BECTU VFX Meeting Today

BECTU has been looking to organize the VFX industry in the UK. Over 600 people have confirmed to attend the event:

Regent Hall 275 Oxford St
W1C 2DJ
London United Kingdom
Wednesday, 3 April 2013 from 19:00 to 21:30

You can reserve a ticket for the event here:
http://vfxforum.eventbrite.co.uk/

There is a Facebook event page here:
https://www.facebook.com/events/136542529847110/151684668332896/

You can find more info about what BECTU offers here:
http://www.bectu.org.uk/get-involved/campaigns/VFX/blog/2013/03/25/69
https://twitter.com/VFXUnionUK

The UK VFX industry is a bit unique in the sense that most of the work done there is one a day rate where many are not paid overtime. I think this is one of the issues that many there would agree needs to be resolved. I’ve also posted about enforcement of the working time agreement which is another labor issue.

The argument against overtime is the fear that the work will go away. When you consider other major VFX markets like NZ, Australia, Canada, and the US pay overtime, you’ll realize that paid overtime is quite reasonable.

Good luck and please post in the comments on what happened.

Soldier On.

111 Responses to BECTU VFX Meeting Today

  1. contessa12 says:

    Go union! It’s the only way to get some leverage…others will follow!

  2. Rob says:

    So, any word on what happened?! Right after that worldwide VFX town hall, all hell broke loose and now, there are just 3 responses here?

    • Cuntsman says:

      same thing happened to ny. no one posted any updates. was odd. like we didn’t deserve even a peep of an update from the ny folk. sickening. and prophetic.

      the end is hear. the sheeple refuse to learn. sheeple time to line up for the beatings.

      next stop: firing lines.

    • goodman says:

      not much. the guy running it called us sfx guys multiple times though

  3. Bectu vfx meet attendee says:

    Great turnout (roughly 400 people), lots of talented and committed people. It would have been nice if given the long run up to the meet the bectu people had done even five minutes research into the industry they’re trying to enlist, though. Aside from repeatedly calling us sfx it was clear that they had nil knowledge of our issues or even what we actually do – every by rote speech and response amounted to “stand together brothers and sisters, SIGN THE UNION CARD”. Repeated intelligent and pertinent questions from the floor met with the same knee jerk responses and a lot of war stories about downtrodden construction workers and west end theatre staff “standing together and winning because they SIGNED THE UNION CARD”.

    It’s clear that a union seems to be the only option left to us but it’s sad that it has to be these guys who seem to only interested in swelling their numbers and can’t be bothered to learn anything at all about the real problems in vfx, or even what the industry is actually called.

    This doesn’t include the two makeup ladies who were sincere, and their stories of unionisation brought on by producer abuse on Les Miserables had some relevance.

    • Vfxldn says:

      It was great actually, regardless of some of them referring to us as sfx. Bectu is the best choice for London vfx workers, they have strong links with IATSE which will go some way to a globalised force, they strongly agree that we need a vfx trade association and would take steps to make it happen, and have a good track record in improving the working lives of people in the film industry. They have my vote. As they said, if we do nothing, nothing will change. They also made a strong gesture by offering membership to vfx workers at a reduced rate of £10 a month for two years, so what does anyone have to lose by joining? Nothing to lose, a lot to gain.

    • another one says:

      I also felt that those “success stories” didn’t really seem to apply to the vfx industry at first. But then I realised that it is and should be ‘just’ about getting the numbers up as a start.

      Once the workforce in a shop is represented by bectu it’s us who need to discuss what we actually want, not some bectu official. It is however that bectu official who will then go and negotiate what we have decided on.

      In other words:
      Do I think that these bectu guys have fully understood our situation? No. At least “not yet”.

      But do I believe that they are better in negotiating in our favour than I am on my own? Yes. I’d hope so.

    • Rob says:

      That’s odd, considering that at least Gus Baker got the issues spot on in the poll on the Facebook page.
      Although I’m not in London, so I have no idea whether he is part of BECTU or was just helping out a little (and apparently, there’s a lot of need for more helping out by people from the industry?).

      But great to hear there in fact was something relevant going on. You never know with those Facebook events how many people will actually show.

    • jamie says:

      ‘sad that it has to be these guys’ is a bit cynical. Ofcourse they want to swell their numbers, who cares if they call it SFX, theyre not working on shots and don’t have to know what the difference between a tracker and comper is. Thats your job. Their job is to represent you, and make sure you get paid properly as a collective group of artists.

      • londonVFX says:

        “who cares if they call it SFX” “their job is to represent you” – if they don’t even know what it is that you actually do then how can they rep you? Go to any set anywhere in the UK and everyone – EVERYONE – will know the difference between the SFX and VFX departments. Are these people actually anything to do with the film industry or just a bunch of opportunists who see a load of people with enough money in their pockets to stump up membership dues?

