Drug Usage In The VFX Industry

From LAist:

An employee at a local visual effects company says that he was wrongfully fired for “exposing” the coke habit of one of his higher-ups.

Yesterday a Superior Court judge ruled that the employee Andrew MacDonald could bring a lawsuit against his former employer Ascent Media Group for wrongful termination, according to City News Service.

This was actually a story that broke a few years ago here.

My first job in the industry was under a supervisor who was coked out all the time. I was surprised to learn how common drug and alcohol abuse was at the various places I worked. Scott Ross also has some commentary on the issue. I guess my surprise came from previous jobs in other industries that required drug testing. I wonder how well the VFX industry would fair under a drug testing program?

I also wondered how any work could get done while so many people were intoxicated or on drugs. Well I’ve come to learn that for some people the only way to work the long hours is being under the influence of something.

Soldier On


21 Responses to Drug Usage In The VFX Industry

  1. rfk says:

    *cough* DD *cough*

  2. allegrodigital says:

    I often wonder if I’m the only one in the industry not on drugs. And then I wonder if the rest of the world is this on drugs, or if it’s mostly just this industry. And then I realize I’m probably one of the few people on the planet not on drugs. It’s lonely out here.

    • edwardh says:

      Haha come on… you may want to think about moving (or at least changing companies/friends) if it’s really that bad where you live. At work, I’ve only once or twice come across people who were obviously alcoholics. But aside from that, nothing. And even privately – yes, it seems every other person in Toronto is a stoner but as for the places I’ve been in Europe, there was just the usual drinking binge probably 95% of people indulge in about once a week. Little else.

      (Although I do have to say that it annoys me that so much in our society works mostly through drugs (and alcohol IS a drug). And it can make one lonely if one simply don’t want to communicate on that plane. But – that’s really beyond the scope of this article’s topic)

      • Allegro says:

        I’ve moved around. From Toronto, to Sydney, to Vancouver.

        And I’m not referring to alcoholism.

  3. Scott Ross says:

    Unfortunately illegal drugs and more than ever prescription drugs are everywhere nowadays. Additionally, given the brutal work days, incredible pressure, age demographics and relatively decent pay… the VFX industry has its share of drug issues. It’s yet another problem our industry faces.

  4. Glokenpop says:

    What about drug usage in the music industry?

    • jonavark says:

      many years ago I worked at a high end studio that had little mirrors mounted right next to the master faders on their consoles. I even helped one big star snort his out of the piano he spilled it in. ya does what you’re told.

  5. Glokenpop says:

    Or even the film industry?

  6. Method / CIS’s parent company now requires drug testing. They’ll even compensate you for an hour of your time. Allegrodigital, you are not along! There are many of us in LA living the clean life. Personally, I’ve found that there’s really only about 1 or 2 true alcoholics in the fx department in every company I’ve been in, but for the most part its recreational and when its time to button down people know when to stop and work.

  7. SETI says:

    cocaine has been infused into the Hollywood culture long before the computer animation industry merged with it. I accredit some of this with how things have slipped up in VFX and the amazing things we do with computers and art. The coked out executives of Hollywood are doing more damage then they know. A bunch of Tony Montanas running amuck with our nations entertainment industry.
    Meanwhile marijuana is still the choice drug for creative types the world over. Its safer, It wont kill us and it can be used while working as many people I know are fully capable of enjoying a puff on some good herb and getting their work done…very well!
    Think about that studios.
    I believe some game studios even offer their employees specific places to light up a doobie. I know mine would.

  8. SETA says:

    Drug testing in creative fields hasnt, nor will ever work. Music for example. I commend those who choose to not use drugs and like all good bosses know…If it isnt affecting their work than its not their concern. I guess leadership of these major studios are likely to be high on all sorts of things and if they let it affect their companies direction….Then its bad. Shouldnt we be able to drug test our employers? If we see it affecting the companies direction? Nice to bring this up…and sure. but in the end I think the different cultures behind different drugs will prove whose more creative in the end….and who can make the best games, movies, music, etc…

  9. Paul says:

    Take whatever you want but just don’t drag me into this way of life of yours. I cringe whenever I meet druggies who claim coolness and creativeness and consider non coke/pot heads as outcasts of whatever business they’re in. My drugs are smoking, coffee and alcohol and I do not judge nor impose that to anyone.

    Hopefully we’re not supermodels/actors because we would be promptly kicked out of the pack for not snorting or sipping gallons of champagne. Actually we wouldn’t even be allowed to get in in the first place.

  10. hmmm says:

    This case is really the pot calling the kettle black… the cocaine war between employee and boss.. sorry, but neither one was sober.

    Drugs are just a part of the business as is alcohol, not that that’s good but it’s sort of the way it is. …the p.a. is asked to supply cocaine to the client… There once was a saying that you had to be an alcoholic to work at DD but those were the glory days, the fun days, the Firehouse parties, and the martini nights when people loved DD and DD loved them. It’s not just there but everywhere.

    Too much drinking and partying at work and it still happens. Where else can you find a fully stocked bar or fridge full of booze, but at work.. duh or maybe a bit of cocaine under the radar or fully visible? How else are you going to maintain slave conditions and hours if you aren’t speeded out? exactly…

  11. Caleb Owens says:

    Two words at DD, The Roof.

  12. Doobie Brother says:

    Anyone care to elaborate on the room at Pixar? Ive heard things…

  13. Doobie Brother says:

    haha…teaPOTS…thats what Ive heard. Alice in wonderland…Among other tings.

  14. anon says:

    Alcohol is a drug too….. that is illegal in many places too…….

  15. Guy_with_camera says:

    I was employed at Riot and Encore. I told the higher ups of having cokeheads for bosses and they did nothing about it. A few of the people who are in management at these companies should be held accountable for their lack of responsibility and care / safety. I hope Andrew does well on this.

  16. Cokey_The_Clown_RETURNS says:

    I hope one day to overtake cokey’s legacy when I open a better Method studios.

  17. Asking questions are really good thing if you are not understanding something
    completely, except this article provides nice understanding yet.

  18. It’s a shame that medical marijuana is caught in the fight with recreational use. I can’t wait for the day it becomes legal everywhere so it can help everyone.

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