We’re Funded! So What’s Next?

We’ll that was fast! Over the holidays we reached our funding goal to begin our campaign to end VFX subsidies. The LA Times ran an article about the effort .

When I first met with our law firm one of the big questions was will there be support for what we are trying to do? Given how quickly many of you responded and supported the first stage I have to say we are all incredibly grateful and impressed. Even with the little indiegogo delay you all continued your support like nothing happened. Thank you.

With 2013 started we are ready to hit the ground running and the question is what’s next? When I can I will send updates through the blog. Right now we are initiating the first steps for the feasibility study to determine what will be the right strategy going forward.

On of the first items is documenting the nuts and bolts of how subsidies work in the VFX industry. I’ll be working with contacts to get them this information but I’d also like to invite readers who have personal knowledge in this issue. If you feel you might be of help on this email me:

vfxsoldier@gmail.com

We’ll assess each message individually. Some information might be redundant but it’s great to get some first hand information on the matter. So if you are someone or know someone who might be willing to reach out on this issue, let me know.

Soldier On.

113 Responses to We’re Funded! So What’s Next?

  1. Caleb Howard says:

    You’re talking about my paycheck. Please address the failures of the US government within the US borders. The VFX industry is not the sole right of L.A. or the US, and a free market includes things like government investment. That’s *my* tax dollars helping to build *my* industry in *my* country. If you want *your* country to compete, talk to *your* government. *Don’t* start interfering in how my tax dollars are spent in Canada.

    Frankly, attacking other countries that invest in the industry because your country prefers to invest in banking, and military industries is disingenuous. Please don’t give me this “race to the bottom” stuff, either. I am better paid and treated in Canada than I was in 15 years and 30 productions in L.A., and I was doing well in L.A.

    If you want the industry in California to compete, lobby your government to compete. Don’t, please, try to interfere with how my government chooses to invest in my industry outside of US borders.

    Thanks

    • shaner says:

      lobby our government to *compete* oh I see, you mean lobby our government to throw more corporate welfare their way right?

      That’s not competition. These companies are rent seekers.

    • Ashes says:

      If a country is violating the WTO and any international law, it should be investigated. This includes the US. The stance of this blog has always been that subsidies are bad for the industry. It’s never been, “All VFX work has to be done in LA.” That is a red herring. VFX Soldier has said many times, this blog is against all tax incentives everywhere, including the US.

      You country is building NOTHING. How do you not understand this? An industry that cannot support itself without government money is NOT an industry. If your government was giving money to a Canadian studio to enable them to film in Canada and do post in Canada until they were able to earn enough profits to do this on their own, THEN they would be building an industry. If the subsides were confined to that, then there wouldn’t be a problem. As soon as cheaper option comes along your are FINISHED. Still sound like an industry to you?

      As of right now, all they are doing are lining the pockets of US studios and devaluing our work. They are letting the US studios pay $5mil for $10mil of work. Hell, New Zealand even changed their laws! You seriously don’t see a problem with this?

      Right now there is so much work in VFX that there is no way for one country, let alone one city to do all the work. There is plenty of work for everyone.

      The industry is global and that’s a good thing. Subsides threaten all of this in the long run.

      • Caleb Howard says:

        Actually, all industry in the US and Canada exists upon the investments made by the governments. Calling the ones which are pulling a market away from the US subsidies and somehow destructive is flawed reasoning. The revenues generated in Canada by the infrastructure being built in Canada is a return on investment. The democratic application of tax funds to build an industry (and yes, it is being built, or this conversation wouldn’t be happening) are no different than any other investment – say of the US into big Agriculture, big pharma, big oil, military tech, etc.

        Attempting to drag the standards of the rest of the world down to the level of the US is no way to improve your lot. As I say, after 15 years, and 30 productions in L.A. I am happy to be getting the better working conditions, payment, and job satisfaction that my tax dollars are helping to provide in Canada. Same as I am relieved to have the superior health care that my taxes are similarly providing.

      • Caleb Howard says:

        Simply put, the proof is in the pudding, and life for this VFX soldier is *way* better with the Canadian investment in the industry.

      • Ashes says:

        Uh, no , as much as you wish it, it’s not the same thing. While some industries do get government help, if that help was pulled they wouldn’t collapse and end. Apple could lose all government dollars and it’d still be able to function. No, nothing is being built. Until the Canadian VFX industry can prove that it’s able to function without government funds, then it’s not a stable industry.

        Also, note that I had no problem with governments investing in their own countries industries to help them stay in their own countries. So, that would would include health, food, military, etc.

        Not sure where you getting the drag down from my post. It’s your post that’s saying everyone should drag themselves down to your level.

        Great that you are having a good time, a lot of people up there and else where aren’t. So, I guess you don’t care as long as you are doing well. Nice. Apparently it’s okay for you to have this attitude, but no one else.

      • Caleb Howard says:

        I’m certainly not alone in my position. It’s just that many of us are immersed in a very L.A.-centric perspective, which is the only reason this conversation is happening in the first place.

        The US-centric attitude which allows you to think that Big Oil, Pharma, Agriculture, and Military are the US internal markets is exactly the same delusion which makes you think that there is something unreal about the thriving Film industry in Canada and elsewhere.

        I spent 15 years – 3/4 of my career – working in the VFX industry in L.A. It’s better in Canada. Here, the inevitable decline in salary caused by increased supply of skills is being offset by investment by the government. That is not happening in the US. The problem in the US is the broader corruption and collapse of the economy. The problem of declining salary for VFX workers is that the laws of supply-and-demand aren’t being competitively offset by your government in the way that they are elsewhere. How you can think that the investment of funds from the government is bad for the workers is beyond me. It is an acrobatic feat of rationalization.

        In a laissez-faire market, *all* of our salaries would decline as the skills become more common. If you want to drag everyone down to the level that the free market would dictate, then you are working against your own interests, and the interests of everyone in the VFX industry.

        I say again, conditions are better in Canada because Canada has invested, and built an industry. The industry exists. It’s real. It has been built. You can say that it is supported by the government investment, but that is true everywhere. You cannot say it is unreal, however, because it is thriving, and supporting a great many of your peers.

        I will fight to prevent your ignorance from impacting my livelihood in my country. Your problems are caused by your government’s corruption, fraud, and theft. The US is in the thrall of a few rich men who don’t give a damn about the well-being of its people. Looking outside your borders for the source of your woes is foolish in the extreme. (Though a common approach, in the US. I lived there for a long time, I know how easy it can be to think of it as the center of the world.)

      • VFX_Boom says:

        Take away the Subsidies, and let’s find out how “Real” an industry Visual Effects is in Canada.

      • Caleb Howard says:

        Similarly, take away government spending which supports film making in the US. If that’s your criteria for reality, then I guess all governed civilization is unreal. Mighty peculiar assertion, though.

      • Ashes says:

        Again Caleb, Canada has no industry. Again, the position of this blog is that ALL SUBSIDIES ARE BAD. Do you get it? None are good, anywhere. So get off this whole Canada vs. LA. It’s not about that.

        You don’t seem to grasp this simple position. Great you like Canada. Great you live there. That’s what you want and what you like. Unlike you, I’m not trying to twist and promote illegal active to try and keep my live style.