  4. vfx robot says:

    I though the meeting was great, a good turnout of artists who want to see things change in the industry.
    I thought BECTU showed that they are well connected, very experienced in the film and entertainment industry and can get results.
    I think certain people are getting too hanged up on BECTU sometimes referring to us a SFX guys.
    I thought they showed an understanding of the industry at an international level, and the issues with it.
    You have now the opportunity to maybe improve our working conditions, and for 10 pounds a month I think its worth a go.

  5. trust no one says:

    It would be interesting to find out how many vfx studio ‘spies’ were there to take down names of people attending, to shore up their little blacklist book of the ‘troublemakers’ they have to ‘watch’. Yes, not a nice thing to say but then again I am being realistic here. These people play dirty and the race to the bottom is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the problems we face.

    • Rob says:

      The more important question at least in my mind would be: Would you even want to work for a company using such tactics?

      Also, when that blacklist gets long enough, they would be forced to either throw it out or quit the business themselves.

      • another one says:

        That’s it.
        I don’t quite understand why people are so scared. I mean, if the industry was unionised already, presumably everybody would sign up, quite naturally. But being amongst the first ones seems to be a big thing.

        Colouring your twitter pic green is one thing but putting your money where your mouth is another, I suppose.

        Or is the situation not bad enough yet to pay a tenner a month in an attempt to make it better?

      • tazzman says:

        Are cinematographers scared? Writers? Actors? Stagehands? They’re not scared. They have a stable floor to stand on.

        It’s absurd vex artists, responsible for so much of the current success of the box office, has no floor. It’s all just down, down, down.

        Lay a floor down. Stand up for your worth and value as artists and get representation through a union.

      • Mister Wonderful says:

        Cinematographers, actors and writers aren’t scared?

        Agents or not, until artists sign a contract, the studio can reject the offer on a whim for any reason.

        Or bait the artist by delaying the contract offer. Until he folds.

        Hate to sound negative but I think it’s going to take additional steps to illustrate more leverage. Consistency and intensity.

        I guess directors get 3-5 picture deals…that’s an interesting model I don’t see people talking about.

        I’m all for all options to exist. Agents, Unions, Trade Org. But they’re all optional. Allowing you to take non-union work at first.

        I’m saying sign your cards but dont stop there. Explore all options and be ready at anytime to adapt.

      • tazzman says:

        no. They’re not as scared as fx workers are to stand up for themselves because they already have unions. The first steps are always the hardest.

        Take those first steps. Get the ball rolling.

    • vfxmafia says:

      to “Trust No One”:

      about the spies…

      I dont think you were in “On the Waterfront”….LOL

    • andrei says:

      mpc and framestore are watching for sure….

      • vfxmafia says:

        get out? Seriously? You think MPC and Framestore have spies like MI6 or MI5 or what ever f*ck your FBI is………….people arent that smart in this business….

        FYI all the recruiters talk to each other………

      • wb says:

        they don’t need any spies…they know about this web site. Mille Cox – I bet she’s reading all of this – but says nothing…

      • VFX Lizard says:

        In response to andrei – Can I ask, even if that were true, I don’t understand. How does that make any difference? What would she gain? The ability to black list people or something?…

      • VFX Lizard says:

        ^^ Sorry I meant in response to wb

  6. VFX Lizard says:

    I went along to the meeting as someone hoping to return to the VFX industry. I still work in Post Production but I’ve been struggling to get work back in VFX for almost a year. It was good to see a large turnout and that practically everyone wants to be Unionised.

    Aside from being referred to as SFX, I think the ignorance is to be expected from Bectu. The VFX industry for years appears (at least to me) to have been very secretive, it’s not surprising they don’t know much about it. Like one of the Make Up Ladies said the VFX industry must make itself known. I believe if VFX in the UK becomes Unionised by the majority then Bectu would learn quickly the terms of VFX and the surrounding issues of Artists etc.

    It’s interesting as one person stood up saying that “we VFX people are an argumentative bunch” and “out of the roughly 600 people who confirmed, only 200 turned up.” Well I don’t quite agree with his maths, as ‘Bectu vfx meet attendee’ said there were more like 400 people. Furthermore, I would have probably thought that many of the people who were hoping to come (including a friend of mine) couldn’t end up making it as they had to be at work. These people will hopefully get the info and drive from the people who did attend the meeting and there can be a collective agreement to sign up and move forward. As they rightly said, it requires everyone or at least the majority of VFX workers to get involved as really the Union is them not just a few people doing all the work.

    The biggest challenge is to get everyone, across the globe to do the same. I hope it doesn’t make work go elsewhere to a cheaper ‘unregulated’ market. One important query raised was somebody asked the Make Up team – it works for you as, you’re on set, where with VFX at the push of a button it can be sent to another country 1000s of miles away. How can we stop that happening? Interesting mention though from Bectu saying they make a presence abroad and push for Union & changes, perhaps that would help.

    As Bectu rightly said despite their tales of the unrelated but similar construction workers – doing nothing will only result in the same – nothing.

