VFX Artists Petition US President & VES

Obama’s Speech Touches On VFX Issues

This week VFX Artist Joe Harkins started a petition to the US President and Visual Effects Society to end illegal subsidies:

You agree that we need to create an organization that will lobby political action to enforce the WTO guidelines. Specifically the free trade agreements against foreign subsidies. You also agree that our elected officials need to do something about WTO violations that hurt our industry.

Since day one of my blog I have railed against subsidies and I support this petition. As you can see in the above video, the current President is interested in combating these subsidies. We need to let him hear our voice. One way to do this is by having you, your family, your relatives, your friends, and your  co-workers sign Mr Harkins’ petition.

You can sign it here:

http://tinyurl.com/vfxpetition

So What Is This All About?

The narrative in the trades is that VFX is going to cheap locations like India and China. That actually isn’t what’s happening. It’s going to expensive places like Vancouver, London, New Zealand, Sydney, and Singapore. Some of these places are the most expensive places to live in the world.

The reason VFX jobs are going to these regions are mostly for one reason:  Subsidies.

Governments are essentially engaging in protectionism by paying US studios like Warner Bros, Paramount, Universal, Fox, and Sony from 25-50% of the costs to lure VFX work from regions like California where the VFX industry has traditionally been agglomerated.

According to international trade law experts like Claire Wright, these subsidies  are illegal:

The question addressed in this article is whether, under U.S. and WTO law, a foreign government can artificially lower the costs of production in an industry to such an extent that a number of U.S. companies choose to establish local production companies in that country and forego production in the U.S., thereby decimating the industry in the U.S.

There Are Rules To Globalization

International tariffs and subsidies are heavily regulated by the World Trade Organization. The US and many other countries entered into an agreement many years ago to liberalize trade barriers to encourage a more free market system. In order to do this, the parties agreed to get rid of policies that distort trade: tariffs and subsidies.

So How Do Subsidies Affect The VFX Industry?

There is nothing to stop a facility or producer from choosing to do work in a region because the labor is cheaper but there are rules that prevent a producer from choosing a region because a foreign government has offered money to do the work there. It artificializes the price and leads to a race to the bottom.

In the case of the VFX industry, facilities around the world competitively bid against each other to be awarded contract work by one of the big 5 studios. Even if California facilities could beat their competitors bids, studios would still be inclined to do the work in Vancouver, London, or another subsidized region because of the generous rebate offered by the local government. This is not about business taxes, this is a subsidy, a direct exchange of free money: corporate welfare.

So How Does This Affect The Facilities We Work For?

Most people make the mistake to think that the facility they work for gets this money. As some facility owners revealed in a post I wrote, they don’t. They are coerced into opening facilities in these subsidized regions just so they can get the work. They still must provide a competitive bid and they must also take upon the burden of extra overhead costs in infrastructure, management, and personal relocation to maintain 2 facilities. The studio gets the same film for the same price with an extra amount of money from the government.

So How Does This Affect The VFX Workers?

For the worker the ramifications can be very sobering. Consider one of my recent posts about how expensive it is. Read the comments and you will find people who have to chase VFX jobs around the world working project to project.

The costs of moving are tremendous. You will have to pay foreign taxes, state taxes, and federal taxes. If you own a home you will have to rent in your new region and take upon the burden of paying a mortgage at the same time. Some regions are so expensive that VFX workers are renting rooms from local families to avoid the costs. Many of them are not able to own any tangible items as they are constantly moving and living out of a suitcase. Some of them must leave their families for long periods of time and must pay huge traveling costs to visit them for short breaks in between projects. Regions like Canada, and London have weak overtime laws allowing you to miss out on overtime pay.

So How Does This Affect VFX Workers At The Studios?

If you think that you are immune to this because you work directly for the studio at places like Pixar, Disney, and Dreamworks think again. As the VFX facilities are weakened this will provide less leverage for those workers to negotiate better wages. As there are less opportunities for you to jump to another facility in the region, managers will have more opportunities to lower your wage.

