Gravity VFX Supe Claims “Misrepresentation” On Guardian Quotes

gravityTweet by Film London

There was considerable discussion caused by my post on a Guardian article where Gravity’s Oscar Nominated VFX Supervisor Tim Webber was asked to comment on our demonstration for an end to VFX subsidies and why the “British VFX Talent is leading the world”:

We learned to do it significantly cheaper, and used our innovation to be leaner and more flexible operations. In the end, our people are younger and hungrier than they are in the US.

Someone representing Tim Webber responded in the comments section with a statement by him where he explains he was “misrepresented”.

I contacted Guardian reporter Andrew Pulver on Twitter to show him Mr. Webber’s statement asking if it was true. Later on, the article was updated with the younger hungrier quote removed and an amendment at the bottom of the article:

This article was amended on 16 February 2014. A quote from Tim Webber was used out of context, and was removed.

I have yet to receive a response from Mr. Pulver. In Mr. Webber’s statement, he doesn’t actually say he was misquoted but claims the quote was taken out of context and was about when the UK VFX industry first started. I’m not sure how that changes the effect of the quote under any different context. Furthermore, even without that quote, I still think the argument in the article that the UK is significantly cheaper, leaner, and more innovative than the US as Mr. Webber argues is incorrect.

My contention is that there exists parity between the UK, NZ, US, and other international VFX industries. As I mentioned in the first post, I admonished the President for wrongly saying the gap the US film industry had over others was enormous. As I’ve said before the only reason the playing field has tilted in the UK’s favor are because of massive bubble inducing government subsidies. Framestore’s own CEO has acknowledged this when he said they would lose up to 75% of the work without those subsidies and a study commissioned by the UK film industry also said film production would fall around 71%. It’s great to get sympathy but there has been a lot of denial about the dominating force of subsidies. The first step to solving the problem is acknowledging it exists.

Mr. Webber also expressed his shock at the vitriol by some of the commenters on this blog and social media. While it is unfortunate, I think my post was pretty matter of fact without vitriol. Most commenters were civil and were rightfully dissapointed by the quote regardless of whether the context was about the past instead of the present. They also found the nationalistic anti-US tone of the Guardian article distasteful which Mr. Webber rightly denounces. If he’s shocked by the vitriol of some by what he said, he should see what has happened to me for things I have never said but get accused of anyway.

As I pointed out in my last post, I have strongly argued against any form of national identity for VFX but international artists outraged at my objection to subsidies have routinely accused me of racism and xenophobia. The vitriol was even worse than that when this past summer a forum frequented by UK artists somehow got a hold of work emails and authorship comparison software to try to determine who was the writer behind VFX Soldier. While I was on the list of possible writers, others that had nothing to do with this blog were wrongly accused and discussions began on how to blacklist them. Even with me coming forward, the UK forum still continues to have discussions attacking my character in the hopes of trying to make me quiet or ruin my career. It’s important for me to let them know that we are making great progress in our efforts on subsidies and last week a legal announcement was made that swings the pendulum in our direction. More to come when the time is right.

Over the years I’ve sprung into action whenever I learned of someone in VFX was being wronged: An artist in Singapore terminated for tending to pregnant wife. Artists in India experiencing exploitation. Pixomondo artists going unpaid. Dave Rand who has also been accused of the same things I have been accused of and still fights to this day for unpaid artists in Montreal after 4 years. So when BECTU recently made their efforts to help UK artists unionize I was ready to go. I was ready to write what I felt was a very powerful post why we should all be helping the UK artists and BECTU with some really good info. But I didn’t.

I recently received an email from a UK artist asking me why I haven’t posted on BECTU’s effort in the UK. To be honest, I’ve become a bit more reluctant to jump to help not because of the smears but because many of them were content when I extended my hand to help international artists but the instance I tried to help US-based artists at home, they gave me the backhand. When I tried to fight for adequate health insurance for US VFX artists many internationals objected because it was strictly “an American issue”.

Perhaps I should adopt the same position for UK artists that Mr. Webber has: Acknowledge that times are tough and send them my sympathies.

Soldier On.

50 Responses to Gravity VFX Supe Claims “Misrepresentation” On Guardian Quotes

  1. contessa12 says:

    1 easy lesson on how to get black-balled in Hollywood!

