The Oscar March In March

ADAPT (The Association of Digital Artists, Professionals, & Technicians) would like to invite those who share our concerns about the current film subsidy race to join us for a peaceful gathering to demonstrate support for more media awareness on the damaging effects of this issue to taxpayers, companies, and working families in the film industry.

We ask VFX artists, producers, camera crews, caterers, grips, cinematographers, musicians, anyone working in the film industry that feel strongly about this issue to join us.

Date: Sunday March 2, 2014
Time:  1:00pm – 3:00pm PST
Location: Hollywood & Vine
Wear green and bring drinking water.
Get the latest updates here:

Other supporting locations are welcomed to hold their own demonstration. Just let us know.

Latest news:
The Wrap: Visual Effects Protest Planned for the Oscars (Exclusive)
BBC: VFX protest?
The Guardian: Oscars 2014: new VFX protest planned

This is not a demonstration to protest work going elsewhere or keeping work in California. This is a demonstration asking the film studios to let us compete on a level playing field without the distortive effects of government subsidies.

We also want to generate awareness and support for funding our effort to challenge these subsidies in the US Court of International Trade.

We’ll be working on a site and some media to help generate awareness but your support is imperative. The larger the turn out, the more chances we get to bring attention to the media on this issue.

We suggest you bring water and wear a green shirt. We will meet at the same location of last year’s Life of Pi VFX demonstration and simply march. Invite your friends and bring a creative sign to help the cause.

Soldier On.

145 Responses to The Oscar March In March

  1. Not_From_LA says:

    “This is not a demonstration to protest work going elsewhere or keeping work in California.”

    Yeah. Fucking. Right.

    • Disgruntled says:

      Of course people have motives about where they want work to be. But the protest isn’t about Demanding/Asking work to stay in LA. Its about leveling the playing field and allowing people to compete fairly and let the chips fall where they may.

      As someone who’s not from LA you like the subsidize because they favor you…no matter whether they’re fair or lose money for the people of British Columbia or England.

      I understand the people who benefit from the current situation not necessarily wanting it to stop. But you can’t argue that its healthy or in the best interest in the long run.

      • Not_From_LA says:

        This has always been about returning work to LA. Level playing field and VFX solidarity “international” MY ASS.

        Big business is about leverage. This anti-subsidy movement has absolutely none because artists would rather get paid and be in the industry than not, no matter how terrible the deal. No leverage, no change. You’ll never sue your way into jobs getting back to LA. It’s not going to happen. Move or change jobs.

      • Disgruntled says:

        You’re just a debbie downer who’d rather shout at people trying to improve things than get off their own ass to do something about it.

        You either think, wrongly, that subsidies are good and argue for them…or you think subsidies are bad are argue against them.

        Either way stand up for something. But dont sit there like a loser trying to shout people down for fighting to improve things.

      • hector says:

        not from LA.

        dude, common…seriously?

      • Ayaka says:

        BC , NZ and London get very good revenues from those subsidies. Don’t pretend to worry about taxpayers to support your narrow cause.

        Mr Lay you don’t represent even a small percentage of the VFX workers. Only your friends.

        You are in the way of getting people unionized are you are condemning the community members to remain in solitude, defenseless when injustices are committed against them.

        Stop Demonizing people who don’t support your cause and trying to show them as parasites, because even if they are benefiting from the subsidies they belong to the community.

        We get it, You don’t like companies to force you and your friends to move to chase your work, It’s going to be way easier if you stop beign so divisive and hateful towards foreign artist and instead there is consent, Wide consent of how things should work.

      • Disgruntled says:


        No..they dont…and all the independet studies have shown that they do not recoup the money they spend on subsidies. Read the posts by scott squires and daniel lay elsewhere.

        And Daniel Lay has done more for the community the recent years with his blog than anyone else I can think of. For you to say he’s somehow preventing unions and standing in peoples why is down right stupid. Bring facts and logic to the table and then maybe we can talk.

      • Ayaka says:

        yeah “independent studies”, there’s a reason why governments do that. It generates income. Anyway if after a real consensus it’s still the best thing to after the subsidies then yes. However this guys is acting on his own , and you of course are one of his personal friends. You rush to reply to every comment i make, but i read some other posts here talking about hateful language towards folks in vancouver and you said nothing about it.

        I say he is preventing a real big VFX worldwide community to be formed and he is all the time just talking about this subsidies, nothing about unions. He is using the VFX international webpage to deceive people to think it is serving a greater purpose when he is not!

      • Ayaka says:

        i ment: if after consensus there’s a decision to go after the subsidies then yes do it.

      • Disgruntled says:

        What in the world are you talking about? Point me to a study that shows they generate a net positive income? Prove it! Dont just use rhetoric but use verifiable facts.

        What to you would constitute a consensus? Lots of people, even those in subsidized locations, agree that on the whole subsidize are bad for the industry. And the studies show the taxpayers dont recoup the funds.

        Again…I ask you…what issue that a union will fix do you think is more important that subsidize?

        Like I said elsewhere…unions are on a per shop basis. Rally the workers at your job and form a union…simple. You dont need VFX soldier to do it. And when you do…I guarantee he’ll be the first one cheering.

      • Disgruntled says:

        And I have never met Daniel in response to the personal friends thing. I don’t know the guy personally.

        But even if I did why would that matter? how does that change the facts?

      • Ayaka says:

        It would be quite important because you guys would be lobbying only for your own benefit therefore deceiving the more than 70.000 people who are supporting you in the so called “VFX Solidarity international”.

        By the way, that statement from his very personal facebook page that you were suspiciously pretty quick to recall ” Whaaaa Whaaa Whaaaa VFX Solidarity International is not international enough Whaaa whaaa” shows how disrespectul he is towards people who disagree. with him.

        I’m really hoping that people from the industry read this , and realize the support is far from unanimous. Even if you insist in telling people their arguments are nothing for you, because you guys own the truth.

      • Disgruntled says:

        I’m still sitting here twirling my fingers waiting for you to present facts about why susbsidies are good and why the CVD is bad.

        Your emotional rhetorical arguments carry no weight.

        Present facts and logical arguments and people might take you more seriously.

        For all his faults and whatever hate you have towards him…This blog puts forth facts and research and arguments and challenges you to prove them wrong…and you have failed to do so.

      • G says:

        This is why we can’t have nice things.

      • myComment says:

        What business plays by a level playing field mentality? Tactics are always part of business and that will never change. Its ruthless but true. It annoys me to bash a vfx site whose intent is good, but where was this website post 1998 when work dried up in the UK after a dismal failing of Lost in Space? No one in the USA blinked. Not an american artist responsibility I hear you say.. fine I still recall no international support. Work just went back to the USA thank you very much.

    • Tom Atkin says:

      “This is a demonstration asking film studios to let us (ADAPT) compete on a level playing field without the distortive effects of government subsidies”.

      I have a few questions for Dave or Andreas or Daniel or the other regulars supporting this.

      1. Why is ADAPT not demonstrating outside the studios?

      2) Why is ADAPT doing this on Oscar day just down the street…again?

      3) How many people make up the total members of ADAPT and what is the global base number of us/international visual effects artists?

      4) How are you going to communicate the above quote which is the essence of this demonstration on a T-shirt or in any other brief and simplified manner to the ‘media you seek’ to cover this event?

      So, in one man’s opinion…enjoy the press and the attention and possibly even raise some money…but, take a moment to ask yourselves…”Are we truly helping or hurting our fellow artists pushing an agenda which has hardly been embraced en masse by our fellow artists?”

      Gentlemen, look at this site. It has lost lots of folks. Most of the time it is the same 6 to 12 people just talking back and forth while so many others appear to have departed.

      One must ask themselves…why?

  2. macevhicz says:

    I might suggest trying to align folks with what this might be called… “AwarenessDemonstration” or something, in an attempt to direct the media to refer to it this same way. Otherwise, the media will likely label it a “Protest” as they did last year, which I think had the effect of turning off many people who were just learning about the sitution, making it easy to write VFX people off as complainers.

  3. friday027 says:

    Curious as to how you think you will accomplish even a reasonably small following for this event when most feature film vfx workers from LA have had to go to other parts of the world just to earn a living. There are very few feature film vfx workers in LA any more, unless you count the unemployed.

    • VFX Soldier says:

      Im hoping that the workers at Dreamworks and Disney will attend. About 800 animation guild members just at Disney and many of them are quite aware of the subsidy issue.

    • hector says:

      why you are so curious? You want to help?

      • friday027 says:

        hector, I take your comment as defensive and a bit “bullying”. You have the wrong attitude if you want people to join the ’cause’. I was merely bringing up another one of the “harsh” realities with trying to “rally” people together in a land where anyone who gives damn about the ’cause’ aren’t there to participate… I, being one of them. Frankly, when only a handful of people show up to a protest, it gives the general public the impression that not a whole lot of people really care enough to be there. It is sad, but I am not saying it should not happen.

      • hector says:

        people do not want to join the cause, not as a result of my attitude.

      • friday027 says:

        hector – well, with my over 30 years working in feature film visual effects, it’s people with an ‘know it all, better than thou’ attitude ‘just like yours’ that me to think that this group could possibly be just a bunch of people looking for attention without any real intention of thinking things through and bringing together any real action. SO, Yeah, think twice before spewing your negativity… it pushes people away… even veterans like me that have been crippled by this crisis.

      • friday027 says:

        I meant to say “that ’causes’ me to think that this group…” And if I get another wise assed reply from you, I’ll know this whole thing is just a lost cause and will just have to accept things as they are at face value.

  4. Not_From_LA says:

    Dear Not_From_LA,

    There’s a pretty cool quote that applies to you: “Those who say it can’t be done should not interrupt those who are doing it.”

    Just a little food for thought for those who want to cry out how useless the subsidy fight is instead of offering words of encouragement. And failing the offer of encouraging words, how about just shutting the fuck up and minding your own business? That’d work, too.

    I’ve been on both sides of the fence myself, and I support that you guys are making the effort even if I’m not entirely on board with everything you’re saying. Good luck at the demonstration, guys. I hope you get good numbers out there.

    • Jackadullboy says:


      As a BC vfxer, it seems to me that we should all be concerned about the facts of whether these subsidies are being used ethically (ie. Bringing the promised net benefit to the local economy).

      If we don’t support genuine efforts to bring these facts to the fore, by those in LA and elsewhere, then we forfeit any right to complain about all those other aspects of the industry we so enjoy bitching about on this blog.

      Putting our heads in the sand, much less derailing and smearing attempts by Soldier and others to shed light on the subject simply because we happen to be benefitting at the moment is hypocrisy of the highest order.