        As for fighting, whine all you want on a blog’s comment section, I’ll talk with my wallet and support VFX Soldier regardless of which country I end up in next month because I actually want a healthy industry. Unlike you, I’m not blinded by my own greed and can actually see why tax incentives are bad for everyone.

      • Caleb Howard says:

        …and for the record, the *entire* digital effects industry owes its complete existence to… That’s right, Canadian government subsidy. All that 3D technology that started it all – Side Effects SW, Alias, SoftImage – All Canadian, and All Canadian because of Government programs. So… When you’re trying to tell me that the Canadian Govt. isn’t building an industry, just remember, that the Canadian Government built the industry.

      • Studio_Spotter says:

        “Similarly, take away government spending which supports film making in the US.”

        Well that was desperate… . you’re grasping at relative peanuts that mostly goes to low budget films anyway. Not comparable in the slightest.

      • Caleb Howard says:

        I am looking at:

        “Basic Overview of U.S. and International Production Incentives * as of January 23, 2012.

        It’s a state by state breakdown of the incentives offered in the US for production.

        Not peanuts.

      • Caleb Howard says:

        For example, in CA:

        ‘Compensation and Project Caps/Funding Per Year: No compensation caps; feature film budget cap of $75,000,000; “independent film” budget cap of $10,000,000 in “qualified” expenditures; $100,000,000 funding per fiscal year from 2009 2010 to 2013–2014; ≤ $10,000,000 a year set aside for “independent films”; annual allotment on first-come, first-served basis’

      • Studio_Spotter says:

        Sorry Caleb,
        Thats peanuts.
        That CA fund does not go to big budget films. In the last 4 years, only 57.5 mil/year has actually been awarded. It is a fund designed for independent low budget developing film makers. And it is awarded by drawing because there are so many applicants.

        This does not compare with far higher rebate rates to studios producing blockbuster high budget films.

      • Caleb Howard says:

        So… The issue (to you) is not subsidies in itself. You just resent that the US isn’t paying subsidies at the same rate. I’m not sure that’s a strong argument before the WTO.

        In any case, Although the US is fond of considering the world an American resource, and a market for American products, The fact is that the investment made by Canada into the VFX industry helps VFX workers. My initial point is that the American desire to subvert a Canadian program which helps VFX workers earn a better living is destructive on the whole, and self-centered in its motivation.

        My secondary point was that the decline of the American economy is not caused by the Canadian programs. This effort being mounted might better be aligned against the ongoing fraud and outright theft being continuously perpetrated by the corporate interests in the US, and the politicians they have bought.

        My third point was that I lived and worked in the US – working with the best people on the best projects in the best place at the best time of the VFX industry. It was a hard decision when I left – to leave my friends, and take my kids away from the place they were born, and sell the house, and go to a place where I knew no-one,

        When I did leave, it was because of the collapse of the economy caused by a corrupt banking system. When I left, The investments made by the Canadian government in my industry gave me a very attractive option to return to. Similar investments made by the British, and other governments made it the case that I had several options to choose from, as the LA market became oversaturated, and depressed along with the rest of the American economy.

        Anyway, I’ve got to work, and I’ve said what I care to say.

        Good luck, all. Love to my friends.

        (BTW City of Quartz tells the story of a city which I love)

      • Studio_Spotter says:

        I’m going out on a limb here and submitting that you have no idea what substantiates an argument before the WTO. I read the agreement before I pledged. I also spoke with legal council on the topic some time before this. It states a violating subsidy must “injure” a fellow WTO member’s industry by producing a “like product.” In other words, size matters. There is basically 0 argument as to whether the film subsidies are in violation. The major inhibiting factor, according to legal council I spoke with, was merely whether the US decides it is worth the argument to negotiate a rectification or challenge a violation with another nation. The subsidies have to be hostile enough. I believe they are.

        Supplying funding for a handful of fledgling independent low budget film makers is not on par with the billions going into scores of multi-100 million dollar film budgets around the world.

        Sadly you seem so content with your short term “overvalued” (they’re not passing on the extra cash you think they are) employment that you refuse to view the issue longer term.

        Make no mistake, inevitably one day the tax payers will stop signing your paycheck. And when they do, the studios will leave. You will either be forced to move again, or change professions. Your family, your house, your life, all inconsequential to chasing those subsidized dollars. So enjoy it while it lasts.

      • atlas says:

        Again Caleb, bs. Many software programs where also competitors for years that were developed in the U.S. However, the art itself, blockbuster films with vfx, u.s. established and created. Sony, ILM, Pixar, Pdi, Rnh all have created software to enhance their film making abilities. Writing some code is not the same thing as making a motion picture. Your not seeing the trees through the forest. Sure Maya won, whoop, whoop. So if Canada created this industry of vfx film making where are the films? Adding a spoon to eat soup does not make one a chef.

      • SteveM says:

        “An industry that cannot support itself without government money is NOT an industry.”

        Name one single industry that does this. One.

      • globalConspiracyRus says:

        Agriculture. Anywhere in the Western world.

      • globalConspiracyRus says:

        In fact, name me one single western agricultural economy that *isn’t* supported by subsidies. And that includes all the exporters too.

    • Dave Rand says:

      Canada signed the same trade agreements as the United States because they did not want anyone messing with their citizen’s paychecks either. Free trade always shows the best growth rate. Balance in our industry would imply that there would exist a list of VFX films from Canada that we could do subsidized work for in the United States and abroad…that list should be long as the infrastructure an talent certainly exist… But it is not, it doesn’t even exist… and some see that as unfair on both sides of the border.. The tone of your post suggest you’d feel the same if you were living in LA, kids in school, a home, community and family ties, and your paycheck was bought by taxpayers in another country…because that is what’s happened to thousands already and yes trying to out subsidize the subsidy is a race to the bottom and further warps the marketplace inviting only more imbalance and control over who produces content, were it’s centralized, and who really profits from it.

      • Caleb Howard says:

        In 2008, I moved from L.A. where I lived for 15 years – kids in school, home in Santa Monica, Friends in the industry. Roots. Almost all of my friends are there still.

      • Caleb Howard says:

        The collapse of the American economy was the reason I left. I would have preferred to stay. I certainly didn’t and don’t blame Canada’s investment in the industry. To the contrary, I was grateful to have a better option, as the American economy was gutted by fraud and theft.

      • Caleb Howard says:

        …and my pay, and standard of living improved. This “Race to the bottom” nonsense is a fabrication. What you are feeling is a free market causing the DEMAND for your skills to wane as the SUPPLY of workers increases.

        “Free trade always shows the best growth rate.” Feh. Not for the workers, pal.

      • Dave Rand says:

        Then eliminating subsidies should have no impact on your paycheck

      • Caleb Howard says:

        how does that follow? With growing supply, salaries go down. That was my point. Subsidies keep salaries artificially high, against a free market as it is being suggested here.

    • Ymir says:

      Government investment is a polite way of saying government kickback.

      • Caleb Howard says:

        government kickbacks is a rude way of saying government investment.

      • Ymir says:

        “government kickbacks is a rude way of saying government investment.”

        To paraphrase Shakespeare: A turd by any other name doth smell so bad. A kickback is a kickback is a kickback. Doesn’t matter how you try to dress it up.

      • Caleb Howard says:

        To quote Shakespeare: “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”

        An investment is an investment. It doesn’t matter how you try to dress it down.
        🙂

        good day.