  7. Xma says:

    I was there and I think the meeting was a success. I think it’s well worth giving BECTU a try, as opposed to sit down and moan while VFX artists are being force fed unrealistic informal agreements and insane working hours. IF BECTU reaches critical mass in at least one of the major facilities in London, the ball will start to roll, and the first thing I expect to happen in a not so distant future is a working hours agreement, possibly an overtime one too and- who knows- a minimum wage one. I would consider it a success if even just one of those would be reached.
    PLUS they were very clear about guaranteeing anonymity for those in the union, so many people who are afraid of joining because of retaliations can now sleep tight. The BECTU guy is right: £120 a year are a perfectably acceptable price to pay for any VFX artist wage. If you asked me “would you pay out £120 against the possibilty of improved working conditions?” I would certainly say yes. I thought the place I came from (Italy) was the Far West, in terms of appalling contracts. I found out on my skin that the UK was a good match (although still better in many ways).
    So I also want to encourage all the Italian underpaid VFX workes who have been lured into accepting lower standard agreement with the promise of experience and a glamorous career to stand up and do something. They can still have the experience and the glamourus job but with better conditions. Could you ask for more?

  8. jamie says:

    This week its been ‘strongly suggested’ we work until 9 because of a deadline. So at the end of the week thats 12 hours over my contracted hours. A day and a half’s pay in one week. Now compare that to the £120 BECTU ask for ANNUAL membership, and its looking like a no brainer.

    • nick says:

      You should quit, and start offering your services as a per-hour freelancer, then all the work would be billable.

      If you’re good enough, most companies are willing to pay for talent that way…

      …and you will see the direct benefits of 1) getting paid more for working more and 2) more pay as your skills improve.

      • londonVFX says:

        V.difficult to do that. UK employment law is very strict about what qualifies as a “per hour freelancer”. Virtually impossible for the rank and file in a big London facility. If the VFX houses could make *all* their staff into true freelancers then they’d do it in a heartbeat – it effectively makes an employee 15% cheaper as the facility is no longer responsible for National Insurance and other stuff. Just think – you could work an additional 6 hours 45 mins a week at additional cost to your employer and be dismissed with 24 hours’ notice. Brilliant!

  9. Dave Rand says:

    These town halls have been tremendous at raising the consciousness of our industry, but talk can only get us so far.

    The VFX industry is currently employed by some of the most highly leveraged organizations on the planet. They are all basically unions themselves.

    In any business relationship If you surrender most of the leverage to the other party you’ll end up broke and bankrupt every time. We’ve seen enough of that lately. VFX artists, professionals, and VFX vendors paying for the projects they work on out of their own pockets. Projects that go on making hundreds of millions of dollars.

    We are creating two layers of leverage. One is a trade association for our vendors, the other is a union for ourselves.

    Only then can we sit at the table and actually effect change and balance.

    There are organizations with a legacies of obtaining leverage for those that work in entertainment.

    http://www.vfxunion.info now has links to sign a rep card online in three countries.

    There are three kinds of business people

    1. Those that make things happen
    2. Those that watch things happen
    3. Those that say “What happened?”

    Join the first group. make a real commitment today.

  10. Dave Rand says:

    These town halls have been tremendous at raising the consciousness of our industry, but talk can only get us so far.

    The VFX industry is currently employed by some of the most highly leveraged organizations on the planet. They are all basically unions themselves.

    In any business relationship If you surrender most of the leverage to the other party you’ll end up broke and bankrupt every time. We’ve seen enough of that lately. VFX artists, professionals, and VFX vendors paying for the projects they work on out of their own pockets. Projects that go on making hundreds of millions of dollars.

    We are creating two layers of leverage. One is a trade association for our vendors, the other is a union for ourselves.

    Only then can we sit at the table and actually effect change and balance.

    There are organizations with legacies of obtaining leverage for those that work in entertainment.

    http://www.vfxunion.info now has links to sign a rep card online in three countries.

    There are three kinds of business people

    1. Those that make things happen
    2. Those that watch things happen
    3. Those that say “What happened?”

    Join the first group. make a real commitment today.

    • Mister Wonderful says:

      Dave you are a true hero. Your wife and family is very fortunate to have you as partners. A go getter and a man who knows survival. I will be sure to instill my kids with this trait. The problem I’m seeing is many adults I work with lack did not get that trait. Many of my coworkers are either young, autistic, and lack the proper attitude. As painful as this sounds, it is literally up to us too, to wake up our “young and autistic” co-workers or we suffer their diseases.

      Bless your soul kind sir. You led us, got the ball rolling and I am forever in your gratitude.

  11. like Dave Rand says: if you want to make things happen, now is the time. It’s also time to bring out in the open vfx artists experiences at various companies (good or bad). To safely and anonymously post your experience, register and review vfx companies you’ve worked at here:

    http://www.thevfxwatchers.com

    • Dave Rand says:

      We need one of these for our studio executives, the modern day popes of this second Renascence.

