Variety Reaching Out To Imageworks Employees

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It’s fairly common knowledge that management has been coercing employees at Imageworks in Culver City to move to Vancouver or get laid off. Variety’s David S. Cohen wants to hear your story. You can email him (david dot cohen at variety dot com).

I have no problem with people who volunteer to move to Vancouver or where ever they want in the world. What I have an issue with is companies that coerce their employees to take upon tremendous costs of displacement so US Studios can obtain a government bribe, only to be left out once another government offers a larger deal. We saw this happen last year with Imageworks New Mexico.

Soldier On.

179 Responses to Variety Reaching Out To Imageworks Employees

  1. Devin Fairbairn says:

    I say we start demanding that the difference created by the subsidies be split between the US studios and the artists being asked to move. Seems fair.

  2. Michael says:

    I’m sorry people, I know many hate the idea of Unions but I honestly don’t see any other way of protecting entertainment artists anymore. It’s time for a Union.

    • tazzman says:

      Again, all of these practices and unethical things would be harder to pull off in a union setting. Not saying unions are perfect(they’re not) but at least you will get some form of standards and practices with a union and trade association.

  3. P-Fi says:

    A friend of mine is in a wheelchair and was working for Sony New Mexico. He was offered a relocated job up in Vancouver. His relocation allowance was $2500 Canadian. After taxes it was going to be about $1300 USD.

    Ask me how it could be possible to move from New Mexico to Vancouver on $1300. Then add on top of that you are in a wheelchair. He probably spent close to 10k on moving up there for work.

    I’d say that Sony Imageworks was just a touch incensitive???

    • Jen says:

      Just when I figured this industry couldn’t get any worse…

    • Just Curious says:

      My fiancé used to work on set and we talk about this all the time… If a gaffer (or any other crew) is hired to do a show somewhere other than his/her home base, s/he is provided transportation to the location, a rental stipend for longer term housing or full-on paid-for hotel room is provided, rental car if necessary, and per diem for meals are all paid for by the production. As it should be because that gaffer is only in that location in order to work on the production!! Why is VFX being treated any differently?! Because VFX has no Union, that’s why. We recently visited some of my fiancé’s friends who are still working on set and when I told him that VFX artists are offered a few thousand bucks to relocate (if they’re lucky), they were astonished.

      • Ymir says:

        That’s why in the past I have promoted the idea of a ‘subsidy rate’, a rate 1.5x higher than your home rate if you are asked to work in a subsidized location. Especially if the fx facility has a base in your city/country and has opened a branch in the subsidized location. Then they have options for pay scales, local vs. international.

    • Nmvan says:

      Insensitive and Sony are synonymous. You should read some of the “solutions” in the office suggestion box. Not hostile at all.

      • NoHoldsBarred says:

        After reading this I actually looked and HOLY CRAP! Half of the issues about Vancouver, the person who answers just goes off on Vancouver and how in Culver it’s worse. WTF!? They should keep their animosity of Vancouver to themselves. And I love how they encourage us to use the “Suggestion Box” LOL! Uhm NO I don’t think I will if being bitched out is what will receive.

    • Pier Auto says:

      No disrespect to any U.S. citizen.I want to know how people can just move to Canada/Vancouver when there’s people here who are trained and experianced to do the work?

      • Just Curious says:

        The Sony pipeline isn’t hard to learn but there is always a learning curve of sorts. If they can coerce an artist who has used their pipeline for 5+ years to move for less money, then what is their incentive to hire fresh talent in Vancouver and train them? It’s all a shell game.

      • Mtbouchard says:

        Most of the people who have worked in effects for 6+ years and have worked on award winning work are not in Vanvouver. The only reason they are moving there is because Hollywood via the VFX studios are forcing them. Thus ILM Van, Sony van, dd van, r+h van, Pixar van, etc.

        Vancouver seems all great now to those there WHILE ITS GROWING. Wait til that stops and they cut your salaries and you’ve bought an overpriced house and the subsidies get cut (or eliminated because they are illegal).

      • Jaded Artist says:

        Guys, there is no vfx work in Vancouver this summer either so please chill with the rhetoric. Sony WAS hiring for a while, but they’re not anymore. Vancouver is just as dead as LA or SFO this summer and people are being laid off right and left. ILM has less than 30 people at it’s pod. MPC isn’t hiring. R&H let go 40% and isn’t hiring with no promise of future work. DD is wrapping Enders soon and Maleficent was pushed so they’re not hiring. All of this “there’s GOLD in them Vancouver hills” is bullshit. Artists here are facing the same problems, lack of work, and layoffs as the rest of the industry. It may not seem like it to those of you NOT in Vancouver, but I can tell you from the ground here that you’re spreading a lot of misinformation and plain wrong facts.

        And as to how people can move up here from the States, Studios do NOT get tax credits for employees who come up here who are not residents or Citizens of Canada. So they can’t just transplant everyone up here and get instant tax credits. That’s not how it works.

        And to whoever said most of the artists up here haven’t been in the industry for 6+ years you don’t know what you’re talking about. Most of the artists at DD, ILM, MPC, R&H, and Sony are all the same people you see at any gig around the world nowadays. They’re from Weta, ILM, London, Australia, the States, etc. It’s not a bunch of wet behind the ears students from VFS working on shots up here. If you walked into any of the vfx houses in Vancouver it would look the same as it does at any big shop around the world.

      • Andreas Jablonka says:

        @jaded artist:
        sorry i disagree with you about the staff quality. most vancouver shops fill their ranks with vfx people. sure they try to import seniors from around the world but compared to the locations like LA and London for every senior artist see 5-8 juniors in Van while its maybe 3 juniors in LA. The talent did not want to move and the tax credits only work for residents and Canadians so of course they fill their ranks with mediocre artists.

      • Anonymous says:

        Heh. Yeah, that’s why MPC won several VES awards for their work on Life of Pi.(Not to mention an Oscar) Poor quality work and junior artists, right?

      • Craig says:

        No disrespect to any Canadian citizen, but I want to know how the Canadian government (the Canadian people) can just spend public money in order to build up an industry that would not naturally exist there without those subsidies.

        I’d really like to know why Canadians feel it is “fair” that their government gives Vancouver an artificial advantage over Los Angeles?

        Sure, who in the industry wouldn’t want a thriving VFX business in their own hometown? Where does it stop? I’m from the east coast. I moved to California decades ago because I wanted to *join* an industry. An industry that built itself up in a location based on successful people and companies in the region, not based on city government plans to create said industry. It’s nice that Vancouver fancies itself as a VFX and animation powerhouse, but the reality is that it does not exist on its own merit, only tax-payer funded bribes.

        There are trained and experienced people that live in LA that are losing jobs to people in Vancouver because of a contrived government preference for sexy, Hollywood-type jobs.

        You don’t see Vancouver giving subsidies to industries like concrete pouring or interior decorating. Nope, that’s not as flashy for politicians to flout in front of tax-payers. Subsidies are actually immoral. Not as immoral as murder, but immoral all the same.

  4. Dun unda says:

    I was offered a job at Sony Vancouver after DD Florida imploded. They where going to offer me $5,000 to relocate my family of 4. After tax it was about $3000 USD.

    It was almost 4000 miles for a family of 4 with an entire house full of stuff. I was probably going to have to put 12-15k on my credit card to pay for the move myself. I just couldn’t afford to go into debt to take a lower paying job in the most expensive city in North America with some of the highest taxes. It in no way added up.