In other words, VFX workers and facilities are working harder to chase the work, paying more to get the work, getting paid less to do the work, and their standard of living is going down. All of this is so rich US conglomerates can take advantage of what essentially is a bribe.

If you want to put a stop to this then you must start now. Sign the petition and unite for this cause.

Soldier On.

57 Responses to VFX Artists Petition US President & VES

  1. DrFX says:

    I understand how frustrating this must be for American FX artists. However, the US offers unfair trade subsidies to American businesses too. For just one example, the $3 billion a year in subsidies to cotton farmers, which makes it impossible for third world farmers to compete. Market-warping subsidies are not something that only foreigners are doing.

    • VFX Soldier says:

      Yes and brazil challenged them and the us lost.

    • edwardh says:

      True. Also not to forget corn, which has wreaked havoc on Mexican farmers.
      But these are not poor countries striking back. All of the countries mentioned are rich (although I don’t know enough about Singapore). Of course not as rich (or at least not as powerful) as the US and considering their track record, I find it hard to empathize with anything bad happening to them on a larger scale… on the contrary, I think not just for the world but also for its own sake, the US has to receive major humbling.
      Still, it’s not quite the same…

    • VFX Soldier says:

      You know what the problem is with VFX workers? They’re too sanctimonious.

      Why would anyone bring up cotton subsidies? The response is wellllll because the US has subsidies and it would therefore be unfair and we want to be fair because being fair is effecient blah blah blah.

      Do you think the studios think this way? When they considered taking advantage of subsidies do you think they asked “oh you know we might force alot of vfx artists to move and leave their families etc and this might violate trade law yadda yadda.”

      Hell no. If they can get away with it they’ll do it no matter what. We’ve paralyzed ourselves by our own idea of sanctimony.

      • DrFX says:

        The petition states “I want a fair and balanced VFX industry, and a level playing field for all workers.” That’s a laudable goal, (not at all sanctimonious I might add), and I assume you’d want this extended to all industries, not just the one related to your own vested interests. Good luck breaking this news to US farmers for example, who receive about $30 Billion in subsidies every year.

        You honestly can’t see how this campaign comes off to the rest of the world?

      • VFX Soldier says:

        Did you read my previous reply? The us was challenged by brazil on cotton and lost!

        The us is being challenged on corn by… CANADA AND EUROPE.

        I support industries using the WTO to combat illegal subsidies even in the US. Look up my blog and see my posts on new mexico, michigan, and Florida. I want to end those film subsidies in the state too!

        I’ll be waiting for your response but this is a red herring.

      • DrFX says:

        Actually, I hadn’t read your posts on ending subsidies in US States, and I guess I misunderstood your personal feelings regarding this issue. I thought you were of the same mind as the petition writer, but having read your most recent post, I see that the wording had probably changed since you first saw it. It sounded to me much like you have just described it; as a very nationalistic point of view.

        Having read your most recent post, I think we actually agree. I support making trade fair and I believe that Canada, UK and NZ can compete with US facilities, and that more and more subsidies are a race to the bottom.

      • VFX Soldier says:

        Thank you! Just because I agree with Mr Harkins’ conclusion does not make me agree with his premise. I almost feel inclined to write a second post on the nationalist viewpoint alone. I want vfx workers around the world to work where THEY want to work not where the US Studios want you to work because they got a kickback from the govt.

  2. andreas jablonka says:

    Thank you for posting this. I’m
    Sure the extra traffic through your blog will help
    Our goal.

    I want to remind people to join http://www.vfxfoundation.com and continue the discussion there!

  3. I shared it on the FIlm Works facebook page. I am for any remedy to runaway production. I think it would be better to wait until after the Europeans decide the issue under EU law.

