The following statement was sent to me by Dave Rand:
In the circles of addiction a definition of insanity attributed to Albert Einstein is often cited:
Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
Along those lines you can also apply the terms “enabling” and “enabler” to our business in a some ways.
For one … I’d argue that by not creating a force for change both the visual fx artist and the
vfx shops are enabling the vfx industry to continue on it’s march to the bottom hurting both artist, shop, and studio.
Scott Ross talks about fx shops coming together and working with the studios to rehabilitate the way things are done.
IATSE is trying to unify the artist’s voice. Not much has happened on either front and things continue to slip.
Perhaps we need to kick the ugly out of union by making something different. Our country’s unions are based on laws and practices based on rulings from the 30’s and
unionized america has shrunk considerably…now in Wisconsin a new hotter dryer setting has been established.
I attended the Vancouver IATSE meeting today and was impressed by the vocalization of those that attended but not by the numbers. Almost every one I talk to
is in favor of what is possible and what would be offered: health care and retirement benefits that follow you from job to job, enforcement of overtime laws, fair pay, and fair play, representation for
issues about working conditions and the cessation of being an enabler to the insanity that is ruining fx business across the globe. In so many ways we are being begged to do something by the very people we see as adversaries, wage fixing news recently here http://bit.ly/fAi30q, and here http://bit.ly/vGHn3 The new emphasis on the practice of shrink and expand without benefits, and the practice of letting artists take the fall for bad business practices like at Meteor Studios http://bit.ly/fLEdTe or Pirana 3d http://bit.ly/el0IA Who can forget the famous line from here: http://bit.ly/dIz1Xg. We are the most crucial and expensive element in the equation, yet we are powerless as individuals.
Again it’s fear behind the same old tired arguments surrounding collective bargaining since Jurgis was packing meat 16 hrs a day in the diseased factories of 1904 Chicago. These fears are killing the potential for something great and those same fears can turn on us and soon we are doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. It has to be done differently. It has to involve everyone that will be at the table less the fear and stigma if this insanity is to be lifted.
Step one… a strong web presence with history and testimonials from the unionized shops that are working, both members and management. Dreamworks is still in the top ten places to work in Amerca and very profitable and unionized…what are they doing differently? Owning content, treating their workers like they are the most valuable component of their business and offering real contracts with real time involved. Disney the same, and if you do a comparison of what life is like in the few union shops compared to the rest. I think you may just have a moment of clarity.
So please take a moment to describe what your current employer’s shop is like, your contract, your feeling of security about your future there, about your future in general. Are you offered health care for you and your family? pension or 401k? Is the work environment encourage you to be creative, are you comfortable enough to be creative? Do you get feedback from the ultimate decision maker on your project or is there a complex creative hierarchy between you and that person? Do you see waste all around you? Does every production end up in a panic attack? Do you often get to version 299 and want to stab your eyes out because you see spiders everywhere? Does your shop have a plan for the future, maybe creation of their own content?
Maybe seeing what others are experiencing can be enlightening, and begin to paint a picture of how it can be.