      • grThriller says:

        As someone that was a part of the sister protest and following townhall in Vancouver last year… We tried. We really, did. After close to 2 hours of introductions in LA, Vancouver was given “1 minute of time” with the mic and then were told “Can you please say that in English?”. By the time the 2nd townhall came along for (IATSE union night) the blame for all industry woes were placed squarely on Vancouver. People suggest “No, we’re only talking about subsidies”, but that’s hard to believe with all the insults like “A lead in Vancouver is a junior in LA”. That was fully confirmed for me when the historically neutral and level-headed Scott Squires suggested on his Twitter that a Canadian anti-trust investigation on the Google search engine was somehow invalid because of issues in VFX… When even he is posting anti-Canada tweets like that you know we’ve lost any chance of international unity. (And I read his original blog for years)

        All the talk of unionization, workers rights locally and abroad, accountability to the for-profit schools, freedom of movement for labor, and coming together as a global community in general dried up on that very first town hall. We’ll see if people become more respectful once CVD goes through.

      • Disgruntled says:


        I hear and empathize with some of your frustrations.

        I guess my question to you is what is the biggest issue facing VFX today?

        In my opinion and many on this blog it is the subsidies. The rapidly GLOBAL shifting of jobs. The downward pressure they have on wages and the overall cost of VFX. The financial burden they place on VFX studios who have to move and setup shop in the most expensive places in the world. And the fact that they create an artificial bubble that will wreak more havok when it pops than even LA is facing now. The fact that the subsidies are discriminatory (must be Canadian or a resident for subsidies to apply so non citizens/residents are excluded from even applying to jobs often)

        I agree there are other issues facing VFX. But I’d disagree if anyone said that the Subsidy issue wasn’t the largest one. A lot of the problems you allude to are, or should be already, covered under current labor laws in Canada and LA, Londons labor laws are more of a mystery to me and seem to be lacking in many ways. And some of the issues you allude to would also require much larger/difficult legistlative/legal solutions.

        Meanwhile, The subsidy issue is a cloud over everything. And it is easier to address. With the CVD here stateside. With simple education of the electorate in Canada showing that the tax payer is givine away money to large US corporations. The subsidy issue can be more readily addressed.

      • Jackadullboy says:


        Yes I was perhaps disappointed at ‘some’ aspects of how the first VFX town hall meeting was handled, from the Vancouver point of view. and was admittedly a little astonished at the “please repeat in American English” response to the Scottish speaker’s spiel.

        The difference is that, for me, these were unfortunate hiccups – teething problems owing to it being the first, hastily organized event of it’s kind – and any offense was unintended.

        You might choose to take offense, but frankly, it’s a non-issue when placed against what is at stake, and the overwhelmingly positive feeling I got from seeing so many artists standing up an speaking animatedly about their concerns. It was by far the best show of solidarity I’ve seen in the industry so far.

        I was in attendance in Vancouver, by the way, and I can tell you that large crowd of people left pretty buzzed, and not-at-all resentful of those down south.

        With regard to this site, emotional statements made by individual commenters that seem to slam BC vfxers and so forth shouldn’t be seen to invalidate the entire blog.

        Even if the blogger’s real intent WERE to “bring work back to LA” you would be committing a logical fallacy in seeing the entire counter-subsidy movement as therefore being invalid by extension.

        Either subsidies are are a good thing (for the health of the vfx industry and the economies they purport to bolster) or they are not.

      • grThriller can you supply info about the tweets that I diss Canadian workers? I certainly don’t remember that and if that’s how they were taken I apologize. What’s frustrating is when people refuse to hear the facts or acknowledge subsidies are a major impact on the vfx industry.

    • Disgruntled says:

      Thanks for the the quote. I appreciate your support and candor despite you’re not being 100 percent behind the push going on now.

      I’m curious though, since you seem to be thoughtful and level headed, what are the things you’re not on board with?

  5. Dave Rand says:

    The president spoke tonight about the importance of upward mobility and a level playing field. The USA has become skewed as well.

    No one is innocent. However….

    You can continue to pay rent to Hollywood or you can own Maplewood, Ozwood, Kiwiwood, and Englishwood or Southwood USA.

    Me, I just want to buy a home and not worry about some politician moving my industry by making it their currency for votes. Using the movie business so they can look bigger than life themselves.

    It’s far easier to move a director to a location filled with talent and beauty than it is to move everything and everyone else…

    It’s also more profitable. Most of the profitable films are VFX films and the most profitable of those were assembled by people working together in real human space with the director and not in cyberspace while chasing their tails.

    …and that does not mean it ALL has to be done in LA. It should be done where the best branded talent lives and grows….and that… is very widespread.

    • Hollywood Reporter says:

      Yeah he spoke of leveling the playing field while the congress elected to reduce food stamps yet keep farmers subsidies the same:

      “The House on Wednesday approved a nearly $100 billion-a-year farm bill that would make small reductions in the growth of food stamp spending while continuing generous subsidies for the nation’s farmers.”

      • Look at the big picture says:

        Hollywood Reporter:

        It sounds like you are against US farm subsidies. I am against these as well. They have long been a way to funnel US taxpayer money to large corporations under the guise of “helping the lowly farmer”. I applaud your awareness of them and encourage you to work to end these expensive and unnecessary handouts to billion dollar corporations.

        But, you know as well as I do that you are in the wrong place to do that. So, please stay on topic.

  6. meanbow says:

    “This is not a demonstration to protest work going elsewhere or keeping work in California.”

    Haha. Funny guy. You could at least be honest and say this is exactly what it’s about.

    • hector says:

      he’s right. You are totally missing the point.

    • David Rand says:

      No it is not about all the work coming back to Los

      Ask yourself these basic questions

      Do you believe that without subsidies no one would be interested at all any of the great talent around the globe?

      Do you feel that you would not be able to compete on talent alone?

      Do you think it’s right that Los Angeles has become a wasteland for visual effects and that can also happen to your area at the drop of a politician’s hat?

      • dorkotronix says:

        If there is an implosion to come, and only a few VFX shops are left standing, it would presumably be a seller’s market for a while. During that critical period, the shops would at long last have an opportunity to demand more reasonable and realistic terms. No matter where in the world they are located, they’d better plan carefully and plan together, because they may be stuck with those terms for a long time.

      • Disgruntled says:

        But dorkotronix…during that sellers market for VFX companies the time will be HORRIBLE for artists because there will be an oversupply. Wages will plummet and tons will be out of work. We need to prevent that by promoting a healthy industry growth sans subsidies.

      • dorkotronix says:

        @disgruntled Yes it would be horrible and hopefully will not come to pass. An orderly transition is clearly preferable to the alternative. If the cvd works, the main players (studios and Big Finance) would presumably have time to see it coming and change course. Lord knows they won’t do it on their own, can’t stop themselves from flying this thing straight into the ground (with us onboard). But should a massive correction force the issue, it’s a critical moment for the VFX industry to stop repeating past and current mistakes in bidding, billing and generally bending over.

      • hector says:

        “ut dorkotronix…during that sellers market for VFX companies the time will be HORRIBLE for artists because there will be an oversupply.” it’s happening NOW!

  7. Ayaka says:

    VFX Solidarity international should be called, “Solidarity for Mr Lay’s Friends who didn’t have a good time at Vancouver”. Mr Lay , your discourse is highly divisive , and is steering the attention from greater goals like unionizing the field. If your argument is that without subsidies the most competitive places are going to stand out, then enjoy your time in Asia.

    • Disgruntled says:

      Do you believe the issues that Unionization would address are larger than the issues that Subsidies present? Cause if you do I’d very much disagree.

      Subsidies are having a large negative effect on our industry, the workers in it, and the poor tax payers who are unknowingly giving away large sums of money to huge US corporations at a loss.

      • Ayaka says:

        A Union gives workers a greater voice. More power to push for reforms and more capacity to get consent amongst the members. Massive layoffs for example are way more improbable with a Union in place, everybody knows it.

        I don’t think Mr Lay is a good representative of the whole of the people working in the field. He has very narrow goals, he frames the conversation as LA vs rest of the world and then just adds a statement saying the opposite.

        I think he is using a movement that could be way more productive to work for his personal goals and in the long term is gonna be very bad even for LA artist to waste this opportunity.

      • Disgruntled says:

        What reforms do you want a union to push for? Massive layoffs would not be preventable by a union.

        Its understandable if you’re pro subsidies because you benefit them…just admit it. But don’t talk like subsidies aren’t the single biggest thing affecting our industry. Because they are.

        And how is this push gonna be very bad in the long term…even for LA?

      • Ayaka says:

        A Union is very important because it allows workers to counter the big influence that big businesses have, even politically, when there’s injustice towards a worker , the most effective way he has to be represented is to go to the union which already has an structure set up for that. For negotiations that is equally important, so workers are not alone. The only way big companies face big consequences after commiting injustices is through unions. That’s why they don’t like it a lot. It’s an historical fact.

        It’s going to be bad even for LA workers because everyone is going to keep fragmented, on their own. And even more now that Mr Lay is putting it this way, he is gaining so much disapproval from the rest of the world. He just want to pretend they don’t exist. Wrong, selfish , and even dishonest because he is using a facebook page that appeals to worldwide support to help his very narrow cause.

        If Unions are set in place and there is consent to push for these cuts, then go for it, it’s not even going to be that hard then.

        But Daniel Lay seems to be deciding for everyone what’s best for them. Who is that guy? what does he know besides his friends did not enjoy working out of LA?

      • Disgruntled says:


        You’re still very vague in what you want a union to do and why pushing for a union is more important than correcting the distorting affect of subsidies. Unions represent artists with the companies we work for directly. Not to the production studios which are the ones causing a lot of the issues.
        What injustices are you referring to that you want a Union to help you in?

        You say he’s wrong and selfish…but you put forth no logical argument using facts or logic as to why we shouldn’t pursue the CVD’s against subsidies. You just throw out vague words like “wrong” and “selfish” and “dishonest”. People are free to agree or disagree of course…but if you disagree people are gonna ask you why and you should have a verifiable reason and not vague rhetoric.

        And getting an international union like it seems you want would be ten times harder than getting the CVD.

        You can hate on Daniel all you want…but you haven’t been writing about these issue and promoting them for years…wheres your blog advocating for change?

      • Ayaka says:

        I say he is selfish and dishonest because he is controlling a page called VFX Solidarity international to make people think it is to raise awareness of the bad conditions some VFX workers have to face worldwide. It is not like that. He only represents himself and his small group of LA friends. He can say otherwise but his radio interviews and his articles speak for themselves: he only talks about california and LA , and the way he dismisses other places is offensive.