    Luckily I found a job elsewhere with an appropriate relocation package here in the States.

    • Shouldn't Bother Anyone says:

      Good to denote what it really amounts to after tax.

      • Dun unda says:

        Yes, most companies give a taxable relocation lump sum. It’s cheaper and easier for the companies to do it this way. It’s kind of done as a signing bonus. The problem is that in Vancouver it’s taxed like crazy, something like 40%.

  5. Jackadullboy says:

    Add to these stories the fact that you are really guaranteed only six to eight months of work before being laid off, and bam….

    • Shoulda Coulda Woulda says:

      We are headed toward a crew model in all corporate situations with supply and demand fluctuating more than ever with valid global competition via the internet.

      Not downplaying VFX fate, but this is going to be a real problem for just about everyone working at a company of any type.

      Even if you work for Boeing and they make airplanes.

      Unless there is a time length specified, they can simply hose you with no accountability needed.

      And even if there would be a time base contract it wouldn’t be more than a few years at the high end of situations.

      Companies are moving away from retaining workers long term in most industries.

      As global competition makes it easier for someone to be replaced. Even if it means they lose time, companies are will to take the risk.

      Still sign your rep cards though as thats about all the leverage you can have for now.

      Boeing is about to lay off 2500 plus. For them it’s no different. When they get a hold of production and get it humming, or reduced need, they layoff. Period.

      When they need more people they’ll hire again. That need will run out and they will douche again within a short as a timeframe as the need entails.

      And when they need to companies will outsource, despite if the quality is less.

      Workers of the past said it couldn’t happen to them, because of quality. The companies rebelled and found a way to educate the foreigners to make them more efficient.

      It’s money well spent for them to do so…via small investments in grooming the cheaper solution.

      When you search google for layoffs, the stories from 1992 cite the same model where companies reduce overhead as margins and need reduce.

      This is not at all new, just becoming more viable with automated ways of being there remotely.

      To corporations this is easily seen as the best solution. We may not like it, but they could care less what you or I think.

      Most people outside of hollywood live normal lives, need escapism, drive regular cars and are average enthusiasts.

      Movie studios target and profit those kinds of people, lest anyone forget. They care less about you being the rare perfectionist.

      All this should be a wakeup call. Never depend on a corporation. Never. They are designed to screw anyone but themselves these days.

      You could get cut at anytime. Even within an hour of starting a job.

      Leverage and negotiate your salary and terms wisely. And never bank on any corporation in any industry, lest you should even leave VFX.

    • Dubsta says:

      Incorrect. No gaurantees of even more than 1 hr of employment. Never trust a corporation.

  6. Jeff says:

    I’m not sure how coercion figures into it, which is different from offering a pittance for moving, and different from what David Cohen is asking about. We choose to work in this industry and to take the jobs we take, don’t we?

    • vfxmafia says:

      To Jeff..
      Definition of Coercion is:
      “to compel the individual to do some act against his or her will by the use of psychological pressure, physical force, or threats.”

      “move or get fired” might fall into this catagory…..

      I think what David is trying to get at……if Sony LA employees are getting coerced to move to Vancouver or face loosing their jobs…..while Sony takes subsidy money from Canada (to employ Canadian workers)……. Sony is pulling a bait and switch…..stocking american workers and then taking the subsidy money…….seems fraudulent…..

      I have personally heard some stories of companies taking a space in Vancouver to get the subsidy money….and opening a ghost office……the desks have monitors but no computers……place is empty……

      • meinvan says:

        vfx mafia:

        i totally disagree that, as you say “move or get fired” might fall into that category. Nobody is forcing anybody to move up here to van (yes im in vancouver and at spi). They certainly have a choice, and if they dont want to go look for work in LA then they are happily offered an position up here.

        it might just seem like it is coercion as artist in LA (especially very expensive, or kinda crappy ones) are having a harder time securing work than they used….which is brought on by many factors including subsidies, cheap labor schools cranking out cheap artist wanting their foot in the door….etc.
        Those are the facts of the industry currently, yet that does not mean its coercion as sony does not control those factors, and sony is not the only company in LA artist can work for.

        2nd’ly: subsidy money is not just for canadians, (maybe it should be, but its not) and i can garantee that what you are talking about, or implying, is certainly not the case.

        on top of that, im not sure if you know very many people at spi, but most people up here are NOT americans, and the ones that are here certainly dont feel like they were coerced into moving to vancouver, they feel blessed.

        “I have personally heard some stories of companies taking a space in Vancouver to get the subsidy money….and opening a ghost office……the desks have monitors but no computers……place is empty……”

        not sure where this is coming from, but I say this is a big fat lie, or the pissed off vfx artist’ urban legend….but a far way from reality.

      • Jeff says:

        Bad options are one thing, but coercion is something else, that’s all I’m saying. I do want to hear how this actually happens, but coercion is a really strong– and possibly incorrect– term for what I’ve heard is happening to some artists. Isn’t there always an option to walk away?

      • TimeToAct says:

        coerce – 2: to compel to an act or choice.
        3 : to achieve by force or threat

        VFXmafia is correct if you look at #3 of the definition

        I was told that SPI would like to keep me but my only option was to move to Vancouver. So “move or get fired” (a threat of lossing my job) is Coercion.

        Yes I lost my job because I chose to stay in LA and yes I have stayed employed in LA at other companies, but its sucks seeing more opportunities leave just because they are chasing subsidies, not because they want better talent.

        It will be interesting to hear what everyone in Van says when SPI picks up and moves to Montreal, and you are in the same boat. This is the second time they have done this, has everyone forgotten Albuquerque?

      • vfxmafia says:

        Given the choice of being terminated or move … NOT a choice….it fits the definition of coercion..

        1. to compel to an act or choice
        2. to achieve by force or threat

      • meinvan says:

        so its all good had they just fired people and hired others in vancouver.?!?!

        so your guys problem is that they offered them a position in vancouver.

        i dont get your logic….

      • TimeToAct says:

        “I have no problem with people who volunteer to move to Vancouver or where ever they want in the world. What I have an issue with is companies that coerce their employees to take upon tremendous costs of displacement so US Studios can obtain a government bribe, only to be left out once another government offers a larger deal.”

      • Shoulda Coulda Woulda says:

        they have the right to make that offer. you can’t force them to employ you if they don’t have the work to support it. they don’t need to give any excuses. They could 1hour change their mind to the next.

      • tazzman says:

        meinvan, this has nothing to do with other artists, so stop trying to make it about that. It’s about unethical corporate practices by a fx company.

      • meinvan says:

        tazzman, im asking a genuine question, not making it about other artists. read what i said, and give an answer, dont try to shut me up because i dont share your opinion

      • TimeToAct says:

        “you can’t force them to employ you if they don’t have the work to support it”

        That is not even being debated. SPI had/has plenty of work, I was told either move or be let go. It had nothing to do with me or my abilities, or if there was or wasn’t work.

      • tazzman says:

        I apologize as it wasn’t my intention to try and shut you up.

        However, you mentioned artists could find work elsewhere. Well, yes of course. However, that doesn’t mean there wasn’t a coercive attempt to make Culver City folks move north, all while saying there are no other job opening here. That is coercion.

        I’m not trying to shut you up. You’re a Sony artist in Van and those perspectives are important.

