Jokes That Write Themselves

The ILM/Pixar Collusion is getting a bit of play on various outlets. One of them is a thread at a vfx forum site.

I write about how I observe the denigration of our craft by some of the posts by various members of the vfx community. TAG Organizer Steve Kaplan forwarded me one that just makes me laugh. If I had to write a sarcastic post by a free market supply-side libertarian vfx artist about the scandal it would go like this.

The problem is it’s by an actual person posting at the forum. Stuff like this just makes you wonder:

Yes, I think that\u2019s fair. It’s their money- not yours.

Of course the companies are in need of protection- probably more than the employees.

I’ve seen this thread dominated with the mindset that everyone in the world owes the animator whatever the animator feels what they are worth- it’s a disgusting entitlement mentality. Sure, we all might be worth $100 / hr., but there’s nobody obligated to pay that.

Businesses exist for 1 reason only: To make money. To live. To thrive.

Employees exist for 1 reason only: To make money for the business.

It’s up to the business to decide what you are worth; take it or leave it. Otherwise, go work for The Orphanage, Assylum or Cafe FX- all who cited the same reasons for closure: inability to compete and maintain the necessary cash flow.

Except that there IS NO “my wage”. What you are citing is an un-provable hypothetical.

The only real “MY WAGE” is the one that I agree to work for; and if ILM doesn’t want to pay me any more than what PIXAR paid me, then that is THEIR prerogative.

And no competition has been staunched, either.

The only way someone gets “screwed out of their wage” is if they agree to one pay, and receive a smaller paycheck. That’s it.

Personally, I think that Unionized employees are already screwed out of their paychecks.

I mean, lets think about this:

What is a union? It is an entity just like any other business: it desires to live, to thrive and to grow. However, Unions don’t labor to produce for their own benefit; they make their $$$ on the backs of the employee and the employer.
So of course the Union is unhappy about wages not going up; they base their Union dues off of pay scales.

Who among us knows what is involved in running a business? It is all out of pocket expenses. Every wage, insurance, quarterly tax, liability fee, light bill, upgrade bill, vacation wage, sick wage, personal wage, bereavement wage, unemployment tax, etc. ad nauseum. Everything. Remember- the insurance premiums alone in my place SKYROCKETED almost 30%. How do we re-coup that? Pass it on to the customer, or eat it?

Ever fee that gets shouldered onto a business is less product for the customer.

So, lets say the business eats it? How much money is left for pay raises?

And, California is worse than many to most other states. That\u2019s why many businesses are re-locating out of state.

The employer can only pay you what they have and what they responsibly can. And, much of what they bid their jobs out for covers overhead. So what happens when a facility bids against a smaller facility with much smaller overhead and smaller / less expensive business costs? Ask The Orphanage.

That same thing happened to us.

First, I don’t see this as an artificial salary limit. And if it is, then so what? Are they not half the Market?

Second- it all depends on how bad an artist wants to be employed. They are the second part of the market.

If this “collusion” is indeed a problem, then it will correct itself.

If we were serious about desiring a “free market” approach, then you would get the DoJ and the Unions out of it. The Union especially, since it is a Special Interest.

This is probably from someone who never actually worked in the industry or just has plain sour grapes. Who knows? However I keep seeing arguments that seem to take the other side regardless. If only there was reciprocity for such benevolence.

Soldier On.

(Update, I’ve edited the comment since the poster updated his/hers)

12 Responses to Jokes That Write Themselves

  1. Mac says:

    Libertarians are not anti union

    Taken to it’s logical
    Conclusion voluntary
    associations would thrive. Libertarianim does not mean “unaccountable corporations running your economy”

    • VFX Soldier says:

      I agree. However, I think there is a segment of the Vfx community who confuse libertarianism with the idea that there should be very little regulation on corporate power.

      • vfxartist says:

        Well I think that so many artist in this industry or so “self made” that they are used to this sort of solitary existence.

        I was just watching the show “sons of Anarchy” for the first time and I thought “holy cow, these are just like FX artist”… the characters all have problems with authority and walk this thin line between “my rules”and “no Rules”.

        Sounds funny but its quite sad. because while the characters on the show have guns and operate outside the law, artist don’t have guns nor can they operate outside the law either.

        So a lot of its is just posturing.

        But I gotta tell ya, once the girlfriend becomes the wife, the apartment becomes the condo or house, the dogs become children and these artist actually grow up, they find it harder and harder to have leverage with their employer. Then they start thinking organizing isn’t a bad thing….

      • vfxartist says:

        Holy cow, soldier I just read that CGsociety comment you quoted.

        It surprised me that people so smart with software and create fx are simply absolutely ignorant about labor.