      • Ymir says:

        To quote Shakespeare: “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”

        Every rose has it’s thorn. – Poison
        🙂

    • Steve M says:

      “Agriculture. Anywhere in the Western world.”

      Right, so you just proved that you have no idea what you’re talking about, as all agriculture in the western world is heavily subsidized by governments.

      This goes to prove the ultimately point which is that this “campaign” has exactly a zero percent chance of winning. Because if the premise is that subsidies, financial incentives or just plain superior government policy creates an un-level playing field for a particular industry to thrive, then… yeah, it does. It always does. With everything. You might as well take the money you’ve raised for this “campaign” could be put to equal use by lighting it on fire and flushing it down the toilet.

      Hope you’re all having fun with your wasted time, effort and money. But seriously, instead you should have probably spent it polishing off your demo reel.

  2. VFX_Boom says:

    Yes, we should all be asking the US Gov to give even more free money to the super wealthy Film Studios. Problem solved.

    That’ll Show’em!!!

    Are there not more folks out there that take issue with this ‘Government Welfare for Corporations’ nonsense taking place? Especially when it’s foreign Governments writing checks for Hundreds of Millions to US Studios?

    The US Studios don’t give a crap, they just follow the trail of free money. Sure you may be living in a “Free Money” zone at the moment, but that will end. And the folks supporting the subsidies now, will be singing a different tune.

    It’s best to truly let the market be free, as Mr. Howard suggests, and let the industry exist naturally and not as skewed as it currently is.

    • Caleb Howard says:

      The money the Canadian government invests goes *directly* to the workers, in proportion to their salary, and to pay their salary.

      • VFX_Boom says:

        Has Canada ever done a study on how many of the workers they “Invest” in, are in fact not Canadian? I have many friends in Canada working. And not a single one is Canadian.

        Sure they are spending the a good chunk of money sustaining themselves. But, they, along with their savings will come back to their native lands. ie the US, UK, etc.

        Unless of course they fall in love with Hockey, and choose to stay. ; )

      • Dave Rand says:

        The tax incentives are often sold to wealthy local citizens for 80 cents on the dollar and the American studios are the main beneficiaries, as they actually spend very little in Taxes. The VFX shops are there mainly because the studios need to see those locations on the bid or they don’t get the project.

      • Caleb Howard says:

        Canadian workers are subsidized at a higher rate, so… yes.

        …and for the record, the *entire* digital effects industry owes its complete existence to… That’s right, Canadian government subsidy. All that 3D technology that started it all – Side Effects SW, Alias, SoftImage – All Canadian, and All Canadian because of Government programs. So… When you’re trying to tell me that the Canadian Govt. isn’t building an industry, just remember, that the Canadian Government built the industry.

      • Dave Rand says:

        Not true actually. Alias and Wavefront relied heavily on US investment banking in the 90’s. I would know I was on the investment team at that made it happen. It was not until Silicon Graphics, a USA corporation who’s Initial systems were based on the Geometry Engine that Clarks and Marc Hannah had developed at Stanford University in the USA, took them over that any real VFX technology was born and used for film, until then only Tron and The Mask were done by the American Studios using the three companies hardware and software separately. So it was definitely a cooperative birth and no country can claim dibs on that. Curious still is Canada’s complete lack of content contribution from day one. Even more curious is that very few Canadian VFX artists seem to want to question that. Is it that you could not manage it? No, it’s because your kept in your place by tools like funneling subsidies to the Americans rather than your own content… Your not allowed in the club and you all should be.

      • Caleb Howard says:

        The investment banking you mention being used by Alias and Wavefront were an attractive option in the US because of government incentives to the banking industry.

        Regardless of the fact that Canada was not the sole country involved in the development of technology, the fact remains that it was the Incentives created by investments from the Canadian Government which developed the majority of the software which led to the initial development of the Digital VFX industry. The incentives were, and are good for the industry.

        Anyway, I’ve enjoyed this, and learned some things. I appreciate the discourse, and the general civility. My initial point was that the US-centric perspective which is being presented as non-US subsidies are bad is pretty one-dimensional, and that there are a great many people being well-served by the incentives being offerred to production budgets outside of the US.

        My secondary points were that the economic problems in the US are vast beyond the problems of productions leaving the US, and caused by corruption in the government and the bankers and industries the government serves to the detriment of it’s population. Also, that my opinion does not arise from the position of living and working outside of the US. The economic failure of the US pushed me out of my home, and the place of my children’s birth when I would have preferred to stay in a city and an industry I love. I was able to see that the Canadian incentives were an excellent option for people in my position, and not the cause of the failures in L.A. I would hope to pass some of that perspective along, and to add some breadth to the perspectives in the conversation.

        I appreciate the tone and content of the conversation. I must get some work done today, however.

        Love to my friends, and good luck, all!

        -caleb

      • atlas says:

        B.S. there is no kick back for the employees. It goes to the studios period. I know way to many artists making half of what they would have in the states. They are not seeing any reward for these kickbacks and they are in fact kick backs.
        Free trade would mean Canada was supplying something on their side. Paybacks are not trade they are bribes.
        Canada should just man up and create it’s own industry for it’s people. Canada or anywhere else for that matter wouldn’t have to buy jobs, which is in fact illegal under the current trade agreements, if there was any sense of entrepreneurship. Instead they illegal steal jobs. That is the issue at hand. It is exploitation plan and simple.

    • Caleb Howard says:

      The free market will see the salaries decline as the supply of skills continues to increase. If that’s what you’re after, then you are arguing against the interests of the workers.

      • Dave Rand says:

        Skills are useless without talent, that is limited while demand is increasing. Takeaways look around … Even in LA …how many locals do you see?

      • Caleb Howard says:

        It’s funny you should mention that. When I left Canada in ’93 – after my government invested in my education by paying for my University education – I was able to get work in the States because of what we call here, the Great Canadian Brain Drain. The US would rather pay Canadians who are educated by the government of Canada than they would to invest in growing local talent. In 20 years, I’ve never been out of work, where many Americans have been. This is because the Canadian government invests – not only in the industry, but also in the talent.

      • Dave Rand says:

        ” The US would rather pay Canadians who are educated by the government of Canada than they would to invest in growing local” …we all love our country, don’t we now

      • Caleb Howard says:

        I love the US. They paid me well for many years. I love Canada. They paid for the education that made that possible, and now pay to keep my lifestyle like it used to be in the US.

  3. shaner says:

    it’s not YOUR industry Caleb. These are U.S. corporations.

    • Caleb Howard says:

      Some of these are polynational corporations. Some are American. Many are Canadian. The industry does *not* belong to the US.

      • Dave Rand says:

        List the films ..American in one column, the rest in another.

        Your arguments have taken half this page already, mostly just shooting from the hip and admittedly very egocentric , It is not that they are invalid so much as it’s curious they are coming from someone who’s convinced we have no case. It’s best to question these topics formerly with the trade organizations these nations agreed to arbitrate with. There are lots of links provided on these pages just search for ” subsidies ” or “WTO”. In the search field. I bet you’d find it enlightening. There is no interest in eliminating international VFX work, just interest in restoring balance through free trade, talent, and branding.

      • Caleb Howard says:

        We’ll see how it goes. I’m not saying that there isn’t a case under the restrictions of the WTO. (Nor am I saying there is.). I’m saying that it is ignorant to look at the Canadian investments (and that of other governments) as the source of the problems facing US VFX workers. The laws of supply and demand (with growing supply) is driving down salaries. Also, the US economy is in a tailspin.