    • Peter Greenaway says:

      “but claims the quote was taken out of context and was about when the UK VFX industry first started.”
      So, he said, just on a different occasion.

  2. occupyvfx says:

    Soldier,

    A rising tide lifts all boats. A unionized workforce in the United Kingdom would help facilitate those professionals getting paid overtime and workplace protections. It also helps level the playing field. Currently, the UK is able to offer film producers not only generous tax subsidies, but a labor force that is content to work in near-sweatshop conditions. VFX professionals in the United States, New Zealand, and Canada usually receive paid overtime. There is no reason why those talented individuals in the UK deserve anything less than the compensation awarded to VFX professionals everywhere else around the world.

    The smear campaign on you that has been conducted is horrible, and the comments of Mr. Webber are deplorable at best. However, if you are in a position to put that vitriol and slander aside, and you have the ability to help UK professionals find solidarity and organization within themselves, we urge you to do so, for the benefit of all of us working, world-wide.

    • VFX Soldier says:

      Agreed that a rising tide lifts all boats but it’s hard to do that when one of the captains is being shot at by the other boats!

      • US VFX Worker says:

        You can do better. Refusing to help an entire group of VFX workers because a handful of them are out to get you is counter productive and, frankly, a little petty.

        Do yourself a favor and take the high road. Like it or not, we’re all in this together.

      • VFX Soldier says:

        True but remember I volunteer alot of my time for these efforts and I figure why not help the people who won’t object to me helping others?

      • Rob says:

        Put on a bulletproof vest and move below deck. Somehow, I can’t help but also be reminded of The Dark Knight with these analogies.

        And what was part of the message there?
        Even IF 90% of a given group are douchebags, how would that make it right to leave behind the 10% who may be just as decent and reasonable as you?

        Plus, don’t forget that folk wisdom about the loudest voices not necessarily being those of the majority.
        Granted, in this case, I’m skeptical whether the reasonable people are the majority. But then again, I’m skeptical whether the majority of people can ever be reasonable in any given larger group. ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8rh6qqsmxNs ).
        And I consider the previous point to be more important than this one anyway.

        Finally, over the three or so years that I’ve been following this blog, I sometimes did find myself wondering “Jeez, does he only write articles about subsidies any more?”. Of course, I still also remembered the non-subsidy articles you wrote and thus still considered you to be someone who also cares about what’s going on outside the US. Even if it may not have been your focus. Or maybe there just was not more to report internationally. Whatever.
        I do find this change in attitude that you yourself describe very troubling though and hope that you will find the way to your former self. Because at least I don’t see anybody else regularly reporting on such a relatively wide variety of issues in our industry. And that is obviously so damn important.

      • VFX Soldier says:

        Thanks for the support but to be honest there really wasn’t much development in the news on the labor front until BECTU’s latest move. I’ve got to base my posts on some sort of reliable source like a media article. I understand it’s right to fight for that 10% even though 90% are calling me racist and xenophobic but if that 10% doesn’t publicly denounce the 90 % for calling me racist then whats the chance of them standing up to fight the bigger fight?

        Alot of the subsidy posts you are seeing because there is a TON of news on this issue. The legal news from last week was HUGE! The media has never covered this issue more than I have seen in the last 3 years. Also we have a path forward with our legal effort on subsidies and that has been my focus. The path forward on labor has gone cold unfortunately.

        On Mon, Feb 17, 2014 at 11:57 AM, VFX Soldier wrote:

        >

      • US VFX Worker says:

        While I VERY much appreciate your contributions to our industry as a whole, I worry that the “triage” approach to fighting for worker’s rights might in itself be misinterpreted as a form of xenophobia. And I’ve never gotten that impression from your writing until now.

        If you feel the need to defend yourself from baseless slander, by all means, call those people out. But please understand that by using the opinions of those few as a means to justify ignoring the needs of an entire country, you may become guilty of the thing you’re accused.

      • Alex Lim says:

        Because he’s the hero that visual effects industry deserves, but not the one it needs right now… and so we’ll hunt him… because he can take it… because he’s not a hero… he’s a silent guardian, a watchful protector… a VFX Soldier.