        Unions have structures to help people, they have lawyers, they ask for consensus , they can represent you with companies and studios and whatever it is, they can give you real assistance. I recommend you informing yourself what really a Union is about.

        The fact that Mr Lay has been talking about it for some years , doesn’t give him any entitlement to pretend to represent all the people around the world. He is just a very very selfish guy.

      • tazzman says:

        Ayaka, then go out there and do what you think Lay is not doing.

      • Disgruntled says:


        You make no damn sense and you dont give examples and facts…you just keep talking but not actually saying anything.

        What issue are you or some of your friends facing that a Union would fix?

      • Disgruntled says:

        That issue you posted is in regards to people who were freelancers and not staff employees. A union wouldn’t have represented them in that instance anyways. The staff employees were covered under existing law

        A union cannot stop a company from closing and laying off people.

      • skaplan839 says:

        Ayaka – Daniel is not in control of VFX Solidarity International. You are incorrect in thinking that.

      • Ayaka says:

        Disgruntled that’s the case, the idea of a real VFX solidarity organization would be ending contract work for example. But yeah since those are NOT your people , of course you don’t care about them. Dave , I know they try to make it look like that, but they have been publishing this guy since day one. If he wasn’t a creator at least he took over.

      • Disgruntled says:

        My lord there is no reasoning/logic within you is there?

        The industry has always and forever will be contract based. If there is no movie there is no job. No amount of solidarity can guarantee work. The strongest union in the world can’t just will a movie and the subsequent work into existence.

        And you continue to throw blind, unfounded, accusations about the VFX Solidarity webpage…even in the face of testimony to the opposite.

        Like I said in some of my other replies to you. If you’re gonna make accusations or assertions of ‘truth’ you need to bring the facts to the table that show that. In all your comments on here you throw about heavy emotionally twinged language trying to spark an “us vs them” type debate and at every turn you get shut down and fail to provide proof or evidence.

        I love debate, I love be challenged and having my opinion changed. But please…do so with evidence and facts.

    • Dave Rand says:

      The most talented will stand out. We’ve already seen cheap and it’s failing visually and financially. We’ve seen what happens to communication and cost when the director, the decision maker is absent or too distant.

      Look at what all the top grossing and award winning vfx films have in common.

      Look at the model used by feature animation and the nominees for best VFX this year, and the years past. Look at how they were done.

    • Ayaka says:

      Oh cool disgruntled! So you selectively approve and disapprove Status Quo. The unfairnesses in the way employees are treated have been trends historically, and those have been changed by strong movements. But you seem to blindly accept the fact that contract work is widespread. Maybe it’s because it’s convenient for you. However since subsidies are not convenient for your group of friends you opt to target those. Pretty clever Mr Facts.

    • Andreas Jablonka says:

      As someone’s who was at every meeting that mr. Lay was attended I can attest that he is very pro union, he said do just yesterday. We had Steve Kaplan from the animation guild there.

      Our effort for the cvd is by no means distracting the union movement. But as Iatse and IBEW have pointed out for a good 3 years: WE need to unionize. Not them! We need to sign rep cards, we need to voice our opinion. They cannot do anything until we empower them.
      I have been trying for years to get this going. Artist are either afraid, unaware or think “it will pass”. We are educating people and still users of this blog pretend subsidies are ok, profitable and it’s all about LA! The uk workers should be feeling taking advantage for due to no overtime and Bectu is standing by ready to fight if they unionize.
      Iatse Canada is ready and holding meetings but to many vamcouver artist have a job because of the subsidies. They don’t want to rock the boat.

      For LA the subsidies are hurting us more than the nerd for a union as we get paid overtime after 8 hours etc. sure we want to work but we want everybody to be able to work on cool features in the town we “choose” to call home. Not the one we need to travel to uprooting life’s ever 6-12 months.

      Does Vancouver really need to suffer from Montreal before they join our fight?
      I was proud they joined us at the town hall, I’m happy for every bc artist who speaks up here who looks further than just their next paycheque.

  8. La_VFx_Worker says:

    I’m sorry, but you can see from the dialogue here that this web site and vfx soldier have created a HUGELY polarized VFX community. It’s not helping or bringing the community together. It’s eating it from the inside while Studios profit by the day. By continuing to attack BC and spreading misleading information (see the 60% subsidy article yesterday) you are only damaging any solidarity that could have arisen from artists getting better conditions for EVERYONE. Not just the workers in LA.

    You claim this isn’t about keeping jobs in LA, but this entire site has become nothing but a BC/Vancouver bashing attack blog for the last 3-6 months. The conversation started out talking about Unions, bidding practices, working conditions, shared equity, etc. And now it’s sadly just become personal. Because Sony/DD/R&H set up Studios in Vancouver all of the anger from displaced workers in LA has gone there. Not to Weta, who gets millions in subsidies. Not to London. Not to Australia. Vancouver is the whipping boy for this site and the one-sided dialogue here. As someone here said, good luck with that job in India/China in 5 years, because you can’t see the forest for the trees. You’re so obsessed with Vancouver and CVD’s that you’re missing the bigger picture and the bigger issues in the vfx industry (hint: it’s not Sony setting up a shop in Vancouver. They’re laying off almost everyone IN Vancouver).

    But. If this site wants to become 100% anti-subsidy and it’s sole target is going to be Vancouver/BC then you no longer represent or speak for me or my fellow VFX artists around the world. If you really think the whole problem is that BC has whatever tax credit you want to label it as having then fine. You don’t understand the global issues or the global industry and we have nothing to talk about. But at least man up and say that these protests and your whole site is built up over anger from companies moving YOUR job to Vancouver.

    Anyway. Good luck with the Oscar protest. My Facebook icon won’t be turning green this year. My friends at Disney/DWA will not be attending, much like almost ZERO wore green at Obama’s visit to DWA. This blog, and the anti-Canada sentiment is too much now. Sorry, I know you come from a place of wanting to affect change. But making Canada the enemy and alienating the rest of the world who aren’t in Los Angeles is not the answer.

    • VFX_Boom says:

      You right with thinking the VFX industry has a ton of issues, and with those issues, most folks have their priorities in what they would like to see changed. It’s a pretty huge list for what’s wrong. In LA alone a huge amount of what’s wrong is represented all over the city. And that’s just one region’s issues. Each region SHOULD unionize/organize, that has been a goal on here for quite sometime. This is not a surprise to anyone. Those issues need to be tackled on a local/regional level, hence a union. Mr. Lay can’t solve all of our problems. We ALL need to step up on our own. And so far NOTHING has happened anywhere. NOTHING. Except the introduction of the CVD.

      The CVD is a something that’s probably much simpler than getting a single studios crew to decide on what they want for dinner while working OT. So with that, it’s actionable now.

      This blog has focused on the subsidies disrupting ALL our lives, ALL over the world for quite sometime. Please that the time to go back and read a bit. So please don’t say it’s anti one region, that’s horse shit. We all have friends all over the globe because of the issues that bring us all to this blog, today. The reason B.C. has been such a hot topic lately is they continue the shine the spotlight on themselves, therefore folks tend to chime in on that, then move on to the next current hot topic. It’s a usual diet of UK, NZ, and B.C. subsidy articles and posts. You do yourself a disservice when stating the opposite of what happens around here.

      The best part of this blog though, it gets folks talking. Folks from everywhere.

      • Ayaka says:

        Have you read previous articles VFX Boom? Have you visited mr Lay’s Personal Facebook page where he mocks the people that criticize that VFX Solidarity international is not International enough?

        Trying to cover all the hate that Mr lay is spilling towards every place that is not LA with the prase ” yes we support everyone everywhere” doesn’t fool anyone.

        Even more funny is the way he and his supporters try to portrait honest VFX workers that are benefiting from those subsidies. For him those workers should not have voice, those are the worst, OR he pretends to know what’s best for them. Is he not divisive? There should be a discussion inside the people working in the field to decide first what’s the message they want to send out there, but for him such thing as democracy is not relevant.

        Somebody should intermediately start a movement to put this guy in his place and get responsible intelligent people to have a voice for EVERYONE.

      • Earl Grey says:

        @Ayaka – Somebody should intermediately start a movement to put this guy in his place and get responsible intelligent people to have a voice for EVERYONE.

        Me, I’m glad somebody’s doing something.

        My friends are chasing jobs all over the world. One did a 10-week stint in Beijing last year, turned down work in Ireland and is now considering a job offer in Louisiana. Another’s holding onto his British work visa in case he can’t find work here in the States. Others have been pressured to move from Los Angeles to VFX studio branches in Vancouver, as the VFX shops need their skills but also need them to work in subsidized locations. Still others have moved to subsidized New York.

        The VFX industry can survive without subsidies. If the concentration of VFX talent in London (6000 VFX artists strong) determines that London where unsubsidized VFX should be done in the future, then so be it. I just want VFX artists to live in one STABLE location for the next few decades.

      • Disgruntled says:


        Well now its clear who you are Paricia…you were the one complaining on his fb and insulting him there with inappropriate language.

        What in Daniels writing indicates hate for artists? He hates the subsidies and those who defend them maybe…but thats far from hating everyone in Canada or london or NZ

        I honestly have no idea what you’re saying in the rest of your message…you’re making no sense.

        Put together some logical arguments with facts about why fighting subsidies is bad and then we can talk…in the meantime keep the nonsensical rhetoric about hating other artists to yourself.

      • Dave Rand says:

        Would the polarization stop if California wer to dump
        $700 million into VFX subsidies? …maybe even go as far as offering a 65% kickback and join the race to the bottom?

        I wonder who’d be the first to offer 100%. Would that end all polarity?

        That would be fair right? I mean that’s exactly what the subsidy programs many countries AND states have decided are the standard business practices of our industry.

        I believe Daniel has been crystal clear when it comes to his critique…it’s not against artists it’s against the governments…all of whom signed the World Trade Agreement expressly forbidding these exact business practices.

        It’s up to industry participants to raise the flag.

        That is all we are doing.

        Duties bring balance, they are not destructive or anything like the free for all that subsidies have become.

        I’d rather have a world without subsidies or countering duties. A world based on talent and branding.

        Would it be so horrific if Los Angeles had some work come back it’s way or should it remain the “ghost town” as described in the recent Sun article?

        We’d love to unionize too…and we have….but we can’t grow those ranks if there are no jobs.

        We all use to enjoy employment and homes in the country and state we came to love..then it left….Don’t wait till it happens to you to become enlightened.

        If you’d rather see this race to the bottom really heat up by having California jump it’s mother load into the fray then we’ll all be facing a far worse outcome…..who would you be pissed at then when one area did the exact same tactic as yours?