        It’s also deeply ignorant to suggest that the market doesn’t belong to Canada, precisely because of government investment. The *entire* digital effects industry owes its complete existence to Canadian government subsidy. All that 3D technology that started it all – Side Effects SW, Alias, SoftImage – All Canadian, and All Canadian because of Government programs. So… When you’re trying to tell me that the Canadian Govt. isn’t building an industry, just remember, that the Canadian Government built the industry.

        Subsidy is *good*. It’s taxes working for the people. Hard to understand in the US, I suppose.

      • Look at the big picture says:

        Caleb. You seem to have a very strong nationalistic pride in your home country of Canada, and there is nothing wrong with that, but I think it’s so strong that it’s clouding your judgement here.

        The issue isn’t Canada vs. USA or Los Angeles.

        The issue is the major studios (which happen to be American) taking advantage of local governments to lower production costs and increase profits without regard for anything else. The side effect of this is that it’s forcing artists EVERYWHERE to adopt a nomadic lifestyle in order to stay employed in this industry.

        What will happen to Vancouver’s VFX industry when another government comes along and offers incentives that Vancouver cannot match? What happens if Singapore decides to offer 50% tax incentives? China 60%? Vancouver will not disappear completely from the industry but you might find yourself forced to leave your beloved Canada rather quickly and move your family half way around the world.

        Again, this is not a Canada vs. “those stupid and selfish Americans” issue. It’s a fight for relative stability vs. random uncertainty. It affects every VFX artist in the world and if you cannot see that your happy Canadian lifestyle in the VFX biz is just an illusion that can disappear with the stroke of a pen anywhere in the world…. well I think you may be as blinded as those you accuse of being.

      • Caleb Howard says:

        I left my beloved Canada and moved to the US in ’93. Then, in ’08 I left my beloved L.A. and moved back to Canada. Both times it was my choice, and both times I could have chosen to remain where I was and take lesser pay. There is nothing forcing a nomadic lifestyle. If you want to make the most, you go to where they pay the most. Otherwise you make do. The reason that the salaries are declining is because of the availability of the skills. Supply and Demand dictate that the greater the supply of skilled workers, the less of a salary those skills will command. That my Government wants to augment that, and keep me in Canada (after having drawn me to uproot my family and move to Canada) is *excellent. If they had not the incentives, I’d likely be in the states, and happy there. I’d be making less than I am here, and less than I did there in the 90s. That’s because of a free market, and the aforementioned laws of supply and demand.

        Should another country offer better incentives than Canada (as already is the case), I’ll move, switch careers, or take a cut. I don’t mind that. What I don’t think is reasonable is for people in another country to suggest that I should lose my standard of living because the US government isn’t as interested in the market as the Canadian government.

        If I lived in the states still, I’d look to apply my skills in a market that the US values enough to invest in. That, or I’d petition my representatives to look after my career as well as other countries do.

        I have lived this nomadic lifestyle for 20+ years now. I have lived and worked all over the world, because that has always been the nature of the work. Now I have decided to put down roots back home in Canada. I have no problem if another country tries to make it even nicer to do production elsewhere. I shall stay here anyway. I do have a problem with Self-involved Americans blaming the collapse of their economy on anything but their government, and seeking to screw up other people’s lives in other countries because they don’t feel like having a hard look at the real problems facing the US economy – the Film industry included.

        It is a singular American perspective we are seeing here.

      • Look at the big picture says:

        “I have no problem if another country tries to make it even nicer to do production elsewhere. I shall stay here anyway. I do have a problem with Self-involved Americans blaming the collapse of their economy on anything but their government, and seeking to screw up other people’s lives in other countries because they don’t feel like having a hard look at the real problems facing the US economy – the Film industry included.”

        Well as the subsidies war is in its infancy, I suspect you may get the opportunity to follow your own advice sooner than you may expect.

        Also, I’m not sure what the “collapse of the US economy” (huh? news to me) has anything to do with this discussion or how anyone is trying to “screw up people’s lives”. I understand how most people commenting here seem to be looking out for their own best interests but no one more so than yourself it seems as you seem to be framing this issue as an attack against you personally.

      • chrisian says:

        You ask to list the films what are your criteria for American? Harry Potter and LOTR are british writers, producers, most directed by non Americans. These two franchises have effectively funded WB and New Line to all0w them to make many films.

      • Caleb Howard says:

        If the collapse of the US economy is news to you, then I have nothing to offer you that might help you with that. It has to do with fractional reserve lending, and fraud at the highest levels of the banking industry. I was able to sell my house in Santa Monica just a moment before the collapse began, If you have not felt it, then you are amongst the fortunate few. It’s there, though. Many are suffering, including many workers in the VFX industry.

        As for my taking personally anything personally, I don’t know where you get that idea. I am speaking as one of many, many people who’s lives are enriched by the incentives provided to production outside of the US. I have said as much.

        The incentives may be lower in the US, but they exist.

        The VFX industry may suffer falling salaries as the market for the skills is oversaturated, but that’s Supply-and-Demand, not incentives.

        I may feel that pinch in Canada soon. I doubt it, but I have other options, and have never expected protection from market forces. I’m no fool.

        I do have to get to work, though. Thanks for the discourse, and good luck!

        Love to my friends in L.A.!

        -caleb

      • Look at the big picture says:

        I sense that your criticism of the US and it’s economy goes far beyond the scope of just tax subsidies and far beyond the topic at hand here. Briefly, the US has problems as does most of the western world economies. The US economy isn’t dead and predictions by economists as to its future vary from Mad Max level dystopia to complete economic recovery and continued status as a global economic superpower far into the future. I believe the evidence points convincingly towards the latter outcome but I don’t fault you for believing the opposite. You certainly aren’t alone in your pessimism. These are separate issues to the tax incentives however.

        You must realize that your current standard of living is artificial and being supported by market distortions. This is not sustainable. The housing bubble/bust was created and destroyed by the same forces. You may be enjoying it now because you were able to move back to your home country without giving up the standard of living that was made possible by the industry created in Los Angeles and has been temporarily and artificially mirrored in Vancouver. It’s very convenient for you. I’m sure it was also very convenient for those who owned real estate in Las Vegas in 2005 as well. But as we have seen, and as you apparently recognized as well but for some reason cannot apply to this situation, is that such market distortions cannot last forever and the bust becomes inevitable.

        You don’t seem to mind this as the circumstances at this very moment favor your preferences perfectly and you are taking full advantage of them. I have no problem with that. But you realize that this is coming at the expense of a lot of people who are not in your perfect situation, many of whom built this industry from scratch. I am not implying that you were not part of this or that hundreds of extremely talented people from all over the world weren’t absolutely essential to the birth of this industry, but rather that it was created here in Los Angeles and it ONLY could have been created here in Los Angeles. You may feel that you owe nothing, and you may be right, but you do owe you current standard of living to Los Angeles and it’s only because of market distortions that you are able to temporarily transplant that standard of living to Vancouver. This is not a sustainable.

        I would hope that more people would see the big picture here rather than adopt an “i got mine so whatever” attitude. As unflattering and crude as that may sound it’s what I have gathered from most of your comments.