      • LSP says:

        Soldier,
        As a UK worker, Gravity veteran and long-time lurker/quiet supporter of your blog, I also wanted to chime in and echo “US VFX Worker”‘s and Rob’s comments here. I’m sure you know how hard it is to get a group of VFX artists to agree on anything (even simple stuff like naming conventions), let alone something we’re so collectively ignorant of as labour issues. I implore you not to let the more idiotic and vocal voices put you off the UK as a whole. As you’ve noted before, united we stand and divided we fall. Ignoring the UK will only be playing into these baseless accusations. I can assure you that the comments you’ve mentioned accusing you of racism/xenophobia or of being US-centric absolutely do not represent the common view I’ve heard on this side of the pond. My experience has been that you are widely read here, but the vast majority are keeping their heads down and waiting to see what comes of your CVD effort and BECTU’s recent work. I’m not sure how representative I am of the typical UK worker, but I personally wasn’t even aware of these crazy accusations until I read them here. Please do not take them as representative; they are not.

        Regarding Mr Webber’s situation over the last few days, he seems to have become a lightning rod for UK overtime issues and I can’t help but feel sorry for him. I speak as someone who felt Framestore’s handling of overtime during Gravity was utterly disgraceful (do feel free to email me privately if you would like details, Soldier – I don’t feel comfortable posting them publicly right now). However, this still doesn’t change my opinion of Mr Webber. Those who’ve met him will tell you he’s a quiet, timid and soft-spoken problem-solver who worked just as hard on that show as anyone, and had comparatively little to do with our working conditions or lack of overtime pay. He seems to me to be thoroughly unaccustomed to the limelight he finds himself in, or the criticism he’s now receiving from random strangers. There are those who definitely should be held to task over here for UK VFX working conditions, but I really don’t think he’s one of them.

        Anyway, please keep up the good work. And, err, “Illegitimi non carborundum”.

        Yours,
        LSP

      • Andreas Jablonka says:

        LSP: thank you for a reasonable post. which all the bashing hat goes on i sometimes wonder if soldier should put up more polls to see who is actually for what and how many quiet lurkers disagree but don’t speak up.

        I thim Mr. Webber has an opportunity now to speak up for artist rights and while he may not be used to the limelight if his heart is in the right place he should use it. I’m sure framestore had a word with him after all this blew up and now is a good point in time to address this issue.

      • tazzman says:

        LSP, not related to your post per se but just wanted to say job well done on Gravity.

      • Rob says:

        “if that 10% doesn’t publicly denounce the 90 % for calling me racist then whats the chance of them standing up to fight the bigger fight?”

        But you know that people usually think about preserving their livelihood first. What little they might have. And that it’s a small industry. So few want to take the risk to gain a reputation of being “that guy” (whatever that might mean exactly). Especially when you haven’t been in the business for years and years and you don’t have that many connections yet.

        I suppose one could anonymously support you but then there’s another issue: Personally, I didn’t even know that somebody called you racist.
        I believe I first heard about it in your fxguide interview and can’t even remember who said that and when because I immediately thought that that was just one crazy person and moved on. I mean – just watch the news, especially come election time in the US. There are all kinds of idiots in this world and I don’t make a habit of acknowledging them all too much. Especially on the internet. But whenever I do meet somebody in person who claims that you only care about people in the US (Which is usually all that happens. Some may not approve of what you do but I don’t think I’ve ever heard somebody say “vfxsoldier is a racist/asshole/etc.”), I do defend your work and mention various articles you wrote about international issues.

        Also – what do you imagine that public defense should look like? I’ve certainly seen lots of comments of support right here.

    • I am more than willing to help the UK workers to be paid correctly. So what can we do? I’ve done the surveys, I posted blog posts regarding the detriment of OT to family and health. And that it does amount to exploitation. I’ve forwarded BECTU info to all. It seems to me that most of the fight is now in the hands of those in the UK. I’m not sure how much more can be down fro elsewhere by myself, vfxsoldier or others except to encourage those in the UK to stand up for themselves. We certainly don’t control the studios or vfx companies. Even if we protested with signs here in the US, what would that do for the UK workers. It seems to me they have compelling info available and they have the leverage to change things if they choose to use it. Much more than most places have.