      Everyone remembers Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and Rafael and with great admiration. The financiers of their art however are not remembered with the same luster…quite the opposite. They were mostly ruthless opportunists who if anything stomped all over greatness.

      Given our advanced methods of recording history, I wonder if maybe the fact that our the modern day patrons of our art care about their legacy…they should, because right now the writing of history is not very favorable to them..not at all.

      They are consistently taking their most valuable asset and destroying its potential.

      I believe this should be recorded, and with names as this would enlighten and encourage them to write their own and better legacy through malevolent action ….I mean ..you know…before it’s too late.

      • Rob says:

        Well, shouldn’t this request probably be directed at the owners of VFX houses? After all, it is them who deal with those executives and who either give in to their every whim or show backbone. And just like artists are right now trying to hold their clients/employers accountable, I would think that it would be up to the heads of VFX companies to do the same?

        Now I know, people are probably going to say they can’t do that because those companies would go under quickly. But – isn’t that the same argument that is used to scare artists from joining a union?

      • Dave Rand says:

        you are absolutely right Rob. Some great points ..

        Looks like we need a vfx.seargent.com or a vfx.major.com

        who rah

      • Mister Wonderful says:

        Very good point rob. We need representatives from every aspect, department and fucking element of this industry.

        From Peons to CEOs.

        Features, Games, Advertising, Promo, Web. Doesn’t matter. VFX is VFX.

  12. wb says:

    “Well, shouldn’t this request probably be directed at the owners of VFX houses? ”
    Finally….after so many comments, someone got it…
    Well let’s see how you can deal with the owners of Prime Focus, MPC or Framestore…..Just tell them you want to unionize.

    • wb says:

      I bet they know already, though…

      • ickeyD says:

        we have seen with both DD and R+H how cycnical the producers and top line management are .. you know, offering people staff or long term contracts to deliberately lure them away from current positions, in order to fullfill their crappy production schedules … when they already know they couldn’t meet those contract obligations ever .. as they were going bust or knew they were going to fall short of budget well before .. they do because they can. No unions or opposition to it, local BC, California, Florida, London, Etc governments turn a blind eye to it – but they wouldn’t dare mess with train driver unions or government office unions in a same way, because they know they would have a legal fight, get a bad reputation for employees, and generally a whole load of trouble.

        Basically, VFX house management and producers are scum.

      • Rob says:

        The important thing isn’t the “threat” anyway. But the act.
        No company is going to be impressed long-term by people saying they WANT to unionize. Only doing so will make them change their course. Hopefully.

      • Scott Ross says:

        ickeyD

        “Basically, VFX house management and producers are scum.”

        …. not true. Watch your stereo types.

        There are some that are and many that aren’t.

      • wb says:

        There are some that are and many that aren’t.
        Well…will be nice to name a few – those who aren’t…

      • wb says:

        “Basically, VFX house management and producers are scum.”
        Agree!

  13. mmmmm says:

    If any shops unionize before a trade association is in place it will probably be the end of that shop in the short term as they will likely be unable to bear the cost of a unionized workforce before they can have leverage against those that supply the work.

    Also if one country unionizes before other you can be sure to see work being pulled to those that have yet to unionize. I suggest the various country organizers should be talking so that several countries can pull the trigger in unison if we are all going to benefit.

    • Mark says:

      In terms of the idea that unions could scare work out of the UK, maybe the UK Gov could be consulted? Maybe the BIS department (Business, Innovation and Skills) has some insights about how to approach things that might potentially push jobs out of the UK?

      gov.uk: https://www.gov.uk/join-trade-union

    • Dave Rand says:

      You forgot to mention all the work will go to China, and most importantly every vfx artists that unionizes will be blacklisted and never be allowed to be an artist again. Most likely making them and their families homeless. Also Hollywood will be made into a right to work town. The dues will escalate and we’ll soon be lining the pockets of the mafia. After all everyone knows who controls the unions and we will all soon have horses heads in our beds if we don’t sign up.

      Fear will be a plenty and always is when change is afoot. What we can’t afford, what we should truly dread is continuing without any leverage while our six clients work every day to increase theirs. We’ll see the same age old tired anti-union arguments come to light in the next year. Professional union busters will begin to help with that PR as well.

      New ideas as to why a trade association will never help will also blossom like weeds.

      Right now you can go to http://www.vfxunion.info and on the USA side you can ask question privately and read answers to your questions…

      The antidote for fear is knowledge.

      Ask your questions here look for answers. Know what you are truly saying no to or yes to before you decide.

      http://www.vfxunion.info

      • VFX_Boom says:

        Sometimes I wonder if the need for Union Busters will even be necessary with the amount of fear mongering we as artists install in ourselves and co-workers. And this is completely unfounded fear. Just us thinking of the worst shit possible, and not focusing on the positive change.

        I’ve seen the amount of bravery among us grow at a really huge rate. Once a few folks started to stand up, and be vocal, others soon followed. Pretty soon the vocal minority will be the vocal majority. Once that happens the idea of Safety in Numbers will take full effect, and from that, Positive change will follow.