  4. Maple Leaf eH! says:

    Eight Corporate Subsidies in the Fiscal Cliff Bill, From Goldman Sachs to Disney to NASCAR

    http://truth-out.org/news/item/13648-eight-corporate-subsidies-in-the-fiscal-cliff-bill-from-goldman-sachs-to-disney-to-nascar

    • Dave Rand says:

      Canada should offer counter subsidies against this entire list.

    • Caleb Howard says:

      Again, the NASCAR subsidies are *nothing* beside what the US gives to Oil, Agriculture, Pharma, Military, and the Banks. Your problem is not with Canada, but with the priorities of your own government’s spending.

      • shaner says:

        I really wish you would stop using corporatist buzzwords like “investments”. They’re not investing in anything. They’re just forcing workers to shuffle around the world on the whim of studios who benefit from corporate payouts from governments.

      • shaner says:

        Oh so the answer is for the U.S. to quit giving subsidies to oil, big pharmaceuticals and others and give it instead to the film industry?
        So in order to solve the wage and worker issues in the fx industry worldwide we have to…create more artificial bubbles in the U.S. through subsidies to the film industry?

      • Caleb Howard says:

        I’ve said this a few times now, but it bears repeating:

        It’s important to put Government investment into context. Remember, the *entire* digital effects industry owes its complete existence to Canadian government subsidy. All that 3D technology that started it all – Side Effects SW, Alias, SoftImage – All Canadian, and All Canadian because of Government programs. So… When you’re trying to tell me that the Canadian Govt. isn’t building an industry, just remember, that the Canadian Government built the industry.

      • Dave Rand says:

        Just reposting here as you’re hard to keep up with : ). “Not true actually. Alias and Wavefront relied heavily on US investment banking in the 90′s. I would know I was on the investment team at that made it happen. It was not until Silicon Graphics, a USA corporation who’s Initial systems were based on the Geometry Engine that Clarks and Marc Hannah had developed at Stanford University in the USA, took them over that any real VFX technology was born and used for film, until then only Tron and The Mask were done by the American Studios using the three companies hardware and software separately. So it was definitely a cooperative birth and no country can claim dibs on that. Curious still is Canada’s complete lack of content contribution from day one. Even more curious is that very few Canadian VFX artists seem to want to question that. Is it that you could not manage it? No, it’s because your kept in your place by tools like funneling subsidies to the Americans rather than your own content… Your not allowed in the club and you all should be.” Calib we have more in common than you think and I admire your using your real name. Funny our IMDB pages are pretty close and it was an honor airing out these thoughts with you. I to have loved working in Canada and fought hard against the asshole American Owners of Meteor trying to rob our friends of their pay.

      • atlas says:

        Wrong. What the U.S. does with it’s money internally is it’s legal right. However, other countries buying jobs does in fact violate the current trade laws. It is illegal. Illegal.

  5. dull@dull.com says:

    I dont get it. I am working for years in the same location. The problem with your guys is, you wanna work on Top10-Fancy-Hollywood movies in your Carlifornia, right in front of your house. I am working for years in same location, because i’ve decided, life is more important than working on newest Avatar or Hobbit movie. Sometimes, Top-Hollywood-bluster are done in other Countires, so stay here and doing TV-movies for same time.
    What if want to write for a top-magazine ? You have to go to NY to work with New York Times. What if wanna be Top-Fancy-Photographer for National Geographic ? You travel and stay in different Countries to get a top photo-story. if don/t wanna travel, stay and take pictures for your local press.
    You guys are arrogant, wanna work on next avatar and whining about they have move for it ! Stay at your location and do they job in your Area or are you too evolved to work on Non-Hobbit-movie ?

    The best part: 80% of artist like to move, travel see different countries, only the old one, which wanna start family are whining. If you wanna start family, you can to be picky, you need to take the job near your family.

    So get over it ! if you wanna change, start union for correct working condition !

    Its sounds a little hard, sometimes, you have see the story from a different angle.

  6. davey says:

    Again this only talks of VFX sunsidies and not the subsidies offered by the US in places like NY for shooting. Are we planning on taking down all subsidies as I imagine the other governments will lobby for that if this goes through. And if this happens lets see the drop in film production as nobody will be able to afford the 300 plus films made a year. We may make it a level playing feild although that is not true as labour laws in every other country will allow studios to undercut most in LA. I just hope we can address many other issues aswell as I fear this will be the end for alot of vfx in the western world and force most facilities to move almost all work to India, China, Macedonia and the like as stdios will then demand to keep vfx cheap.

    • vfxguy says:

      “I fear this will be the end for alot of vfx in the western world and force most facilities to move almost all work to India, China, Macedonia and the like as stdios will then demand to keep vfx cheap.”

      That is exactly what is going to happen if Soldier wins.

      • Look at the big picture says:

        Why could it not happen just as easily if Soldier loses? I see labor costs in the emerging world and market distortions due to tax incentives as 2 separate issues.

      • VFX_Boom says:

        This myth of all the VFX work being done in places like India, China, and Macedonia(?), just keeps ongoing. If that were true, the Film Studios would be there NOW, in a heart beat.

        The Film Studios HATE the fact they have to pay for VFX. It’s so sad. You’d think that alone would help the VFX artists from around the Globe band together, but it’s almost having the opposite effect.

      • vfxguy says:

        It will happen whether Solider wins or loses. The only question is when. The irony is that subsidies are actually keeping the work here in the west by subsidizing the cost of labor.

  7. Caleb says:

    The back and forth of the comments is indicative of what Ive harped on for years, the complete lack of community. “I’ve got mine go get yours”. “I’m smarter than you so you deserve to be out of work”. This Industry is screwed not because subsidies but because people can’t come together. Everyone is just too smart. Mark my words. Without a strong visible, out of the closet leader or leaders this is all going to hell in a hand basket. Wages will be shit no matter where you work. DD is the example of the future.

    • Caleb Howard says:

      Weissberg? Owen? Who goes there?

    • inVancouver says:

      In some cases, wages are inflated in Vancouver right now, not being driven down. I imagine because of all the free money. There are talented people here but with only a few years experience making major bank. Good for them while it lasts.

      But who are the real players here? It’s the US studios benefitting from the subsidies, and facilities like MPC with their massive new building, who are downsizing their London locations and leaving a trained workforce out to dry. All that money though is flowing out of Canada, as are my wages, which are going back to my bank account in the US (I’m not American).

      Sure there are some local shops like Image Engine and the Embassy but they are dwarfed next to foreign facilities that have set up here.

      I’m not US-centric at all and here’s my opinion: I’ve worked in London, Sydney, SF, LA, Vancouver and soon probably NYC. I find your attitude disingenuous. You’ve had a great career and you’ve been able to do it on a geographical axis separated by a 3 and a half hour plane flight, in the same time zone, now you just want to protect your own turf. VFX Soldier is interested in getting rid of protectionism since ultimately the studios have the cash and if they were more smart about how they paid for vfx they could save money too.

      Can ILM and MPC Vancouver survive without government cash? Can Warner Brothers? Let’s find out. The real recipients of government money should be local BC-based companies. What happened in London when the industry was subsidised and built was a good thing, although now it’s just stupid because those companies still need money to survive, even after Harry Potter, and they’re relocating out of the UK (or maybe it’s just expansion…)

      Re: software development, Nuke and Shake, plus all Lucasfilm/Pixar/ILM’s contributions to the industry all came out of California. Flame and Composer was developed partially in Australia before going to Montreal. Admittedly probably because the CSIRO was too short sighted to invest in developing it in Australia. Cineon is Kodak. Media Illusion was developed in the UK I think. The Foundry are in London last time I looked.

