541+ Attend VFX March To End Subsidies

Video by John Wallace

Hollywood Reporter
The Wrap
Deadline: Coming soon.
The Guardian
The Wire
Animation Guild
FXGuide – Plenty of photos, video, and an interview with me.

Wow. Thank you to everyone who attended and those all over who supported us in our effort to apply duties to subsidized visual effects to level the playing field. We will be heard.

So what’s next? I’ll be attending the VFX Progress meeting on Wednesday to get feedback. I’ll probably mention the same thing I’ll mention here. The law firm will begin to initiate the Department of Commerce about our intention to file a case. They will also begin to draft bylaws for the ADAPT organization so we can make things official. I’ll update the ADAPT site when there are big things happening.

Two years ago I met with our law firm to see if they could draft a solution to our problem. Even though they came up with a great plan I ultimately needed to see that so-called apathetic VFX professionals would support this. Today was that day and you all came out in full support. Given the recent news, I think it’s fair to say the path to victory has never been clearer before.

We have to dedicate ourselves but if we have the willpower and stamina, I believe we control our own destiny here. Today I saw a lot of hope. Let’s end this with victory!

Soldier On.

161 Responses to 541+ Attend VFX March To End Subsidies

  1. supreet says:

    great going and all the best for your efforts. I hope all these efforts dont effect your personal life.. Soldier ON !!

  2. Peter Greenaway says:

    Gravity’s Oscars triumph is a tribute to the brilliance of British special effects wizards @Framestore and @Prime-Focus. – David Cameron

    • Peter Greenaway says:

      …and tribute to the taxpayers as well.

    • Dave Rand says:

      They are truly great and absolutely brilliant…and in no need of a handicap.

      Wikipedia: A handicap is a numerical measure of a golfer’s potential playing ability based on the tees played for a given course. It is used to calculate a net score from the number of strokes actually played during a competition, thus allowing players of different proficiency to play against each other on somewhat equal terms. The higher the handicap of a player, the poorer the player is relative to those with lower handicaps. “Official” handicaps are administered by golf clubs or national golf associations. Exact rules relating to handicaps can vary from country to country.

    • Nic D. says:

      Gravity looked amazing, Framestore and everybody involved deserved every bit of the recognition they got (and some more).
      Regardless of subsidies, the work is the work.

      • Peter Greenaway says:

        I looked over and over again on some space pictures. Hm, I cannot see the astronaut face at all in any of them. I think it was way cheaper to do that movie without any actor at all, and not paying Bullok 70 millions, and trying to complicate the life of so many people for nothing.
        Just have a look here:https://www.google.com/search?q=images+of+astronaut+in+space+images+of+astronaut+in+space+images+of+astronaut+in+space&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=vUUVU4KGOYil0QHgkYLIDA&ved=0CAkQ_AUoAQ#q=images+of+astronaut+in+space&tbm=isch

      • vfxmafia says:

        At Peter Greenaway..

        You would be correct about the visor….actually the gold visors have real gold in them…why?

        Because the atmosphere filters alot of the sun’s rays….also alot of radiation is flying around to…….if you didn’t have visor …raw sun would burn your eyes out…

        but Bullocks’s eyes are so pretty…:)

      • Long Time Post & VFX Producer says:

        Umm, Peter, that’s why it’s a movie and not a BBC documentary. And that’s also why you are a disgruntled blog site commenter and Alfsonso is a successful Director.

      • Peter Greenaway says:

        long time…

        This is why this was a movie I agree. But why that guy is a successful director, this is another story.
        …And I think we both are “a disgruntled blog site commenter”.

      • jonavark says:

        I watched it twice and all I can recall is Bullock getting out of that space suit the first time. Might watch it again.

      • LAskyline says:

        @Peter Greenaway: “I looked over and over again on some space pictures. Hm, I cannot see the astronaut face at all in any of them.”

        Ahem, released by NASA (the real one) today to celebrate Gravity’s win. I guess they thought it was OK:

      • Peter Greenaway says:

        well. i am pretty sure Mr. Webber did a lot of research prior to start the project.
        It might be the fact that when the sun is out, the helmet should have a protective screen so you don’t burn your face, which is obvious.
        Still lot of sunshine in the movie and no protection, looks strange, don’t you think?

      • vfxmafia says:

        to LAskyline….

        Actually you can only take the visor off for brief moments of time….how do i know this? beacause i lived and watched on TV….some of us have a great deal of respect for the space program…and is widely considered one of the greatest achievments of all time…..however you can orbit half way around the world and just jump on a space capsle like a surfboard…please “The Right Stuff”….or even fucking space cowboys……where the dude lifts his visor and the raw sun burns his eyes…..

        Gravity is stupid fucking movie …that has no plot only a giant action sequence…..and is completely unbelievable….even Alan Shepard came out and said its so stupidly impossible…..

        Hey the VFX was top shelf…..but the believability is for a fourth grader….but look it up if you don’t beleive me….. NASA uses real gold in the visors to deflect heat and radiation…..raw UV rays…astronauts if they left there visor open as long as Bullock’s…her eyes would be blinded….

        Smaug was robbed!!!!

      • minoton says:

        Technically, the Arken Stone belonged to the dwarves to begin with, so really they were just taking it back.

        (Sorry, couldn’t resist!) 🙂

      • vfxmafia says:

        @ minotan…

        Hey cheif……Smaug was a 3 year long creature pipeline….not some bullshit lidar of space capsul. Smaug is staple of CG acomplishment like Davey Jones….ET…Gollum…..or fucking yoda…

        if you love film…..WETA kicked fucking ass….and it is so ignored by the Academy….sham of an institution….

      • minoton says:

        @ vfxmafia,

        Hey sport, Smaug himself was an amazing achievement in creature animation. But he wasn’t the entire film. I think it’s safe to say all the nominated work was on par with each other, the best of the best. Unfortunately, only one can walk away with the statue. To say “Smaug” was robbed is to belittle the fantastic work in “Gravity”. The opening shot was pretty impressive, too.

      • vfxmafia says:

        and there is no comparison between Hobbit 2 and Gravity…or even iron man3……The Hobbit is 3 hours solid creature CG…..no comparison between hard surface and creature shows…..

        (animation is tougher, rigging is tougher, the paint jobs are tougher, the models for creatures has to be EXCEPTIONAL, the animation is more complex….its just plane tougher from a technical acheivement standpoint………

        From…digital orcs…..to giant dragons …to 5 different giant spiders….to giant bears…and countless digi doubles…..not mention the furnace scene…..

        your talking propietary muscle and animation systems,…..custom Renderman shaders…….etc….

        not hard to do a spacestation……in outta the box Vray…

      • minoton says:

        Well, I’ll leave it to you to step all over other peoples’ work in a public forum. With over 25 years doing effects, I’m happy with the film that won.

      • Andreas jablonka says:

        I give him
        That though he has a point. I liked gravity but hard surface in space is 1980 cg. It looked good and convincing. But it was nearly as hard or hobbit.
        I still feel pacific rim pushed the envelope more. It’s BEST Vfx oscar. Not most mediocre non screwed up oscar.

      • minoton says:

        Let’s not forget the 2D aspects. For all of the high frequency detailed modeling, rigging, character animation, muscle and zero gravity simulations . . . how consistent was the overall compositing. Compositing tools have been around a long time as well as hard surface space models. When looking at the work of the entire movie, titles to credits, was the quality of work consistently high, or did any sequences look like they got the short end of the schedule because other work swallowed more resources? There have been a number of Oscar wins in the past that had people scratching their heads saying “Really?”, but for me, this isn’t one of them.

        Of course, this has nothing to do with the protest march and fixing our broken industry . . . .

