I can’t predict the future but I can be certain of one thing: You will get old and your health will deteriorate. It’s a fact of life and it’s something I was reminded of today.
A family acquittance of mine was a part of the first generation of VFX artists in the industry. He had helped start one of the big VFX facilities you are all familiar with and has worked at many places throughout his career. I ran into his uncle today and asked how he was doing. Not well:
He’s getting too old for the industry. He’s been working contract positions with no health insurance and the burden of the costs are too large for him to continue. In fact he has purposely taken jobs in countries like Thailand where the healthcare is cheap so he can take advantage of it.
I didn’t know what to say. All I could do was acknowledge the problem.
It was crazy to me though. Years ago, I met him for the first time when I started my career. He had almost 30 years experience and was on a first name basis with some of the big names in the industry.
Now this? Perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised.
Star Wars was probably the film that kicked off the VFX industry and we are starting to see many of those artists from that time approach the age where health insurance for them is the most expensive. Working the contract jobs and buying your own health insurance is no problem when you are young. However when you are in your 50’s and have a family to support it’s a different story and it needs to be told.