Lots of VFX news today. The LA Times starts off with the story of Sari Gennis:
Gennis said the long hours aggravated a severe arthritis condition. She’d already had both knees replaced, and needed a third surgery, but couldn’t afford to take time off for the operation.
“If I continue these kind of hours, it could kill me,” the visual effects veteran said.
There is also coverage in major publications about today’s VFX union informational meeting near Imageworks.
The historic Culver City Hotel may see a little Hollywood union history of its own Friday when Visual effects Artists from nearby Sony Pictures Imageworks meet with representatives of the Animation Guild and IATSE.
“We are the only vfx facility,” says the SpiUnion blog, “that has all of the following: makes our own content (Cloudy, Smurfs), is partially unionized (SPA), does vfx for other studios, has offices in multiple countries, and is owned by one of the major studios. That gives us a very unique edge in this discussion over any other facility in the world. Let us show the rest of the CG industry that change can start with us.”
Supporters say workers deserve benefits shared by their peers at a time when visual effects have become increasingly important to the commercial success of movies.
“We need health insurance that will carry us through downtimes now more than ever before,” SpiUnion says on its blog. “We are not second class citizens. We sacrifice, work hard, and make good movies we should all be proud of. We are not a commodity, we have talent, we have value.”
History is complicated though: a failed 2003 attempt by the Animation Guild to organize SPI casts a shadow over the current effort. Kaplan acknowledged that in the prior effort, “the IA was (trying) to walk in and impose a contract on you,” and said the approach would be different this time. “Organization has to stem from the artists within,” he noted.
Is this the start of VFX spring? It’s certainly promising and I hope so. After all, usually when spring comes by it leads to green shoots.