        Please, let’s not be our own worst enemy. Let’s prop each other up.

      • Dave Rand says:

        If you look at history there’s never been an industry that became organized without the pro busters rolling in with fear based propaganda campaigns. I’d expect to see them on FB, Soldier, and other blogs….and they won’t be using their real names. It won’t be personal it will merely be business and fueled by the desire to prevent any leverage from entering our realm.

        Personally I believe that without a balance the whole entertainment industry suffers by allowing age old trends of artist mistreatment to become malignant, keeping things from being anywhere near as great as they could be. I believe this is greatly reflected in the heeps of trash films, mashups, and eye candy pinatas that hit our screens today.

      • Mister Wonderful says:

        Boom, I get you and you make a point. But there’s nothing good right now. No one likes their job anymore. It’s frankly getting too diificult to do this for the reward. The reward is simply not what many people expected. I’m only only pion guy, but i’m hearing this from everyone. Hence the anger, disgust you hear.

        But everyone, I think boom has a good point and that should definitely be considered. I’m not convinced being false cheery rhetoric.

        It’s a bigger problem?…nahhhhh
        http://www.examiner.com/article/the-week-s-10-worst-layoffs-mar-11-15

  14. wb says:

    I will always put myself the question – why the prime minister of Quebec Madame Marois is involved directly in Framestore business ?
    Why she is dealing with companies from UK, and on the other hand she is doing all the best to send out the English speaking people from Quebec?
    Why the government is mixing with the visual effects companies?
    What is the role of the prime minister in this case?
    http://careers.framestore.com/vacancy.php?id=319

  15. mmmmm says:

    @Dave Rand

    You are the one fear mongering like an idiot. Not once did I say not to do it but it should be stategicaly done globally. You seem to be getting caught up in yourself .

    Anyway I wont argue and just say GLOBAL SOLUTIONS and UNITED which I can see it wont be if each region does this in a very fragment way.

  16. tazzman says:

    Apparently Disney just gutted ILM’s R&D dept.

  17. wb says:

    Working in VFX is fun…
    “He had completed the shoot with his friends when he passed away from natural causes…”
    http://www.rsvfx.com/index.php/news

  18. Meditating VFXdude says:

    This is cool. I hope there’s some union organizing going on in the Eastern Block. Eastern Europe and Russia seem to be Hollywood’s target of choice with India starting to organize against “slave wage” outsourced labor to their country.

    • jbomb says:

      I’d be interested to hear how it would be possible for india to organise, what first steps can they take? If anyone has any suggestions. One of the most well known and largest vfx houses with offices in Vancouver, London, New york, LA and several sites in India, is an indian company itself. India is outsourcing to themselves, reaping the rewards paying artists in a month what someone in the uk or us would earn in half a day. Same work load, same cost to the client probably. Nothing suprises me, all a bit fishy.

  19. Sucalo says:

    Soldier, how is the study going? Any updates?

  20. Mister Wonderful says:

    Ever since I found out about this VFX crisis, everyone is a douchbag to me now. Like this comment if you agree.🙂

  21. ickeyD says:

    The douchbags are anybody who is still working at DD/galloping horse, R+H/Prahna or **gulp** prime focus. These people are no longer your friends. Infact, they are your enemy. They are accelerating the destruction of the VFX industry by working for plantation slave owners. They are the rotting zombie remains of former human beings. Give them the time of day, nothing more. Are those firms actively seeking to make domestic movies that we may wish to watch? I would love to watch movies based on Chinese or Indian culture. I would be first in the queue at the cinema. Some of the hollywood stuff gets tedious after the tenth sequel. Are they doing this? No, they are chasing after cheap slave labor to make … you guessed it … the next hollywood sequel. So then all the kids in Shanghai and Bangalore can also walk around in backwards baseball cap, baggy wrapper jeans around the ass, and take on the personality of their favourite character from Entourage/Friends/family Guy.

    The ray of hope is that their gulag labor camps of a business model doesn’t enspire people to reach for the stars and instead creates medocrity. PF just seem to chase after the cheapest scraps and don’t achieve very much, creatively, technically or financially. Infact, various divisions of the company seem to regulary go bankrupt and remerge as phoenix entities. DD .. is, well … limping along like a stumbling zombie. Even after underbidding everyone at loss making margins, they still haven’t got any new work through the door in nearly a year. And RH, again, walking zombie, DD but with not even any current projects. They will be dead and buried in VFX within a year or two. They can’t sustain those operating costs for a year or two, so they will be back to rotoscoping and hand tweening on low budget movies.