      You talk about Canadian investment in this industry but it’s more Montreal than Vancouver that invested in that software. and Canada’s provinces are always competing on subsidies. I’ve seen the indignation in the local Vancouver press whenever Montreal, Toronto or Sydney (Wolverine) “steal” a show from them because of a higher subsidy. The next subsidy goldmine is Montreal/New York, Vancouver’s about to jump the shark then you’ll be FUCKED. There’ll be no national unity then.

      • Caleb Howard says:

        Some fair points, though you are mistaken in thinking that I have not worked outside the time zone. I’ve worked in Sydney, London, Tokyo, Korea, Toronto, L.A., Vancouver,,, others? It’s hard to recall.

        The question is not about who can survive without subsidies. As someone else here pointed out, it’s about how much production gets funded. More incentives == more cash == more production == more work for you and me.

        The SW you mention being developed in the US was developed *after* the market for that SW existed. The SW developed in Canada was developed *before* the digital FX market existed. That was only possible due to incentives, and the later SW wouldn’t have been developed without the market created in Canada.

        I won’t be fucked should VFX leave Vancouver. There are other markets for my skills. My points are:

        – Canadian incentives are good for many people.
        – Canadian incentives are not the principal economic force affecting VFX workers in the US.
        – Canadian incentives helped build the industry, and continue to help grow the industry.

        My motivation is not nationalistic. I would have preferred to stay in L.A., where my friends are, and where my kids were born, and where the sun is brighter. I left because of the failures in the US, not because of the successes in Canada.

        Happy day. I’ve got to get back to work. Good luck, all, and love to my friends!

        -caleb

      • Dave Rand says:

        “The SW you mention being developed in the US was developed *after* the market for that SW existed. The SW developed in Canada was developed *before* the digital FX market existed. That was only possible due to incentives, and the later SW wouldn’t have been developed without the market created in Canada.”

        Just wanted to reiterate so readers can see both sides

        “Not true actually. Alias and Wavefront relied heavily on US investment banking in the 90′s. I would know I was on the investment team at that made it happen. It was not until Silicon Graphics, a USA corporation who’s Initial systems were based on the Geometry Engine that Clarks and Marc Hannah had developed at Stanford University in the USA, took them over that any real VFX technology was born and used for film, until then only Tron and The Mask were done by the American Studios using the three companies hardware and software separately. So it was definitely a cooperative birth and no country can claim dibs on that. Curious still is Canada’s complete lack of content contribution from day one. Even more curious is that very few Canadian VFX artists seem to want to question that. Is it that you could not manage it? No, it’s because your kept in your place by tools like funneling subsidies to the Americans rather than your own content…”

        Al Gore did not invent the internet either….

        I find it interesting that you left the USA because we were corrupt and our economy was failing yet working on projects generated by our fucked up economy and subsidized by your government seems perfectly legit and reasonable.

        Answer these two questions for me

        1. If California introduced a 45% subsidy to stop the 10 billion a year in walk away productions. Then those left in the cold offered 60% to get it back, California then offing 65% would that be a legitimate economy or as you put it….a fucked up one? Explain how that is not a race to the bottom rather than a free market. As you know free markets have always shown the best growth rates…that’s an economics 101 fact.

        2. In your opinion why has there not been one major VFX film coming out of Canada? Is it because they simply don’t know how?

      • Steve M says:

        “Al Gore did not invent the internet either….”

        You better believe he did.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al_Gore_and_information_technology#1999_CNN_interview

  8. chrisian says:

    Has anyone mentioned the countless times the USA has ignored the WTO rulings against them?

  9. Patrick Nagle says:

    I thought that vfx solider wants to end all subsidies for film tax credits not just foriegn ones as the articles headline states?

    • shaner says:

      He does want to end all subsidies. But that got lost in the “I got mine” postings.

      • Carlos Cidrais says:

        well, Soldier did admit in a previous thread he would be favourable to a model where California would also offer subsidies. Quoting:
        “Lee Stranahan once offered an idea I was receptive to: “The Plus One Subsidy.” Where California will offer studios to match any other location’s subsidy plus 1%. The reason I would support something like that is because it ends the race to the bottom. Again, this is incredibly costly and I doubt the state or any government for that matter would support something like that.

        There is a cost effective solution that is controversial: Have California charge a countervailing “duty” to producers for the amount of subsidies they receive from other governments. So if a producer received $5 million in subsidies, they would be expected to pay that amount in extra fees. Would this have a chance of passing in California? I wish but I doubt it. However it would be cost effective, and end the subsidy race.”

        from:
        https://vfxsoldier.wordpress.com/2012/12/19/and-were-back/#comments

  10. PolarisSoup says:

    The studios will always look for the cheapest place to get their FX work done, currently thats countries that offer the best (or at least fairly sizeable) subsidies. If the subsidies go studios will look for places where labour is cheap to make up those last savings, if labour is cheap in CA then thats where the work will be.

  11. Andreas Jablonka says:

    VFX workers from LA and other locations are just moving to Vancouver, their savings go back to the US so Canada is not building anything. Vancouver will be left dry once other locations offer more. Caleb is wrong when he thinks the (current) Canadian incentives are NOT an issue for the downfall of the LA market: Sony,R&H,DD all draw work from the LA base to the Vancouver Office, the Studios demand it. The same people will be moved from LA to Van, on work permits (sorry no Canadian workers exist to fill all this demand) to do the work. The Incentive is the reason.
    Its not like the supply of skills is higher in Canada, its not, its a movement of skills(=artist) there. If Canada had suddenly developed tousands of vfxworkers and they would be better tha the US Artist, THEN it would not be the downfalls of the LA market due to incentives. but thats not the case.

    Also the whole argument of Canada being a better place gto work varies by person. The healthcare is great and appreciated (disclaimer: Im a german vfx artist who works in vancouver currently and has worked in LA for years) but most have to lower their LA rates to get work in Vancouver. Some canadian juniors might find better rates as the demand is there now (due to reshuffling of work from LA for the rebates) but they are under-skilled and overpaid. Soon the production will be behind schedule. I have seen it at DD Vancouver, less seniors, more juniors and still the studio is expecting the output of an A-Team (Like DD Venice) but of course that cant work.

    The US is hurting internally with incentives of ABQ, Michigan, Florida*cough* and Louisiana. VFX Solder wants to end all subsidies, not just the outer US ones. the WTO Has no ruling inside the US, so thats a different battle altogether.

    • davey says:

      You hit the nail on the head when you said people from LA have to lower there rates to get work elsewhere. This is why as it stands work will not go back to LA.

      Just think of Sony, DD, ILM after subsidies go. They are all companies wanting to make a profit so to do so they have to do the work where it will make them the most profit and as you have stated that will not be in LA as they can hire cheaper labour elsewhere. This is why wasting money on scrapping subsides is just delaying far bigger issues on getting work back to LA.

  12. jonavark says:

    Gents.. this always becomes the same discussion. It’s like being in the waiting room while your wife gives birth but you have no idea who the doctor is. There doesn’t seem to be any point to this same bickering in every article. Wait until soldier has some results to lay on the table.. then argue?