  4. This is the document worth reading. I think a new USTR filing would be smart to include the language in this paper: http://ec.europa.eu/competition/consultations/2011_state_aid_films/issues_paper_en.pdf

  5. meh says:

    Do you think Americans that shop for all that subsidized crap at Walmart and CEOs that make billions from bending free trade rules give a crap about VFX artists? Maybe things will change when you get enough money to form a Washington lobby group that can compete with ‘American’ multi-national corporations
    http://burghdiaspora.blogspot.com/2011/10/knowledge-economy-is-dead-what-is-next.html

    • VFX Soldier says:

      Read Adrian McDonald’s comment linking to that pdf file. Read it. Even the European Union has a problem with a subsidy race by it’s own member states…

      Instead of posting red herring links. Debate me on the issue. Bring it.

    • It’s not just about the VFX artists. It’s about everyone working in the industry and all the related businesses sustained by the industry. We are talking about millions of people.

    • meh says:

      They are not red herrings, they are examples of people questioning the globalized free trade/market system and knowledge economy at a broader level than just the narrow focus of spoiled VFX artists. Maybe you are right and an Occupy VFX movement will reverse Reagan/Thatcher market trends of the last 30 years, or maybe digital distribution will do it first.

      • VFX Soldier says:

        First you say Americans buy subsidized goods from China, therefore VFX artists should not be against subsidies. That’s makes no sense. Then you argue that people need to question the global free trade… again you have yet to make sense at all on my blog.

        Why not just put up a link about saving seal pups?

        We shouldn’t fight vfx subsidies in Canada because if Canada loses it’s film industry they’ll start clubbing more cute seal pups. (They’re so cute!)

      • meh says:

        Yeah it’s pointless trying to show an american that their entire way of life has been subsidized by military imperialism and corrupt domination of global markets. They feel entitled, but now the global economy is re-balancing americans will have to get used to some changes. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-china-17070931

      • VFX Soldier says:

        And your solution to stopping them is by giving us companies your taxpayer’s money.

        Let’s starve the evil US beast by feeding it our dinner!

      • meh says:

        Not my solution. It’s usually song and dance men trying to make a quick buck.
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_trade_zone

        Right now the taste makers for the largest audience are in Hollywood so they call the shots but is it just a matter of time before they die out?

        The new studio will be majority 55 per cent owned by three Chinese public companies, China Media Capital (CMC), Shanghai Media Group (SMG) and Shanghai Alliance Investment (SAI), and 45 per cent by DreamWorks Animation.
        “What we all have been pursuing for many many years was being able to get our products and our movies into China and to be able to get our television there and have western products given greater access,” said Katzenberg.
        But that’s not what the Chinese wanted. They wanted to have the capability and knowledge to be able to create their own.
        http://www.asiaone.com/News/Latest%2BNews/Showbiz/Story/A1Story20120218-328732.html

  6. Dave Rand says:

    Deflection is not an valid argument.

  7. Dave Rand says:

    Sorry to be repetitive but the landscape that the powers governing us have created destroys creativity and effectively vaporized there own bottom line by doing so. Sometimes corporations gain so much leverage they can’t get out of their OWN way.

    I find it curious that with the lower local labor costs and subsidies Montreal had a rash of shops going under and artists not getting paid, a concentration of it that has been unmatched. This can only signify other problems that decrease productivity per dollar spent.

    I always go back to the lame bidding process, and the slamming of quality production by enforcing constant migration and outsourcing. A business model that kills creativity, creative communication, creative focus, and creative productivity, and any sense of creative branding.

    I ran a few shows that used a cost plus model, had highly paid local talent right in the middle of the most expensive office real estate Hollywood. The decision maker (director) treated us like the set and was present. There was no creative hierarchy just him. We finished the first project without the marble in the funnel effect and with little overtime AND we came in at a total cost that was 1/3 the price of the lowest bid (a bid from Canada). Every artist on that team still felt their creativity unchecked and remembers it today as the best experiences in their careers.

    • meh says:

      Well said, it explains the output from the ‘industry’ over the last decade – more sequels, more (globalized) industrial production of eye candy, more cut and paste and less creativity.

  8. Anon Anon says:

    I like the idea of this petition in principal, but I don’t understand its particulars.