      • Andreas jablonka says:


        The consistency was good. I agree that I did not think about cg much. But then it’s easier to be consistent on low difficult shows. Anyway I’m not saying it’s undeserved but I felt pacific rim was both harder and as consistent.
        Let’s get back to our industry turmoil b

  3. jim tucker says:

    Where and time for VFX Progress group meeting Wed?

    • Misha says:

      One can register at the link in the above article to get on the mailing list for notifications from the group…

  4. Jerome says:

    I think the conditions of all the CG artists around the world should be upgraded and I sympathize with all those who lost their job because of bad accounting practice such as not charging for huge change in the middle of a project. A ridiculous and regrettable practice that should be ban and that caused Rythm and Hues to go bankrupt.


    Subsidies, subsidies… Can we say that all of your american billionaires investment in the movie industry are subsidies?

    What’s the difference between some american billionaires investing in the movie industry and some canadian citizens gathering money all together and deciding to invest in an industry?

    Subisides are one of the many factors which, since around 20 years , have created an entire industry in Canada revolving around CG artistry.

    Some other very important factors:

    3ds Max, Maya, softimage and Houdini are all developped in Canada. Nuke is developped in the UK BTW!

    I’m from Montreal where we have around 100 game companies very well established here since many years. Like Ubisoft one of the biggest studio in The world since 1997!

    We have all the biggest UK VFX companies in Montreal (Framestore, Cinesite, MPC). But why is that since in the UK they have subsidies too??? Oups!

    Doing business in Canada is easier for american than doing it in China or other non english speaking countries in a different time zone.

    In Montreal we speak french and english and many people speak 3 languages and we are attracting French and English companies.

    Canada is the country with the most CG artists per capita in the world. So if the companies follow the talent, they will come here.

    James Cameron is Canadian BTW…

    • Nic D. says:

      Investors usually get money back. The taxpayers do not.

      • Jerome says:

        We do since we created an industry that is contributing to make the GDP growing. Ubisoft got subsidies since 1997. today it’s one of the biggest game studio in the world and it is attracting a lot of talented people who in turn attract other companies.

        In 2013, Electronic Arts, Ubisoft, Eidos, Warner Bros. and a variety of other companies have accounted for $2.3 billion of Canada’s gross domestic product in 2012.

        All these people living in Montreal are spending a lot of this money in Montreal and the money goes back to the tax payers.

      • LAskyline says:

        @Nic D: “Investors usually get money back.” The people who poured millions into DD over the decades would disagree with you

    • minoton says:

      James Cameron left Canada (as did many of Canada’s talent). Why? Lack of an indigenous film industry to support his visions.
      Why does it matter where software is developed? It’s sold as a product. How would you feel if America decided to subsidize the Canadian software developers to lure them to America?

    • kyoseki says:

      “We have all the biggest UK VFX companies in Montreal (Framestore, Cinesite, MPC). But why is that since in the UK they have subsidies too??? Oups!”

      The answer to this one is easy, your subsidies are a lot higher than the UK subsidies, 44% versus 25%, that’s why the UK companies are asking their artists to move to Montreal.

      James Cameron might very well be Canadian, but he lives in New Zealand who bent over backwards to up their subsidies again from 15 to 25% in order to secure work on the Avatar sequels.

    • kyoseki says:

      … and you do know that Nuke was originally written at Digital Domain, right?

    • Annoyed says:

      “What’s the difference between some american billionaires investing in the movie industry and some canadian citizens gathering money all together and deciding to invest in an industry?”

      Show me the billionaire who invested in a movie then demanded that a specific section of the labor on that movie relocate to a very specific medium sized city in another country permanently or lose their job.

      • Long Time Post & VFX Producer says:

        Lucas did just that, only it was to Marin County in the 80’s.

      • Annoyed says:

        There’s a difference between one billionaire investing in a movie for profit and deciding to make it in a particular place, vs a state govt subsidising an entire industry, at a loss, indefinitely.

      • polyphemus says:

        Besides Lucas was based in SF since the 60’s, Lucasfilm was always based there, and so was American Zootrope. It made sense for him to bring ILM out of Van Nuys closer to his home.

        Which, as already mentioned he did with his own money and profit.

    • Peter Greenaway says:

      Montreal is the land of cheap work.
      You might make some money , if you are french form quebec, otherwise…forget about this.

      As long as actual government pays UK companies using taxpayers money, will be fine.
      But the amount is huge, and sooner or late all will fade.

      And since you are from Montreal, you know about the fact that Quebec is among the poorest places in North America.

      • Peter Greenaway says:

        last one: MODUS FX is closed. After Newbreed, now Modus.
        This is Montreal.

  5. Jerome says:

    Amazing how there was an article for every 50 persons who attended the march.

    • VFX Soldier says:

      so I know the opposition is getting the knives out but some advice: Get a knife that will draw some blood and get at me.

      This is silly. People attacking reporters on twitter and attacking the children of demonstrators. Were playing chess and the opposition is playing tic-tac-toe

      • Jerome says:

        I am not the opposition like you say. It’s good to stand up but I don’t agree with the idea of fighting the subsidies and saying the talent is only in the US. What do you think we in Canada and the UK will like to see those placards saying “Chase the talent not the subsidies”. That means you think talent is in the us and all there is in the UK and Canada are subsidies. It is not true.

        You name yourself Soldier and you are talking about knife. But there is no war. Peace man!

        I don’t know what you are talking about. Were children really attacked? If that’s true it is disgusting.

      • Long Time Post & VFX Producer says:

        Children had no business being used as pawns in your protest. Everyone knows people have kids. They should have been home. Cut to your protest 5 years from now: “Mommy, I wish we lived in Vancouver, because of CVD’s we now have to live in Baton Rouge”. Yuck.”

      • Dan says:

        Jerome, “Chase Talent Not Subsidies” truly doesn’t mean that we think talent is only in the US. It means that we want the location of work to be decided on merit without the distorting hand of governments making a talented person cost less if he or she works in location X instead of location Y. Same person, same level of talent, two magically different price tags because of politicians.

        That explanation unfortunately doesn’t fit legibly on a poster.

        When work chases subsidies, it truly is a perpetual chase. Subsidy rates are constantly changing. Countries are constantly one-upping each other. As a result, workers have to chase too. Living in once country for a project, then moving around the world, then moving again. Aside from the awful emotional and financial toll this takes on the life of a human being who might want a family and children and a home someday, there’s an additional and more business-oriented concern — a nomadic workforce is obscenely difficult to organize. And without organization, none of the other issues the industry struggles with can be tackled. You can’t fight for overtime pay in the UK if you have to pack your bags and leave for Ontario after the show you’re on is done. You can’t fight against improper classification of employees in Ontario if you have to move to New Zealand soon. You can’t fight for anything anywhere if you’re never anywhere for very long.

        Talent is everywhere. Thoroughly and completely global. We know this, we truly do. And we believe that businesses should compete on that talent without the destabilizing force of a politician’s fingers tipping the scales. In the long-term, this will hopefully lead to a more stable industry that is more equipped to tackle the myriad issues we all face.

      • Nic D. says:

        To LongTime:

        I brought my kid to the protest both times because I get to see him so rarely due to my usually insane schedule. The older kids who were present were doing so to help their parents. They’re not pawns, they’re direct victims and they have the right to a voice.
        If it makes you uneasy to see the effect a distorted market has on a workforce, then look away.

      • Andreas jablonka says:

        Well put Nic!

      • Look at the big picture says:


        Exactly right. Your last point is repeated often enough on this blog but unfortunately gets forgotten in the tendency to revert the argument to one of nationalism.

