerity to question my credibility?

      • vfxvet says:

        Ok, let me clarify for you.

        #1) You and VFX Soldier are claming that VFX Studios get a 60% rebate for VFX work done IN Canda. Of course we’re not talking about grips or other on-set workers. We’re talking about VFX Work, correct? So if you throw that number around (like this article is) you’re talking about VFX. I’m talking about VFX. We’re not talking about grips.

        #2) No large VFX Studio in Vancouver is getting anything CLOSE to 60% rebates on work done here. First of all, it’s based on QUALIFIED staff. There are a LOT of factors in what makes a worker qualified, ranging from tax filing, to time spent in country, to when they arrived. It’s way more complicated than what is being presented here. THEREFORE, of all the work done in BC, by a company like MPC, the amount of qualified workers they’re going to have varies. It could be 50%. It could be 30%. It could be 65%. Do you know what it’s not?? 100%. No VFX studio of any size in Vancouver has anything close to 100% qualified subsidy staff. Following me still? THEREFORE, studios do NOT get 60% rebates on work they send to Vancouver, BECAUSE Vancouver studios don’t have 100% eligible staff to make them eligible for that amount. SO, for the average VFX shop here, I would say 50% of qualified staff is a generous number. So, on an entire film, with 50% qualified staff the Studio might get HALF of 58% back. That’s 29%. Get it?? It’s NOT 60%. Those are the real $ the actual studios get back. Incentives are different in different countries. The NZ governement just offered Cameron a flat rebate of $50 million based on the amount of work he puts in NZ for the Avatar sequels. It’s not hinged on the % of eligible Kiwi’s, so that creates a different condtion and type of subsidy to discuss. My point is that if sites like this keep throwing out giant number like 60% REBATES in BC, it’s just wrong. It’s not what companies get back in the real world.

        #3) Have you filed for a tax rebate on film work in BC? Because there IS a sliding scale and lots and lots of conditions based on the budget of the film, deductible expenses, the % of eligible employees, and all kinds of other factors you and VFX Soldier are glossing over. The studios and vfx houses have teams of accountants and people that document, submit, and track the intricacies of these rebates. I know because I’ve worked with them. You don’t click on a form that says “GIVE ME MY 60%”. It’s WAY more complex than that.

        4) There are new threshholds on bringing lower income positions into the country. I think it’s a minimum of like $60K/year. So the average salaries are actually relatively high. And companies like Sony/DD are essentially relocating staff at existing salaries, which are usually upwards of 100K/year. SO, to refute your other point, REAL taxes paid by most workers up here ARE close to 40%. Effective tax rates in the US for those same workers are in the 12-18% range. So workers here are paying significantly more the government in taxes.

      • VFX Soldier says:

        You know vfxvet, its really simple.

        Digital Domain hires a resident in BC to do VFX work on Fast and Furious 46. The worker has been verified to be an official resident. The worker was paid a total of $100,000 after working a whole year on FF46. At the end of production during tax time the FF46 producer files a tax return in BC. The BC government verifies that the worker is a resident of BC and was paid $100k to do VFX work. The FF46 producer receives a check of $60,000 for that one worker’s wage subsidy. They do this for all BC VFX residents.

        got it? if not email me. Im tired of reading long comments by you that doesnt get this. You can even call me. I wont reveal your identity but I will reveal to you the facts.

        Done.

      • Andreas Jablonka says:

        @vfxvet:

        “#1) You and VFX Soldier are claming that VFX Studios get a 60% rebate for VFX work done IN Canda. Of course we’re not talking about grips or other on-set workers. We’re talking about VFX Work, correct? So if you throw that number around (like this article is) you’re talking about VFX. I’m talking about VFX. We’re not talking about grips.”

        fair enough. remove the 17% for DAVE if you mean grips. but what soldier and many of us have tried to show is that even if it is 20% and not 60 its still a huge unbalance of an even playing field.