      • meinvan says:

        sure spi wants to keep artist that know their pipeline employed for them, hence an offer to move up north.

        but again, i ask what i said before and got no answer too from anyone who seems to have a different opinion:

        “so its all good had they just fired people and hired others in vancouver.?!?!
        so your guys problem is that they offered them a position in vancouver.?”

      • vfxmafia says:

        To Meinvan…

        Why cant you comprehend ….that it sucks for a company… prematurely terminate an employee because he/she can’t just sell their house……pick up their family……and immediately move to another country? (especially when the company does it from bribes from another government.)

        There was a time when governments had tariffs and protection policies that protected companies and workers……against unstable economic policies like subsidies that created bubbles….
        now that we have the G8 corporations answer to no one….not even laws…

        Meinvan….ask youself…..what will you do when your subsidies stop in Canada…and your asked to move or be fired?

      • meinvan says:

        I can comprehend that it sucks to be let go by a company prematurely….no doubt about that. And even though my last two jobs, I was told that its an “indefinite contract”, i know and plan that they will excercise their right “because i signed” to have me out within 2 weeks for any reason what-so-ever.

        which is commen knowledge to most vfx workers, and i like it as little as everyone else…but if you can do simple arithmetic youll quickly realize that its unsustainable for a company to have hundreds of artist sitting around doing nothing.

        As to your second sentence, nobody is saying sell your house, pack up your children and move there…..they are a buisness and are simply saying…”we cant do it, we cant employ you here”

        with all the talk about subsidies and the pressure from the “big 6” you all must understand, its business its not personal.

        And dont get me wrong, i dont like it, i wish we could all live were we want and be happy, well paid, well cared for staffers. but that is sadly not how the system works, especially when you have mega-corps involved.

        I guess im just a realist in that sense, live this life while it works for me, and plan my out. You like VFX, nobody says that you have to “indirectly” work for the mega-corps. There are many more fields were good 3d artist are needed, which dont come with the same caveats as the feature film industry.

        when they tell me they have no job for me here, but i can move to montreal (or where ever), I will look at my options, look at where i want to be and im gonna send out some resumes.
        Im certainly not gonna bitch and point my finger and say “hey that guy over there, (who;s cheaper and posably better) is stealing my job” or “that fucking company, they told me im staff I thought i was never going to have to cut a new reel for the rest of my life”

      • TimeToAct says:

        No one at SPI Vancouver got hired becuase they where cheaper or better, they got hired becuase they were willing to move to or already were in Vancouver.

        Does that mean that there isn’t good people up there? No there are plenty of good/great artist in Vancouver, and all over the world

        Everyone in Culver City was offered to go, it had nothing to do with price or ability.

        That’s why subsidies are bad it has nothing to do with abilities of people.

      • tazzman says:

        TimetoAct, exactly. it’s who has the better lobbyist or connections.
        So you have this unsustainable bubble “market” that will pop once another group of politicians in another area comes up with a better scheme.

        So, keep playing the studios game or stop, sign a rep card, and try to unionize enough shops that this grinds to a halt.

      • yet_another_anon_vfxer says:

        I personally know multiple Los Angeles SPI workers who were told their job would be in Vancouver if they wanted it, and they would not have one unless they moved. The job in Vancouver was the same job they were doing in L.A., but on a different show. Some of those people had just relocated to L.A. from San Francisco, leaving their families behind. In the end they lost their jobs.

        I know of two people who were specifically told “The job is in Vancouver, and not here, you can move if you like.” For those not familiar with SPI, the pipeline is all but transparent between facilities. The work could have been done locally with practically zero side effects to efficiency or communication, and the seats were available during the time period in question. Ultimately those people lost their jobs.

        I have further examples but do not feel I can post them without being dangerously specific. Suffice to say, entire departments are verbally “enouraged” two or three times a month for people to consider moving North.

        I respect Vancouver, but I don’t understand how someone in Vancouver can claim to have a perspective on under-the-table whisperings in Los Angeles, and whether people are being coerced to move North. People are being coerced to move North. These conversations always take place in person, never email, and are not something that a Vancouver employee would have been party to. The fact of the matter is, the job existed, they had a hire for that job who was in good standing and performing well, being assigned main characters in major shots and the like. The job continued to exist with minimal gap between, the job did not change in nature (same position same dept), and they indicated desire to have that employee continue performing that job. But while doing so, they said “But not here, you would need to move to Vancouver.”

        Arguing whether that’s coersion is arguing semantics and irrelevant to the discussion about whether this stuff is happening and whether it’s ethical.

      • yet_another_anon_vfxer says:

        P.S. – apologies for bad editing, I repeated myself. I’m doing too many things at once.

  7. VanWhat? says:

    I remember when Randy Lake came into Monthlies this time last year, and said we should all be excited that SPI will have lots of work that summer in Vancouver, and how its a great city, and should be excited to move there if we wanted to keep our jobs.

    • vfxmafia says:

      I think Sony still has the video on the wiki still up…..with people telling us how great new mexico is/was…..(i think this one guy had a margarita poolside). I wonder if he still has the house….

      • Just Curious says:

        There are a bunch of us still in NM in our homes. Sony is not the end all, be all. It’s not easy making the shift but it’s worth it in the long run. Can you buy a house in Vancouver (or LA or SF for that matter) for $200-$300?!! I’m bummed for all of us who lost jobs but for me personally, it was a blessing. It forced me to make the move out of the industry that I’ve been talking about or years.

  8. VFX4LIVING says:

    Lady D.D.

  9. NoLonger@SPI says:

    I was there… We were also shown a slick video showing how great Vancouver was, complete with people playing volleyball on the beach! When I went to the artist’s representative to ask about getting assigned to a new show, I was asked, “How do you feel about Vancouver?” I said I’d really prefer not to, citing my kid in school, and requested further details for such a relocation.
    I was told a few weeks later that there were no more open positions in Culver City, thanks for your service. I seriously doubt I was the only one. Maybe I talked too loudly about signing those union rep cards…

    • TimeToAct says:

      I remember that video

      “did you know that Vancouver get less rain then Kaua`i”

      (Kaua`i is a Rain Forest)

    • vfxmafia says:

      Meinvan……wait till it happens to you and your company. I’ll be happy to remind you the definition of coercion.

    • skaplan839 says:

      “I seriously doubt I was the only one. Maybe I talked too loudly about signing those union rep cards…

      Nice connection there. Sure, it was your union sentiment that kept you from a job in Culver City.

    • Ymir says:

      You should have asked your manager if they would accept the same offer if Culver closed down. At least one I know of who is charged with selling Vancouver has said they would not go themselves.

  10. Shoulda Coulda Woulda says:

    Who is in vancouver right now that made the leap? Feel free to tell us here anonymously too. What’s the deal?

    • Larry Gritz says:

      What’s the deal with what, exactly?

      • Shoulda Coulda Woulda says:

        Want to hear more details to confirm what was said about the fate of LA SPI longterm. I’m hearing from journalists and blogs but I want to hear first person accounts of whats now being said within those walls.

        Vancouver seems like a nice place. I could see people being happier up there than LA, NY or Chi anyway.

    • Larry Gritz says:

      The fate of LA SPI? I can only observe that SPI is now approximately evenly split between L.A. and Vancouver (in terms of total number of people), and we are almost completely full in Vancouver with no obvious room to expand into. I don’t know what you mean by “long term”, but I don’t see any way in the next couple years for SPI to shift significantly more people from LA to Vancouver, and I’d expect that pressure for people to move has to decrease, simply because there’s no way the facilities could accommodate many more.