    Is it a petition to the WTO, POTUS and other Federal and State officials to enforce existing WTO law?

    If so, why is its language almost exclusively focused on a call for the establishment of a Trade Organization to do the same through lobbying efforts?

    This is especially confusing to me since none of the intended recipients or their organizations have, to my understanding, anything to do with the formation of specific Trade Organizations, with the possible exception of the Chairman of the MPAA.

    If this is in fact a petition for the establishment of a Trade Organization, rather than a direct appeal to government bodies to enforce existing WTO law, then why is it not directed to specific studio heads and parent companies, in addition to the Chairman of the MPAA, California Film Commissioner, and Mayor of Los Angeles?

    I support both ideas, but from the little information I have, I’m not sure how this petition works toward either goal due to the apparent disconnect between the document’s language and the list of intended recipients.

    I’m sure this is because of my relative ignorance on these matters, and I wonder if anyone can clarify the mechanism here?

    • occlude says:

      Thanks VFX Soldier for posting this, appreciate the support!

      To answer the question, it is both an attempt to petition the U.S. government, and California officials to help put a stop to subsidies.

      At the same time, I am asking them to create and support a Trade Org that would monitor the industry, be a watchdog of sorts, and continue to put pressure on Washington.

      It’s not enough to just ask POTUS to do something, because who knows if he will. And it’s not enough to ask congress either.
      We have to ask everyone we can for support. Hopefully someone will be compelled to take action on our behalf, and subsequently help us form a good Trade Org that protects our industry here in the U.S.

      I believe the language is clear. If it were not, people would not sign or show support.

      And the petition is submitted via email one signature at a time, that’s how change.org works. They flood inboxes with emails. In the case of this petition, that’s one email every 5 minutes or so, sometimes more. That’s why I set the bar so high- 100,000 people may seem impossible, but why aim low?

      This issue has universal appeal to all Americans- we want to see our jobs stay here, and we want unfair subsidies by foreign countries to be regulated. In this economy, it’s easy to rally people behind a cause that supports American workers. That is exactly the point. If nothing else, it gives people hope that maybe someone out there is reading their petition email or comment, and actually listening.

      Joe

    • VFX Soldier says:

      I agree it’s a bit confusing the way the petition was put together. In fact, when it was first posted it was totally vague to me and many others.

      Let me address the reason why the President is being addressed:

      His administration, specifically the US Trade Representative handle all trade related issues. Under the US Trade Act of 1973 the US Trade Representative has the sole discretion of combating unfair trade practices by filing a formal petition with the World Trade Organization. No bill or court hearing needs to be made or voted on.

      I think the vfx trade organization is sort of not needed in this. I’ll explain more in my next post but you don’t need an organization to ask the USTR to address this issue.

      • Dave Rand says:

        I found it interesting that the president, although not specifying VFX, used these sentences together: “it’s not right when.another country lets our movies, …….. be pirated. It’s Not fair when foreign manufacturers have a leg up on ours simply because they are heavily subsidized Tonight I’m announcing aTrade Enforcement Unit…”

        Pi´rate n …. one who makes it his business to cruise for robbery or plunder; a freebooter on the seas; also, one who steals in a harbor.

        Who initiates subsidies? the countries (and States) or the (un)American studios…or both? I believe it’s a joint effort for profit AND to scatter the talent away from two centralized locations, making any organization more difficult. The organization that happened in the 30’s started in New York, on the play circuit, and then moved to California, that was a difficult transition simply because of the geography, and took a long while to take hold. Today with the availability of online networking this is a bit easier. Thanks to this website and others we are able to share ideas over great distances. Other parties with different interests decided not to take advantage of that….I wondered why for while now I know why and so do some other people from that organization. This left a vacuum, and those get filled by the laws of nature. Imagine the ability to sign a card from your phone. The technology for all of this is actually available today…just not to us, not just yet anyway.

      • Reality says:

        One thing to be aware of is that the US Government has no power to establish a Trade Organization of behalf of an industry; the industry must do this for itself. Unfortunately, the one we have (VES), has as much (if not more) interest in siding with studios as with artists.