    Its all about slave labour my freind. But in the longrun, things will play out as they have always done in history. India has always been shackled by the backwards cast system of maharajas and the like. You can bet you will never get to the top of PF or Prahna if you are not the right cast. It’s like communism – you can enslave people for a while, but it always collpases in the end when force and bribery is the motivational forces in those socities. And yup, China has always operated under oppression, either communism or emperors – same thing. You don’t get a good job in the chinese communist party unless you are from the right family, or psychopathic, possibly. All this current situation is a product of phoney international bank trade financed by the imaginary computer money of large banks. There isn’t the resources on the earth to keep this charade going and eventually this imaginary international computer money that keep the plates of globalisation trade spinning will run dry. History repeats over and over again.
    That is not to say that the trade dumping and phoney globalisation financing won’t be used in the short term to wreck the vfx industry. But when the easy money dries up, and general indian and chinese people grow a pair and stand up to their mental dictators and mahorajas, then we will revert to some kind of normailty.

    Until that time remember ; your old freinds at DD, RH and PF are gone, they are dead inside. They have been seduced by the enemy and sold their souls. They will destroy you financially and take food from your table and your children. Have nothing to do with them now. Support local film makers and theatre groups. Don’t watch ever any film made from globalised slave labour. Tell your freinds, tell your family. Then we may win back control over our own lives.

    Bless you and good night.

    • jbomb says:

      Get a grip man.

    • Mister Wonderful says:

      Amen.

      • jbomb says:

        Amen? Theres nothing in this post apart from crazy over the top ranting. Lets stay rational please. Working at these companies isn’t the problem at all. Its a wider issue, filtering down from the top. Globalisation isn’t the problem infact its added to the artistic and technological diversity and healthy artist workforce, it the incentivisation and lack of knowledge by the wider film audience about VFX. The biggest problem now is probably artist apethy. Otherwise everyone would have rep cards signed already. He actually says ‘ until the general indian and chinese people grow a pair’ which shows he has no understanding of the wider issues, including cultural ones. I for one find it an offensive comment.

    • vfxmafia says:

      ickeyD…

      take one step back from the cliff…and unload the bullet in the chamber…

    • another_rh_dude says:

      You sound like an angry teenager who’s just discovered the world is unfair.
      So what? You’re upset because people hang on to their jobs? You’re upset because people didn’t just quit in troves to join your revolution?
      This is the real world, people get scared and want to provide for their families, not everyone can afford to join the revolution when you’re ready for it.

      I’m staying at Rhythm for the time being for multiple reasons:

      1- I want my rep card to be counted so the place can be unionized. I want RH to also be the place where the unionization movement first started (and hell, maybe we can make it a better place).

      2- I stayed to finish the projects I was working on so the company would get sold at a fair price so me and my friends who got dismissed would see “some” of our owed wages.

      3- I have a family to take care of and work is scarce out there. So yeah, I’m gonna hang on as long as I can (as long as they keep my wage and benefits the same).

      Now, the moment they try to change terms of my contract or lower my wages, you can bet your ass I’ll be gone. But before that happens, I’m sticking around. Deal with it.

      • andrei says:

        another_rh_dude:
        you are on the other side of the wall…DUDE – unfortunate you are not the only one.
        Most of the workers embrace the same attitude.
        This is the reason why this movement is not going to succeed.
        Congratulation man….you won.

  22. wb says:

    just add MPC and Framestore…same thing

  23. James says:

    everyone in uk better unionize asap!
    Disney are forcing ILM to open in UK to take advantage of the cheap labour that will work for no OT – no questions asked.

    Also has everyone heard, MPC are following Framestore to Montreal! Gotta love the subsidies!! I predict Sony will soon follow in the next few months. Bye Bye Vancouver!

    • ickeyD says:

      Well, what are BECTU going to do about the next stage of globalisation that has already been signed into GATT and GATS?

      Lookee here ;
      http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/story/2012/12/12/bc-chinese-miners-documents.html

      “B.C. mine to hire only Chinese temporary workers for years”

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2004_Morecambe_Bay_cockling_disaster

      “David Anthony Eden Sr. and David Anthony Eden Jr., from Prenton in Merseyside, who bought cockles from the work gang, were cleared of helping the workers break immigration law.”

      Do a bit more research, you will find many, many instances of this across North America
      and Europe, building up momentum. Yup, Chinese and indian firms importing workers into
      North America at rural Indian/Chinese wage rates, living in shanty company towns, usually
      under the threat of voilence. Much like the Rockefeller industrial towns of the early century, you know, before his militia machine gunned down striking workers in Colrado in the 1930’s. Incidentally, after his family slipped out of the scenes for a few decades they founded the UN – the main organisation promoting globalisation and free-trade with India and China. Countries that do not actually have free trade or exchangeable currencies and so on. Funny thing then this globalisation free trade, seems a one way street. Except, culturally they are a meek and subservient peoples, so they will take alot more crap and beatings than North Americans and Europeans. That’s the big appeal for globalists.