        It wouldn’t be the artists….and it shouldn’t be now.

        Subsidies are what are separating us…not VFX Soldier’s blog about how damaging they are to us and our industry.

        Everyone is all jacked because we are afraid and that fear is a direct result of these schemes.

    • Studio_Spotter says:

      If by “vfx soldier have created a HUGELY polarized VFX community.”, you mean “subsidies have created a HUGELY polarized VFX community.” then yes.

      Subsidies have always throughout history been polarizing; even relegating discourse into full on war at times.

    • It's still going says:

      I’m with you LA_Vfx_Worker. This site has become more and more of a soap opera. By the 3rd comment, the usual 5 people just go on and on about the same tired crap that’s been said over and over. It turns into a personal school yard argument/competition on “oh I know this person that said this! or that!” or “I was right! you lost!” Really? It’s a joke. I think the general “community” is growing tired of it and like myself , chose to distance myself from it. It’s just straight up lost it’s professionalism or idea of professionalism in my opinion. It’s more for entertainment at this point for me.

  9. Ayaka says:

    I understand you and I feel your pain, but Daniel Lay is giving a pretty disrespectful discourse towards people making a living in locations other than LA.

    His battle horse in the march is for sure going to be the New Zealand and Brittish Colombia subsidies. He is creating a poisonous environment and a crescent feeling against LA.

    The most important thing is he is preventing unions from being created, If we were unionized, believe me no one would have to move because unions fight together using an structure.

    • Ayaka says:

      @Earl Grey

      • Jackadullboy says:

        Ayaka, care to quote these supposed derogatory remarks by Daniel?

        If you are interested in change, rather than mouthing off, please get your facts right on this, as well as the issue of what unions can and cannot do etc etc.

        I am a Vancouver artist who has signed his card (have you?)and am very much in support of unionization, and organization of vfx workers in general. It’s a very important step.

        However, this and the issue of subsidies, which are clearly detrimental to ALL of us, should not be seen as mutually exclusive.

        A lot of people appear to be lookng for reasons to be indignant and take offense, when they could simply choose to be supportive instead.

        Let’s talk about objective facts, and stop with the endless ad hominem.

    • Disgruntled says:

      Stop talking about feelings and start talking about facts. Why is fighting the subsidies bad? What SPECIFIC issue do you think is more pressing? Most people agree that the subsidies are the biggest thing shaping our industry right now.

      How is he preventing unions? If you want a union at your studio rally your fellow artists and start one. Unions happen on a Per Studio basis.

      And again…a Union would not stop jobs from being sent overseas or to subsidized locations or stop people from being fired. You have the wrong idea of what unions can do.

    • stowaway says:

      So let me ask you (this is a serious question, no disrespect intended, just looking for honest answers): I’m making the assumption you work at a Vancouver outlet of one of the major VFX houses.

      So let’s say you move from the US to Vancouver and establish a life and family in Vancouver, maybe buy a condo, and a career you love. After a few years of stability, now suddenly all the work starts flowing OUT OF Vancouver to, say, Alaska (obviously this is hypothetical). Now all the BC facilities start telling you and your colleagues they have to either move to Alaska or find another job because the studios won’t accept their bids if they can’t promise to do 85% of the work in Alaska because of some tax incentive offered by the Alaskan government? Not only that but the studio will barely cover artist moving expenses and no one get’s a raise for going, and at this point Alaska is more expensive than BC.

      How would your discourse be more respectful than what Daniel has led? Given the circumstances, I think he’s been extremely careful not to insult the artists in Vancouver, but focus on the market distortion caused by the subsidies. But I’m down here, and not up there, so my glasses are tinted.

      • hector says:

        Even if Alaska proves to be cheaper, still we cannot migrate every 5 years or so. At the certain point in time, we have to quit. The industry is pushing us out.
        So, once you have the skills and the experience as a senior, but you want to stay in one place, then you are out.
        Guys, I think it is the time to reshape our entire life.

      • Ayaka says:

        I’ll tell you stowaway, but I would not further reply on this thread because I’m already in other two and I don’t want to monopolize words.

        The scenario that you draw where artists are forced to move would be prevented with a much closer and integrated VFX international community where local and national unions collaborate between each other.

        Mr Lay as you know is in control of the VFX Solidarity international Facebook page, which started supposedly as a reaction to massive layoffs , to contract work , to big studios keeping most of the profit and that sort of things, which have been over the history solved with things like unions. The VFX industry is not the first one suffering from that, but Mr lay seems not to know anything about labour history.

        I consider Mr Lay’s discourse disrespectful because he states that the only reason studios have branches other than LA is because governments pay for their workers, dismissing any other reasons and overlooking local talent over the world and even within the States other than of LA. Any dissenting opinion is immediately disregarded with rhetorical violence by him and his friends, like saying either people don’t know anything , even that they are idiots, or saying they keep whining about nothing. If they got into those matters of representing a wide community. They should never be reacting like that.

        Moreover he turned that Facebook page into his own personal battle page against subsidies outside of LA. That’s what the march in the Oscars is going to be about. That’s a scam because lots of people think that movement is doing something else. He is only rallying for his very own personal interests, but he is not an expert on the matter, he has no idea of what unions can do , he only knows some numbers about subsidies.

        Even more astonishing is the fact that he pretends to be the owner of the truth, and he says he’s got the “FACTS.” but he doesn’t just throw the Raw numbers he believes are accurate there, he proceeds to make his judgements, his “analysis”, which by the way is often an attack to established and democratic goverments trying to get the best for their people. That’s not facts, that’s his personal interpretation of some numbers he’s got.

        That’s why there is so much outrage, he pretends to know what’s best for everyone but like a bad politician he doesn’t ask for consensus before proceeding, he dismisses and ridicules the contradicting voices, he is not expert in the Law or in the historical reaches of unions. Yet he monopolizes the voice of everyone using the false advertisement of that Facebook page.

      • stowaway says:


        “I consider Mr Lay’s discourse disrespectful because he states that the only reason studios have branches other than LA is because governments pay for their workers,”

        Okay, you can believe whatever you want, but as a longtime imageworks employee, I can tell you honestly that our senior management has stated in company-wide meetings on NUMEROUS occasions, prior to and after opening the Vancouver branch, that they would much prefer to keep the work here. They’ve said that the ONLY reason they are going to Vancouver is because the incentives are too great to compete, and that studios will not even let us bid on projects if we can’t promise to do a certain percent in Vancouver.

        Again, incase my message was buried in the text there: Senior Imageworks management (who’s initials are RL, DD, and BO) have all said to the entire staff that only reason our studio and others have branches in Vancouver is because the subsidies have made it impossible to keep the work in LA, even though that’s what they’d prefer.

        “The scenario that you draw where artists are forced to move would be prevented with a much closer and integrated VFX international community where local and national unions collaborate between each other.”

        Okay, no offense, but you’re new to this industry aren’t you?

    • Earl Grey says:

      @Ayaka – The most important thing is he is preventing unions from being created, If we were unionized, believe me no one would have to move because unions fight together using an structure.

      Daniel Lay is not preventing any individual artist from signing a rep card. I’d be impressed if he had the power to do that.

      I also doubt any artist would decide against improving his own lot because a guy said something on Facebook. I’ll buy that artists back down in the face of personal fear and anti-union pressure, but not because a guy said something on Facebook.

      • polyphemus says:


        As someone who worked at several union and non-union jobs in California including the “big two” Animation studios, in my experience the only benefits the union realistically gives you is medical/benefits coverage between jobs and after a layoff which is a US centric issue vs most of the developed world. That and guaranteed wage minimums.

        Other than that the unions are going to sit back in regards to outsourcing/subsidies and layoffs and go “that’s the business”.

        TAG once strikes over outsourcing of tv work twice. First time worked, second time didn’t and that was roughly 30 years ago.

      • Earl Grey says:

        @polyphemus – …in my experience the only benefits the union realistically gives you is medical/benefits coverage between jobs and after a layoff which is a US centric issue vs most of the developed world. That and guaranteed wage minimums.

        You forgot to mention the collective bargaining power that the Local 839 artists have over their non-union counterparts, as recently demonstrated during the Local 839 contract negotiations of 2012.

    • M. Night Shyamalamadingdong says:

      Plot twist: Ayaka is Daniel Lay.

      • polyphemus says:

        @Earl Grey

        Actually during the DWA 2012 bargaining the fact that PDI was not unionized was leveraged against the Burbank workers.

        Kinda sucks when half the company you are working for isn’t unionized at all.

    • Andreas Jablonka says:

      What have you done to unionize?
      Have you signed a rep card? I have? 3 years ago. I have helped make others sign.
      Daniel has never been in my way.
      Did he come to you and told you not to do your part?

      Nobody is keeping you from unionizing than YOURSELF!

  10. urizen says:

    Lots of heated appeals to lizard fight and flight emotion rather than a positive pro-active solution, around here lately. The rhetorical hammer of the moment seems to be a strained attempt to re-frame and dumb down in one fell swoop: Us vs. them baby!

    Its also interesting, (and quite frankly embarrassing to our entire profession), that a lot of what’s being written seems to be in the way of personal attacks against Daniel Lay himself. Its ugly to wade through that stuff, hopefully looking for an idea.

    Funny- I’ve been watching that same attack strategy playing out for the last year with regard to a much more well known public activist. But in his case its a coordinated campaign, so let that go, yes?

    A lot of people read this blog, and a few write on it. I like to think the readers are reading with eyes open, wherever in the world they may be, and regardless of whatever the American Six may be hoping and pulling for in that regard.

    • Disgruntled says:

      I agree. I hate having to get confrontational. But when people repeatedly and deliberately skew the issue or try to refocus it on on Lay himself rather than the facts people have to correct them.

      Believe me. I and I think most people here want a utopia where there is tons of work to go around and we can all work wherever we want. Unfortunately thats not the case now.

      So first thing is first…and thats taking whatever steps are available to us to LEVEL the playing field. And so enters the CVD which will hopefully take Bribes/Kickbacks out of the equation and let the industry grow naturally and in a healthy manner.

    • vfxinNZ says:

      So what is the pro-active solution that Daniel and this site are advocating? Lawsuits? CVD’s? Sure, that’s the good old American solution, “let’s sue em!”. How about the pro-active solutions for FIXING what’s wrong in the industry? To start with, trade unions (or lack of), working conditions, bidding practices, predatory Studio practices, lack of profit participation. There are a million things that artists around the WORLD could get behind. You know what they can’t get behind? LA artists suing to get the work back to LA. So when you say it’s “us vs them”, THIS SITE has made it that way. The original discussions and town halls were constructive discussions about unions and trade organizations and positive steps to fix this industry. That didn’t get enough traction so now it’s “let’s sue the world and attack BC.”