      • Rob says:

        I think you’ve already put it very well yourself. But I think it is crucial to keep doing that. Reporting on anything that may be going on and reminding people that they’re not alone with how they feel and that they need to keep pushing if they want change.
        Especially at this point. Because it actually seems to me that UK workers are doing quite a bit “behind closed doors”. I see a momentum that I’ve seen at least at a few individual companies before. Shortly before most of their senior staff left and they either improved working conditions to win them back or tried to get by with mostly juniors.
        But I think it’s doubtful to happen if people stop talking to each other. Like it is mentioned in the comments here sometimes – divide and conquer. And I don’t think we should let “them” (whether it is people in power or less powerful ones who fool themselves into believing that the current overall situation is great) get away with that.

      • tazzman says:

        True Rob. We didn’t get to this point overnight and won’t be able to change wholesale after just one year. Unionization, Trade Assoc., etc are all worthy goals. Just need to grind it out.

  3. joey says:

    Taken out of context, more like… You want the truth, you can’t handle the truth.

    As for the vfx artists in the UK – the choice is union, or exploitation.

    Right now it’s exploitation, where you ever asked if wanted the overtime pay exemption approved? Looks like you weren’t asked, but the companies were as they wined & dined the government ministers and got overtime exemption at YOUR expense. If you had a union, then you’d have representation, and you wouldn’t be treated like dirt on their shoes.

    Watch the film… “Made in Dagenham”… and learn from it.

    • Richard says:

      Joey unions kill industry, look at the UK in the 70’s and the effect of unions and OT in California. Most people get a good salary in VFX and having to work late isn’t required every day.
      So what…. we all have to put some extra hours in, so do nearly every other profession that demands the commitment that we all give.
      Regarding Tim saying the UK is leading the way I’m sure it was something that many people said when LA was at the forefront of our business and I’m sure in a few years it will being shouted from a different country once again. Its absurd to think that someone like Tim would say it in the way some people are complaining about….

      • kyoseki says:

        Unions, at least in the US, have one big advantage, however.

        Portable benefits.

        Contract work per movie is only viable if you don’t have to keep looking for new healthcare and pension coverage every 5 months.

        That’s less of a problem in Europe and Canada where you don’t lose your healthcare with your job, but this is why every other movie role in the US is unionized.

        Can unions be abused? Sure, but studios cannot expect the vfx houses to have hire and fire crewing models like on-set work and not allow the workers to take their healthcare and pensions with them.

      • tazzman says:

        “Unions kill industry”.

        Unions didn’t kill the other film trades Richard. In fact, vfx used to be largely union in the practical days.

  4. Andreas jablonka says:

    I think your fight is tricky daniel because even though we try to help all artist worldwide the primary effort against subsidies would “hurt” a good 2/3 of the industry folks having jobs. They are afraid of losing them, are embarrassed to admit they have many of these jobs only due to subsidies.

    They care more about that than about fighting for a better job, better conditions. I’m sure London/Vancouver artist see more articles thrown against their region than for them. I can understand that.

    You are our dark knight and you cannot be hurt by it. “Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering”🙂

    Come over and well BBQ something and I’ll buy you some beers mate!

    • I don’t think the fight against subsidies battle would hurt a good 2/3 of them. The fact is subsidies are already hurting a lot of vfx pros, even if they don’t know it. And subsidies certainly isn’t helping long term careers or job prospects really. The subsidies have inflated the number of workers and companies beyond what it can support to the detriment of all. If the vfx workers want stability and sustainability then doing away with the subsidies is the necessary step to accomplish that. It won’t be easy to achieve and it won’t be the easy on anyone but it’s better to handle it now since the problem is simply growing daily.

      • Peter Greenaway says:

        Right Scott! They already are out, just a matter of time…

      • vfxmafia says:

        Scott,

        I couldn’t agree more. Im X-LA…..now moved to Vancouver. Im worried where i need to move to next. For a brief moment I am actually happy in Vancouver. Alot of the shops have work…and they are all located in a 10 block radius. It reminds me of Santa monica in its hey day…..

        But what happens next?

        Am I apart of the 2/3?…yes….Im worried 2 years from now…..

        The industry needs to stabilize……and adopt some mother fucking professionalism. We make alot of money for people (cough cough)……all we ask is steady and long term gigs…a stable and professional work enviornment (Instead of the wild wild west)……id like to have a sick day every now and then…and not be called in to work 7 days a week….and maybe see my kid and fuck my wife every now and then……

        Like it or not….VFX professionals need people like Scott Squires, Dave Rand, and Daniel Lay……someday i think all their work will make a difference….