      So here is the likely next stage in VFX under the new GATS treaties with India and China.
      Golloping Horse and Pranha will import local Indian and Chinese workers at 200 dollars per month directly into North America. Buying cheap tenament blocks in the bad part of town where the shipped in workers will live 20 to a room and work 20 hours a day. Initially into Vancouver, then Los Angeles. It’s actually the bosses of big North American finance houses who will finance it with their pretend computer money of ‘International Banking’. You know, the same pretend money they pretended to gamble with and take down the world financial system a few years back. Same people. Now they have their eyes on movies as one of the next big globalisation projects. Detroit anyone?

      You folk at DD, R+H or PF. Why are you still there? Are you that dumb? Are you stuck in some kind of ‘stockholm syndrome’? Not only will they take you down, but you are going to take down everyone else with you including the whole VFX business. For pity sake, get outta there!!

      • Jeevfx says:

        Academy Award-winning VFX Supervisor, George Murphy, joins Reliance MediaWorks as the company’s Chief Creative Officer

        http://www.animationxpress.com/index.php/latest-news/hollywood-vfx-veteran-george-murphy-joins-reliance-mediaworks-as-chief-creative-officer

      • jbomb says:

        “…Chinese and indian firms importing workers into
        North America at rural Indian/Chinese wage rates, living in shanty company towns, usually under the threat of voilence…” Where is all this ‘research’ you’ve been doing? Its a bit hard to take what you say seriously. Why so dramatic. Where are you working might I add. Is your company so amazing that you can just judge other people trying to make the best of it. If everyone could work along side you, god forbid, at your amazing company then we’ll all be happy, please share so I can get my CV in, can’t wait..

      • Mister Wonderful here. I will be sure to make the biggest profits I can. As I start a new VFX facility, I will hire only the cheapest chinamen and women. Muhahahaahaha!

        Just kidding, I’m an artist not a douchebag. But putting myself in the shoes of a company that wants to make a profit. I think my alterego just clarified where artists stand in pipeline production.

        That said, I can see where this is going unless the economy gets better.

      • Crook what? You signed the agreement. At will employment is at will.

        They can free your ass at any time. Problem is artists haven’t realized what they’ve been signing. If you want leverage, better ask for it in the form of a contract. Like actors and directors do. The agent thing isn’t sounding so bad is it?

        Mr Wonderful

    • Jcrane says:

      you mean framestore followed MPC? They were already there just didn’t make a big thing about it

  24. Mister Wonderful says:

    Latest news in the last 2 days alone.

    Disney Layoffs. Significant EA Montreal Layoffs. Saatchi & Saatchi NY, Arnold Boston, Leo Burnett. Anything I’ve missed??? Are people just asleep or is it just me?

    Watch your backs out there. Don’t let them fool you into thinking you have any security.

    Take precautions and always have a backup plan in case you need to jump on another project.

    Sad but true.

  25. vfxmafia says:

    Hey one thing the VES is good for is health insurance….

    http://ves4mybenefits.biz/

    Does anyone have health insurance through the VES? Id like love to hear your thoughts on it….

    with all the layoffs……VES insurance might help some people….

    • anon says:

      VES does not offer any form of health insurance to it’s members.
      This program ended last year when the company was unable to find any group health insurance companies that would work with them. Even when it was available, it was just a referral to an insurance broker.

      • vfxmafia says:

        that really sucks…..

        There is this “Freelance Union” in NYC….for web, graphics, IT, and VFX workers……but its basically an insurance company…

        Freelance Union.org would get you health coverage but doesnt do collective bargaining. They basically get people into group coverage….but dont do collective bargaining….

        unfortunately “Freelance Union” is only in NYC and isnt available in California. I was hoping to get health coverage from VES.

        With all the lay offs alot of people could get health coverage with Freelance Union. I wish the IATSE offered independant health coverage like this. Im never at a shop long enough to get a union started. By the time there is an effort to fill out the union cards..the shows over and everyone gets laid off…

        I really dont see how the unions will get around this…….no one is keeping anyone long enough……..

        Its seems the single thing that breaks Unions is short contracts.

        Its gonna be a long summer in Los Angeles.

  26. ILM Creative Director Says Special Effects Aren’t Special Anymore
    http://www.movies.com/movie-news/special-fx-arent-special-anymore/11843

    The key translation is..no one gives a fuck about you as a VFX artist. That may never change. The only thing you can do is defend yourself at all times and speak up about your schedule without feeling guilty. Find an out. Go home. That alone could make an impact.

    • Rob says:

      The problem is – if everyone just goes home without saying anything, nobody will get it. They’ll say it’s just that one person.

      It seems to me what may be worth doing would be to actively ask companies for certain things the next time one gets an offer from them. Like for instance not having to sign away your rights regarding overtime in London. Or at least demanding paid overtime.
      That way, even if you probably don’t get the job, at least that interviewer will know “We could have gotten him, had we offered him that”. Since you planned on exiting the field anyway, there’s no loss. And it makes them more aware of what artists want. It should be self-evident but I think the pressure is higher when they see examples of actual talented individuals they wanted to hire but didn’t get because of their policies.