        “#2) No large VFX Studio in Vancouver is getting anything CLOSE to 60% rebates on work done here. First of all, it’s based on QUALIFIED staff. There are a LOT of factors in what makes a worker qualified, ranging from tax filing, to time spent in country, to when they arrived. It’s way more complicated than what is being presented here. THEREFORE, of all the work done in BC, by a company like MPC, the amount of qualified workers they’re going to have varies. It could be 50%. It could be 30%. It could be 65%. Do you know what it’s not?? 100%. No VFX studio of any size in Vancouver has anything close to 100% qualified subsidy staff. Following me still? THEREFORE, studios do NOT get 60% rebates on work they send to Vancouver, BECAUSE Vancouver studios don’t have 100% eligible staff to make them eligible for that amount. SO, for the average VFX shop here, I would say 50% of qualified staff is a generous number. So, on an entire film, with 50% qualified staff the Studio might get HALF of 58% back. That’s 29%. Get it?? It’s NOT 60%. Those are the real $ the actual studios get back. Incentives are different in different countries. ”

        you are correct that the amount varies. but as said above even if its a low amount like 20% its still BAD ok?
        Also you KNOW that the save accountants cook these books all the time to AVOID getting lower rebates. Im not saying all but many. I know for a fact , as I have seen the contracts, that a big Indian Owned Vfx house is bringing in workers from the US to Vancouver, on canadian work visas only to fly them to mumbai to do the work in india. Im pretty sure the Canadian Government would NOT like that very much. So you tell me how these guys claim their tax credit?

        the difference between the theory (as you described correctly) and the praxis of 50% (or 60 or 30 insert whatever) being finished at DD LA and then sent up to DD Vancouver and called “finales” so the work was done in Vancouver. We all know these tricks.

        “The NZ governement just offered Cameron a flat rebate of $50 million based on the amount of work he puts in NZ for the Avatar sequels. It’s not hinged on the % of eligible Kiwi’s, so that creates a different condtion and type of subsidy to discuss. ”
        wrong again, there is a condition of jobs created in NZ with I believe 50% or so being mandatory kiwi workers. You can find the link if you google it.

        “My point is that if sites like this keep throwing out giant number like 60% REBATES in BC, it’s just wrong. It’s not what companies get back in the real world.”
        My point is that even if the numbers vary, the big issue is that it IS happening. it should NOT happen. level playing field. so stop arguing math and lets work on the issue at hand.

      • Look at the big picture says:

        @vfxvet

        I believe that VFXSoldier and Adrian have ALWAYS stated that the 60% is on BC LABOR ONLY. Your long winded reply is attempting to create a debate where none exists.

        And you’re misunderstanding how marginal tax rates work… again.

      • vfxvet says:

        Oh really? You are going to reveal the facts to me? That’s a good one. Because I know the information from Ola and Laurie who actually process and file the claims you are referring to for a show at DD Van like FF6. And if you think DD has EVER gotten close to a 60% rebate on ANY show they’ve done in Vancouver you’re sorely mistaken. But of course you know that. And you know that nowhere near 100% of their staff are qualified BC residents who are eligibile for the rebate. You’re just twisting the information from the BC Govt web site to suit your argument. But I’ll be glad to relay to Ola that her job is as easy as you make it sound and it’s just a back of the napkin calculation that gets done so easily. I’m sure she doesn’t need those hundreds of spread sheets or tax documents that are used to submit these claims on every project. Even better, why don’t you give her a call and ask her the % DD got back on any show they’ve done in Vancouver? Of course she won’t reveal that. But I can guarantee you that the number has never been above 35%. But go ahead, keep throwing out the 60% number like you know what you’re talking about.

      • VFX Soldier says:

        vfx vet you keep getting it wrong. DD doesnt get the rebate. The Universal producers of FF get it.

      • You keep trying have an argument with me for something I never, ever ever ever said.

        Thankfully, most of what you said in #2 is accurate. As you correctly note, the total rebate amount on all work done for a given movie will not be 58%.