      Nice place — yes, my family and I couldn’t be happier here and I consider it a big step up from California in terms of quality of life. I’m happy to elaborate more, here or via email, if you want to know the details. I don’t claim that everybody feels the same, but a significant number do. I’ve put my money where my mouth is: recently bought a house and have applied for permanent residency.

      • Bob says:

        Hah, bought a house in an area where the industry is completely subsidized and could disappear at any moment…yeah good plan.

      • Vanim says:

        For those of you who don’t know what buying a house in Vancouver means :

      • Shoulda Coulda Woulda says:

        That’s serious shit.. that link

      • Dun unda says:

        Larry can afford it, he is very good at what he does and is well compensated for it.

        If I could live in Vancouver with Larry’s salary I’d be quite happy as well.

      • Larry Gritz says:

        Bob, I’m sleeping fine at night with my family in a really great place to live, safe, good schools, nice people, short commutes with great public transport/bike/walk, very livable, and we intend to stay. It’s not a stupid place to own real estate. I don’t aspire to live in LA (no offense to those who do), so I don’t see why I shouldn’t live to the fullest where I do like to be, for however long I can.

        Vanim: It’s a little silly to judge anything by 5 examples that were selected for the sole purpose of highlighting outrageous situations. Housing can be crazy expensive here, yes. It also was crazy where I lived in California, and overall Vancouver has been approximately a lateral move for me price-wise, while a big step up quality-of-life-wise. Your mileage may vary.

      • Vanim says:

        Oh as a single man who moved here with a less than generous offering, definitely my experience differs.

        My experience would bore you.

        I am simply suggesting that people look at how housing costs are up here in Vancouver if it’s in your plan to buy. I congratulate you on obtaining a house! Definitely not an easy task. But unless you’re in a “superstar” position at any studio and just a regular, senior artist like the ones being asked to move up here, chances are you will be house-broke. And let go after the show ends.

        Or the lottery. Win the lottery.

      • Larry Gritz says:

        I’m a contrarian on the cost-of-living issue. I think it’s very hard to measure, and depends on what kind of lifestyle you want and how willing you are to adapt. As an example, gasoline costs more per gallon here, and it costs more to insure a car. But we needed two cars in California and drove them a lot. Here we have only one car and don’t drive it much, so on an annual basis our transportation costs are lower. And how to factor in that there is no equivalent to the 405 or the 880 here, how to value all the time I’m not stuck in traffic? So is that a higher cost of living or a lower cost of living? I dunno, but it sure as hell isn’t adequately explained by a spreadsheet comparing prices of a handful of arbitrary items in both cities.

        Vancouver can be tough for people on junior salaries (though the Bay Area was as well). On the other hand, somebody on a junior salary might appreciate that their kids don’t need an expensive private school because the neighborhood public school is really good, or that if you have a major health problem you needn’t worry about crippling medical bills.

      • Andreas Jablonka says:

        Hey Larry,
        serious question if you please: what does quality of life mean? i keep reading it and find no way of answering it. I have spent a year in Vancouver. I can definitely say it was 20% more expensive to live in. I found the quality of life significantly reduced compared to los angeles. less availability of things, better public transit, less sun and waaay more rain and shit weather. good restaurants but also very small and mediocre nightlife. the city center is way to small and nobody seems to be able to afford living there in a NYC style showbox.

        Im not an outdoorsy person, if you love to kayak, hike, snowboard I can see vancouver be attractive but if you dont its a lot less fun than Los Angeles in MY opinion.

        Anyway not trying to start a war but wanted to hear what quality of life means. working less? depending on company. getting apid fairly? definitely no, often abused overtime laws to pay artist after 10 hours rather than after 8. what else? free healthcare? ok thats a big plus no argument there.

      • Mister Wonderful says:

        Honestly Andreas what do you do in LA that you cant do in Vancouver. Are you a clubber?

      • Andreas Jablonka says:

        I like clubs, i like the more diverse population, i like 24hour restaurants and shopping. sunshine that lasts all year and not 8 weeks, it enables you to never having to cancel any activity because it stats to rain. i lie you can go to the beach, before you say it van has some sand but swimming? or surfing? only with an icepick through the glaciery water surface! anyway i know people can be happy in Van, its everybody own choice. Most vfx artist just dont have the choice anymore if they like to keep working in this field 😦

      • larrygritz says:

        Andreas: “Quality of life” is certainly in the eye of the beholder.

        It’s sunny for more than 8 weeks, and nobody cancels anything just because it rains. There are definitely beaches and swimming, not so much surfing. If you really like sun all year, it may be a problem for you. On the other hand, there’s something to be said for having seasons, not feeling like we’re living beyond our water supply means, and having great ski/snowboard very close. Sometimes I miss the better weather of California, but the weather here is a heck of a lot milder than several other places I’ve lived (we had exactly ONE day this winter that was cold enough for snow to stick) and overall my desire for more sun doesn’t measure up against all the things I prefer here.

        Clubs and 24 hour shopping? Not my cup of tea. But for me, quality of life issues include that I can walk or bike or take truly pleasant public transport most places I like to go, and even when I need to drive, I never spend time stuck in traffic. I have a <20 minute commute that's a combination of walk and bus. I like that the schools are good (the neighborhood public school stacks up well against the expensive private school my son went to in California) the violent crime rate is maybe 1/4 that of the US, there are a ton of good public accommodations and lots of activities for my family. The air is always clean. There is no such thing as a medical-related bankruptcy here. People are friendly and polite and don't have the "everybody for himself" attitude that I've felt increasing in the US for the past few decades. I've seen strangers help each other in ways that boggle my mind as an American.

        Obviously this is all a matter of taste.

      • Andreas Jablonka says:

        Larry, thanks for the reply.
        Its interesting how opinions can vary. I have spend 10 months in vancouver and found the people to terribly introverted, not social whatsoever. they rather go to bed at 9pm to go hiking at 7am rather than having dinner or a pint after work. the air is cleaner i forgot that part you are right. the crime and school argument holds no value for me as single but i see its validity. the weather did make most of my stay very dull. i hated the grey sky that took the fun out of a good 2/3 of my stay. I have been stuck in vancouver traffic out to surrey often.
        it was good having this clarification thought. agree to disagree I think. Just wanted to give other people more insight into the reality of Vancouver. recruiters try to sell it like hotcakes and grumpy artists like me rip it a new one, so this has been both good and bad and hopefully helps artists decide if they want to try it out.

      • Cold Water says:

        Larry Gritz wrote: “People are friendly and polite and don’t have the “everybody for himself” attitude that I’ve felt increasing in the US for the past few decades.”

        Andreas Jablonski wrote: “I have spend 10 months in vancouver and found the people to terribly introverted, not social whatsoever.”

        Andreas: I totally agree with you. (Though “whatsoever” may be a bit strong.) I too have spent several large stretches of time there for work, including portions with my family, and have experienced countless stories of antisocial behavior the likes of which you would never see in the US. Now, of *course* there were a ton of people, especially the ones I worked with, not like that. I loved my coworkers. I had many an awesome night at the bar, living it up, etc.. But in terms of going about town, dealing with folks in the usual run of business, sometimes with kids in tow, etc., it’s a much less friendly city *overall* than anywhere the US I’ve ever lived. I won’t even bother going into the many, many examples. But you don’t have to believe me, just google Vancouver’s nickname — “no fun city”, which IMO isn’t even about activities or nightlife but just about a general attitude. And it’s not like it’s a general Canada thing, it’s very Vancouver-specific. Every Canadian I know not from the Vancouver area says that it’s notorious for being like that, and that places like Toronto and Montreal are known for being very friendly.

