What I found interesting is that Ms. McNamara has been reprimanded for trying to recruit talent from studios that had these kinds of recruiting agreements:
I commented on your Variety article several months ago, saying that artists complain too much about working conditions in a rarified business.
As a recruiter for ten years at animation/ VFX studios, i despise the kinds of agreements cited above. It’s simple: if you want to retain an employee, either make working conditions so good that they won’t want to leave or OFFER A CONTRACT.
I’ve been reprimanded for pursuing employees of studios that had these “gentlemen’s agreements.” And i think they create a sort of indentured servitude for the employees, who are prevented from pursuing other opportunit ies because they’re unaware that they exist (by keeping recruiters from cold-calling) or are afraid to pursue them because they risk exposure to their supervisors.
I agree that the VFX industry should be unionized and salaries standardized. As a recruiter, it’s frustrating not to be allowed to pursue an artist because they are “off-limits.” As talent, it’s frustrating to be denied freedom to pursue opportunities because these agreements are in place and they fear exposure and prejudice for looking around.
I’m sure i’m not alone in wishing that these kinds of ludicrous and, now, illegal, agreements would cease to exist. I would be thrilled to see a union put in place to protect the artists and standardize pay scales. It may result in certain jobs carrying reduced earning potential, but it would even the playing field for the industry as a whole.