        Some people can’t understand why subsidies are the #1 issue this industry faces right now. It’s not so much that they are the most damaging but that they heavily contribute to instability and most importantly are the most actionable. None of the other issues that people talk about in this blog and elsewhere will likely be addressed until our industry achieves some semblance of stability. Unions, trade associations, paid OT, reasonable working hours and conditions, non-nomadic work, etc are all contingent upon achieving industry stability first. So how are subsidies to blame for creating instability?

        1. Market distortions – These distortions are widespread. Not only is the price of VFX work artificially cheapened but so is entire vfx labor pool. The entirety of LA feature VFX work has picked up and moved to BC. That is a massive amount of work and in order to take full advantage of the subsidies it requires a massive amount of BC residents. Since they cannot all be imported they must be created and that is what BC schools have been doing. This has the effect of creating 2x the amount of labor as would ordinarily be necessary. You have the original LA work force and now a duplicate BC workforce of similar size. This has created a labor bubble that has been pulling wages down and is only going to get worse. We have too many VFX companies and too many workers. This is a market distortion created solely by subsidies. Obviously this is not an environment conducive to organizing.

        2. Non-permanence of jobs – Dan stated this as well as it can be. A migrant workforce moving from state to state and country to country cannot hope to achieve the levels of organization necessary to make the needed changes. Especially in an era of union decline and economic desperation.

        3. Weakened industry – The VFX industry has always been unstable and weak but nothing like it is today. That the city of LA is a ghost town in feature VFX is an incredible development. It doesn’t seem possible yet it is, and if it can happen here it can happen anywhere in the world and to much more devastating effect. And while VFX studios have always been just barely staying solvent they are now formally collapsing. There are obviously many reasons why this is happening and subsidies are not the only reason but they are a reason. VFX companies are required to expand to new areas that they ordinarily would not need to and pay the expenses of the move simply to maintain the levels of work that barely kept their heads above water in the past. Companies in this weakened condition engaged in hyper-intensified and subsidy fueled competition are in no position to create a Trade Association that is so badly needed.

        Subsidies are not the biggest problem facing the VFX industry but they ARE the biggest obstacle to solving them. This is not a nationalistic observation, it’s economic one.

      • polyphemus says:


        Fucking nailed it.

      • Ross says:

        @Nic D. The best thing you can do for your children is to tell them to get into something else that is NOT VFX! Too many people got a victim mentality. It’s easy to be a victim! Sooooo easy, and for you to make a life choice and then say “My kids are victims.” Sorry, that doesn’t fly! YOU made a choice to work in VFX, they didn’t! >:I If VFX doesn’t pay enough and the work is unstable, time to do something else! Your responsibility is to those children you brought into this world who didn’t ask you to not wear a condom! >:I

      • Mark Kochinski says:

        Ross, I find your comment insensitive and misguided. VFX is not a poor career choice. It was and is a huge and growing necessity in the entertainment industry. It produces work of value. It generates money for thousands of people. It takes skill and years to master.

        It is being ruined by greed and short-sightedness. People are being taken advantage of, and people are suffering – and a lot of those people are the families of VFX artists. They are a part of the equation, and people should know this.

        And I can think of no better way to educate your child about society, democracy and political activism than bringing them to such a protest.

      • Nic D. says:

        @Nic D. The best thing you can do for your children is to tell them to get into something else that is NOT VFX! Too many people got a victim mentality. It’s easy to be a victim! Sooooo easy, and for you to make a life choice and then say “My kids are victims.” Sorry, that doesn’t fly! YOU made a choice to work in VFX, they didn’t! >:I If VFX doesn’t pay enough and the work is unstable, time to do something else! Your responsibility is to those children you brought into this world who didn’t ask you to not wear a condom! >:I


        I’ll try to keep it civil because I feel there’s too many people trying to derail this conversation.

        I didn’t show up to the march with my kid so I could ask the government for a handout/bailout or trying to defer responsibility.
        I’ve taken good care of my family through all this and I have fallen back on my other skills to do so, thankfully I didn’t wait for your advice to do so.

        The reason I want to fight this fight is because I still believe in this industry and no other reason.

        This distortion of the market was created by politicians and lobbyists, it is not a natural progression of an industry. THIS is the reason people in Los Angeles are upset and why they are asking for a level playing field.
        So yes, in a way, we ARE victims and you may just become one soon too if you’re in a subsidized location.

        But we are not passive victims, understand that. We are changing things which is more than can be said of you.

        Eventually I’ll be proud to tell my kid what happened and where I stood, will you?

      • Mark Kochinski says:

        Well said.

  6. JonMeier says:

    I’m curious who the “Opposition” is. Whoever you are, I think you are likely talented, bright, and I don’t want to see you stop working. But I do have a question. What would you suggest L.A. based artists do? The quality of life for them has gone down to the point where most people I know in L.A. cannot secure constant work, if they can even get it in VFX.

    Outside of calling for CVD’s….What do you suggest the L.A. artists do? Please reply. Anonymously or not.

    • Nic D. says:

      Exactly! In the end we all want the same things. A stable, international industry with enough quality work to go around that will allow us to thrive and live normal lives.
      That includes constant work, normal work hours, adequate pay and recognition. Nobody in L.A. is asking for the death of Canadian/UK/NZ/AUS VFX. Hell most of us have friends in these locations. All we’re asking is for the musical chair game to stop.

      Have you guys noticed how we’re NOT asking for extra subsidies from the state of California? One might argue this is shooting ourselves in the foot, since we’d directly benefit from them. But we’re trying to avoid being hypocrites by keeping a consistent message and looking at the problem in the long term. I think it’s a pretty big thing that should be acknowledged.

      Finally, people have to understand that it’s not just the VFX industry that’s crumbling here. Because L.A. has such deep roots in Cinema, it’s the entire TOWN (and state) that’s feeling the effect of this exodus. From contractors to vendors, caterers, set decorators, security guards, set medics etc… They should listen to the testimonials from people in the industry that were presented at last week’s council meeting. It’s heart-wrenching.
      People cannot possibly expect us to not do nothing.

      • Long Time Post & VFX Producer says:

        The development of digital visual effects has also directly caused the exodus and elimination of many production jobs that are gone forever. Digital Stunts, Digital Extras, Digital Crowds, Digital Vehicles, Digital Animals, Digital Production Design, Digital Labs (thousands of film related jobs lost including lab workers, optical effects companies, negative cutters) have all caused the transference and loss of jobs. Many of you don’t even realize the jobs you do have caused many sectors of our industry to crumble.

        Technology is disruptive, so don’t get too comfy cause right now there’s some smart kid writing a program that will take away your job soon too.

      • Annoyed says:

        “Many of you don’t even realize the jobs you do have caused many sectors of our industry to crumble.”

        Once again – long time has nailed it, and it’s hard to think of a way respond because the logic is so sound.

        Advances in technology that consumers, the market and the industry in general demand are *exactly* the same as a particular state govt artificially distorting a market, literally for the sole purpose of moving jobs to a new location.

        If there is one thing audiences have demanded in recent years, it is for visual effects in movies to have been created in a very specific, medium sized seaport city in British Columbia. It doesn’t matter what the technology is. If anything people preferred the way movies looked before the technology evolved. That’s why of the 50 highest grossing movies of all time, pretty much none of them rely on digital effects technology. Nobody cares! What really matters is that the work was done in a very specific place. It doesn’t matter if it was Americans or other nationalities doing the work, so long as those people moved their families to Vancouver, or New Zealand. This is what the audience wants, it is what society wants, and it is what is good for the industry.