      I don’t think people are specifically attacking “Daniel” the person behind this. They’re attacking the divisive nature of what he’s posting and the propaganda on here. It’s clearly become personal for him and other very active posters and members of this movement in LA against BC. And that frankly loses any credibility they have. I work at Weta and I find it ridiculous and silly that all of the dialogue here is focused at BC because some studios have set up there. I have (or had) friends there at Sony, and guess what? HUGE layoffs IN Vancouver. They have the same issues we have all around the world in VFX. Unstable jobs, hire and fire mentalities, and poor bidding models. So to make Vancouver subsidies THE issue is missing the point. We need to fix the INDUSTRY, not subsidies, which are going to change and fluctuate throughout the world, and are NOT going away.

      I dunno, I find this site sad now. There is one very vocal camp which are the pro-LA people, who are no longer interested in what’s best for our industry as a whole, and there is everyone else. And this site MADE it that way.

      So as a serious question, do you LA-based artists think you’re going to win this fight when you’re turning against 90% of your fellow VFX workers, let alone the big Studios and VFX houses? At least when there was anger and a little bit of unity everyone changed their icons green and we all stood for something. Now you’ve alienated so many people you can’t even get DWA/Disney people in LA to stand with you, let alone those of us in the rest of the world.

      • JAlitt says:

        Well said. And that’s the saddest part of this. Instead of the workers who are being abused and exploited at the profits of the Studios and vfx houses around the world coming together, we’re turning against each other. I’ve worked in LA, NZ, Australia, and London, and it’s all the same pool of artists everywhere. I’m sure Vancouver is no different. It’s a global industry. But this site, and people who post here frequently have alienated everyone who isn’t still in Los Angeles to the point where it’s become a joke. Dave Rand, Andreas Jablonka, and others who are on here frequently have all worked side by side with artists in Vancouver, Montreal, etc. But now it’s you guys in LA against those same artists you worked with and sweated next to in Canada because of the “evil subsidies”.

        It’s not about countries that offer subsidies guys. It’s about better conditions for the workers and the people IN every country around the world, including BC. It’s about improving conditions for VFX workers everywhere. Including in BC!

        If you succeed and drive work out Vancouver through a CVD, what then? Is it better in China? Australia? London? You’re so focused on one thing (subsidies) because they are “unfair” that you’re missing the bigger picture. We are all suffering, around the world. Not just in LA because of subsidies in Vancouver.

        Wake up and realize that this issue is so much bigger than Sony or DD or R&H setting up a studio in Vancouver. You’re missing the point and letting LA lawyers like Adrian McDonald hypnotize you into believing you can sue everyone in the world to solve your problems. That’s why guys like him get an hourly fee. They make big $$ off creating this kind of divisiveness. Why isn’t he suing the Studios and the VFX houses? Why is this all about BC all of a sudden? Because it’s an easy target and he gets paid by the hour to argue. That’s what lawyers do. Don’t get sucked into that trap and let this industry implode.

      • Hollywood Reporter says:

        CVD’s will never happen in VFX. ADAPT needs to prove it represents 25% of all people who work in VFX in America. The industry is too splintered for them to achieve that, and many of them work for companies that have International outposts so they won’t stick their necks out. It will take them years to prove it.

        And CVD’s only impact international trade. You’d need an act of congress to pass a trade bill for inside the US and that won’t happen either.

        VFX companies need to exert their power over the fact they help create outstanding IP’s for Studios and shouldn’t cower to work on fixed bids. If all VFX companies had an agent at CAA, WMA or ICM I guarantee you they wouldn’t be underbidding and eating it. That is the premise the agents use to get big deals for actors. “We have something you really need”. Pay us for the pleasure.

        Corner the market with agents.

      • Disgruntled says:

        The proactive solution currently is CVD’s

        The other issues you allude to are out of our hands. They are things the VFX studios need to do. But as scott ross tried to get them together to form a trad association they all balked. Trade unions, bidding, profit participation are things vfx studios need to do themselves. Thats not something we can control as artists. I’m not sure what you mean by “predatory studio practices”

        The town halls were nice. But there was hardly consensus about what to do next. But there is a farily strong consensus that the affects of subsidies are bad. Do you disagree that subsidies do negatively affect the industry?

        You can call what he’s posting divisive…and maybe it is…but subsidies are divisive. He puts forth arguments and facts and tells people to challenge him. Attacking subsidies is not attacking artists! People like to confuse the two but they’re not the same.

        Unstable jobs have been the thorn in the industry for a long time. Its simply the nature of the job since almost the beginning. If there is no work then there is no work. But subsidies make that displacement INTERNATIONAL. People have to move across the globe constantly now when they’re laid off.
        And subsidies lower the value and give a false impression of the ACTUAL costs of VFX which actually harm our prospects of ever getting a stable job.

        Whether we win the fight or not is unknown…what is known is that its a fight worth having. It is the only fight with any sort of momentum/support. If you disagree thats fine. Create your own blog/fb page and start a movement advocating for whatever you want.

        But like a lot of the people here…you’re not putting forth an argument as to why subsidies are good and not bad and why they shouldn’t countered.

      • Disgruntled says:

        @Hollywood…I dont think it will be that difficult to get 25% of US based artists to sign up to ADAPT…but we’ll see.

        And I would love it if the VFX studios got off their asses and formed a group/got representation…But as Scott Ross tried and showed…they’re not gonna do that.

      • Disgruntled says:

        “It’s not about countries that offer subsidies guys. It’s about better conditions for the workers and the people IN every country around the world, including BC. It’s about improving conditions for VFX workers everywhere. Including in BC!”

        Things will remain crazy and unstable so long as subsidise exist. Work will be undervalued. VFX companies will feel the pressure/pinch from lowered cost expectations while at the same time maintaining setups in the most expensive places in the world (Van and London). You may not think it but I believe that once subsidies are removed they will be a step in the direction of improving conditions for all.

        The subsidy issue is just that…about the subsidies…its not about the artists in these locations no matter how some people may make it seem that way.

        You seem to agree/lean towards the idea that subsidies are bad as well? Why not try to counter act them?

        And if not subsidies what is the thing you would push for most right now this minute that has a chance of gaining traction?

      • J in BK says:

        improving conditions for vfx workers around the world = eliminating unsustainable subsidies

        how can you argue otherwise?

      • jonavark says:

        “Unstable jobs have been the thorn in the industry for a long time. Its simply the nature of the job since almost the beginning”

        True. In the past when everything was in Ca. you simply took another job across town.. you may have had to travel to Simi Valley. Or at most, Marin County. Exactly the same as it ever was, but now you have to travel across borders. That won’t change because CVDs or not, people simply aren’t held and paid between shows.

        I don’t worry about the effect subsidies have on their local economies. Not my problem. I am sure the people of BC are thankful for our concern though. Ya. In the end, artists still get paid and few actually give a shit about how the production accomplishes that.

      • Andreas Jablonka says:

        I do see done points in your post. Let me ask you this:
        We tried to rally for unions and everybody was afraid. We are still doing it. But to have majority votes you need to have artists to vote. LA has lost 85% of its feature work. We alone can’t unionize Vfx for the rest of the world.

        London has a long run of doing nothing. I’m very happy Bectu seems to get some traction
        In recent months. Why is that?
        They worked for years without overtime like slaves. Maybe they knew they live in a subsidized bubble and would not rock the boat?

        Bc is getting attacked because they are doing the least amount of help to level the playing field. They are the golden goose for 2-3 years and are more afraid to loose their •”bribed” jobs. So they sit put.

        Maybe LA artist are disgruntled because bc artist comment a lot and twist the facts but don’t offer ANY solutions or progress to help the industry at all. When was the last time Vancouver posted a big step in the right direction that would help all global Vfx?

        NZ has just bend over for the us studios to keep their avatar ! 15-25% rebate for a billion dollar project that weta could do and should do not needing any subsidies! Weta is proven and in the top of the game get nz is still playing the subsidie game.

        Maybe this helps you guys understand why we feel so unhappy. I doubt it. I’m sure I’ll read how not true any of this is or how bc is sooo profiting from subsidies or why nz is profiting from avatar. NZ sets are empty. The 20 minute avatar live action portion is not gonna help and weta was busy anyway.

  11. hector says:

    Can someone tell me why Ayaka is so against LA artists and against Daniel ? Seems like he is in a very comfortable situation, and he does not want to touch it. He’s afraid to lose something…And like him, there are hundreds. Especially from subsidized locations.

    • Steven Caron says:

      I have no clue why but he seems to have a better understanding of the consensus of the international VFX community and he thinks Daniel is not doing the right thing according to what he feels the consensus is. I think he should start a ‘new’ unionizing effort that will represent his constituents. Raise the voice of the disenfranchised and once he has the voice of the community behind him bring the facts to us. An amazing feat for sure, but he makes it sound so easy…

  12. […] workers are planning a demonstration at the 86th annual Academy Awards,  that is being called The March in March, according to The Wrap.  Workers are speaking out against foreign subsidies, that they claim are […]

  13. People have raised a number of points here so I’ll try to cover them.

    Unions – Yes, I agree, there should be union coverage for vfx workers to help protect their rights. Unions are available in most countries with vfx. It’s how film production typically works at least in the US and Canada. And yet even here in LA vfx workers who knew they were going to lose their jobs did not sign up for the union. Not one shop of any size was unionized in the last few years. Apathy? Fear? Whatever it was they have not done so. Canadian and UK vfx workers continue to have the opportunity to unionize but so far they haven’t done it. Even with a union you’d be hard pressed to counter the money and political straight of the studios to stop subsidies. Look at live action.

    Code of Conduct – I offered up the idea of a Code of Conduct for vfx workers. If there was not to be local unions at least some type of code of conduct that workers approved could be offered to vfx workers around the world. This would push for better working conditions and offer workers protections that other industries provide. This would unite all and that would help to distinguish good companies from bad. And yet – nothing. Nada. Crickets. How many people signed up? How many really volunteered or offered to take the lead?

    So why is that? Apathy? Fear? Laziness? People trying to ignore the situation? Workers with their headphones on that are unwilling to take even the most minor of efforts to improve their situation and the situation of others? has a web site to post review of vfx companies. And yet hardly anyone posts reviews even anonymously. It was pulling teeth to get even 1 person to post a review of New Breed, a place that didn’t pay a lot of their workers.

