Well, something funny happened to me today.
Joe Harkins, who was irked about some of my posts, wrote a pretty controversial post titled “Who Is VFX Soldier?” in the hopes to make me “own up” to what I have written over the years. He subsequently revealed that in his spare time, he has been trying to track down my identity using some rather flimsy evidence to come to some wild conclusions as to who I am.
To my surprise, before I could respond a plethora of comments and tweets by various individuals were directed at Mr. Harkins in strong disagreement for attempting to out me. Soon he apologized for the post and took it down, along with his whole blog and twitter account.
First let me say I accept Mr. Harkins apology. I’m sorry if you were irked by my post but I strongly disagreed with what you were saying. After Joe took the post down, I tweeted to ask him to put the post back up because what he did was already out of the bag and eventually someone was going to re-post it elsewhere. He ask that I not put up what he wrote and that I not comment on the issue. While I will respect Mr Harkins wishes on not revealing his post, I have to comment on the issue to clarify a few things.
Why Am I Anonymous?
I started this blog with the idea of trying to unify vfx professionals and change the narrative. In order for it to be a catalyst for change I wanted something to motivate people. When I was in grade school we learned about the tomb of the unknown soldier. I couldn’t understand the notion at the time. Why was he/she unknown? Why didn’t someone deduce who he/she was?
The teacher explained to me that wasn’t the purpose of the tomb to the unknown soldier. It was in honor of the nameless, faceless group who had sacrificed their lives for the freedom of others. While our concerns come nowhere near what they were fighting for, I felt vfx professionals around the world were sacrificing so much for a film industry that did very little to recognize and or share the same amount of respect and success as they did with others.
My anonymity was an attempt to make this an egoless mission. It’s not perfect at times but my goal was to make people not focus on who I was or what I did but to focus on the message. I’m not scurred of who I am . I’m proud of what I’ve said on this blog and I “own up” to all of it. If Joe had outted me I would have continued the campaign. As I said before, I don’t ask you to trust me, just verify the information I have presented. If you feel it’s incorrect you are more than welcomed to comment and discuss.
With that being said, I feel the criticism directed at Mr. Harkins is totally valid. This was a tawdry underhanded tactic and while I was concerned about his announcement of trying to track me down, I was also concerned about the potential of others having private information tracked.
An Act Of Solidarity
You know what surprised me the most? It wasn’t what Joe did, it was the reaction. So many people even the ones that strongly disagreed with me unified to defend me. It humbled me. I’m incredibly grateful. Some would say this was a huge diversion from the larger issues we are trying to solve but I disagree. Consider what happened today:
A so-called divided group of vfx professionals united to protect an anonymous one in their ranks. If you were willing to do that for me, what about the person sitting next to you at work? What about the unknown fellow in your industry working an ocean away? What unites us is far greater than what divides us.
This funny incident led to an act of solidarity. We are marching towards progress. We are all VFX Soldiers.