        This is why changes in the way people work and are employed as a result of technological advances are directly analagous to people being put out of work by artificial market distortion due to deals struck between corporations and local politicians, specifically for the purpose of increasing employment in a particular regional juisdiction and decreasing employment in another. It is a wonderful analogy that works perfectly.

      • Look at the big picture says:


        I was going to respond to Long Time with a little economics education on the differences between creative destruction brought about by new innovations and market distortions brought about by political subsidies but you beat me to it and in such an entertaining way too. Bravo. +1

      • VFX Soldier says:

        Just wanted to say kudos commenters like “Annoyed” and “Look at the big picture”. Great points being made by those two, especially pointing out the absurd argument that government subsidies cause the same disruption as creative destruction.

    • polyphemus says:

      Speaking as a Canadian who immigrated to the US 10+ years ago… there wasn’t much work to be had up north. Software development and games yes, but for vfx/animation all you had was kids shows and tv series work. BC’s subsidies shafted Toronto studios on work time and time again in the early 2000’s.. I left and went south.

      So of you go to LA, work on a few big shows, get settled after a few years and then the industry implodes with 2000+ thrown out of work with most of the job options being in… Vancouver.

      Great.. so for those who don’t understand the American perspective I’ll paint it.

      An American can’t do anything about BC politics. They can’t vote, they have no voice or representation. It seems the average BC citizen is fine paying taxpayer money to US studios to buy temporary work.

      So what’s a US based VFX artists supposed to do? Give up?
      They start screaming at their representatives in the US to do something about it, from the local to the federal level.

      The result? Who knows at this point. Maybe a CVD to bring work back, or extended unemployment benefits…

      This system works for other industries and I’ve seen Canadians do the same when it comes to other industries.

      Canada has always had talent, but never the means to exercise it. No one would be complaining if CORUS and Alliance Atlantis was funding big VFX blockbusters fueling the workers. But instead you got BC/Quebec giving handouts to the big 6 LA studios.

      So don’t act all surprised there’s a bit of a national division here.

    • Jerome says:

      About myself I am in the same boat as you. I am self employed so I am not eligible to the subsidies and I have to compete with studios who have subsidies in the same city. So what I do and what I suggest L.A. based artist to do is to try to find a way to be unique. I mean if you do a job that many other people around the world can do, you need to learn how to share your job with them. But if you can do something nobody can do, then you have more job. I know it’s really not easy but I try to do it instead of trying to prevent someone equal to me to get my job by some legal trick (like you want to do here) or intimidation (like we see in the construction industry in quebec right now).

      • Annoyed says:

        ” I know it’s really not easy but I try to do it instead of trying to prevent someone equal to me to get my job by some legal trick (like you want to do here) or intimidation”

        Jerome is right. Soldier – what you are trying to do is deeply unfair and unequal. You are trying to create a profoundly lop sided situation whereby LA artists don’t have to be twice as good, or twice as fast, or three times as cheap, as an artist that is “equal” to them. Instead you want to make them compete on the same terms as those in subsidised regions. Having the same rules for both sides is, in my opinion (and I’m with Jerome here) deeply, deeply unethical.

        Yes, you say it would make it a level playing field. But I agree with Jerome. You’re just using a cowardly “legal trick” to prevent someone who is equally valuable to their employer in every respect (other than the employer requiring 60% of their salary to be provided by the state) from taking your job away from you.

        Why don’t you try being more unique? It’s ludicrous that you only have to be 166% as good as someone working in BC and yet still you complain.

        Come on. the situation right now is extremely fair. Do you want to make it like the Superbowl where both teams start on zero points? What the fuck is fair about that? Everybody knows, the only fair version of the superbowl would be where one team starts 23-0 in the lead. Do you see NFL teams lobbying using unfair and unethical “legal tricks” to have the games start with teh scores at zero-zero? No you do not. Trying to prevent another team that is equal to you from having a 23 point head start is frankly nothing more than intimidation.

      • chrisherself says:


        Is it possible to subscribe to your replies? Oh man you are making my day! Please continue this approach, it’s highly entertaining and educational.

      • Nic D. says:


        Awesome! You should have a blog on your own and call yourself Production Soldier! 🙂

      • VFX Soldier says:

        I think I need to hand this blog over to Annoyed. You got dis!

    • Ross says:

      @JonMeier: L.A. Artists are in a State that has more people than all of CANADA! If an L.A. artist can’t come up with an idea to make them money, they need to do something else with their skills! KickStarter is only availbale in the USA! No other country has KickStarter! For the longest time! Canada is just starting Kickstarter and it most likely will be shut down, ’cause Canada is content with not encouraging people to be rich! 😛

      • @Ross –

        It’s pretty evident you’re a troll here. You’re someone benefiting from the subsidies – whether your a VFX worker or a studio hack.

        I’ve made my position clear – this is a huge, beneficial industry that makes money. There’s no reason that to “adapt” or learn a new profession. This profession is thriving and vital – it’s just being destroyed by governments cheating and studios being short sighted and greedy.

        You’ve made your position clear – there’s no need to repeat it on every thread.

        But I’d be curious to know who you really are and what you do for a living. I bet that would reveal a lot.

      • Ross says:

        @Mark Kochinski: Rupert Murdoch is not a VFX artist…yet he pays people to make BUSINESS decisions to stay profitable. Those decisions effect YOUR ability to earn an income in a specific industry, Film. Go up to Rupert Murdoch and tell him “You’re not a VFX artist, so shut up.” Would that make any sense? What I do is irrelevant, doesn’t change what I’ve pointed out. If the nature of the work you do has changed, and you longer can sustain your lifestyle, do something else! This is the way the rest of the world lives and works. None of you are special snowflakes that are immune to the simple fact “Adapt or die.”

  7. tough says:

    I think the main reason people have angst with this site is its continual belief it is trying to make things better for the worldwide community. All you need to do is admit all your current plans hope to achieve is to bring as much work back to LA as possible. CVD’s and ADAPT have nothing to do with helping the global community of VFX artists.

    • minoton says:

      What part of level playing field don’t you understand?

    • JonMeier says:

      True that CDV’s don’t help the International community initially. It does allow VFX to exist in the Los Angeles under a free market. The incentives are just 1 part of the problem. From the non-US perspective. Do you feel like your FX companies are manipulated into contracts that end up losing money (Fixed bids, for instance)?
      As an international community, we can choose to under bid each other, or evaluate a true representation of our value in audience draw. We can only charge that actual value if we are not operating below cost. I believe we need an international trade organization to form agreements of what we will and won’t do to each other. These rules can empower us a level of trust to be able to compete with each other, without screwing each other over.
      What do you think of this? But in addition, what would you suggest L.A. Artists do? What should they support?

    • Disgruntled says:

      Do you honestly believe subsidies are in the long term interest of the industry?

      • Long Time Post & VFX Producer says:

        Hell yes, as a Producer they are a godsend.

      • Disgruntled says:

        Well screw you then your short sighted number cruncher.
        They’re a godsend for you maybe. But not for the vast majority of artists and overall health of the industry.

        You’ll shuffle around any and all logic to try and convince yourself and others that subsidies aren’t a waste of taxpayer money and good for the industry. How about you stop trolling this site and go back to screwing the artists at your studio.

    • Nic D. says:

      If you want to be mayor, you start by helping your neighbor.
      We’re starting in L.A. because it’s where the movement started. It’s where people like Daniel, Dave and the Scotts are.

      I don’t see anyone of that caliber speaking up in other locations, do you?

      Most importantly L.A. is were most of the top decision-makers at the studio level are. The people who have so much power over our lives right now. The ones who bully governments and can make thousands relocate in a whim.