        Yes, I know that this is a wildly subjective topic. I’m not here to invalidate the opinion of anyone else who says that they consider Vancouver to be a friendly, social place. I am simply telling you what I experienced in my time there, and was not at all surprised to learn that Vancouver has a reputation for it that goes well beyond what I experienced.

  11. Shoulda Coulda Woulda says:

    Breaking news…Next stop. Square Enix LA and High Moon Studios.
    No pizza to follow as projects are simply winding down and corporate restructuring was cited.

    Oh yeah and Transformers 4 production will go to china.

    Interesting daily. We need that website ticker with no layoffs or corporate casualties since ______days.

    • Nick says:

      Paramount is breaking into the Chinese market. That’s a no- brainer and a very smart move. Also your post is a bit misleading.

      “In addition to filming in Chicago and Michigan, Paramount Pictures have announced that the upcoming Transformers 4 will film PARTIALLY overseas in China.”

    • Cuntsman says:

      correct, but the fact any production is going there for such a huge huge franchise film is a sign of the times. im not mad, just observing what is going down.

      • Nick says:

        I’m wondering if they will only send large franchises there once they’ve played out a bit in North America? My guess is that they will not test a major franchise out on a fairly new market.

      • Not a Chinaphobe says:

        Why should it be alarming that some scenes are filmed in China, if it makes sense for the story? How is filming some of Transformers in China any different than filming parts of Armageddon, Dragon, Kill Bill, Mission Impossible III, Skyfall, Empire of the Sun, or Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom there? Films have been made on location since the dawn of motion pictures.

      • Cuntsman says:

        Who said I was alarmed? I’m just keeping my eyes on what’s next.

  12. anonSPI says:

    SPI employees who moved up here from LA won’t dare speak their actual opinions on a public forum such as this. There is a culture of fear here (has been for many years)

    • NoLonger@SPI says:

      I’ll second that. The SPI employees I met in Culver city were very reluctant to discuss labor issues, unless they’d been around the block a few times. Those that had been at SPI for most of their careers there seem to be most reticent to talk. When I mentioned the benefits of unionizing, I basically got, “Meh. I’m Staff”

    • Cold Water says:

      Not to mention that there is a psychological component of wanting to think that one made the right decision. It’s just human nature. You’re going to try to convince yourself either consciously or sub-consciously that you like it, given all the hardships of making the move. Maybe one day it dawns on you that you don’t, or maybe you were never fooled in the first place, or maybe you really do love it after all. But the point is that it’s not as simple as asking the folks who moved “so what do you think?”

  13. Pier Auto says:

    How do they just move to another country when there are people in that country already qualified and exp. to do the work?

    • tazzman says:

      Pier Auto, are you asking how do they move to another country or why do they?

      The why do they is simple: money. The fx industry is the one area the studios know they can take advantage of. Its community lacks protection, an organized workforce and any sort of basic working minimums.

      So they take advantage any way they can and that usually means : against the vfx studios.

      it’s no coincidence the other crafts like cinematographers, screenwriters, etc aren’t the one feeling the heat in all this. They are represented by strong guilds.

      The fx industry doesn’t.

      • Pier Auto says:

        I’m asking how?. No disrespect to anyone, just can’t figure out how you can move to another country for work when there are people already there who can do it. No disrespect.

      • What? says:

        If a company wants to hire you and you are willing to move for the job then you are hired.

        What don’t you understand? Just because there are people there, qualified or not, a company hires whom ever they want. If the company wants to hire someone out of city/state/country they will.

  14. Pier Auto says:

    One question; How do they just move to another country when there are people in that country already qualified and exp. to do the work?

    • Shoulda Coulda Woulda says:

      Have you seen the chinese guys making creature and realistic humans? you’ve gotta be kidding. Auto workers made the same cries about quality and then they lost at that game.

      Never under estimate your competitor

  15. vfx vet says:

    SPI has been mistreating their employees for years and years. Nothing surprises me anymore. When I was there, folks were told that if they wanted ‘project x’, they could have it, so long as they moved to Vancouver. They would be paid their same rate, — but with no overtime. That meant, with the 20+ hours of OT a week on average, you would be getting a significant pay cut. Artists would ask about spots in LA only to be told there weren’t any. Those that moved north quickly discovered that positions did in fact open up in LA. Nice. It’s basically impossible to trust anyone in upper management anymore. There are some folks that want to do right, but the higher ups simply refuse to allow them the freedom to do so. I certainly hope people step forward and tell their stories. It would be great to pull the curtain back a little.

    In terms of unionization, I’m not sold on the Animation Guild simply because if they are unable to seal the deal with these kinds of atrocious artist conditions, then how good of a union can they be? I mean really…this should be a home run. That being said, the artists do need to come together on this as quickly as possible. Enough is enough. For the staffers at Sony, I don’t think they can hang their hat on that anymore based on this next round of layoffs. And for the temp project hires…you have nothing to lose signing the cards because you are the ones carrying the biggest burden in these hard times.

  16. SPI_merc says:

    Well I work at SPI Vancouver and find it to be a good company. I was asking about New Mexico and it sounded like it was the brain child of the previous management and when they left the New bosses were not that interested in it. Not sure how true that is but it is what I heard.

    To the people bitching about house prices. If you want to buy downtown or in west van then yes prices are in the millions but you move a 15 minute commute out of the city via some of the best public transit I have ever seen and you can start buying some affordable homes. go for a 40 minute commute and you get amazing family homes of 3000sq ft and up. Do you think the average teacher, nurse or public servant who bring home far less then us can live in these rich areas of Vancouver, hell no they live a little further out.

    As for the layoffs as far as I can see there was no work for these people in LA or Van as only a few shows are in production with 2 of them wrapping soon and the others crewed. As many keep saying there are fewer films in production this year as even studios are deciding to not make as many risky films in the wake of shows like John Carter, Jack, Guardians all doing poorly.

    If we do level the playing field ending subsidies we should all be prepared for even less to go around as I don’t see anyone else going to help finance the films if the governments don’t. Because yes I agree they are bad and create issues but they are also help finance the films and if that funding disappears I don’t see any else offering to help fund the films.

    As for Unions I don’t think they would have helped people keep jobs, Currently companies are tightening there belts as the next year seems to be uncertain for many facilities as Studios make less films in all regions. You all keep talking about all the work going to Montreal well I have only heard of one film so far really taking advantage of the region and thats XMen. I havent heard of many other vfx blockbusters moving wholesale too the region.

    • Dave Rand says:

      Just one film, Life of Pi, already made more profit than twice that of the entire “BC money for political qlitz program” yet the entire VFX industry moved up there for just a piece of the pie, while waiting for the next politician to toss it in their faces.

      The greatest cost of visual effects is not labor it’s waste derived from upheaval; bad communication and direction, lack of branding and optimization of groups of talent.

      Once we get back to the business of eye to eye creative communication outsourcing and incentive based locations will stop making sense. Only then can you be part of a truly profitable growth model and buy into a real home.

      The studios are losing money by generating waste and turmoil. Treating their best asset like a tramps in boxcars.

      Unions gain leverage and leverage gains respect in business. The studios are unions.. Canada is one giant union. If you want a say in your future it’s a good place to start, can’t fix everything, but far better than what we have now which is less than zero.