    • Rob says:

      I just realized I misinterpreted this in a very stupid way. It’s late, I’m tired. I understood “go home” as in “leave the company behind”. Especially because of the “find an out”, which I took as “find an alternative”.
      But in that context (leaving the company/field), my comment is still valid.

    • Dutch Wife says:

      I disagree Rob. People will negotiate with talented people. If you don’t try to negotiate you’ll never get an answer.

      Remember trying to get to First, Second, Third and Home Base with your high school sweethearts? You gotta keep trying. Otherwise you’ll just end up with a Dutch Wife, like me.😛

      • Rob says:

        Huh? That’s basically just what I said. If you’re fed up, don’t just leave but at least try to have an impact. You never know, you may be surprised.

        I didn’t have “high school sweethearts”. Only reasonable girlfriends who didn’t play games, just like me.

  27. Concerned Parent says:

    Ladies and Gents across the world meet “wage theft”. As if it wasn’t bad enough already. Ain’t gravity grand? Time to be outspoken about this too.

    http://skaplan839.wordpress.com/2012/11/09/artists-take-a-stand-against-yurcor/

    http://skaplan839.wordpress.com/2011/11/01/wage-theft-what-can-you-do/

  28. vfxmafia says:

    Cant hide in video game land….EA lays off 300 in Montreal……

    http://www.joystiq.com/2013/04/11/ea-layoffs/

  29. Dutch Wife says:

    What a scam. So meanwhile you spend money and moreover tons of time to reinvent yourself. Like a doctor or lawyer would. And then they turn around and pay you like all that doesnt matter. In VFX these days, you need to be more like a doctor or lawyer…always researching surgery techniques, etc.

    Instead youll get constant substitutions for pay earned. Like getting offered a “dutch wife” instead of the real deal. No this is not funny.

  30. Dutch Wife says:

    VFX Analogy of the Day (Let’s hear yours too!):

    VFX is like a housewife. She’s cooking, cleaning, ironing, folding, shopping for groceries, etc. Full time. But people still say she doesn’t do anything. Cause her work is invisible. I’m not trying to make a literal connection, but more of an interesting analogy to poke fun at the absurdity.

    • Nick says:

      Terrible Analogy.

    • Rob Blauser says:

      To an artist, it’s more like a really hot girl who is great in bed, and who your friends are all jealous of, but the rest of the time she’s crazy, abusive, and self-destructive.

      • jbomb says:

        Mysogenistic theme occuring? haha. Who else has some weird analogy that makes no sense?

      • Dutch Wife says:

        exactly

      • Dutch Wife says:

        The whole point is that it is absurd. Hence the absurd analogies.

      • Rob Blauser says:

        Not meant to sound misogynistic, though I will admit it comes from a rather odd sense of humor!

        I am comparing my experience in the VFX industry (from 2006 to 2011) to the abusive relationships I’ve seen a few of my friends endure over the years. On the surface, a “career” in VFX looks sexy and cool, but most people aren’t aware of the “abusive” side (no stability, illegal labor practices, getting screwed over financially, all while you’re expected to “be a team player.”) At a certain point, the only healthy thing to do is to GET OUT. Like you said, it’t not meant to be literal, but rather to poke fun at the absurdity😉

        Rob

        P.S. – For the record, I worked with a lot of fantastic clients as well, but I found them to be few and far between!

      • Pixza says:

        Oh Rob you are so dead on man. I liked all your comments. I agree 100%

  31. ilm-to-pact-with-chinas-base-fx- says:

    ilm-to-pact-with-chinas-base-fx
    http://variety.com/2013/film/news/ilm-to-pact-with-chinas-base-fx-1200383782/

  32. I'm Just Sayin says:

    Oregon is subsidizing the start up of streetcar manufacturer and Lexus announced it will open a plant in Kentuky cause the state is giving them 127 million in tax subsidies. Good luck soldiers. You better find another angle.

  33. Rob says:

    Since this thing about the theoretical 48 hours per week in the UK comes up here and there, I figured I might wanna mention something I have just read:
    “If the employer has not got the worker to opt out, then the 48 hour week is not a rigid maximum, but is taken as an average over 17 weeks.”

    So, unless there are other laws that prohibit it, you could still be ordered to work 100 hours a week for 8 weeks straight, then get about 8 weeks off and everything is still legal.
    It’s just great to see how well employees are protected from being overworked.

  34. […] These practices are not limited to just your vendors. LucasFilm has been a recent huge acquisition for your company. Last year I wrote about Luis Pages, a worker at the Singapore facility that was terminated after taking agreed upon time off to tend to his ill wife who suffered from a high risk pregnancy. It’s also worth mentioning the current trial involving collusion against workers in California between LucasFilm and another subsidiary Pixar. LucasFilm also recently announced it may open in London. Many of the workers in the UK would like to unionize and are not paid overtime for many of the films they work on. […]

  35. Great information. Lucky me I came across your site by
    accident (stumbleupon). I’ve saved as a favorite for later!

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