        But for the actual individuals who do have qualifying wages, the rebate will be 58%. That’s what we have been saying all along. How many times do I need to keep repeating it? Maybe if you actually listened to what I keep saying instead of having an argument with yourself based on the words you keep trying to put in my mouth, then you’d finally get that what I am actually saying is the truth.

        I repeat again, for qualified wages paid to an individual BC resident VFXer, the rebate is 58%. If I pay him $1,000, I get a FULL 58% back on 100% of that thousand I paid him. Do you agree with that fact or not?

        I am very aware of how complex film tax credits can be. I work with those people as well. And that’s great you got a peak into the process by working with them one time. But as one of the top experts on film incentives in the world that is highly cited for his published works on the topic, I kinda know what I am talking about as well.

        As for the “real” taxes paid to BC from income taxes? Yeah, “real” number is not close to 40%. Again, reality of the rates proven by actual numbers refutes the fiction you keep writing: http://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/topic.page?id=E90F9F1717DB451BB7E4A6CC0BDC6F9F

      • tazzman says:

        Adrian, it’s desperation.

      • Joe VFX says:

        vfxvet angrily said: “But I can guarantee you that the number has never been above 35%. But go ahead, keep throwing out the 60% number like you know what you’re talking about.”

        Sure, but with every passing year the rebate number goes up and up and up. The pool of qualified resident workers gets bigger and bigger. Meanwhile the amount of competition between vfx houses is getting bigger and each will do whatever it takes to land a job, which means the pressure is on (and has been on for years now) to boost the guaranteed subsidy in their bids. With every passing year the promised amount by the vfx house will keep going up until it hits the theoretical maximum. Still less than %58 given non-labor parts of the bid, but certainly high. By the way it is common knowledge that some shops like ILM Van will only hire non-residents in extremely rare cases. So some shops are probably already close to that max. ILM Van has been somewhat small relative to ILM’s other locations, but they are getting bigger now. It’s pretty safe to assume that ILM is trying to keep that rebate number as high as humanly possible to offset their pool in the US. (And let’s not even get started on the corruptness of Singapore…)

  20. minoton says:

    Thank you for the clarification.

  21. J in BK says:

    Daniel, it seems like your headline would be a bit fairer (and objectively truthful cuz isn’t that the whole point of speaking truth to power?) if you amended it to say “Government Pays Up To 60% of British Columbia Resident VFX Salaries”. I sorta feel like at this point you’re refusing to cede ground out of pride or hubris.

    • VFX Soldier says:

      I refuse to cede ground because that is THE fact.

      I contacted the BC government and posted the email. I contacted producers. All independently verified that for each BC VFX resident they get 60%, not 45, not 22, not 65, it was 60%. Not more not less.

      A fact is a fact, some people have problems with facts because the truth hurts. Sort of like jumping on a bicycle with no seat on it: it hurts!

  22. George says:

    A tax credit is a sum deducted from the total amount a taxpayer owes to the state. That means government is not paying 60% of salaries, but it waives 60% of the taxes… which can be a lot less

    • I think my head just exploded. George, that’s not how these programs work. George, I hope this will help get you up to speed: http://filmworks.filmla.com/2012/03/16/runaway-production-its-not-about-lower-taxes-its-about-cash-handouts/

    • George says:

      Just to add, the government confirmed the 60% tax credit when companies “are filing their corporate tax forms with the Canada Revenue Agency”. They did not say they pay 60% of salaries.

      http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/tx/bsnss/tpcs/crprtns/rts-eng.html

      • The credits are 100% refunded for cash value. I pay BC VFXer $1,000. File my paperwork. And I get a check for $580 from the government.

        If that isn’t the taxpayers paying for 58% of a wage, then what is it?

      • Jackadullboy says:

        I suppose I am left confused as to why these things are call “tax” credits or anything to do with tax at all, if what they amount to is actually a “large wad of cash equating to 60% of the cost of labour”.

      • VFX Soldier says:

        Jackadullboy:

        This is exactly why its called a tax credit: To confuse people into thinking its something harmless when in fact its a massive amount of free taxpayer money given to the US producers.