      • SPI_merc says:

        I think there is waste but your idea that it will save so much money is crazy. Film is a creative process where often things evolve and improve over time. You look at some of the classic artists who painted over several paintings until they saw the image they wanted. Perhaps the Mona Lisa would be a pale comparison if he stopped at a the first attempt. Film is the same that often the same if we like it or not but it is a creative process that evolves.

        I have worked at companies where the director is there and we interacted with him. I would not say it was always cost effective as he still changed his mind as the work progressed.

        I agree some studios are far worse especially one that disregards directors at whim but those who have worked with the most focused directors then complain of there exacting standards.

        And life of pi is a great example of a film that only got made because of being able to lower the cost of the film through subsidies and filming entirely in Tawain. It was a very risky film to make as it had every chance of never making a profit and was only made as they could do it for the reported budget although they probably spent 250 million plus after marketing and loan repayments. I don’t condone it but realise that it means films get made.

        Anyway good luck

      • Shoulda Coulda Woulda says:

        good points merc

  17. SPI_merc says:

    yes sorry English is not my first language.

  18. billy says:

    I’m at Sony Vancouver right now. Like a lot of you I have worked overseas from Wellington, to Sydney, to San Francisco, LA, London etc etc. I think Sony and Framestore and whoever else forcing its employees to move is nasty, but at least Sony vancouver pay proper OT (ie 1.5xRate kicks in if you do more than 50hrs/1.5x on sats/2x on public holidays) unlike a lot of other places in LA and around the world I have experienced. Personally I now choose where to work based on their OT policy. Sony, ilm, weta, disney, had the best OT policies. Vote with your feet and avoid those that don’t pay proper OT like framestore. You could do a lot worse like work in Sydney or London for no OT.
    Share your OT positive and negative experiences, comment here and tell all ,how does where you work right now rank in the OT scales?

    • ugh says:

      Here’s the problem: once the productions end and you are out on the street, you don’t really have a choice, other than to move across the country (or the world), should you only choose to work at places that provide OT. That’s the dilemma that many of the 300 artists in Vancouver are facing now and in the coming couple of months.

  19. ugh says:

    How one Culver City –> Vancouver transplant is feeling …

  20. billy says:

    Yes that is true, so if we do have to move around anyway for our work, lets hear who’s got the latest and greatest OT policies and who’s got the worst. C’mon don’t be shy, the more we share and keep ourselves informed the more we benefit. Who’s the best right now? weta,dreamworks,ilm? Whos the worst offenders right now, pixar? animal logic? framestore?

  21. shameonspi says:

    This is EXACTLY what happened at Imageworks New Mexico around this time last year. I’m sure the people being forced to relocate from LA to Vancouver now are being told the same shtick from the management. ‘There will be tons of work, you’ll roll over from show to show with no gap in between’. It also sounds like they’re being offered the same paltry amount of money for a major international move. If they want to save money they should just move their entire operation up there, since the folks with the highest salaries at the company (the upper management and sr. supervisors) still sit in their white palace on W. Washington Blvd. But I guess, what more can you ask from a company run by lawyers?

    • shameonspi says:

      Folks at SPI NM were given the option of Vancouver or unemployment. All news articles read that the employees would be offered positions in LA and Vancouver. All of 4 (very senior people) people out of 40 or so were offered positions in LA. It wasn’t a choice, peoples arms were twisted, even people with families. A position that nobody should ever be forced into, especially by a company they have worked so hard for.

      • Cuntsman says:

        The only thing forcing you is yourself. Wake up. That forced coercion arguement does not fly. We don’t live in a communist country. It’s a faux/free market system (well cept the subsidies part.)

        So if anything they were being nice to offer so many people. They benefit yeas by keeping the pipeline experts. But business have to be able to cut people at any given time.

        Dems the breaks.

        In the jungle, lions, zebras and hyenas all go at it. Human society is just a front for that same model that nature intended.

      • Hell says:

        “that same model that nature intended.”
        Then why we even need law, In the jungle, there is no law.

      • Cuntsman says:

        what law says they don’t have the right to revamp their biz model without including you in it? believe me, im on your side, but you have to be realistic. the law does not state a company cant revamp their business model. capeesh?

      • tazzman says:

        No one is revamping their biz model. That’s one of the issues. They keep using the same failed one.

      • Vanim says:

        I think we just found one of those lawyers shameonspi was talking about.


      • Cuntsman says:

        Nawl. I’m an artist. Not a lawyer.

  22. Pier Auto says:

    Reply to What?’s comment:
    What I don’t understand is the immigration issue that’s what What?. I’m Canadian and can’t just move to the U.S. because I was offered a job. Hell I can’t even go to Quebec and work on a show unless there are no Quebec residence available. In Canada if there are Canadians who are qualified for the job then they are SUPPOSED to have first crack at those jobs before the employer looks elsewhere. I’m SUPPORTING YOU on this issue. It should not be happen. I was ignorant to the fact this was happening. VFX Artist here should be outraged their gov. is allowing this BS to continue.

    • tazzman says:

      Pier Auto, there are many things the politicians have sold the public on when it comes to subsidies. Welcome to the public relations world of selling subsidies.
      You get told one thing while other people moving to your country for the work are told another.

      Politicians are great at talking out of both sides of their mouths.\

      That’s why it’s crazy the fx industry has to play the politicians and studio game by chasing these subsidies. They’re creating a artificial market.

    • What? says:

      Ah now I see what you are saying now.

      “In Canada if there are Canadians who are qualified for the job then they are SUPPOSED to have first crack at those jobs” same here in the US…Supposed to.

      Since this is a creative/talent based job not just an abilities based job (factory worker), not all VFX artist are equal. So yes there are VFX artist in Canada that are amazing and that know what they are doing, but if they haven’t worked for SPI then they don’t know SPIs proprietary software. SPI can sell to the government that they have to bring already trained employees. When you place resume next to resume, worker on A,B,C films, and worked on A,B,C films at SPI, its not the same qualifications due to knowledge of software. Generally its tagged with a we need these people to train local people. Chances are in the next couple years you will see transplanted VFX artist being let go and more locals being hired, if the subsidies stay in Vancouver.

      As vfx artist we know there is more to it then this, and we all know as individuals what we can and cant do and learn, but to outsiders (management, and governments) they don’t know the difference, and they rely on what the companies tell them as factual arguments.

  23. Shoulda Coulda Woulda says:

    Next stop… Lucas Arts. All aboard!!!
    Pizza party to follow but it will not have pepperoni on it…
    It will be all cheese for the mouse…

    • tazzman says:

      That’s what happens when you have high turnover of your presidency, outsource most of your content development, lose your best designers, and focus obsessively on one franchise(Star Wars) to support your company.

      Feel for the 150+ people who lost their jobs.

  24. Hellraiser says:

    Shit storm coming. We are entering hell.
    “And to think. I hesitated.”

  25. Cuntsman says:

    Ahhhh the 90’s. Gotta love when they pull out from what appears clearly to be an illustration. So cheesy.

    Oh the depth. Can we go back to this level of VFX?
    Your mothers don’t know the difference between this and CG.

  26. Paul says:

    Only thing good about Vancouver is UBC chicks, rest is what…rain, cold, ugly architecture, skidrow next to tiny & limited gas lamp 1/4, the bush all around and overpriced food and beverage?!

    Ok you like hiking and skying? All right I’ll take this one, but with OT you’re not gonna have much free time to enjoy that.