      Like Jon said, all of this may not benefit everybody right now but it will in the long run when things are stable and level. We’ll then be able to tackle the issues we’ve all experienced. We have to start somewhere, stop the bleeding and then focus on the illness.
      Sorry if you’re on the illness side of things.

    • VFX Soldier says:

      If I were for bringing back work to LA why am I standing up and fighting with people at City Hall and the Milken Institute panel who want to increase subsidies here? Check the video and the recordings of interviews with me. I’ve been public in where I stand.

      My main reason I have angst with you and others is your continual attempts to create a straw man.

      • dave says:

        You know damn well that the CVD will by default return the work to LA.

      • Long Time Post & VFX Producer says:

        No way Dave. The studios will either go to other states with Subsidies, or chase lower wage countries and favorable currency exchanges. And locales like Canada will also find other ways to compete that won’t violate CVD’s.

    • Ross says:

      @Tough: “CVD’s and ADAPT have nothing to do with helping the global community of VFX artists.” 100 percent agree! Thank you! These folks blame subsidies, yet they live in a country that bombs the hell out countries filled with people who don’t want to do business with them on their terms. Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan. Bombed, and robbed. Now that other countries have found a way to legally get business, they complain. There’s a reason why America taxes it’s citizens based on CITIZENSHIP rather than residence. ‘Cause no matter where you go for work, they get their piece of flesh. You American and you go to work in London, Canada, Australia..USA still gets a cut of your paycheck. That’s why they don’t care which country offers a subsidy. They win either way.

      • Mark Kochinski says:

        Well, you clearly don’t understand the topic. What we’re establishing is that the practice is illegal, and it’s already a trade war. We’re just fighting back, now.

        We welcome competition, we welcome our brothers across the globe, and hope they eventually realize that subsidies undervalue our work, create an unstable market, and are unsustainable.

  8. Peter Greenaway says:

    I might get old, but yesterday Oscar looked extremely cheap to me.

  9. Paul says:

    “Most importantly L.A. is were most of the top decision-makers at the studio level are.”

    I think “Hollywood” is a New-York based entity, no really.

    Anyways I’m feeling a bit wary of Mr. Lay who wants to help while having recently bailed from the vfx industry (if I understood correctly), a bit like a boat captain who just landed on dry land and tells the passengers of his sinking ship off the coast that he’s there to help.

    And again, the life you have now in general and with all its gadgetry has only been made possible thanks to a seriously unlevel playing field. Please tonight shed a tear for all the slaves who built the phones your life is so dependent upon. And Include the Mr.Coffee, the toaster, the flat screen, the desk, the chairs, the sofa, the light bulbs, the dishwasher, the dryer, the matress, your clothes, your shoes, the microwave, the car (unless its Italian they’re really well paid), the food you eat, etc etc…ah and of course the iPad MBP iMac and all products that come from highly engineered tax scheme Braeburn.

    If the decision makers (the dudes that step on your face on a regular basis) can’t find cheaper “horizontally” they will find cheaper “vertically”, regardless of countries, politics, subsidies and so on.
    That race to the bottom happens no matter what.

    Ah and the pioneers of outsourcing vfx crying and looking for redemption…a fine delicacy really.

    • JonMeier says:

      Paul. What should L.A. Artists do? Please be part of the discussion. I don’t believe you are trying to be noise.

      Also, Paul. Does it appear to you that L.A. artists have a fair chance at the industry in its current form?

      • JonMeier says:

        I for one am also quite content with Mr. Lay not being employed by a VFX house. It makes me comfortable that there is representation that is free to fight for our needs without fear. Besides, We need more people who can post their full name. This way we know they are really vfx pros instead of other people masquerading as Pros.

        I don’t fault those incognito, but I do expect thoughtfulness, and respect from those who need it.

      • Paul says:

        I’m not trying to be just noise but I’ve always believed that one has to adapt and that a “horizontal” way of fighting for ones job is not efficient. I don’t believe for a second that if there were no subsidies you would have a surge of jobs openings in LA.
        And by the way why Los Angeles, because vfx was “born” there?! Such an exotic view of things, vfx is way past teenage years.

        If vfx means travelling then so be it, you can’t force people to say no, as a matter of facts the numbers of people I’ve seen at PF so happy to go to India damn…so be fucking it. Gold rush? move up! No more gold move back!

        Would you spend if not waste hours convincing [forcing?] artists that no they shouldn’t go to New Zealand? That no they shouldn’t relocate to London? Why would they listen to you? On what basis? Because if they sign a card they will have job security between Marina Del Rey and Santa-Monica? Wishful thinking…

        Vfx doesn’t have Los Angeles embedded in its DNA. If it had California sun probably destroyed it anyway < joke.

        There are probably millions of people moving around the globe every day just to adapt in any given trade.Everyone travels my gosh! Sometimes I think what Mr Lay is doing is so conservative and out of place in this day and age, this is it people, stop looking at the past. I respect his tenacity and drive but man really? And you people ever wonder why he's not in vfx anymore? Does not compute?!

        So to answer your initial question yes you either adapt to what the vfx industry is at this point in time or you leave. It will never be as it was even 5 years ago. And nothing is etched in stone, "Hollywood" doesn't even have to be in Hollywood you know.

        I left but more for personal reason [no I don't mind travelling]. Did you enter this field thinking it was gonna last 40 years? I didn't…way too many things to do outside of a dark room.

      • minoton says:

        Paul, it’s one thing to travel because you want to. It’s quite another thing to be told “You will travel or you will lose your job.” Nobody likes somebody more powerful than themselves to make their life decisions for them. And that is exactly what subsidies do. They give the studios the power to shift work locations and telling workers “go here until someone comes up with a better subsidy, then we’ll tell you to go there.”
        Yes, this IS the way the industry is now, but that doesn’t mean this is how it has to stay. It didn’t used to be like this, but things changed. And they will change again, like it or not. A CVD is just the counter to a subsidy. If one is a legal trick, then so is the other.
        I find this attitude odd that people feel they have the right to subsidize work away from L.A. (because that is obviously where it is coming from) and that the people who used to have those jobs and do that work have no right to fight for them and get them back. If somebody can take them, then hell yeah we can take them back.

      • Ross says:

        @Paul! Thank you! 😀 ADAPT! I say this all the time. I’ve had people block and unfriend me on Facebook for saying a simple thing. Don’t like the conditions of the job, get another one! Even if the next one is NOT VFX! VFX is a JOB. Just like any other, approach it that way and life will be sooo much easier. It pays the bills, when it stops paying the bills move onto something else. At Siggraph one executive told a CalArts student the same thing. The Student was talking about 40 hour work weeks and overtime pay, and the exec cut her off and said “If that’s what you’re looking for, maybe this isn’t the business for you. It’s definitely NOT a 40 hour work week.”

        “So to answer your initial question yes you either adapt to what the vfx industry is at this point in time or you leave. It will never be as it was even 5 years ago. And nothing is etched in stone, “Hollywood” doesn’t even have to be in Hollywood you know.”

      • Andreas jablonka says:

        I’d unfriendly it too. Your passionless prick. For list if us it’s a passion not just a paycheque.

      • Ross says:

        In that case, you won’t mind working for FREE, then! >:I ‘Cause it’s a PASSION and NOT a paycheck you do it for! So line up, knock on doors and say, “I don’t want any money, just the opportunity to sit in front of a computer all day and most of the night for FREE while you make millions off my efforts, ’cause it’s a PASSION I have!” Did that sum it up correctly oh one so filled with PASSION they overlook monetary compensation!

      • Andreas Jablonka says:

        *facepalm* this is why people like you dont understand artist. sure we might go the extra mile for something cool. but smart artist enver work for free. im a supervisor and have not done more than 5-10 hours of extra time in my entire careed. communicate to your producer what you need, how long and why and most often it gets approved.

        subsidies already feel like free work. no overtime in london IS free work. dont mistake passion for stupidity. but its more than switching from flipping burgers to flipping tofu at the next chain.