  13. Kie Zhou says:

    Same Sh!t all the time .. you white folks are soo naive, you guys can argue on who’s daddy is strongest, while the CHINESE take over your industry or just buy all of it🙂 Once you go work for them and some of you do already, then you will forget your California, Canada VFX differences. Also, it is soo funny how all you people are blaming Canada, they are helping keeping US in sane balance, what about the UK? or NZ? All your BIG films get done there so much for the “California Hippy Artists” survival instincts.. baarf… Challenging subsidies barf… did you know what UK had to say to this? UK and Canada production incentives are in compliance with WTO obligations. Sony Imageworks had appointed Lobbyists for the same reason for 7 months through the state of NM to reason with the tax incentive BEFORE moving to Canada.. So you guys never knew about this? I guess you never knew what happened either., your COUNTRY confirmed it was all within the collateral trade agreements signed and blamed it ALL on the economy. NOTHING can be done about this situation specially when the qualified people who were responsible to set up these agreements have said nope this is how it is and will be till we, start some more wars.

    “I say suck it up pack your bags work for who ever offers jobs it’s a global industry now”

    • Dave Rand says:

      Thanks for your articulate and thoughtful response. Couple thoughts about the “China men vs Them White Folks”.

      China and India’s middle classes are both far larger that all of North America’s. Lots of tickets to sell there and lots of content to create for films, games, education, design…whole worlds of economies to develop in content and distribution away from the six American studios that are in control now. It’s already started and I welcome it. It’s up to us to be part of how it evolves and not just suck it up and pack our bags…

      You want to blow around in the wind? Thats how trash collects in corners.

      • atlas says:

        In a truly free market HW would be challenged by other countries films. This is currently not a free market at all. It is slanted in favor of 6 and 6 alone.

  14. Hello Kitty says:

    This conversation sounds more and more like rats on a sinking ship.

    祝你好运

    • illuminated1. says:

      I second that… Luckily for me, I got one of the last life boats off the DD Titanic… Iceberg ahead ohhh king of the world….

  15. illuminated1. says:

    Would a systemic market crash help anyone’s agenda?

  16. shaner says:

    Yeah, Bane’s.

  17. Mike says:

    Although development of Canadain technology was essential in cg progress, much of
    the early fx work was created in-house, and has continued to be developed in that manner.
    Vfx development was primarily created , for film and tv, by PDI, Pixar, ILM, Abel, and Rhythm
    and Hues, using proprietary software, although companies around the world contributed (MPC,
    Omnibus, Framestore, Rede Globo, Toyo-Links, etc.) Particle systems were developed in-house at
    Santa Barbara Studios. Filmbox created usable motion capture, although Tippet still used their own
    developed digital input devices. Computer scanners were used to create lifelike computer models,
    taken from people and clay models, and intergrated into some of the earliest and most influential
    effects ever seen (The Abyss, T2, Jurassic Park) Although game companies readily adopted the off-the-shelf
    software such as Softimage, Alias and 3D Studio, vfx studios primarily sought to create their own pipelines.
    There were exceptions: DD, Kleiser/Walszack, VIFX, and Metrolight all adopted off-the-shelf software by
    Canadian companies Softimage, Alias, and SideEffects. Steven Speilberg adopted Lightwave
    as a precursor to his entre into production with SKG. More recently,, Zbrush and Shave and a Haircut have
    added new tools to the vfx quiver. And one can’t discount the artist’s way of brute forcing the
    software to create what they have in their imagination. And Canada hasn’t invented art;
    much of the vfx were created by artists, with traditional art and animation backgrounds,
    who came to the U.S. to work, from all over the world.

    I’m not sure big pharma, the military industrial complex and corrupt banking had much to
    do with the development of Bugs Bunny and Mickey Mouse, but the entertainment industry has
    thrived through vfx. The question isn’t which country originated computer animation, it’s what’s fair
    and equitable in the industry, and how people are treated within it. I don’t purport to be in a position of
    understanding the intricacies of the vfx business, but chasing subsidies for productions based in the U.S.,
    and L.A. primarily, seems counter-productive. The vfx industry, from my observation, grew from passion,
    sharing, fairness, vision, imagination, and , yes, love. If these concepts aren’t in the context of the discussion
    about vfx, are we really discussing something worth being a part of?

    To the point of content creation, much of the product created for vfx and animation is originated in
    the U.S. The world buys, and enjoys, the entertainment content the U.S. creates, judging by the box office of
    American film. There is a legacy for such behavior: much innovation and invention came from American film,
    although I’m not discounting foreign influence. If that’s the case, why shouldn’t the vfx work be created in the U.S.,
    or at least given the rights to be bid on in a fair and equitable way? If content creation is created in Canada, from
    Canadian properties, the same equitable legislation should be in effect. Although, many film studios are in the U.S.
    That transpired through the evolution and popularity of American film, and the advent of special effects for those
    productions.

    I think another question is how do we resolve the vendors creating tools for the vfx industry with
    the workers who are using them. Sofware development is just at an early stage of the cycle; much more innovation
    is on the way. How do we intergrate development with production? Do the developers deserve a cut of the profit?
    Do vfx workers deserve a fair wage and working conditions? Do hardware and cloud vendors deserve a cut?
    All of these factors have a direct relationship to vfx, and should be included in the discussion. But for now, I believe
    the vfx workers around the world shouldn’t work against each other, but unite to create a fair industry. At least in
    this country…:)

    I’m really not trying to start an arguementative discussion. Too much is written on the web, and too little
    real action is taken. Many of these points can be discussed ad-infinitum. True action, to the benefit of all and the
    detriment of none, needs to happen.

    Love to the few friends I still have….

    Mike

  18. Mike says:

    (spell-checked, reformatted)

    Although development of Canadian technology was essential in cg progress, much of the early fx work was created in-house, and has continued to be developed in that manner. Vfx development was primarily created , for film and tv, by PDI, Pixar, ILM, Abel, and Rhythm and Hues, using proprietary software, although companies around the world contributed (MPC, Omnibus, Framestore, Rede Globo, Toyo-Links, etc.) Particle systems were developed in-house at Santa Barbara Studios. Filmbox created usable motion capture, although Tippett still used their own developed digital input devices. Computer scanners were used to create lifelike computer models, taken from people and clay models, and intergrated into some of the earliest and most influential effects ever seen (The Abyss, T2, Jurassic Park) Although game companies readily adopted the off-the-shelf software such as Softimage, Alias and 3D Studio, vfx studios primarily sought to create their own pipelines. There were exceptions: DD, Kleiser/Walczak, VIFX, and Metrolight all adopted off-the-shelf software by Canadian companies Softimage, Alias, and SideEffects. Steven Speilberg adopted Lightwave as a precursor to his entre into production with SKG. More recently,, Zbrush and Shave and a Haircut have added new tools to the vfx quiver. And one can’t discount the artist’s way of brute forcing the software to create what they have in their imagination. And Canada hasn’t invented art; much of the vfx were created by artists, with traditional art and animation backgrounds, who came to the U.S. to work, from all over the world.