        The people on this thread are the ones completely making stuff up. We contacted producers, and the BC government twice on this. You can contact them yourself and find out.

      • Jackadullboy says:

        No no, I am persuaded. It’s clear that much of what is misleading in all of this is the terminology.

      • Because it’s easier to sell a “tax credit” than it is to sell a “cash rebate/subsidy”.

        And the confusion also helps these programs stay intact. Joe Public hears tax credit and thinks its only about a lower tax rate. The studios like it that way. The MPAA actually tried to get us to take the link above down. They literally didn’t want a factual straightforward explanation of reality being available to clear up the confusion. I kid you not.

      • Hollywood Reporter says:

        I agree, it is unfortunate many places use the term tax credit.

        Incentive Program is a much better description, especially if you are in a position to account for the gross/net relationship between the monies that flow out and what those spends bring in.

        Subsidy is Soldiers preferred word, but subsidy implies a spend without any direct return. The return on BC’s Incentive Program doesn’t bring it totally back to par, but probably pretty darn close if someone did a credible study.

        And by having talent there it creates opportunity to lure non incentive work into the region.

        For example, Budweiser just shot a bunch of big commercials in Vancouver for the Winter Olympics that had no incentive to shoot there. The entire crew, extras, etc. were BC locals, even the Director. Agency people flew in from NY and Toronto. They could have been shot anywhere in Canada.

        I guarantee you the Provence doesn’t count that commercial shoot’s revenue/economic impact against outlays for incentives, or credit the incentives for the economic gain.

        If not for incentives that economy wouldn’t have happened there.

        5,4,3,2,1, ready, set, attack me…..

      • Easy says:

        So you’re telling me that no one ever shot a commercial in Vancouver before and this Bud shoot was all thanks to the subsidies for an unrelated industry?

        Sounds legit!

      • minoton says:

        So, what you’re saying is, subsidies aren’t needed to bring production work to BC, and thus are really just a waste of the peoples’ money giving it to rich American studio executives? Because obviously, you’re not buying anything with it, right?

  23. VFX Soldier says:

    Btw, here’s the actual subsidy application. Basically the same formula used in the calculator. Have fun:

    http://www.bcfm.ca/files/5913/7149/6984/PSTC_Application_Jun2013.docx

    • Hollywood Reporter says:

      Soldier, you are just wrong.

      “Digital Domain hires a resident in BC to do VFX work on Fast and Furious 46. The worker has been verified to be an official resident. The worker was paid a total of $100,000 after working a whole year on FF46. At the end of production during tax time the FF46 producer files a tax return in BC. The BC government verifies that the worker is a resident of BC and was paid $100k to do VFX work. The FF46 producer receives a check of $60,000 for that one worker’s wage subsidy. They do this for all BC VFX residents. ”

      There is no way in hell the US producer is getting a 60k check for that 100k worker unless he hires that worker on his books directly. Hardly any US companies work that way (so far). Once the payroll goes through another company like a DD it is is ground down by a formula the CRA uses.

      VFXVets scenarios are extremely (scarily) accurate. He is definitely in the trenches on this topic. You people can dismiss him and line up behind quotes from Mike De Long but just because that DeLong is a Minister doesn’t mean he knows the realities of every sector. As someone who has met with Ministers and other government leaders in BC to discuss the impact of what the return of the spend actually is, I was surprised to discover a great deal of ignorance on this topic.

      Yes, Soldier, we all know the US Producer gets the rebate and not the VFX company (talk about broken record), but if DD misstates to the CRC what the incentive should be and it is discovered when audited (and they all get audited by both the Provence and the Feds), they will lose their accreditation to be a vendor in the space. So it is very important, that the numbers are good.

      Finally, what the application you posted doesn’t show are the tax rules that determine how you get those numbers for the top sheet:

      “1) The Applicant and the Production will comply and have complied with the legislated requirements pursuant to Part 5 – Film and Television Tax Credit of the Income Tax Act (British Columbia) and the Film and Television Tax Credit Regulation”

      It’s just not that simple.