      • Ross says:

        @Andreas Jablonka: By your definition “artists” are retards. “people like you don’t understand artists.” Dafuq! Do you eat, sleep and sh*t? Then I understand you just fine. No different than any one else on this planet. Focus is SURVIVAL. SURVIVAL means, if something doesn’t assist your survival DO SOMETHING ELSE! >:I VFX industry changed, change with it, or do something else. If it no longer suits your lifestyle DO SOMETHING ELSE! Pretty simple!

      • VFX Soldier says:

        Hey Ross,

        Your insults seem to a sad attempt to draw attention to yourself. In fact it’s working so well that you were dumb enough to use your youtube account to comment on a youtube interview I did.

        His name is Ross Tandem and from what I see, you never even worked in VFX. Do me favor, stop telling people who have ACTUALLY WORKED IN VFX to leave when you can’t even make it in the industry okay? Thank you.

      • Ross says:

        @VFX Soldier: By your logic. One cannot talk about the dangers of drowning, unless they’ve drowned! Wow! I don’t need to be drunk to make a commentary and caution that driving while drunk is not a good idea! And I don’t need to be a VFX artist to see a sh*tty deal! And being a VFX artist who focuses on ONE industry to earn a living is a sh*tty deal! Unless, you hold the purse strings! Now, by your logic, unless you’re a politician, you can’t talk about subsidies! You can’t do anything about them ’cause you have no experience as a politician or a BUSINESS OWNER! That’s your logic! Dang, no wonder you guys are royally f*cked! Especially with thinking like that! >:I

        P.S. I could’ve made my user name Captain Kirk, or Bubbles, I just chose “Ross Tandem! Think about it! 😉

        Subsidies will NOT end. Studios will chase the best welfare check they can get to offset their costs. People do the same thing! Chase the best deal. 40 percent of people on government assistance live in ONE State. CALIFORNIA! The corporations are a reflection of the people!

      • Andreas jablonka says:

        What are you doing here? You don’t offer solutions. And you don’t profit from whatever we do. Don’t you have a life you can go back too? Your points are irrelevant to our discussion.

      • JonMeier says:

        @ross: Thank you for you input. It’s been noted here.

        1) Subsidies are good even if they disable another region beyond a reasonable balance (that’s their problem).

        2) To those people trying to develop new technologies to compete. That kind of adapting isn’t enough. Do it in another industry without strong subsidy competition. It’ll be better there.

        Your point is clear, and I appreciate your input.

        I think I speak for a vast majority of L.A. Artists. That’s not what we want. Some of us will be forced to do that. But it’s just not what we want.

        I’m pretty sure you understand that, but I just wanted to be respectfully clear. it’s more fun that way.

      • Ross says:

        In addition, I don’t need to be a soldier in the military to spot a bad deal when I see it! Enough people share their experience, and show you the dangers, the wise person learns from the mistakes of others and does something else. If you’re married to your job…well, divorce is messy if you insist on trying to hold onto something that clearly has determined how much you mean to them. Walk away, do something else, live a better life. That’s my advice, from day one, to my last day.

      • Mark Kochinski says:

        Ross seems to believe we should all abandon the skill set it took us years to learn and master, and simply let the people using illegal tactics take our jobs away while the studios reap all the rewards of a vital and growing industry.

        I have a counter suggestion: We end or counter the illegal subsidies, stand up for the exceptional product we produce and demand to be treated decently by the studios, and that they pay for the value that they’re getting.

      • JonMeier says:


        For anyone suggesting to go to another field. You are being noise, and are on the wrong blog. This is a group of people who are capable, valuable, and love the profession. They are dedicated enough to it to put time into fixing it. All you suggest is giving up. That is a pointless proposition.

        Say you leave and kiss this industry goodby. What do you leave for? A job in another industry. What if someone distorted the free market of that industry. Leave that too?
        Maybe if there is a bully at your kids school. Move them to another school?

        As for VFX 5 years ago…..that’s not what we are talking about. We’re talking about VFX 5 years from now.

        Daniel posed the right question about the VFX Artist. Are we worth FIGHTING for?

      • Ross says:

        @Mark Kochinski “Ross seems to believe we should all abandon the skill set it took us years to learn and master,” <—If you can't make it pay, you gotta move on, that's called LIFE and ADAPTATION! If someone likes flipping burgers and it doesn't pay enough for them to get a car, wouldn't it make sense to seek other employment so they CAN afford a car! To limit yourself to being able to do one thing, man, that's not life, that's ignorance.

        Future belongs to those willing and able to learn new skills to suit their environment, right now, unless you're willing to move, or open up your own business, VFX is NOT the field to be in. It's changed, change with it, or be left behind. Subsidies are here to stay until they are proven unfeasible. BC put its foot down on increasing subsidies, yet productions and VFX shops are STILL setting up shop there, even if Ontario and Quebec offer MORE subsidies. Go where the work is, or start your own business, or move onto other things.

      • Ross says:

        @JonMeier: If you are in an abusive relationship…do you stay and hope it gets better, or do you pack up and move on? If you’re smart, I’m hoping you do the latter! 😉 From what I see, people are saying they are being MISTREATED, well, what sense does it make to stick around to be continued to be mistreated when you have skills that can benefit other industries which will treat you WAY better AND most likely pay you more! Those who hold the purse strings, MAKE THE RULES. As an employee, you are dependent on the PURSE HOLDER. Meaning, you either go with what they say or walk away. Your leverage is your skills. Take them elsewhere! Sony tied to coerce some of its staff to move to Vancouver, many said NO and went elsewhere. Use your feet. If you’re truly good at what you do, start your own business! Change the landscape. Be a consultant or something.

      • @Ross –

        It’s pretty evident you’re a troll here. You’re someone benefiting from the subsidies – whether your a VFX worker or a studio hack.

        I’ve made my position clear – this is a huge, beneficial industry that makes money. There’s no reason that to “adapt” or learn a new profession. This profession is thriving and vital – it’s just being destroyed by governments cheating and studios being short sighted and greedy.

        You’ve made your position clear – there’s no need to repeat it on every thread.

        But I’d be curious to know who you really are and what you do for a living. I bet that would reveal a lot.

      • Mark Kochinski says:

        OK. Just caught up on the info on Ross. Let’s keep the conversation to people who know the subject, or have something useful to contribute.

        Troll filter engaged.

    • Andreas jablonka says:

      Why do you guys keep bashing daniel private decisions? I start to think he should have stayed annonymous!

      He and many have left Vfx because you fuckets have lured all the jobs away with subsidies 😉
      If we could all work in Vfx we would!
      I argued with daniel way back at Digital domain and now still wherever he is while I’m teaching.

      Apart from bitching I have not seen any helpful action done from Canada to raise the Vfx industry out of its misery! So man up or shut up!

      So the producer dude: your godsend makes you the scum of this industry. I really hope you get assfucked by your bosses when you can’t provide 60% rebate because all
      Of us are losing our lives because a shithead like you values rebates over loyalty and quality of work elsewhere.

    • Jeff Heusser says:

      Questioning Daniel’s commitment because he had an opportunity is the most outrageous comment I have seen on this blog (and that is saying something). How many visual effects artists were at City Hall or at the Milken institute last week? Daniel, besides everything else he has done on vfx behalf is at every event including many smaller meetings that are outside public eye (I expect to be with him at two such meetings this week alone). If 1% of visual effects artists had a small percentage of the drive and passion Daniel has it would be a better world. At the Oscar March I heard a LA policeman explaining the purpose of the protest to a passerby who asked… he did a better job than a great deal of visual effects artists I talk to could have done. In my opinion apathy, ignorance and artists unwillingness to stand up for themselves is as big a problem as Subsidies.