        If industry workers are looking for something to do at the federal level, they could petition the White House to file a complaint with the WTO.

        As my co-worker put it:
        “””
        Can you imagine the outrage if some country was giving a 50% tax rebate on steel purchases? It would be immediately called out as an unfair trade practice and taken to the WTO, but this is exactly what is happening with Visual Effects work and not a peep.

        So, my 2c would be to attack it by reframing it as a trade issue… everyone loves trade issues, look at Star Wars Episode 1!
        “””

      • VFX Soldier says:

        @reality Total agreement there… the fact you could understand the plot in episode one is a feat enough but the fact you and your co-worker are looking at how petitions are filed is one of the reasons this blog was created.

        My guess is the vfx trade organization issue is being piggy-backed on the subsidy issue. Ill have a post on monday about it.

      • fizz says:

        @reality: imagine there was a country that was offering up film and TV production subsidies totaling well over a billion dollars a year, equal to all the incentives in Canada, UK, Europe, New Zealand and Australia rolled up into one. Surely that too would be called out as unfair? Guess what? You live in it, it’s just that most of those subsidies aren’t in California. Well, $100 million per year is, but somehow that ain’t enough…

      • VFX Soldier says:

        That’s correct Fizz and as you probably know I’ve railed against subsidies in the US too!

        What’s amazing about the California VFX industry is that it still manages to compete while every other market is heavily subsidized.

      • Reality says:

        @fizz: That really has nothing to do with the intended message of my comment. Though I agree with the quote I posted, the knife absolutely does cut both ways; if we call for removal of large subsidies offered by other countries, we need to follow suit. I was mainly trying to point out that the currently active petition, while undoubtedly well-meaning, may not really be able to effect much in the way of actual change.

        As a bit of a side note, one more interesting thing to keep in mind regarding the US is that we represent something of a microcosm of the global picture, in that states have been routinely fighting to out-bid each other with the same kinds of subsidies being used overseas.

        Finally, I would add that one of the reasons (but certainly not the definitive one) California continues to get work in spite of the financial draws elsewhere is the fact that there is a large, committed group of people here who have been in the business for many years and know what they’re doing. Have you seen the inside of a grip truck in NYC?

  9. fizz says:

    Alas, I have all too much experience of NYC grips, teamsters and the rest of it. The commitment of California filmmakers is self-evident – a good LA crew is a delight to work with and you generally get what you want/need, unlike some other places around the world. But there appears to be a growing bubble of self-righteous indignation that flies in the face of reality – yes, there are production incentives in other places, but there are also subsidies available in California ($100 million dollars per year in the last reported figures) as well as all across the states. There is a mindset taking hold which appears to hold the belief that once (if) overseas subsidies are eliminated then all the work will come flooding back – I don’t believe that. Things will *never* go back to the way they were: there are now well-established high end facilities around the world that all have golden statues sitting in their trophy cabinets and the relentless rise of China and India as low cost locations for VFX production is taking the business to places that we can’t even guess at right now. What compelling reason is there for a filmmaker to put their VFX into an LA shop? A short drive from Beverly Hills or the Santa Monica Airport? If LA VFX community wants to bring the work back then it needs to stop harping on about how unfair everything is, get hungry again and show that it really is the best.

    • VFX Soldier says:

      That’s a bit of a red herring as vfx in California doesn’t get that subsidy but I agree we should get rid of them.

      I would think that London, and nz and other vfx markets stand proud of their work as is no?

      If so let’s level the playing field. Let’s compete one on one, no subsidies, no artificial prices. Let’s see who really can survive without subsidies.

  10. fizz says:

    The California Film Office provides this information http://www.film.ca.gov/Incentives.htm which basically says that there’s $100million up for grabs every year through to 2014.