  24. david324 says:

    I’ve seen a requirement from several Vancouver-based studios that job hires must have filed taxes in B.C. for the previous year. Now I understand why.

    • SteveM says:

      Uh, it’s a requirement for everyone in Canada who has a job to file a tax return. It’s the law.

      • david324 says:

        I get what your saying. I meant that studios in B.C. require potential employees to be residents of the province and have filed tax returns in the previous year to qualify for the subsidy money. They don’t want to hire Quebec artists because they’re not covered by the government.

  25. SteveM says:

    FACT: Government Pays 100% of British Columbia Resident Civil Servant Salaries

    So, by that logic, should we turn off the government? This line of “reason” is absurd.

  26. Yves says:

    I am pretty sure that my company pay 100 % of my salary , that s written in my income statement …And that s pretty much the only fact here ….

    I am a bit surprise that nobody mention the common practice of declaring ,or exaggerating ,that a project have been done by BC workers, in order to get money , when really it was done in the LA office of the same company…..

  27. Hellin says:

    VFX soldier, do you know by any chance on what does a vfx producer re-invest the money back from government?

  28. […] with large budgets, most producers prefer to go to places like British Columbia which offers to pay US producers 60% of the salaries of BC resident VFX artists. Hence the reason so many are being coerced into moving to BC and pick up residency […]

  29. VFX Soldier says:

    […] with large budgets, most producers prefer to go to places like British Columbia which offers to pay US producers 60% of the salaries of BC resident VFX artists. Hence the reason so many are being coerced into moving to BC and pick up residency […]

  30. Hellin says:

    Sorry been ignorant but this doesn’t tell on what a Producer invest the rest on the money.

    So if I got it right, if a producer has 2k and half of it is calculated as been a BC VFX house cost for a show, where BC government is going to give the producer back 60% of the cost for the resident artist of that VFX house; by the end it cost less for a producer to hire a VFX house in BC than elsewhere. Right?

    What I’m wondering now (and this all the point of this question), on what the part given back from BC government to the producer is going to be spent. Are producer hiring others VFX house to come along on the same project no matter they are from BC or not?

    If a VFX house is still getting payed the same amount of budget for a contract from a producer as if the producer didn’t get that refund from BC government, on what this is wrong? If the producer has the ability to hire a second VFX house on the project because of that government help isn’t that good for VFX houses?

    Now you are going to talk about work from US going abroad because of that government help. I do not want to argue about this as is a really complex subject and it’s going to pollute this topic even further.

    Now 2 other small things that I want to add about this.

    * I was asking this producer thing because I was wondering if VFX solder had access to a budget study from A-Z from a producer. It would be awesome to judge how money get spent on a movie from A to Z taking into account every financial aspects. At least it would be easier to have a clear judgment on this matter.

    * It is true that BC government could spend that money to better everyday human needs, that I completely agree. It is truly sad that we (vfx artist) do a so lack of sens work on earth. I do this work because I really love it and enjoy it but I have to admit that not a single day that I spent at work I’m telling to myself “Hey, I’m making the world better…” And I think that people working in this business that will say otherwise are just blindly satisfied of themselves. Yes we are making movies and people like movies but I think that if you don’t have access to water in a daily base you might not really care about movies at all.

    When you see that movie producers are able to gather so much money to do movies and we gather so little to help people… It’s just sad.

    If you have the will somehow to clarify my vision on this topic then perfect, otherwise, if you judge that it doesn’t worth it then, let it be.

    PS: I mean no harm of hatred against nobody on this message, I apologize in advance if somehow I might offended someone.

    • Andreas jablonka says:

      The us studio gets the rebate not the Vfx house. They get paid the full amount.
      The rebate the us studios are getting back is already planed for. It’s not money that they can reinvest. Without this cash back they would not have been able to do the Vfx for the film. Or at least that’s what they say. You could argue that the rebate is used to fund other films but it’s really just more profit for the studio.

      Also they borrow cash from banks against this rebate as it’s a guaranteed federal rebate. The banks loan you the money as they know the govermemt will pay it.