    I put out the word I wanted to get stories of working conditions and bad vfx school experiences. And I received less than a handful (I’m gathering and will post)

    The reality seems to be as much has people bitch and complain they have no interest in doing anything at all. The number of people actively trying to help the industry seems to be less than 20 out of thousands of people worldwide. People may complain about the amount of OT, not being paid for OT, the moving, loss of jobs, not being paid, etc. but they have no interest in trying to actually do something.

    Are there other issues besides subsidies? Yes, plenty of them but subsidies are the main issue. No point in unionizing a local area if that work will be yanked away. No point into talking about underbidding when governments force the notion of underbidding. No point talking about working condition in one place if the next week you’ll be laid off or shipped packing for another country.

    Right now it’s subsidies that have a grip on the throat of the industry and those are controlled by the politicians. The politician in another country can yank a chain and cause the vfx companies and artists to say how high? Where do I move to now? Where will we be forced to setup a new branch? The subsidies issue is a GLOBAL issue. Many who live in subsidized areas refuse to believe that because it’s easier to hope for the best than to face that reality. You can see it begin played out world wide Vancouver, UK, Montreal, NZ, etc. Look at states in the US for live action production. It’s simply a time-lapse version of what’s happening worldwide. Michigan up on top one year and at the bottom the next.

    It’s hard to clean up our own industry when the control lies with the politicians. With subsidies removed then it’s up to the vfx companies and artists wherever they are. The work will not be returning to LA but there will be elimination and pressure from the studios to move work for any other reason than quality and efficiency, which are controlled by those in the industry themselves.

    So in order to remove the politicians grasp of the vfx industry we are doing the only thing that looks at all promising (because the unions can’t do it). And that is the CVD. This doesn’t involve or rely on politicians. It won’t address every problem the vfx industry has. No solution can solve every issue. Yes it is a legal issue but it works in many industries. It doesn’t address state subsidies but we have to start at the biggest issue and then address the other issues one by one. Many in vfx seem to feel if there is no one magical solution that solves everything instantly we should not bother.

    The CVD are necessary because the subsidies are worldwide and because the source of the funding is here in the US.

    For all of those who main focus seems to be on hate, vitriol and fixation on the minutia of subsidy percentages put that effort into something constructive. Criticizing is the easiest thing to do.

    And for those who are simply lurkers for your sake and the sake of others do something constructive because your career will depend on what happens now.

    Provide solutions- if you don’t like the solutions other have offered then provide your own that actually solve the real problems. Back it up with solid facts and research.

    Unionize – There’s nothing stoping you from unionizing where you are (except China which make it illegal tot have unions)

    Code of Conduct – Write up a code of conduct. Check my blog for starting points. I can’t do it all.

    Educate – Educate yourself and others. Consider actually following the various links and reading the reports and articles instead of simply shrugging your shoulders.

    Support the cause of leveling the playing field and removing control from the politicians.

    • Disgruntled says:

      Bravo Mr Squires…Bravo.

    • Jackadullboy says:

      Thank you Scott.. Summed up nicely.

    • Tom Atkin says:


      The hate and vitriol is something certainly enhanced by some of this stuff over the last 10 years. I think you could easily review many statements and documents from individuals and organizations which have added fuel to the fire. When things are bad, as they have been for over 20 years…pointing the finger of blame has been the easy solution to both encourage and mollify the anger and frustration

      That, sir, is another debate,

      Here is the debate for today which has been both enhanced, but more often confused both those inside and outside the industry.

      What the heck are the key issues?

      1) Union
      2) Trade Organization
      3) Kill subsidies (VFXSoldeir)
      4) Go for subsidies in California (VES)
      5) Working conditions.
      6) Salaries
      7) Benefit
      8) Artist migration and immigration
      9) Credits
      10) ETC.

      Scott, I grant most or all of these have relevance, but what is limiting any progress is continued fear mongering with FAR TOO MANY ISSUES to address at once, thus having far too many spokespersons representing whatever is their ‘flavor of the moment’ thus resulting in nothing truly getting done.

      We can debate this stuff all day, but what cannot be debated are these various points of view and their supporters stepping on their own “dicks’ at events like the Oscars and Obama visits to communicate the FAR TOO MANY VARIED issues that have value, but…in the end… continuously blur the landscape because of volume and agendas. If, just a single issue or two were represented such as the VFXSoldier effort against subsidies were the focus…fine…but, a single issue which calls for the demonstration gets often lost in the various issues listed above.

      You know, Scott, from personal and continued on line interaction that I have always respected you, your craft and what you do to be proactive for the community.

      This is about the process….again, let me repeat that…this is about the process.

      I haven’t commented much since the Obama ‘demonstration’ on this site, and quite honestly, I have, sadly, come to a point in my life…where I am honored by what I did for the visual effects community, but no longer care to be involved. At my age, banging your head against the wall over and over and over and over…no longer has personal value.

      Good luck to you all..with my deepest admiration to the visual effects artists.



      • Jackadullboy says:

        Actually your list is misleading.. If you look carefully you’ve really listed the ‘three’ issues that have been the focus of this and similar blogs:

        Trade organisation

        It’s really quite simple. The landscape is not at all blurred.

      • polyphemus says:

        Why would credits even be an issue. Unless you are getting a percentage or above the line a credit doesn’t matter, especially when half the time your title is lumped in with 4 columns of dudes and everyone is a Digital Artist if you are lucky.

        Then again I’ve seen people take a “title” over a pay raise and other tangible benefits like paid overtime.

        “Oh oh I got a credit!”

    • fxman says:

      I’m one of the people doing nothing. It’s not noble, but here’s why:

      I never know how long I’m going to be in a particular country. Now I’m in Canada, for weeks, months? Who knows. Contracts are short and mean nothing. If I cause trouble I won’t get rehired. I have nothing invested in this place. Why join a union if I have to leave in 4 weeks?

      Does it harm my career in the long-term? Probably. I don’t think there is a long-term. I’ll ride it while it lasts.

      Look at those pathetic contracts we get nowadays. 8 weeks at MPC. 3 months at ImageEngine. Sony contracts mean shit. The day I start a job I already search for the next. I don’t care what happens to the current craphouse because by the time it’s summer they’re probably closing.

      A lot of colleagues think like this.

      • Jackadullboy says:

        By all means take the default position of apathy. As you say, it’s the majority one.

        In doing so, accept that things will get worse and it will become impossible to sustain a living wage, never mind settle down. Have a plan B (and C, and D…)

        I’m concerned for our generation as I fear we have little appreciation of the effort it took to create the relative affluence and stability we saw from the mid twentieth century onwards. It could so easily slip away from us.

      • hector says:

        “A lot of colleagues think like this.”

        So instead to support those who want change, you turn back to them, and in your face, gap yawned slowly. Already you can see that these companies do not offer anything stable and contracts are very short.
        I do not know what you expect and why you do not sustain a movement that with all its flaws, it is the only one in the moment.

        It’s better to go forward, although you know that road leads into the abyss?

  14. hector says:

    I think that should not put too much emphasis on those who criticize , and especially those trying , as we see , to destabilize any effort against a union in the vfx .
    I think the fear is driven and deliberate introduced in the industry to better control a mass of confused people .

    Those who criticize should be ignored , because they are not critical to a better and effective organization in the industry , but in order to remove any action designed to bring stability and cleanliness .

    As soon as the workers begin to ignore those who threaten and refuse to work for companies ( the majority ) that promotes non value , the union is near.

    What happens in Canada now is a time bomb that will explode, making unfortunately, many victims . Depends on the victims to perceive and hear the ticking and prepare for the explosion.

    As long as governments are mixed in this business is definitely something fishy . Workers do not speak in vain , because it does not provide shelter .

  15. Tom Atkin says:

    ” I think fear is driven and deliberate introduced in the industry to better control a mass of people”…maybe, really and what does this fucking mean and what does it contribute?

    “I think that should not put too much emphasis on those who criticize, and especially those trying, as we see, to destabilize any effort against a union in vfx.”


    This site is about CVD’s and stopping subsidies….and, you are one of its biggest commenters.

    Bang…bang…bang…bang…bang…bang..bang…I think I have given myself CTE.

    • hector says:

      Hey Tom, you are so funny.
      “At my age, banging your head against the wall over and over and over and over…no longer has personal value.” and then: “Bang…bang…bang…bang…bang…bang..bang…I think I have given myself CTE.”

      I am against subsidies, pro CVD, pro union. And Canadian.

      And fear, yes. A huge amount of fear present these days in this industry.
      I am not saying it is contributing, at least not in a positive way.

      “…and, you are one of its biggest commenters.” I am not one of the biggest, just constant, but this is supposed to be good or bad?
      I try to add my support here. Sorry if I said something wrong, or you red something else.

      • Tom Atkin says:


        No need to apologize. I just wish you and others could stay focused. I truly believe it is the lack of limited specificity which keeps delaying any affirmative action yielding results.

        Stay focused on just one, two or three goals maximum. Too many…make too much noise…killing most chances to advance.

        Just an old man’s opinion.

        And, for the record…constant/biggest are not too different describing your participation on this site.

      • Dave Rand says:

        Until the exodus of our jobs is corrected here in all areas of the world meaning the constant migration of talent chasing subsidies is abated, unionizing and trade organizations are extremely difficult to create.

        Because of that our priority is well defined. Stop the race to the bottom via subsidies. Create assets of talent that are stable enough to organize.

        Only then can we work on collective bargaining and obtaining the leverage to invoke real change.

        Trying to organize a shop in Los Angeles for example that is on the verse of collapse or already in bankruptcy or moving its operations to another country won’t happen.

        Squires is correct …there should not be anything stopping a union or a trade association from forming. I believe there is something and it’s not apathy it is fear.

        Naturally there’s significant fear when any change is involved …even if that change is to stop the constant change. Our industry is fed fear by the very stories it’s involved in telling. It’s self perpetuating. Hollywood loves to create the illusion of persecution within it’s own ranks by the very tales it tells.

        I believe it is greatly exaggerated when it comes to our reality yet fear is real no matter how it is perpetuated and has to be dealt with by example. By not giving in to it or giving up the fight to dismantle it.

        I’ve noticed more folks are using their real full names without fear of prosecution.

        Many of us are still actively involved in invoking towards change.

        Everything we do is additive no matter how small.

        Right now we need to stop the scattering by political schemes.

        I believe that this will all be looked upon as a time where real progress was made both for the VFX artists world wide and the studios….world wide not just the same old six.

      • Andreas Jablonka says:

        Hector: stop apologizing for your opinions. They are all valid and you don’t treat opinions like fact as many do. Let the haters hate man:)

  16. M Kurt says:

    Its funny how a few people have hit the nail on the head. All your eggs in one basket, whilst turning many international people against us fighting together.

