A Photo From The Past

A reader emailed me this photo a while ago with this message:

I came across this in a museum of an abandon mine.  I thought of this blog instantly…
It’s a pity about that last line, WWII I reckon

Thanks for posting all the info…

I tend to rant a lot about the industry and was moved that a reader was reminded of my blog at a random place and time. I tend to think readers are reminded of my blog when they are on the can or taking out the garbage but what do I know.

But seriously, I don’t dare compare the plight of VFX artists to coal miners, human rights activists, etc. As bad as things are, we are doing incredibly well compared to most people these days. However that doesn’t absolve us of the obligation to solve the problems in our industry. An old robot once told me:

Fate rarely calls upon us at a moment of our choosing.

For my readers in other countries, I know these aren’t the best of days for the United States, but when it was, our country was admired for it’s optimism in the toughest of times.

Our country had a long history of going through incredible strife with no clear answers. Amidst all the fear, uncertainty, and doubt we found a way to persevere through it.  A few examples:

In the 1800’s the booming cotton industry in the US was structured on the labor from slavery. Many plantation owners argued if the emancipation movement to free slaves was successful, the cotton industry would collapse.

In the generations after emancipation, African Americans were treated to segregation and further hostilities against them. Some African Americans were against the civil rights movement that looked to rectify the issue by citing that the freedom from slavery was good enough. While others in the Back-to-Africa movement advocated that unhappy African Americans simply move back to Africa.

In the 1930’s at the depths of the Great Depression, President Roosevelt and congress passed the Wagner Act which essentially gave the right to Americans to form labor unions. The decision at the time was controversial since America was going through one of the worst economic downturns ever. Many argued then it was the wrong time to pass such a law.

Again, I’m not saying the problems of VFX artists are even remotely close to the plight of slaves, civil rights activists, or coal miners but the arguments used of fear, uncertainty, and doubt are similar.

“If you unionize the VFX industry will collapse!”

“If you don’t like how things are in the VFX industry then leave!”

“We are in the middle of huge unemployment and a recession and you want to unionize now? That’s crazy!”

In each of the events I cited, a generation had to make a choice. Everyone knew what the right choice was but it was also the toughest choice because nobody really knew what the outcome would be. For those of us that are a part of this generation in the VFX industry, we all know what the right choice is. Will we make that choice remains to be seen.

Soldier On.


One Response to A Photo From The Past

  1. anon says:

    I think the comparison with the 1930’s is more accurate that you think.

    Arguably one of the biggest obstacles in stimulating the U.S’s economic lethargy is to get a portion of the massive amount of wealth that is currently in the hands of only 1% of the country.

    I know of only one way to do that.

    “the average net worth of the richest 1 percent of Americans has doubled (to $18.5 million), while that of the poorest 40 percent has fallen by 63 percent (to $2,200). Thirty years ago, top U.S. executives made about 50 times the salary of their average employees. In 2007, the average worker would have had to toil for 1,100 years to earn what his CEO brought home between Christmas in Aspen and Christmas on St. Barthes. ”


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