    I’m not sure big pharma, the military industrial complex and corrupt banking had much to do with the development of Bugs Bunny and Mickey Mouse, but the entertainment industry has thrived through vfx. The question isn’t which country originated computer animation, it’s what’s fair and equitable in the industry, and how people are treated within it. I don’t purport to be in a position of understanding the intricacies of the vfx business, but chasing subsidies for productions based in the U.S., and L.A. primarily, seems counter-productive. The vfx industry, from my observation, grew from passion, sharing, fairness, vision, imagination, and , yes, love. If these concepts aren’t in the context of the discussion about vfx, are we really discussing something worth being a part of?

    To the point of content creation, much of the product created for vfx and animation is originated in the U.S. The world buys, and enjoys, the entertainment content the U.S. creates, judging by the box office of American film. There is a legacy for such behavior: much innovation and invention came from American film, although I’m not discounting foreign influence. If that’s the case, why shouldn’t the vfx work be created in the U.S., or at least given the rights to be bid on in a fair and equitable way? If content creation is created in Canada, from Canadian properties, the same equitable legislation should be in effect. Although, many film studios are in the U.S. That transpired through the evolution and popularity of American film, and the advent of special effects for those productions.

    I think another question is how do we resolve the vendors creating tools for the vfx industry with the workers who are using them. Sofware development is just at an early stage of the cycle; much more innovation is on the way. How do we intergrate development with production? Do the developers deserve a cut of the profit? Do vfx workers deserve a fair wage and working conditions? Do hardware and cloud vendors deserve a cut? All of these factors have a direct relationship to vfx, and should be included in the discussion. But for now, I believe the vfx workers around the world shouldn’t work against each other, but unite to create a fair industry. At least in this country…:)

    I’m really not trying to start an arguementative discussion. Too much is written on the web, and too little real action is taken. Many of these points can be discussed ad-infinitum. True action, to the benefit of all and the detriment of none, needs to happen.

    Love to the few friends I still have….

    Mike

  19. kk says:

    You can’t build a time machine with that money. Good luck though.

  20. Dave Rand says:

    Thought I’d post this here again for those who have not read this very informative article.

    http://filmworks.filmla.com/2012/08/15/rhythm-hues-special-effects-powerhouse-offers-insight-into-vfx-industry/

  21. Junkie VFX says:

    yeahp, for those who think work is no good elsewhere ^ that’s a MUST read!

  22. vfxChina says:

    as someone who has worked in China for VFX houses I feel the need to pipe up and give you all a little perspective on the whole “China will take all the business anyway” thing.

    It may feel like the under-licensed, cheap rate labour there will win all the bids- and sometimes they do get a fair chunk of work from studios looking to save a buck. But the way business is done means that this is not the threat you think it is:

    – Chinese VFX shops (hell, and the Chinese) focus on one thing only- the cash. They overpromise on quality but don’t invest in bringing in the necessary talent and maintaining their infrastructure- often they can’t deliver to expectations. But hey you get what you pay for; if you want reliable high end VFX go somewhere that knows what they are doing and pay for it.

    – Talent: The Chinese educational system produces people that are great at following instructions and repeating tasks. Not people that can creatively solve a problem that requires initiative, and not people that will find a way to solve a systemic problem instead of throwing more hours at it. Couple that with many other fundamentally different culturally driven behaviours, a severe lack of skilled artists, a firewall that maintains the inwards focus of the population, no Chinese documentation (or the initiative to look for it) etc and you will find that these VFX shops are stocked with a bunch of juniors that won’t be able to deliver the goods. Shops can’t retain their skilled artists as when these guys finally figure out that it doesn’t have to be so f*cked up they will get a job in a country that operates more smoothly.

    – The Chinese are 1/5 of the world’s population and from a culture that is 2500 years old (or some big number like that). Soon their economy will eclipse the State’s, and their film market will no doubt be bigger at some point too. Over time they will overcome some of their systemic problems and service that market, soon you may find your studio doing a bit of work for Chinese clients too. Wanda group now owns AMC, the Chinese film market is growing by triple digits every year (don’t have a definite number for you or reference) etc etc. What I’m getting at is that the West will still be a market for VFX, and China will be too. Look at it as an opportunity and get comfortable with this shift towards Asia and Asian cultures.

    Speaking of which, here’s the latest from Chinese cinema: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aRy5PJWL1T4

    Get some perspective, I suspect this applies to India too. Yeah the Chinese will get a bit of work; but they can’t do the good stuff and their business practices can be shockingly bad, the costs are going up too. You might see some bids go there but people will figure out that the work is being done by unstable companies with poor track records.

    You get what you pay for.
    Outsource on.

    (yeah bad pun)

    • MrChina says:

      I Have to agree with vfxChina there… Having spent some time over there. There are some very talented artists… but there is little or no decent creative oversight. The Chinese companies don’t want to pay for good leads to come in.. They would rather save $5 today than $50 in a month.
      They can certainly compete on simple stuff like wire removal, and blood splatters… But costs are rising in China, and soon there will be little advantage cost wise. There are also not many decent sized facilities…
      I can only think of 2 with a staff of more than 200 (Most of whom are inexperienced college kids).
      Neither of these companies are capable of headlining a show. One particular Chinese company was deemed “Too Expensive” by Stereo-D, who I think pay in the mid to upper $teens per hour in the US to do stereo conversion roto work!.
      Even setting up companies run by successful US studios (Dreamworks) will have the same challenges finding decent talent to run their shows.
      More importantly the Chinese management mentality is not inclined to long term thinking. They don’t see decent leadership as an investment… more an unnecessary expense… Because you can just put 10 cheaper locals to do the same job???
      Of course that doesn’t work.
      They can talk the talk.. but alas cannot walk the walk!
      Also beware if you are invited out there on a contract… They can and will dump you and tell you the contract is not binding!
      The Chinese courts will ALWAYS side with a local company.

      I don’t think I came across a single stable company all the time I was there.

    • procrustes says:

      ^With an election coming up, and a NDP candidate (Matt Tonner) with a new media background, we should see discussion around subsidies and sustainability in BC.

  23. jackripper says:

    I can’t believe what I am reading here:

    http://www.avaaz.org/en/petition/SAVE_BC_FILM/?fmLkRdb&pv=7

    • Ugh, if I could “anti-sign” a petition I definitely would for this one….

      “Please, Canadian government, we need your money to completely destroy the Los Angeles visual effects industry. We are sick and tired of Los Angeles VFX artists enjoying the beaches and sunshine, and if we don’t have that nobody should”

      • Andreas jablonka says:

        This is pretty much Exactly what subsidies do! As soon as another region/country/planet ups their subsidies your jobs are at stake!
        Vfx solder should make this perturbing its own post to showcase what’s happened ing! Then again it would draw attention and more people would sign it. Conflicted now.

  24. Maple Leaf eH! says:

    NZ politician states that now The Hobbit “…has grossed more than $1 billion, Warner Brothers should repay the $67 million subsidy the movie moguls sucked from Kiwi taxpayers”

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/8175895/Peters-Hobbit-subsidy-should-be-handed-back

  25. […] of funny when you consider some BC residents were boasting about the economy there in my last post. The challenges for BC’s film & gaming industry is compounded by […]

  26. The more “exaggerated” it is the more excessive crap
    they normally include in it. Protein muscle building supplements: there are many protein additives in the market,
    many of which either do not work or are dangerous to your
    health. 3 easy steps to creating a muscle building supplement stack.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: