Last week I took some time to thank Michael Bay for campaigning for VFX workers and while the VES is having an awards ceremony to praise the top brass in the VFX industry, I and many others think all of you deserve praise.
You are all VFX Soldiers.
I write a lot about how bad things can be. Indeed, things are bad and the workers in our industry have a legitimate grievance. However, at the end of each day of work and at the end of every post I write on this blog I can say one thing that not many people can say these days:
I’m Making An Honest Living And Am Thankful For It
We make an honest living because we get paid to do something we love and we do it really well. That’s sort of the driving notion behind this blog and it’s initial post:
There are only two important things in living . . .
Finding out what you do well, and finding out what makes you happy.
And if God is smiling on you, they’re both the same thing.
(btw I’m not a religious person, that quote was direct from a movie)
It’s a rarity to have something special like that. So when that very idea comes under threat, I feel the need to rise and help defend it.
Making Money Can Be Dirty
However some of us choose to look the other way or ignore the problems altogether. We look at this profession like wearing a white tuxedo with obvious flaws.
Were so lucky to have this white tuxedo that we try to ignore the stains, the bad fit, and holes in it. So we compensate and try to cover up for those moments when it becomes too obvious: The unpaid OT, no health insurance, employer of record ripoffs, bad business model and on and on.
The truth is no matter how hard we try to make that honest living, there will always be moments where it’s going to get dirty. I’m reminded of this by a blogging entrepreneur’s post:
The process of making money can be torturous. I’m not good at dealing with people I don’t like. Pretending to like them. Paying their bribes. Listening to their stories. Laughing at their jokes.
I’m sure many of you know what this is like.
I remember tirelessly working in college at a restaurant when I had a bit of an epiphany:
If I’m willing to work this hard doing something I hate what if I worked this hard doing something I loved?
So my foray into the VFX industry began. The road was bumpy but it was a clean living, an honest living – or so I thought. Soon I was confronted with the issues I came to write about on this blog and like many of us I tried to ignore the issue.
However, what I realized was the very idea that gave me the reason to embark on this path was threatened. I wasn’t making an honest living anymore.
So I started this blog to air my conscience and from time to time I get this reaction:
“VFX Soldier, us VFX workers have it better than 90% of the world. If you got a problem with this industry you should just quit”
I understand that argument. Everyone is eating a shit sandwich and the expectation by some in the industry is that its our turn. I disagree. As bad as things are, we are the little guy with a lot of leverage. We just aren’t using it.
Today I think about the time I was in college when I was naive and had that epiphany. If I could give VFX workers the same advice I would have given myself back then it would be this:
Work hard doing something you do well and something you love, but most importantly, give it tough love.
What I mean by that is to not devalue yourself in the pursuit of being a VFX worker. When you see obvious flaws, do what you can to fix it and make it right.