        This person talks about people having a choice up there to work at pixar or ILM… Those and tippet are the only operating facilities there of a certain size. people with mortgages, families with day care costs, school cost, who work in FX re really limited who they can work for. hence why I stayed in LA. To have companies collude on pay ceiling is a disaster to a parent who works at these facilities. My dollar buys today 1/3 what it bought 12 years ago…. 1/3!!! On top of that flat wages for a business that rakes in the money that it makes?

        I just don’t understand that sort of self defeatist mindset of some of my fx colleagues. it propagates to how they run a business when some of them start their own shops. This attitude that nothing can change, that this is how it its.. its all out of ignorance… out of having been taught the wrong way of doing things.. in fact its a bit of laziness and a lack of imagination. And the fact that this poster displays such ignorance with such pride. amazing.

  2. n says:

    If businesses can get away with colluding with one another, why shouldn’t artists? If you don’t like unions, fine — but find a way to share information with your co-workers. Talk about what other studios are offering!

    This is a lousy time to be asking for a raise in this industry, even though prices on household needs are going up. You deserve every piece of information you can get before you go into negotiations — including the knowledge of whose facility you won’t get a fair offer from, and what their artists really make.

    • vfxartist says:

      I just got a raise. Barely 4%. It was because thats what I said my rate was. I didn’t “ask” for it any more than my plumber or restaurant owner or gas station asks me for a price hike.

      Artist don’t need to collude, they need to organize. Its called collective bargaining. Again, like a broken record, I recommend ANYONE who works in vfx read Tom Sito’s “Drawing the Line”. its available in kindle format. You really have to learn what tools are available to you as an artist and employee. In fact you really have to learn that all of this happened already in the animation industry decades ago. Same threat that companies will shut down if artist organize, that the jobs will go overseas. And what do you have now? An animation business here in the states in the form of Disney and Dreamworks and many other studios. Do unions ensure that the entire industry won’t disappear tomorrow, nope. Does it guarantee a raise every year? nope. But it did maintain minimums for my former Disney colleagues who weather the recession WITHOUT loosing their health benefit, or being forced to work for free without OT or as 1099 employees taxed at 50% .

    • Mac says:

      An association is more than just a pay raise. We need to grow our industry. Educate. And ground. the people that are doing all the vfx heavy lifting.

      What’s happening is the opposite.


      Leaving this shit in the hands of unacoutable corperations WILL turn the US industry into the auto industry.  

      Countries that grow an industry. Negotiate with the workers. Pay fair labour.  And produce a good product.  

      China purchased volvo not gm. They didn’t buy the workers

      They purchased the Intellectual property And the skill.
      They could have purchased gm for cheap.  Why not? 
      Shit cars. Shit management. Shit profit. 

      You say “that’s the fault of the workers” 

      Workers on the line are not at fault for gm’s 100 billion dollar dept.  Think about it for 5seconds see if it makes sense.

      • vfxartist says:

        when Ford purchased Volvo, that meant Ford cars got a lot of the safety features from volvo.

        China has it now because they have a market now for middle and upper middle class vehicles.

  3. Tom says:

    I just want to point out. He sites the orphanage as if its an example of what happens when you underbid. This is far from the true reasons for this studios closure.

    I know for a fact this studio had several class-action lawsuits for doing things much worse the colluding. Like not paying employees for overtime, selecting students for cheap labor, and selecting intonational students to work for cheap or almost no pay.

    A close personal friend of mine worked for this company and was promised a sponsorship for his Visa. This company did not listen or even care. They made him work to the last day he could possibly work in the US and he was forced out of the country. The paper work for his Business Visa was never filed.

    The business practices of the orphanage to try to lower costs ultimately destroyed the company. I think if they had a collective barging agreement they would still be around no problem. And they can be competitive.

    I can’t say anything about the other two cited companies. But I suspect that the inability to get contracts was probably because they did not have the talented employees to produce the work fast enough to compete with the bigger studios.

    I personally have worked with teams less than 10 people and made projects very successful. Its all about the people you work with.

    If you hire cheap labor your going to get cheap results. You can only do projects for so long before the usefulness of your company out plays itself.

    Its about fostering talent and getting the cheapest talent you can find. But you can not compete with the talent in Los Angeles and Bay Area.

    It’s just too bad that companies are trying to take advantage of the college students. And this post clearly shows the person has never worked a hard day in the real film industry.

    Miss informed people are stupid people. Doing your own investigations makes you a better person.

  4. […] chutzpah some have expressed against the very notion of a union and at the same time support for “free market” […]

  5. baltimore Rental homes

    Jokes That Write Themselves | VFX Soldier


    Jokes That Write Themselves | VFX Soldier

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