    I keep hearing that subsidies are not sustainable but what if they do continue and the CVD fails? You don’t seem to have a backup? You should check out the history of subsidies in other industries. Oil and fossil fuels have enjoyed US government subsidies since around 1916 and yet they are some of the richest companies in the states. Yet you guys seem ok with your taxes going to those greedy oil barons. So if the US can afford those subsidies there is nothing telling me that other countries won’t continue theres.

    Would you also be surprised to hear apple receives both subsidies and R & D grants from the US and Californian governments and yet avoids paying a lot of tax, especially in California by having all funds routed through a shell company based in Nevada that has no corporate tax. They also avoid tax on profits on most worldwide income. I have linked an article below that is interesting.

    Whilst we are different if apple can do it there is no reason the Film studios will also not go to great lengths to do the same. The end of the article also suggests that the reason the US government allows this to apple is that they would prefer something rather than lose apple completely offshore.

    The parallels are uncanny even though the likes of Mr Lay assures us that they couldn’t do this and would not offshore. But if there is one thing I know it is rich people will do what ever they need to do to continue to get richer.

    I am sure this will all get shot down as “fear” or “uneducated” but heck they really no longer have my respect after the constant message brought to us here.

    • Yes, there are other subsidies. So that makes more subsidies a better solution?

      Same types of things have been said about many things in the past by people who didn’t want to try. (civil rights is one thing that comes to mind. 40 hr work week, being paid overtime, etc were not popular with the rich or the corporations but it was made to happen when people actually stood up instead of being Eeyores.

      You’re suggesting we shotgun multiple pproaches at the same time?

      What is your solution to the problems the industry faces? We’re all ears to hear how you will hit the nail on the head and solve the problems.

      • Tom Atkin says:


        The solution is a co-ordinated consensus on one, two or three issues at most. Instead, over the past many years both individuals and organizations have ruled the fire of discontent with no focus on real possible solutions…just ravings from the various wings seeking press. C’mom, Scott, do you really believe as a member of the VES Board that all the white papers/statements have done anything? Too many people and organizations have blurred the landscape.

        So, with the most admiration…please, let me humbly ask…when will Oscar protests for a multitude of vfx problems end?

        And, for the record, why don’t we hear more often about ALL the vfx companies which are doing just fine in your environment of bad working conditions, no benefits, constant moving…blah, blah, blah.
        Scott, we all admire who you are as an artist and what you have done and continued to do…but, isn’t it possible this approach is not working?

        For sure, things need to get better…but, also for sure…it isn’t as bad as the picture you all keep painting. Truly!

      • Tom Atkin says:

        One more thing..sort of.

        Some of you think I am being a negative in whatever it is you wish to accomplish. On the contrary…I did not spend 10 years of my life working for little money to unite the industry to form an HONORARY organization called VES.

        And, just or the record…which is certainly a bucket list item…to date, I am the ONLY PERSON ON THE PLANET who has ever brought the visual effects community to consensus on anything to form VES.

        So, with love to all of you who perform miracles…please. listen…choose one, two or three goals maximum and stay focused.

        Everything else is just bullshit.

        God speed to you all,


      • Tom, with all due respect I’m unclear why you’re commenting here since you’re not a working professional. I don’t visit other forums in different industries where my last involvement was over a decade ago and lecture them on their industry and what they’re doing wrong.

        “why don’t we hear more often about ALL the vfx companies which are doing just fine in your environment of bad working conditions, no benefits, constant moving…”
        Actually we do. vfxsoldier gets frequent emails. I get emails. I did a survey as well. Even at places like iLM all is not rosy. Are there any real journalists exploring this? No. The ICG will be publishing an article that is primarily fluff. The NY times wrote an article last year and has no plans to write another one anytime soon. After all Justin Beiber’s probably doing something at the moment.

        Is everyone hurting now? No but that doesn’t mean it’s not happening. I’m sure you can ask some Americans who are doing just fine at the moment but that doesn’t mean that the average American isn’t hurting badly and that things couldn’t be handled better. Try telling things aren’t so bad to the middle class that has now slid into the poverty class. Try telling vfx artists around the world their loss of jobs, the fact they have had to move, work a lot of OT and many put in unpaid OT is ‘not all that bad’.

        We have focused on one thing and that is the largest issue – Subsidies. The focus is on the CVD as the only method that might be used to help neutralize them. We have a lot of support from domestic workers. Is the Oscar march to solve the problem? No, it’s simply trying to keep the issue in the public and film industries view. With news these days if something isn’t drawing attention to itself it will be soon lost and forgotten. Wether we get 50 people or 500 people it will still get coverage. Many in this industry are scared to stand in public but many of those are more than willing to sign up for supporting the ADAPT organization.

        Say what you will about the Occupy movement it finally woke up the general public and the media. Most of the finical crisis was already being swept under the rug and all the talk about inequality and rights originated with the occupy movement.

      • Tom Atkin says:


        I voluntarily chose not to renew my contract with VES ten years ago, because at that time after spending 10 years putting together a world class HONORARY organization (against all odds)…I saw the future of continuous bickering, blame game and all the other ‘noise issues’ distracting the artists from the truth. LA/California does not and will not continue to prosper if those living here are SURE the rest of the world can never do the same quality work. And, that sir, was a very flawed thought process.

        For the 10 years prior to forming VES, my 10 years with it and the last 10 years…not much has changed.

        The image the industry has created for itself…and this is not my word…is ‘whiners’. Now, like clock work, these folks representing a wide array of topics take to the streets to ‘protest’ the Oscars with little organization so that the message it not one specifically highlighting a single issue or two…it just becomes more NOISE brewing from the visual effects industry. And, Scott, I do think that the visual effects industry would be better served garnering the support of the other crafts, but I have yet to see this happen.

        And, I do not believe the Oscars are the right forum, but again
        it is just my opinion. It may even be detrimental in the long run, but only time will tell.

        So, Scott, perhaps I have chosen to comment because for the past 10 YEARS lots of folks trying to separately do something whether union, trade organization, for subsidies, against subsidies, etc, etc. In fact, I have been one of the strongest proponents to “Tone Down the Rhetoric”…find some consensus on anything and, then, move forward with a single voice.

        To conform this…just ask VFXMafia. Finally, after lots of intense debate (between us)…he went to Vancouver, got a good job and likes it there especially compared to where he was prior to going to BC…and, even he is surprised that his world is actually better.

        So, Scott, rather than question why I would be posting and questioning my work in the industry, which by the way continued for another 6 to 8 years after I left VES is not the point except, sir, to you.

        The point is not why I would comment…the point is what about my comments that is so difficult to actually address in detail. And, to that end Scott, you were the ONLY VES BOD member who was honest enough on this site to confirm that the decision to support California subsidies (a rather contentious issue) was made without consultation with the VES Members or VES BOD. And, frankly, this decision drew lots of comments (some extremely bitter)…so, your truth and insight helped the discussion and true understanding of what actually happened.

        And, Scott, that VES Executive Committee decision caused VES to be publicly booed and many folks to publicly quit and asked others to join them as indicated from posts on this very site. This is all published information…not my personal opinion in any way.

        So, I guess that I believe as the person who founded VES and has lots of interest in what happens…I have the right to comment. Maybe, as a VES BOD member this does not cause you pause, but it certainly bothers me to see the way things have tended to reduce membership as a true “HONOR AND BADGE OF DISTINCTION”.. Again, and this is just an opinion which would apply to any of the industry honorary organizations…but, I think many hold their membership very high and it would take a great deal for them to give it up and walk away. Again, I know it would be hard for me to quit any of the industry organizations which I am honored to be a member. I thought I had created something special, so it does hurt to see some of the things which have happened. Maybe, I am prohibited from stating any disparaging things about VES, but that does not mean I must accept and approve them…either.

        Please, let me leave you with some advice given to me when I started VES.

        1) Pick 3 to 5 goals to accomplish in five years.
        2) Stay focused and make your message easy to understand.
        3) Do NOT get distracted with new things all the time.

        It is very difficult to understand, simplify and successfully communicate any message or idea.

        In my humble opinion, the visual effects industry would be better served doing this, unless of course, you are satisfied with your progress over the past generation.

        Scott, as I said in a previous post…I am done. Your post, however, required a response.

      • Dave Rand says:

        Hmm. the past 10 years have seen most of the activity in the last few years. Not much happened before that. I started becoming active in 2007 when we went unpaid for work on Journey to the Center of the Earth. Back then it was almost impossible to get press or any attention from ANYBODY…especially the VES who would not even return my emails and calls about the Meteor situation where 1.3 million dollars was owed to over 100 vfx professionals.

        I was grateful for the white paper. It made some great points and was very additive.

        Since then things have changed dramatically as far as attention, awareness, sparked by intensive media coverage peaking last year at the Oscars and continuing today.

        You have to understand one key point. Right now

        There is really no VFX industry in Los Angeles, it’s virtually gone or leaving. We had enough rep cards to have vote at two locations to unionize but they were in bankruptcy and falling apart or moving.

        This same situation will happen in other areas as the race to the bottom continues.

        This is due to subsidies and bidding with little direction, but far more devastation has been from subsidies.

        What is our plan if the CVD effort fails?

        Re-evaluate and move forward.

        Until we can stabilize the locations of VFX we can’t really organize successfully. The unions are ready, even news from the UK today.

        What we can take to the bank is the amazing amount of light being shown on all areas of VFX these days….and that is a direct result of the activities like the March on March and last years Oscars protest….no matter how mufti faceted it worked..and it keeps working..

        It is all additive, no action is futile and the worst move we can make is to give up.

        If anyone has a detailed plan please offer it up for examination. Saying “focus on a few things” and move forward is pretty much what we are doing and it has been working….working far better than doing nothing and it’s been moving quite well in the past year.

        Keep in mind it took considerable time for all the organized talent to evolve..and they at least had one location to stick to back in those days!

        In the end it always comes down to leverage.

      • Tom Atkin says:


        For the record. I tried to contact you and others to continue suggesting how to refine and make more effective your message. If you recall, we sort of got into it a bit over the Obama demonstration. Again, my point has always been the same. Get focused, get an agenda and communicate this and only this consistently though all your media.

        All of you have spent your lives doing visual effects. I spent my years learning and doing marketing which provided the skill set to take a very difficult concept like VES and bring it to reality.

        At that time, the only difference was that the world of visual effects was basically controlled by half a dozen companies, yet their differences and ability to come to consensus was just as big as challenge as what you face today.