    • Mehcouver says:

      Being a former LA person, I find Vancouver very clean, easy to get around with public transport….but no place to go! It’s diverse (regarding ethnicity) but very homogeneous in terms of attitude and personality. Everyone … I mean EVERYONE does yoga, ski or hike. Because there’s nothing else to do.

    • Cuntsman says:

      UBC = University of Ball Chechniya?

      Wow, gotta get my ass over there soon so I can bend over some yoga chicks. Oh wait, I can do that in any major city. Even india or china. So guess we’ll be saying the same thing about those place having “perks” too. 🙂

  27. Blacklight says:

    Just leave the damn industry. I left five years ago and it’s the best decision I’ve ever made.

  28. vfxis so***ed says:

    Next Step..

    Sony Imageworks Vancouver to India, Company can save tons of Money….Crazy Vfx Companies !!!

    • VFX_Reckoning says:

      Maybe it is time to leave the industry, try to find a new career. With the rate things have been going in the last few weeks, there are hundreds of artists who won’t be absorbed back into the gaming and vfx industries. There just aren’t enough jobs to go around anymore. This sucks.

      • vfxmafia says:

        The clock is ticking on LA……

        1. La artists are gonna have to survive the drought…which the way its looking maybe no movies this summer

        2. Can California artists survive till the foreign subsidies die out?
        but who can survive a year without work?

  29. vfxis so***ed says:

    Crazy !!!!!!..Crazy !!!!!!…Crazy !!!!!!…

  30. NoHoldsBarred says:

    The real salt in the wound is how former Culver City employees (and employees from elsewhere) are told that there are lots of projects to roll onto, only to be let go or put on hiatus (technically still an employee to keep the integrity of the work visa, but no pay…allowing one to legally stay in Canada until the next project, but without income). In 2012, these hiatuses went on from 2-5 months and it will be the same for most this year.

  31. Cuntsman says:

    The only thing thats crazy is artists who thought they’d be able to compete doing this forever. Nope.

    Oh yeah, how bout that new after effects that just released? Just another peice of shit fucking software i need to buy. even though i don’t need it. the industry makes you need it.

    Tsunami Coming.

    • What? says:

      New After Effects? Really? what is this 1999? Who cares.

      If you are afraid or worried about learning new software, then you have bigger issues. Every place I’ve worked I have to “learn” new software, that’s the least of anyone’s issue, and isn’t a big deal.

      The issue isn’t artist competition it’s governments buying industries, that a bigger and very different issue.

      • tazzman says:

        “New After Effects? Really? what is this 1999?”

        LOL! I spit up my drink reading that!

      • Cuntsman says:

        It just illustrates how unstable everything is. i don’t think people really need this new upcoming release but it sure ups the workflow having AE and C4D bundled together.

        I know AE is low on the end of VFX. But it was merely used to illustrate how volatile things are. Now Andrew Kramer just got boned for all the R&D he did. Element 3D is about to be as useless as a zaxwerks product.

        People can laugh at the analogy that I make. Or they can see themselves as software…updatable, replaceable, with new heads becoming the game changers.

        Many of the artists sound like software from 1999. Oh yeah I’m the shit, yes yes yes. Then Boom. Laid off on your ass son!!!!!

        Nope, someones going to outdo you this very week and next week youll be trying to chase your own tail. It wouldn’t be so bad if on top of it the studios and shops are not in the position to be loyal friends. waiting for you to learn the next 3D tracker that comes out a revolutionizes everything next quarter. And after that. And after that. It’s always something. This is why VFXers are so stressed out. They act stoic as if they are unaffected.

        But that’s just bullshit bluffing. I know you are scared.

      • What? says:

        I’m not scared of having to learn new software or other artist. Competition between artist is great I love it that’s how I learn, and become better. “There is always a bigger fish”

        I’m scared of more governments all over the world BUYing my job and taking it away. Knowing every software in the world can’t protect you from that.

        That’s why I scoff at your comment, there are bigger issues then artist competition and learning software, if you don’t see that then you are already on the way out. Job aren’t leaving areas because of Talent/software, jobs are leaving become of money.

      • Cuntsman says:

        Sure I love learning new software too. Minus the coding stuff which seems to be getting more and more integral to highend work.

        You’re missing the point.

        Its because you are so on the defensive you are forced to chase the software, the work and the douchery all at once. That is the real point I was trying to make using a small subset of the problems as an example.

        I’m not limiting it to the software. Its that you are wholeheartedly on the defensive.

        You might be right. I might be on the way out. Eventually I will be. What older gents have survived VFX yet? Zero. They’re all angry because the next generation of youth is smoking their asses for breakfast, lunch and dinner. And so will cheaper labor in other countries. It’s a young man’s game. Don’t get mad at me. I’m on your side. We can live in denial forever. This may be a good job now, but later…dunno I want to be firing up training modules in the future when I one day turn 60.

        I’d rather be on the offensive rather than defensive.

      • Cuntsman says:

        And if you don’t know the software. You will be replaced. It’s as simple as that. Good luck learning new software if you are working unpaid OT anyway. When will you have time?

        Software releases are happening to fast now. Not saying it will kill the artists, but it might wear out the good ones unneccesarily.

      • What? says:

        I don’t work unpaid overtime. If they are not going to pay me, I leave.

        Generally I learn new software on the job, because it doesn’t matter to me and is usually easy to learn. If I have to lie in an interview because they are worried about software over skill, then I lie, I get the job, and I Learn it on their dime.

        I’m not mad at you, I feel you are focusing on the wrong issue. Software isn’t your job, Software is a tool. Your job is to be the best VFX artist you can be. BUT when other states, cities and countries are Purchasing your job and taking it. It has NOTHING to do with you, your skills, your ability or software knowledge. So worrying about the small shit is a waste of time.

        You have to save the jobs first, and then get the job second, before you worry about the software you have to learn.. Like you said it changes all the time so if you know what you are doing outside of the software then who cares. Its just software.

        Take a hammer, you know how to use one right? well ok now there are pneumatic hammers, they are fast but really do the same thing. Same with software, it might be faster or cleaner or maybe better, but in the end it does the same thing. if you don’t know what looks good or right then it doesn’t matter what software you use. It still comes down to your talent and abilities.

        YOU ARE NOT SOFTWARE.. YOU ARE AN ARTIST… separate yourself from the tool, or all you will become is a tool.

      • Mister Wonderful says:

        “YOU ARE NOT SOFTWARE.. YOU ARE AN ARTIST… separate yourself from the tool, or all you will become is a tool.”

        Agreed on one hand but sounds a bit like denial. But I know sometimes you have to live in denial.

        Like most married guys who say they love their wife so they would never want to fuck someone else. While that all sounds grand…

        You are only as good as the software. Jumping from Flame to Nuke to Houdini to Max to Maya to Zbrush to Modo to PF Track to Boujou. All this shit adds up.

        Alot of guys I know are bluffing. They are exhausted. Living in denial. I’m not saying quit over that. I’m saying don’t put up with employer bullshit if they are trying to steal your rights. Don’t sympathize with them, you are just perpetuating the business model. It may cost you your job but the unpaid OT for a major studio should never even be a thought. It’s appalling.

      • Mister Wonderful says:

        And the hammer analogy makes no sense.

        Rocket science and hammers don’t compare.

      • tazzman says:

        Uh, I’ve used AfterEffects and it doesn’t come close to knowing rocket physics.

        The hammer analogy is apt.