    The reality is that without subsidies the work will go to wherever the local currency is the weakest against the dollar and the local labor costs are the lowest, just as it did in the 70s (Star Wars, Alien, Superman), the 80s (Aliens, Indy) and the 90s (Titanic, Star Wars again). There’s a strong argument that says the growth of the US VFX industry was subsidized by cheap physical production costs in Europe and elsewhere.

    Anyone sitting in a Santa Monica or Venice VFX studio thinking that the work will come to them because the sun shines brighter on their heads is deluding themselves.

    • VFX Soldier says:

      Fizz, that’s a red herring.

      I challenge you to name me one feature film that was awarded California subsidies for VFX work done here.

      I can name you almost every film that was awarded subsidies for vfx work in NZ, London, Canada, Singapore, and Austrailia. It would probably be almost all of them.

      Again, I agree with you that those subsidies should go away but its clear why they exist: To keep the work from running away. The subsidies in other states and countries are meant to lure the work away.

      This is exactly what a trade war is: various factions using subsidies to engage in protectionism. Its the very reason the WTO exists and we must bring a petition to end the war. Were all suffering from it.

      When the project is over in NZ, artists are bouncing to Canada. When that project is over they bounce to London. Its insane and costly for the artists and provides no benefit to the facilities. Remember, its the rich US studios that get that money.

      • Dave Rand says:

        I agree level the playing field and then let’s see who does the best work. It’s my believe talent is equally distributed around the globe. The proximity of the director to the talent is what really saves money. Read my post above. They don’t direct their movies on the set by passing notes through 5 people or by teleconference. They are present and we (vfx workers) are now the set, we are production. Stage work is becoming pre production for many of the most profitable films. Some directors get it and are present walking amongst the VFX workers, living in the shops I’ve even seem one compositing shots. Funny in the past directors loved to have their photo taken looking through the camera …soon it will be even cooler to be seated at a powerful workstation. That’s the future if you ask me and you can’t outsource that kind of focus and there is not even a subsidy worth taking now that out does that benefit. I’ve proven it in action and will again.

        On another note…I’m currently employed in LA because of a major investment from another country that is fast becoming a major player in VFX fims…and they carry no subsidy program. I’m all for those types of players, adding to the mix.

        Soldier is correct none of those subsidies go to VFX work in California so there is no comparison…So many arguments against the cessation of subsidies deflections and are coming from those that work with half their paycheck coming from market socialism…..those folks should not be afraid if the subsidies leave their area, as has been stated, rely on your talent. Me, I just want to settle down somewhere sunny.

  11. fizz says:

    The incentives in California cross-subsidize post production work done in the state, just as the NZ subsidies on Avatar cross-subsidized the work done on Avatar in California or the way the UK incentives payed for the LA location shoots on Inception and The Dark Knight Rises. It’s an ecosystem which waxes and wanes.

    • Dave Rand says:

      Wax on Wax off

      Massive Wax off in California but so far this is the best deflection written, well done.

      • fizz says:

        So you’ll happily tell the grips, riggers, camera guys, caterers, teamsters who all work in California that you’re sorry their incentive had to go but it was necessary in order to level your playing field? At least when I’m pulling a subsidy out of some other territory I’m using it to help pay US union crews and cover their fringe. Are you doing the same when you take BC’s subsidized work?

  12. Dave Rand says:

    I’m all for an synergy of artists sharing an making a living. I have good friends in Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver, New Zealand, India, Singapore, Australia, UK, Florida, NY, Georgia, Arizona, Michigan, and California. I hope they all get to earn a living as artists, something that historically was not as viable as today because of the VFX industry. To those who have families in in California and have watched their jobs leave because of tax incentives from governments that agreed not to impose, so that a natural evolution could evolve that truly is synergistic, to them, it’s not feeling much like an ecosystem at all. What is California to do?..as it’s incentive program is no where near the coverage of the rest and the waiting line is 10 times longer than those getting the meager allotment…are we to keep jacking up this market socialism until the governments pay the whole tab? California came close to going broke, the US economy has seen jobs leave in droves. No one in California’s VFX industry is feeling mother nature’s embrace. My guess is those defending the current landscape are not living here. They are not living at the source and wondering why the street their families grew up on has signs installed saying one way, and none of them are pointed to their house. I still believe that spreading production globally on government’s dime lacks any resemblance to profitable creative focus that happens when decision maker and artists are in the same breathing space. No incentive can buy that. I hope one day all this infrastructure opens up new markets of production from private money. I look forward to blockbuster films originating from Canada, the UK, NZ, Australia, Asia, and the rest. So far it is still dominated by the source California but the only way it resembles an ecosystem here is when the locust come and eat everything in sight.