  5. tk1099 says:

    I’d support any VFX artist in the world fighting for an 8 hour day.

    • Peter Greenaway says:

      I fought for it since day one, and all I got was criticism. If you try to lead a normal life is impossible. When at a company, people were put to work at night, and I refused, I was fired. Now the company no longer exists.
      In another company, because I did not wanted to work more than 8 hours the lead spread my shots all over the place and next day told me that my work was accomplished. He said “very nice job, matte” but in the back, he blacklisted me as much as he can.
      As soon as you refuse to work more than 8h/day, you don’t belong to this industry. You might see people working unpaid OT, and they will be happy to be payed, but to see artists working only 8h/day, I think I was the only one. They will tell you – you are not a dedicated artist, and you are not a hard working guy, and so on. Well I will gladly work as much as I can, doing MY painting, or MY music, not getting stuck in front of a shot, just because a supervisor is unable to communicate what he really wants.
      How do you think you can support me, my friend?

      • Andreas Jablonka says:

        Peter: it saddened me that this kind of frat house culture still exists. artist should chose how “hungry” they want to be. an 8 hour day is what they pay you. if they want to give an young artist a chance to prove himself and he signs up for 16 hour days, go for it, but pay him.

        this blacklisting has to stop. we all want a life outside work.

    • KennyG says:

      Well, since we don’t have globally effective trade groups or unions to help enforce this, sadly the ball falls in our court as artists. And to be blunt, myself and SO many others I know wish the “movement” as a whole wasn’t so focused on subsidies and cvd’s and was focused more on global efforts to improve the industry as a whole. And I know the refrain is that “we tried, we couldn’t reach a consensus and there was no movement.”. But what do you think is easier and more productive in the long run? CVD’s and suing/taxing the problem, or forming an industry trade group? Let’s see, the former has almost no chance of succeeding on a global level, and the latter is just very hard. I’ll go with the latter. But that’s me. Back to the issue at hand.

      For this specific issue, we have one choice and only one choice as “talent”. DO NOT work at places that don’t pay you OT. Period. End of story. If everyone did that then they would HAVE to pay OT. It’s a simple solution. Unfortunately people tend to be short-term thinkers and don’t care about long term consequences. So they’ll take the short-term gain of temporary employment in the UK and allow themselves to be exploited just to gain experience. I implore everyone, DONT do this.

      Just to name a few. These places ALL pay OT to production artists. Implore artists you know to apply at places like this and shun the shops that don’t pay OT. Does any vfx house in London pay OT?? If so, spread the word. Inform junior artists of the harm they do to themselves and the industry by working for free. They are giving away their future and yours by doing this.

      These places all pay OT and employ many thousands of artists. At a minimum, do yourself a favor and try to get in at one of these places instead of spending your precious waking hours being exploited.

      Dreamworks -Glendale
      PDI – Bay Area
      Disney Animation – Glendale
      R&H (Los Angeles/Vancouver)
      DD (Los Angeles/Vancouver)
      Sony (Los Angeles/Vancouver)
      ILM (Bay Area/Vancouver)
      Image Engine/MPC Vancouver (OT After 10 hours)
      Weta (New Zealand)

      • VFX Soldier says:

        Wait for our legal announcement coming: The oath to victory on the CVD case has become 100% clearer.

        But even without it, the CVD path is considerably easier than trying to form a global trade org or union.

        Consider what we need to do for the CVD case: if a panel of judges agree that the us domestic industry is being injured and we demonstrate we have support of at least 25% of the domestic support the duty producers would have to pay is mandatory. no Obama or congress approval needed.

        Now consider the global trade org: Scott Ross reached out to facilities and they said no. The UK facilities didn’t even respond. In fact thebuk facilities have a trade org: the UK screen association.

        Is the UK screen association negotiating with us studios for better equity for UK facilities and UK artists? Nope. In fact they slammed BECTU for their attempts to put limits on work hours.

        In New Zealand we could get across the board agreeing to unionize. Even then, the legal challenge would be insurmountable: Peter Jackson was able to get an anti union amendment passed that makes it illegal for weta artists to unionize. That was during the hobbit fiasco.