      • chrisherself says:

        That’s a great story about the policeman. 🙂 Nice to hear of an outside authority interested in the issue and explaining it articulately.

        It’s still difficult for a lot of VFX artists to understand the situation amongst all the data and conflicting opinions. Many of them are young also, and this is a pretty complex issue. I suppose my question would be, how would you suggest we inform more VFX artists of their options? The overwhelming majority want stability in the industry. Mr. Lay and many on this blog are accomplishing this end by fighting for CVDs. What would be a good means to that for you?

      • Jeff Heusser says:

        @chrisherself There are so many good resources out there. vfxsoldier is a great start, may want to avoid comments and focus on articles (I usually do). I have been covering labor issues for fxguide.com for years (search in fxguide search box for labor and follow the various links to written articles as well as many audio podcast interviews that are perfect for the working with headsets on crowd). Scott Squires has done definitive writing on most of the issues on his blog at http://effectscorner.blogspot.com – great insights and detail. If you prefer the in person approach and are in LA there are various meetings from time to time. Steve Kaplan at the Animation Guild is always open to discussing options with individuals and groups.

    • @Ross –

      It’s pretty evident you’re a troll here. You’re someone benefiting from the subsidies – whether your a VFX worker or a studio hack.

      I’ve made my position clear – this is a huge, beneficial industry that makes money. There’s no reason that to “adapt” or learn a new profession. This profession is thriving and vital – it’s just being destroyed by governments cheating and studios being short sighted and greedy.

      You’ve made your position clear – there’s no need to repeat it on every thread.

      But I’d be curious to know who you really are and what you do for a living. I bet that would reveal a lot.

      • Look at the big picture says:

        Ross is either a troll or someone who is very young and inexperienced.

        His posts are basically a collection of platitudes and motivational poster slogans. They sound like the kind of advice that a 13 year old would give to an 8 year old while patting himself on the back for sounding so clever.

        Anyway, he doesn’t represent himself here very well and I’m fairly certain that most everyone here agrees with that observation.

      • Ross says:

        @ Look at the big picture: You’re ignorant, despite your claimed advanced years. Look up Mike Rowe. 😉 Learn a thing or two. There’s a reason why, in this day and age,a 16 year old can earn 100K a MONTH while a 40 year old is picketing for a job! Learn from the kids. Only ignorant people don’t think age is a pre-requisite for knowledge and pragmatism. You can work a job for 25 years. Majority of people work the same year, 25 times! Doesn’t make them any more intelligent. Good luck to you. 😉 My advice is sound. Take it or leave it. 😉

      • Mark Kochinski says:

        We’re leaving it.

      • Ross says:

        Correction: Read this as “Only ignorant people think age is a pre-requisite to depart knowledge.”

        And you clearly have established your level of ignorance. Only one not representing themselves well is the person who can’t stand by their own opinion, that would be you, dear. You can only speak for yourself, no one else. To claim what others are thinking about my posts…well, that’s pretentious, arrogant and ignorant.

      • Peter Greenaway says:

        For Ross:
        Try to understand and then answer.Never answer before.

      • Look at the big picture says:

        Anonymous posters talking big on an internet forum? Well, knock me over with a feather.

        @ Ross

        Why are you wasting your time here if you could be earning 100K A MONTH? Sounds like you should be spending more time “pulling up your boot straps” and “giving 110%” because “when you believe you achieve”. Why not “work smarter not harder”? “Adapt or die” I always say. Why? Because “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”

        Thanks for the motivational cliches junior. *pat pat*

  10. Paul says:

    “Besides, We need more people who can post their full name. This way we know they are really vfx pros instead of other people masquerading as Pros. I don’t fault those incognito, but I do expect thoughtfulness, and respect from those who need it.”

    I was a generic dude in vfx not too long ago, whether you know my name or not doesn’t change shit, plus I was doing mainly commercials, probably crossed path at PF for feature once or twice. Didn’t know you had to be a vfx superstar in order to express an opinion.

    Funny though. all these people, not in vfx anymore but fighting for your rights, Mr. Lay… Mr. Ross and some others I’m sure. Plain strange.

    • JonMeier says:

      The bit about the names is no disrepect. I also don’t subscribe to someone needing to be a superstar to make a difference with their voice. I just place an importance on being able to know the person making an argument is a brother in arms. A name, a person, and not an avatar. Our struggle is real. It’s a nice luxury when the conversation is too.
      Thank you for furthering the conversation, too. Your response of adapt or leave, I believe is avalid one. Many people I know have worked in the industry for 10-20 years and still love it. They now have kids in school. They are now married to people they’ve met in their travels. Some FROM UK, Canada, or NZ. They or their spouse have Visa Issues. They can’t establish residence in another country.
      These are people that LOVE travel. They just can’t do it. One can take the viewpoint that with subsidies IT IS WHAT IT IS, and leave the industry. But that is defeatist. They love visual FX, they Los Angeles, and the teams they have spent many years honing working relationships.
      Would you rather them LEAVE the industry than try to work for a fair chance at the industry? For the people who can’t work outside of the US. What would you suggest they do?


      • JonMeier says:

        One small addition. In regards to fighting horizontally. I am in complete agreement. We really shouldn’t. We should all respect each other in this dilemma.
        Fighting each other on this board gets us nowhere except further in the wrong direction than the one we are already headed.

        As a point of perspective……Many L.A. Artists feel that the Subsidy zones have been fighting L.A. Horizontally. To the point that THAT fight may have nearly wiped out L.A. VFX.
        *I don’t mean Subsidy Zone Artists. I have never heard a single conversation where anyone had any disdain for other artists.

        I also have never heard anyone say that LA is the righteous throne of vfx. They just believe there is a right to practice vfx for money there.

  11. Don myers says:

    CBS Evening News also mentioned the event but didn’t show it.

  12. chris says:

    Gutless again, marginalized of to the side.

    You Don’t see the Occupy movement cow-towing to the cop’s and doing as they are told… So why do you?

    And what exactly are they going to do, arrest you all. Good More publicity. Arrest a screaming 8 year old. Then everyone will cover it TV press everyone. That’s how you get noticed.

    Don’t you know to get real press, you gotta storm the Bastille? You gotta DISRUPT the status-quo.

    Sitting round the corner wont ever get you anywhere, apart from ignored.

    And this is the second time you’ve played by THEIR game by THEIR rules, when are you going to learn to play by your own rules?

    Until you do nothing will change.

    • JonMeier says:

      Gutless? I think not. There is a courage to showing your face in the papers, so that people like you can take aim at them and their families. Every person on this blog attacking the movement does it from the shadows. That’s gutless.

      Lets not criticize fellow vfx artists here unless also presenting a clear and solid alternative.

      • Andreas jablonka says:

        Jon that’s the issue: they don’t provide one! They have one: leach jobs through subsidies. They don’t have to work harder or smarter. They just sit on their asses. They are upset we are creating a solution. They like the status quo.

        I hope the next subsudie location forces them to move so they feel the pain and then MAYBE their tune will change.

  13. JonMeier says:

    I don’t wish Ill on any non-L.A. Artists, and I don’t think you actually mean that. Everyone in LA was in their same place 4 years ago. Problems were staring everyone in the face, but we were all too optimistic that we would only have to tighten our belts. Only when the hammer came down did we really accept we were in REAL trouble. We left the economics to the execs. They are businessmen after all.
    I hope the other zones DON’T have to go through this, though I am not as optimistic as I once was. If we remain divided, we remain conquered.
    Let’s get together and change the industry. We will all have to sacrifice to make that happen.