  13. billyshakes1492 says:

    why should the non vfx working people care about the problems of the vfx working foot soldiers (movie people)?

  14. […] He also admits that they don’t save any money from subsidies and cheap labor as the client demands it. He expressed interest in the US taking a stronger stand on trade issues. A few facility owners have expressed interest on this. Why not join forces on this lone issue and take it to the USTR? […]

  15. […] to VFX facility owners and professionals being adversely affected by subsidies in our industry. As you may know I’ve dedicated many posts to the issue and many international trade law expert…. While I feel it was hastily put together, many found Joe Harkin’s online petition quite […]

  16. sick of vfx says:

    What about “Which way LA” on KCRW. It is a great informative talk show on KCRW. I bet if we framed the argument that thousands of LA based jobs are going to international companies, they would be interested. And they would pick it up.

    “Which way” often covers Hollywood issues, and is very in depth about the issues at hand. Lets start local, get people talking. They have a huge base of influential listeners. After all this issue was already picked up by the LA Times.

  17. kkthxs says:

    This is all well and good. But take away the subsides and what will Australia have? There is not enough production and film work to sustain what little industry we have. Of course the situation isn’t ideal but without it there would be a whole bunch of people unable to do what they love unless they move to America – where it seems you want all the work to return to. I agree it’s currently a race to the bottom however there doesn’t seem to be a viable alternative at the present time…

    • VFX Soldier says:

      Well what about Spain? Belize? Japan? If you’re implying that the vfx industry can’t sustain itself without subsidies why should it be entitled to have a vfx industry over other countries.

      If I wanted to work in the oil industry should I be entitled to work in it where I live or should I have an understanding that I have to go to Texas?

      The race to the bottom is unsustainable. It’s a zero sum game where players are using governments to out market driven locations out of business.

      • kkthxs says:

        Your point is valid. But this isn’t isolated to the VFX industry. There are plenty of industries that rely ongovernment help to make them viable on an international stage. If you wanted to work for the oil industry you would probably have to go to where the oil is. However the world is far too connected to suggest one can’t do business as a result of location. VFX is delt with on an international scale, just the same as an oil company may have a Sydney office, even tho we don’t have any oil. Of course I don’t believe everything should be in Australia but it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have equal opportunity with the help of the government. Is it truely equal? – hell no and does it screw everyone else? – to an extent. But because it adversely effects one market in a globally competitive world, doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be allowed to exist. Otherwise it sounds like you are implying America should have the monopoly on visual effects because thats just the way it should be.

        I’m all for what you are trying to achieve – but we need that magical way to make it happen, which I believe would require us to change the entire way the studio’s approach making a film. But that would affect their bottom line and they won’t budge on that unless hell freezes over…

  18. Andrew says:

    Film subsidies from Canada is a pathetic way for jealous people to attempt to steal Hollywood from us California’s. Canada hates the fact that its free market neighbor has enjoyed such world wide success in an industry it has failed terribly at. So it’s solution is to pay out the nose to steal it away from its rightful place. Well I hope they enjoy it while it last, because once the money runs out Hollywood will return home to is warm sunny palm tree free market beaches. All you people from wherever you came from makeing a case about how it’s ok to steal our beauty, our love, our Hollywood, are nothing more than opportunist thieves. Let’s see how you like it when your neighbors reach into your country and take you Art, your Song and your Soul.

  19. […] #VFX Artists Petition US President & VES […]

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