        So take a step back and look at the landscape. The costs to get a global agreement on just simple things is incredible. The CVD case, I can do it with support of a good chunk of artists and get results relatively quickly.

        Sent from my iPhone

        >

      • Peter Greenaway says:

        At the time I was there, PF Vancouver payed the OT. But I know MPC is paying a flat rate for 10h/day, so when you negotiate your contract prior to get on board, you should know that the amount specified in your contract, is for 10h/day.
        I just want to work 8hours/day. No over time at all. Is this possible? No crunch time, no panic on shot delivery.
        I still believe that with a proper management, and hiring enough people to handle the show, it is possible to work 8h/day.
        But when I realize that beside you the worker, the super and the rest of the gang gets OT = 1 1/2 or 2, then for me is very clear. The 8h/day is just not going to happen.

      • Look at the big picture says:

        @KennyG

        Here is the problem with subsidies that doesn’t get talked about enough. Nothing you mention, unionization, trade group, etc will happen as long as subsidies are driving the industry. Why?

        What localized subsidies have done is create huge demand for specialized labor in specific areas that don’t have the supply to meet that demand. Only so much of that labor can be imported so the remainder has to be created and that is just what schools in subsidized areas are doing. This is creating a glut of VFX artist talent globally who are all chasing far too little work. Under these conditions you cannot hope to have the leverage to create a union. There is far too much labor supply and for every person willing to say “no” there are several others willing and eager to say “yes”. With no leverage being exerted by the workers the VFX studios will never form a trade group. This has been demonstrated many time by many people over the years. The union must happen first somehow but this will never happen with so many artists and so many VFX studios all fighting one another for table scraps.

        This labor bubble is being generated by subsidies and it’s shifting all the power away from the worker and to the studios.

      • tk1099 says:

        An unsubsidized artist cannot even compete against his or herself without the backing of a subsidy.

        It is a perfect trap.

      • jonavark says:

        Just a couple of questions..

        It appears to me that obtaining a CVD will be extremely complex. Not nearly as simple as it may seem. Am I wrong to assume, from the info, that CVDs were meant for complete products that are created in the country of interest. If so, it seems that American companies could squirm out of them because of the complex nature of all of the elements that make up a feature film. A CVD has a life span of only 5 years?
        Is it true that since 1969 only 3 CVDs were successfully executed, for products that were manufactured entirely in the target countries?
        What is the plan to fight appeals from the studios?

      • Joe VFX says:

        jonavark: Have you read the full legal study? I’m guessing you haven’t. You should definitely read the whole thing.

  6. tk1099 says:

    On January 5, 1914, a century ago, the Ford Motor Company announced the eight-hour workday, for which employees would be paid $5.00 a day.

    “Never forget, people DIED for the eight hour workday.” – Rebecca Gordon

    –> We make fucking cartoons.

  7. tazzman says:

    In any line of work, having a work/life balance is critical. There’s a reason the U.S. has a big problem with shortage of sleep, stress, etc and it’s because people get on the work wheel and can’t get off.

    I’m not arguing for a shorter work week ala France, but we’ve gone far too far in the other direction.

    I’m a small-c capitalist and that means healthy workplace, compensated workers, yes a profit(so I can stay in business) and time off to enjoy the one thing that cannot be replaced: life itself.

    • vfxmafia says:

      It is a medical fact that….if you work longer than an 8 hour day…your chances of heart disease….stroke…and diabetes goes up by 50%…………wait till you hit 40….and working a 15 hour day means they could find you face down on the wacom in the morning working on a shot…..

      Penalty free OT just means they can work you harder to death….

      • geeobcr says:

        It’s interesting how such a big issue can be seen everywhere. When I was working in Cyprus, a handful of of post companies were fighting over a handful of ads, which was the only source of income.
        This led to the director/manager/vfx supervisor/ lead compositor (it was one person) to under bid on everything, claiming he was unable to survive financially if he didn’t accept… Which might be true…
        Of course this led to two artists working around the clock on 4 projects and feeling guilty they ever had an 8 hour day (usually 11) . Overtime was not existent.

        But if the handful of companies could arrange a minimum bid Or schedule, wouldn’t that help the industry?

        The point is if everyone is coming from a point of fear and scarcity, there’s no change coming, so the CVD sounds like a good start to level the playing field but then it’s up to everyone to feel proud and worthy as a group of what they can offer.