        So, if this ‘protest’ or ‘demonstration’ (and agreeing to and using just one word to describe it would be best) has Scott Ross discussing a trade organization, signs stating ‘bad working’ conditions’, fight subsidies, fair wages, etc…what do you want people and the media to communicate? When there are too many things (valid or not) often…there is no progress. This is your event about subsidies…right. Why not let that be an organized, well thought out, well communicated single idea with the consensus you have already mounted? Leave out the union stuff…Dave. Otherwise, you will get some mixed messaged media without creating and aiming a sharper focus developing a more surgical strike impact.

        I grant this media attention provides the short term thrill with hope for long term awareness…but, this ‘protest/demonstration’ is the third one in 12 months.

        And, Dave, you can only get the press to follow for so long before they, too, move on to something else…unless you can clearly demonstrate more support and progress.

        The subject may be visual effects (stop subsidies), but the way one sells it…is not as “A VISUAL EFFECT”…but, somehow this doesn’t seem to be understood.

        For the most part, this is the basic point I have been apparently ‘failing to communicate’…or, no one is listening or cares.

        With all the respect possible…trust me…this can be done so much better with co-ordination, consensus and marketing creativity, and I believe this is a very important missing component to all these wonderful efforts.

        That’s it. I will no longer respond or post…period. Obviously, you have it together…

        Good luck to all.

  17. no longer vfx says:

    Guys, so much fighting. It’s hard coming here any more. I left vfx about 2 years ago for greener pastures. Went into indie game development, which is incredibly booming. If you follow indie game development, you’ll know what i mean. Booming all over the place: Steam, Xbox One, PS4, iOS, Android, Windows phone.

    The transition is hard. Very hard, but I know you guys are smart and got skills. If you guys got free time waiting for jobs, look into it. Learn how to code. Now is the time. or as they say “Read a book!”


  18. horse shit says:

    I want to counter those in Van and NZ who so aggressively say they are sick and tired of vfxsoldier’s (and by extension, Scott Squires and Dave Rand et al) so-called divisiveness and refuse to acknowledge the effort he and others have put into uncovering the facts. Even if you disagree with his central aims, you cannot back up your own point of view unless you acknowledge what’s really going on.

    I am not from LA, I’m not even American. But I agree strongly with the central premise that the subsidies are the key issue that is stopping us from being able to get traction in other areas that need to be addressed. If Cali can be decimated as it has been since 2009, then it can happen anywhere. If you don’t get this, then you just have your head buried in the sand in your smug little situation in BC or at Weta.

    How can you be at Weta and not worry about having all the work pulled? It almost happened very publicly with the Hobbit and the Avatar sequels and yet you can’t see how tenuous the whole ecosystem is? The situation is a bit different in BC because there is a lot more than one major facility there, so here are my thoughts on that:

    For the record, my working experience in Vancouver for most of 2012 was as follows:
    – Haggle with HR for a month just to get my rate up to close to parity with a base level I would get in CA. Fully aware that I would be working up to an extra two hours of unpaid OT.
    – Relocation expenses amount to a one way airfare and two weeks accommodation.
    – I was not offered health insurance to cover me until state health insurance kicked in, and although I paid money into a government pension, I can’t take that money with me when I leave.
    – I wasn’t earning so much money that I paid 40% tax, my tax was as Adrian McDonald stated, 25%. Overall I paid a bit less than federal and state taxes in Cali. So that argument of 40% of 60% of the subsidy flowing back into BC goes out the window. My supervisors however, were paying that large amount of tax but the majority of workers aren’t hitting that pay bracket.
    – A huge chunk of my earnings got wired back to my US bank account so it didn’t flow back into the local economy. I lived in a studio for less than 1000 a month, I didn’t own a car, I walked to work and I was at work all the time. I don’t drink alcohol or coffee. I don’t snowboard. I just worked then left.
    – I still had to pay Cali state tax on my BC income, because there is no tax treaty in place at a state level for those who are still deemed resident of that state. That happened because I was not in BC for 11 months out of the year.

    So if you’re a BC vfx worker complaining about being laid off because some person is coming from Cali, London, France or wherever and taking your job, and maybe getting paid more for it, keep in mind that they may well be paying double rent or mortgage payments to maintain their home there, they may be leaving family/significant other and friends, they may have realised that to keep this career viable they didn’t have much choice but to at least do a tour of duty in Van, and they may well be paying additional tax on their BC earnings.

    Unless they choose to stick around and qualify as a resident, in which case they will be “stealing your jobs”, they will also potentially be offered a lower rate since 60% of their pay is not subsidized. It’s called a bubble. And the only way to feed it is to import workers.

    You, however, as a resident vfx worker of BC have got the pick of facilities to jump between because they’re all there. You also have the luxury of having 60% of your wages subsidised, so you will have more negotiating power with HR, assuming you are a competent enough artist. Your family/significant other/friends are there. If however, you’re pissed off that you’re getting laid off and a bunch of Culver City workers or whatever are getting carted in, then you should be anti-subsidy because the only reason that is happening is the subsidy and half of those people probably didn’t really want to go up there in the first place.

    I should say that half my time in Van was great, and half was hell (different facilities). I’ve worked in SF, LA, Van, Sydney, London and am now in NYC. I decided to (inadvertently) follow the subsidy in order to build my experience and my reel. There have been good things about jumping to different locations, but now it’s getting tired. To be honest, it’s all horse shit.

    • hector says:

      “How can you be at Weta and not worry about having all the work pulled?” they open an office in Montreal. Weta is going to setup an office, a small one, in Montreal.

      • horse shit says:

        Well how about that. The other shoe dropped. I’ve heard Montreal is great in the warmer months actually.

    • Idiot says:

      No offence but the VFX was never getting pulled from weta. It was more about the live action shoots being pulled .

    • vfxmafia says:

      To horseshit….

      You might want to be asking yourself why your work at so many post houses and so many companies…..might want to settle down in one of those wonderful countries you visited….

      • horseyshittt says:

        That’s assuming that you are able to obtain resident status in said locations. I have resident status in the US and am now based back in the US. But every time I’ve worked outside the US I risked having my visa pulled by immigration when I re-entered the country. Even if it’s Vancouver which is so close to SF or Montreal which is so close to NY, this is an issue.

    • Thanks for your info! As a VFX artist who has managed (barely and struggling) to remain in LA, it confirms what I believed about chasing subsidies. It’s not the way I’d want to live, and it’s hard to save up money. Plus moving all the time must have huge effects on lifestyle and relationships. It may build up a reel but having contacts in BC doesn’t help you network in LA.

    • hector says:

      “To be honest, it’s all horse shit.” You’re right.
      And imagine 5 years from now…Industry does not show any interest to many seniors and people who have worked hard for many years. All that is missing is a plan B.

    • Andreas Jablonka says:

      Your post nearly mirrors my Vancouver experience. I agree 100%
      Thank you.

  19. horse shit says:

    I would like to acknowledge and point out an error in my own logic:
    “Unless they choose to stick around and qualify as a resident, in which case they will be “stealing your jobs”, they will also potentially be offered a lower rate since 60% of their pay is not subsidized. It’s called a bubble. And the only way to feed it is to import workers.”
    If for example BC artists really are laid off to make way for Imageworks artists from Cali, then that’s not feeding a bubble per se. However, it is a symptom of the subsidy.

    Ultimately, I hope any relocated workers can find work at home or integrate into BC life depending on what they want. Also that BC resident workers can take advantage of the amount of facilities that are now in Vancouver, at least while the subsidy is there.

  20. subsidise this! says:

    No commentary or thoughts yet on the SPI India closure?

    • Jackadullboy says:

      I was at SPI Vancouver in 2012. I can tell you that most of the Senior animators spent several weeks redoing roto work on The Amazing Spider Man that was supposed to have been done in the India office, but the work had not been up to scratch.

      I believe something similar may have been the case with TMA2, but someone might want to correct me on that.

      I understand the entire culver city roto team had been laid off some time beforehand in favour of doing that work in India.

      Clearly the outsourcing has proved to be a false economy, so I am assuming that that is the rationale for the closure, in view of Sony entertainment needing to trim $250 off the bottom line.

      • Jackadullboy says:

        Ahem, 250m that is…

      • VFX_Boom says:

        The thing is, the smartest guys in the room behind the “Cost Savings” of outsourcing, can’t admit they are wrong when elements and all other things outsourced don’t work out. They’d look silly, and NOBODY wants to admit they made a mistake.

        So what happens is the work is re-done at a large cost, including time (the most expensive of all), and in the end, nobody admits it doesn’t work. This has happened on at least half the shows I’ve been on in the last 4-5 years.

        The illusion of a good cost cutting plan is more valuable than actual cost savings. It’s just the norm it seems right now.

      • Idiot says:

        Well in the past year I have seen a lot of great camera, root and paint come out of spi India for spidery 2 and kill . Both complex animorphic shows

  21. Gallante says:


    The interesting thing is that all the VFX and animation industry firms in India seem to have either collapsed/shuttered over the past few years or in the case of PF/Reliance, have never made a profit and continually hemorrhaging cash. Since the financial backing is from bottom-line western hedge fund type firms, how viable is that for much longer. It does seem that their favourite fit-all business plan for every industry, to splice and dice to outsourced facilities in a call-center or factory assembly line does not seem to fit the movie production model, for whatever reasons. And indeed no fancy finance guy will ever admit they were wrong. Or is that an over simplification?

    SPI India no doubt did produce some viable work but why have they and several other Indian firms gone to the wall over the past few years? Nobody can doubt human potential whatever the continent, so it must be the business model and business plan? No? Does cinesync/skype communication and factory task division of operations, with supervisor-factory line worker operations combined with push-button software technology actually cause more mis-communication costs and expenses then it saves? Why is extreme off-shoring and division of labour so spectacularly failing financially in India (and others)?

  22. […] Mr. Webber and other critics need to understand is that we are having a demonstration on Oscar Sunday is not because we are against work being done in international locations, it’s because we […]

  23. […] Simply put US studios are blowing past flimsy cultural tests to gain access to lucrative UK subsidies. However, just like the biodiesel case, the UK film subsidies cause massive injury to industries in other countries without subsidies. For the past three years I’ve written about the injury caused to the VFX industry and have sought to institute the same tariffs the UK has used to level the playing field. You can see our legal teams recommendations here as we organize a demonstration against these subsidy programs. […]

  24. […] a WDA employee and have any questions concerning our legal effort on VFX subsidies and the March in March, I’d be more than happy to answer them. Hope to see you […]

  25. […] Sunday March 2 – March in March 1:00-3:00pm […]

  26. greg hannley soba recovery

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