      • Mister Wonderful says:

        Exactly. Thats why an AE artist wont have any job security. And depending on Nuke to save you will just be more of the same.

        There will be more of a demand to know higher end tools to have any security.

        Sure it takes an artist. Anyone can be an artist. Yup. I just said it. Anyone can be an artist. Even a teenager. If your job isn’t rocket science, you just feel into your own trap.

        However if you are dually an artist and a cutting edge technologist, you will probably do well.

        Sure keep competing. You are not the only one. But I respect you for having the right attitude, albeit slightly misguided about the technology part.

      • Andreas Jablonka says:

        sooo i can go to school and learn both art technique and math/physics to be able to do art and rocket science. i still argue that TALENT cannot be tought. you can elarn how to use a wacom but if you cant draw it will be hard to learn. the best learned techniques are still not half as a good as talented people.

        rocket science or any science does not require talent. its helped if you are apt with numbers but anything can be learned that it needs.

      • What? says:

        People aren’t losing their job because they are incapable or “out of date”. They are losing their job because it is being taken away, and moving to somewhere else. They either don’t want to or cant move. Abilities have nothing to do with it. Unless you really aren’t any good

        Learning new software isn’t going to make you better at your job. If you cant light, you cant light, if you cant comp, you cant comp, if you cant track, you cant track. New software isn’t going to make you a master all of the sudden, might make it easier or better, but that has nothing to do with your abilities.Its like when HDRI got popular, oh look I’m a better lighter you are not, you are just good at hitting render. Yes the rendering out of the box looks better, but that doesn’t mean you are now a good/great lighter.

        Also Maybe you should stop cheating on your wife. That sounds like a lot of wasted energy.

      • Mister Wonderful says:

        Comping is not always that hard. It’s frustrating, goes in circles and takes problem solving. But any nerd can learn to comp. That’s just my opinion and I might be outspoken for that. But this is why the jobs are leaving in the first place. Drawing character poses may be another…then again, you never know on that front too.

        I’m on your side I just don’t want artists to let thier own egos be their downfall. I think we are both just ranting here. We are both basically brothers butting heads like brothers. We still love each other and come from the same blood.

        And no I’m not even married.

      • What? says:

        I used to think like you.. anyone can do this.. its not true. LOTs of people can, but not anyone. I have sat next to many a people that will never get it.

        I guess I’m just confident that I can learn any software when ever i need to, I’ve done it my whole career and I don’t see why i cant continue. I look at software as a tool I use, not the container of my abilities. I have yet to not get a job because of software I didn’t know, but I have missed out on jobs due to them moving to another area that i wasn’t willing or able to move to. Vancouver offers subsides to bring in work, not software, same with Australia and everywhere else. China and India aren’t buying our companies because they know software, they are buying them because they can.

      • Mister Wonderful says:

        Not everyone can learn Houdini or highly technical, customized CGI, no. But give them a job and they can learn eventually just like you.

        Just take a look at some of the reels from Asia, Europe, etc.
        It’s not about racism. It’s about global dispersion of the workload. Even without subsidies, CA is not the only place anymore period.

      • tazzman says:

        CA never was the only place. I don’t know why you would think that. There was always Peerless and the London cos for a long time. Weta was created out of PJ’s necessity to make movies. These markets grew organically.

        Difference is now it’s artificial and accelerated because of subsidies and fx artists who dont have leverage to keep their jobs.

      • Mister Wonderful says:

        “nahh” LOL

  32. Mister Wonderful says:

    Why do I keep seeing the following same posting on twitter by what seems to be innocent non-industry folk? Who the fuck is posting this and what the fuck are they up to???? New World Order shit? 😛

    Everyday there are posts that says—–>>>>
    i need some fresh ideas :(. any one with a visual effects ideal out there ?. any one saw some good VFX in some movies ?.

  33. David Brent says:

    Sign your union-card. Get over it. You’ll be happy about the results in a few year years if you still have a J O B. Seriously? Looks like plan B in the meanwhile… Portable healthcare and a pension is better than the alternative. We’re all being downsized… You will be made ‘redundant’ as the original ‘The Office’ was known to say.

  34. george_kaplan says:

    Here is a question I’d love to hear the responses to…

    If tomorrow the BC government ended all VFX subsidies/credits/whatever, what would happen to the VFX industry in Vancouver ?

    My opinion; a lot of people would be moving…

  35. Pier Auto says:

    I’m not a VFX Artist and was ignorant to the whole ‘move to Canada or else’ issue all of you were facing. I’m a Creative/Development Producer and am surprised you are not represented by a trade union and/or guild. I’m not saying that’s the answer, the Directors Guild of Canada does little for production personnel up here, just trying to throw suggestions out. As a collective, do you feel that might be the way of the future for the VFX industry?. Does IA not rep. VFX Artists down south?

    • Dank says:

      No offence but I would check out other post on VFX soldier. A good one to start with is the Town Hall Youtube video, its about 3 hours but might answer a lot of your questions.

      Currently VFX is not Unionized, there are a lot of VFX artist trying to get people to join IA.

    • Dank says:

      might be easier to do this

  36. Pier Auto says:

    I was at the Town Hall Meting @ North Shore Studio but couldn’t stay long. I was just wondering if there was a movement to unionize VFX Artists in North America and what the overall thoughts are on doing so.

  37. Peter Carr says:

    Kathy Tomlinson from the CBC’s Go wants to hear from Vancouver VFX Artists about this sit. since the same is happening in Canada in other industries. I sent her an email and she asked me to put out for VFX Artisits to contact her re. an interview. She’s sincere.

    Kathy Tomlinson
    Reporter, CBC Go Public
    Phone: 604-662-6813
    Fax: 604-662-6088
    Mailing address:
    775 Cambie Street
    Vancouver, B.C.
    V6B 2R5

    • Mister Wonderful says:

      Studios are the Rocco Siffredi of the equation. 😉
      I’m not surprised.

      There is the imagined pie and then the reality of what that pie is.

      This is pure tyranny folks.

      But what’s odd is I’m sure the accountants were just doing their job. This is a deeper problem within how society works. Not just film studios. Some of you probably fudge your own taxes.

      As long as money pool is scarcely imbalanced, there will be people oppressed. This will go on until the last days of man.

  38. Concerned Parent says:

    Shit’s grim out there. My friends are onery and I just get the feeling something is about to go down. the people around me who once had the passion for VFX. Now, they sadly don’t. To them it’s only a stepping stone, but they aren’t sure to what. Man, you can’t tell me that it’s not this bad. I was a late adopter. Shout out to Rand Squires, DS Cohen, Soldier, and some of the regs out there.

    When will VFX get its mojo back? I miss the old VFX where people worked hard and loved what they did. No max?

    • andrei says:

      companies are screwing the artists – and they are forced ( apparently ) TO DO SO.
      Artists are screwed by artists as well.
      Movies are a big bag of garbage.
      there is no ethics and respect for anything out there…

      • Concerned Parent says:

        Couldn’t have said it better myself. “no ethics and respect for anything out there…”

        God it’s aweful out here. Watching myself and others get screwed and being forced to literally beg and kneel for a paycheck that’s pilfered. Really, when does the madness end?

  39. […] Sony Imageworks is a big vendor for many of your films. I get many emails from workers there who tell me that they are given an ultimatum to move to a location that offers your studio a rebate or else they will be laid off. […]

  40. […] VFX Soldier – Variety Reaching Out To Imageworks Employees […]

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