      • kyoseki says:

        I don’t know that we need a minimum bid requirement, we just need to move to a cost plus model where the bid is literally just an estimate and everyone actually gets paid for the hours they work.

        That way, the studios that constantly underbid everyone else will develop a reputation for wildly optimistic numbers and the problem will solve itself.

  8. ran says:

    LSP …brilliant post.

    I too worked on Gravity. One day the true story will be made public of what a wretched show it was to be working on.

    The handling of overtime was an utter disgrace and downright shameful. Particularly during the pre-vis and tech vis – stage.

    To top it off all, after the show was completed we were all handed our redundancies notices.

    No that’s respect for the artist….

    • oops says:

      Let me guess. They didn’t pay you up front for Saturdays and Sundays, but kindly kept track of all those days for you, so you could be paid at the end of the show in one nice lump sum. Unfortunately, when the time came to pay the database crashed and they had no way of knowing how much you were owed. A bloody shame.

      Hope you made copies of your timecard.

  9. Chris says:

    I read the posts on here quiet regularly, and one common thread is to be found, this is; you’re constant bickering with each other, maybe that comes from having no global manifesto that has artists benefits in mind.

    I’m sorry to say that things will continue on the same and get worse; until you all realize that NO MATTER WHAT COUNTRY YOU’RE IN, you’re all in this together.

    And that realization is well know to studios, who ship work from location to location, break unions and create deals that suit themselves (eg wb & new Zealand law changes).

    It should also be apparent, that if you keep on this way, not seriously looking at the industry as a whole and globally, that things will get worse, and management won’t care, they are in it for profit. They’ll take, as they are doing, the attitude that whoever gives the best subsidy, whoever takes the least wages, whoever complains the least, whoever sucks up any kind of working hours, is exactly where they’ll go.

    It should equally be apparent, the blacklisting will continue, until ALL vfx staff stand together, as seem themselves as a single global industry, no more the mentality i’m only singularly interested in US / UK / AU / NZ etc. and for the other locales I dont care, as i dont live there.

    Right now you’re not doing that, you’re all saying there are different solutions depending on YOUR location, and not thinking about this from other vfx workers perspectives and what benefits you all.

    That’s the common theme from all messages posted – disagreement, self-interest, and to a large degree, what really needs to change, to bring about better working terms and conditions is … You.

    It’s not going to be easy, until you can all think of yourselves as artists – irrespective what country you in, and you too – believe in and actively support artists in other countries, by having a global plan in place that benefits every artist – where ever they may be.

    Remember that globalization, and the studios use/abuse of it, is in this case not intended for your benefit. It never was.

    And only all of you speaking as one, can ever change that scenario.

  10. tk1099 says:

    This is a must watch for all VFX artists.

    DP Haskell Wexler, ASC’s documentary on long work hours and the industry. It does not have to be this way.

  11. Really? says:

    Sounds to me like someone to spanked by the front office.

  12. Elvis the King of Rock n Roll says:

    If a manager of a company claims their employment practices for said organisation is ‘younger and hungrier’, this would be contrary to current employment legislation and to europen competition law and human rights legislation.

    Additionally, companies claiming state assistances or grants will also certainly be bound by equal opportunities guidelines. Discriminating against individuals on the basis of age, sex, race or religion carries severe penalties in such circumstances for such companies.

    This is a serious issue on this basis and has not been adequately clarified or refuted on behalf of the individual, company or newspaper.

  13. david324 says:

    When I first started learning VFX, I came under the impression that it was an industry where artists helped and supported each other. What I see too often now is aggressive competition between companies and regions. The apparent mindset is that in order to succeed, you must tear down others and promote only those around you. I hope that there are still many more VFX pros that realize that none of us stands alone.

    To quote Ratatouille, “…a good artist can come from anywhere.”

  14. Rick Sander says:

    I know this is an older post. I have a small vfx shop in Culver City. We have a publicist. Two things I have learned. 1st. Every interview is done coming from the client, not from the journalist. You are putting something out there, not getting caught off guard. 2nd. You usually learn quickly not to say negative stuff. It makes you look like an $$hole. This guy was bragging and being very deliberate and even in his clarification, he can’t quite bring himself to take back the words he’s implying he wishes he could.

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