  31. Conrad says:

    You point out that Mike Seymore used the 60% fact in his article so it must be right, but he references this blog as where he got the fact from.

    I’m not saying it is correct or not, but I don’t think you can use a reference from your own blog to prove that you are right.

    • VFX Soldier says:

      I didn’t say that, I said he reiterated it. If he doubted that number I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t have posted it.

      Do you doubt the 60% number? The contact information for CreativeBC is right there in my post. I encourage you to contact them and get the facts directly. I’ve done it twice and twice they have confirmed our numbers.

  32. […] Guvmint A: Zero business taxes! Guvmint B: We’ll pay you 60% of your labor costs! […]

  33. […] of the meeting. The look on the face of Councilmembers when I revealed that taxpayers in BC pay 60% of resident VFX salaries was […]

  34. […] services in those nations. In British Columbia, for example, public subsidies pay up to 60 percent of the entire salary of visual effects workers. The United Kingdom and New Zealand have been […]

  35. […] services in those nations. In British Columbia, for example, public subsidies pay up to 60 percent of the entire salary of visual effects workers. The United Kingdom and New Zealand have been […]

  36. […] to text and email questions. I submitted a question of how it should be expected for CA to beat BC’s 60% subsidy. The panelists couldn’t believe it was that high and I had to interrupt and tell them it was […]

  37. […] As I’ve written before the reason for the need to move to Vancouver is because the government pays 60% of resident salaries there in the form of […]

  38. […] also very unattractive for VFX. In Canada, they have a permanent uncapped subsidy program that pays 60% of resident salaries. The program in NY is capped at a measly $7M a year going up to $25M in 2015. Why would a producer […]

  39. […] for up to 60% of a visual effects worker’s salary, a figure Lay said many didn’t believe, so he posted an email screenshot from a conversation with a British Columbia film office employee to […]

  40. […] 60% of a visual effects worker’s salary, a figure Lay said many didn’t believe, so he posted an email screenshot from a conversation with a British Columbia film office employee to […]

  41. […] 60% of a visual effects worker’s salary, a figure Lay said many didn’t believe, so he posted an email screenshot from a conversation with a British Columbia film office employee to […]

  42. […] to 60% of a visual effects worker's salary, a figure Lay said many didn't believe, so he posted an email screenshot from a conversation with a British Columbia film office employee to […]

  43. […] 60% of a visual effects worker’s salary, a figure Lay said many didn’t believe, so he posted an email screenshot from a conversation with a British Columbia film office employee to […]

  44. […] to 60% of a visual effects worker's salary, a figure Lay said many didn't believe, so he posted an email screenshot from a conversation with a British Columbia film office employee to […]

  45. […] told everyone that the current film subsidy race for VFX is a very expensive one with places like British Columbia paying 60% of resident salaries. Studios will expect California to beat that deal which would make it extremely costly and unlikely […]

  46. […] only reason for this move is because BC taxpayers are paying 60% of resident salaries. That’s a ridiculously unsustainable amount and if you think Sony is committed to staying […]

  47. […] Tuesday morning I woke up early to do an interview with the BBC about the VFX industry. I argued that while the UK is benefiting from recent increases in subsidies for the film industry, I warned that Canada was offering much larger subsidies that pay 60% of labor wages. […]

  48. […] California legislation could compete with those offered in other countries, particularly Canada. He has calculated that incentives can cover almost 60% of a British Columbia visual effects worker’s […]

  49. […] that to British Columbia’s subsidy for VFX: A subsidy of 58.4% of the resident VFX labor costs. No caps, no limits on the amount a film can […]

  50. Steve says:

    I’m sure BC taxpayers don’t care and never will. After all, they’ve been paying billions to Lockheed Martin for fighter jets they don’t use and never will. They’ve been paying fishermen in the Maritimes to sit around and do nothing half the year for half a century, and they’ve been sending money to Quebec so that they can have $7/day daycare for the past few decades.

    You just don’t get it, do you? Things are different up here.

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