    I don’t expect those in the subsidy zones to have an answer for L.A.. Though I do keep an open mind for a solid solution from anyone. Even if it came from a studio head.

    I will keep asking the question. It won’t go away. If an solid answer is not proposed by the opposition, we can only move forward with the one solid answer that makes sense.

    -What would you have us L.A. VFX people do to adapt foreign subsidies?

  14. stowaway says:

    Will somebody wake me up if something interesting happens in the comments section?

    Right now all I see is a bunch of irreverent, entitled brats with minimal critical thinking skills and zero respect for the brilliant artists who built this industry telling everyone they should shut up and be content to chase work around the world for the rest of their lives and roll over every time a CEO waves his hand.

    I can only read the same one-sided, anti-intellectual, pseudo-nationalistic, propagandistic, regurgitated hyperbolic bullshit so many times.

    We have Fox News down here, and we’re sick and tired of that type of discussion.

    • Peter Greenaway says:

      “zero respect for the brilliant artists who built this industry ”
      dude, some of the brilliant artists who built this industry are here, on this forum, in case you haven’t noticed yet.

      • stowaway says:

        Of course they are, and they’re making excellent points.

        My frustration is directed at the swarms of trolls who – despite having their knee-jerk accusations addressed every single time with thoughtful and considerate, pro-artist, pro-industry arguments – come on here post-after-post building straw-men and making the same baseless arguments, accusing LA artists of xenophobia, and clinging to the illogical idea that one country deserves the right to attract jobs through whatever means necessary and at any cost to the artists it affects, but another does not deserve the right to use any means – even the same means as their own – to keep them.

    • vfxmafia says:

      Hey Pete….i moved up here…and i can tell you that real estate is very affordable. They do have million dollar hoods like Richmond…but in downtown Vancouver…I pretty much have the New York apartment i couldn’t afford….i

      things like booze and electronics are more expensive….and i get paid in Canadian……and the exchange rate is 1.00 to 1.15 US currently……which means im makign 85 cents on the dollar..when i send money back home…a cell phone will cost you $600 here…..

      there is a couple things you can pick on…but realestate is not one of them….LA has more shitty over priced houses than i can count…

      • minoton says:

        Which prompts the oldie, but goodie . . . Crack Shack or Mansion!
        Play along kids!


      • vfxmafia says:


        I live in a bad ass apartment in gastown…and i pay less than my Los Angeles apartment. I live up here and check rentals everyday…..

        i remember you posted this 6 months ago…..and im here to tell you its that website test is not a gage of realestate prices. Do you live up here minotan?

        If you want to bitch about Vancouver all you have to do is say it rained up here for the last 3 months….and had maybe 3 days of sunshine…..but the realestate thing is more funny than accurate

      • minoton says:

        Vfxmafia, I’ve been up there. I was also one of the people who turned down Sony’s ultimatum after doing research with other colleagues who also turned them down. We checked a number of cost of living comparison websites, and Van was higher in every one. This is the kind of info we kept finding:


        Gastown. That’s right next to Cracktown. Go take a stroll down Main if you want to experience what it would be like in your own Walking Dead episode. That crack shack site says it’s data is from 2010. The news article posted says prices are going even higher due to the influx of wealthy from China. Show us a study that says differently and prices are dropping. Vancouver struck me as a great place for a family vacation. I just don’t choose to give in to studio thuggery and live there.

      • Ross says:

        “Cracktown” is CORRECT! You nailed it! Vancouver, HATE THAT TOWN. It’s the a**hole of Canada, and Toronto is the sweaty armpits! 😛 You made a good choice NOT to go there. Even Pixar had to leave. Too much of Cracktown! This is too much for the Monsters Inc crew! FLEEE, FLEEE! 😛

      • minoton says:

        (BTW, it’s minoton, with an ‘o’.)

      • vfxmafia says:


        Im glad you turned down Sony’s ultimatium to move to Vancouver….I moved up here because i needed to pay the bills……and there are no more movies in LA anymore…

        you are a fucking PUSSY if the Vancouver gastown zombies scare you…..I lived in downtown LA and they have over 80,000 homeless people downtown……goto 4th and Los Angeles….and I dare you to walk down there at midnight with all the tents of homeless people…or walk on the beach in Venice at 1 AM with all the Venice Zombies ? Or go to MaCarther park and order tacos at Grand Taurino……i fucking dare you….

        then again i am from NYC….dont go to the Bronx if vancouver gastown scares you…… in fact Jersey may scare you as well….

        Anti-Vancouver Realestate is a dumb and false arguement….Vancouver isn’t that more expensive than LA…the shitty thing about Vancouver is I don’t Live and work in my own country….why don’t you write a post about that?

      • minoton says:

        So that’s your answer to everyone who works in effects, go live in the crappy neighborhoods? Most peoples’ goals is to lift themselves out of it, not seek it out.
        But then, this from someone who, when the data isn’t on their side, resorts to the tried and true debating technique of personal attacks and name calling. You just said more about yourself than about me.

        Play nice at recess.

      • vfxmafia says:


        Look I wasn’t trying to insult you…but when you make comments like “I was also one of the people who turned down Sony’s ultimatum”…well there are alot of people who aren’t as noble as the great minotan….and not in the same position economically….

        I moved up here because i had to….if you want to make points about that making fun of Vancouver as a city only pisses people off….you should take a note from Daniel Lay’s recent interviews….they are consice to the point and they don’t insult anyone….

        attack the subsidies but stop attacking vancouver the city…..you call gastown a crack neighborhood….but its the closest thing i have seen to grenwhich village in NYC….quaint restaruants…hot girls…..trendy pubs and stores….sounds like a horrible place to me!

        so when you post stupid shit like “crackhouse…..or mansion?”…..and I read that stuff…..and i move up to Van from LA and find its not true…it makes you sound like a liar….and makes me wonder why there are so many haters against Daniel and the movement….

        the ,movement need less hate about vancouver and more about the stinking American CEO’s who are causing this distortions….and forcing labor around like a pack of migrant workers…

      • JonMeier says:

        Great response, a lot of people dithering the real issues.
        It’s not about bad-guy artists. Real VFX Solidarity involves International Artists supporting growth for all artists, without SELLING OUT another.

        Sure the action item with the most buzz is US Duties right now. L.A. has been decimated. It’s their local plight, but hopefully not their fight alone. Others from outside know these guys and it would be great to hear more solidarity from outside instead of the same 3 trolls.

        L.A. supports The UK effort to Unionize. We also have to support the Montreal artists who get shafted by companies who fail to pay them. The New Zealand Artists who have to work 80-100 hour weeks as a way of life.
        Together, we need to support the evolution of VFX houses in a fight against the fixed bid, and other bogus contracts. While many VFX chiefs are chumps. Some of them actually care about the employees and the industry.
        We need to stop attacking each other and start talking to / pressuring the chiefs about ways to increase profits other than government funds and cheaper labor. Those are short term solutions for temporary volume. Our profits should come from the people we are entertaining with our talking dragons and shattering space stations.

        The future of cinema is ours. It’s Digital. Lets own it. But we can’t if we don’t fight for it together.

      • minoton says:

        JonMeier, well spoken and I totally agree. It would be great if the next “March in March” event against the damaging effect of subsidies had non-Hollywood events, as well. That would be a wonderful show of unity.

      • JonMeier says:

        Many Angelenos would look forward to showing support to any and all regions that need it. How else could L.A. expect support in return (and it would overjoy me to see that).

        I have to say that if Daniel had not pushed this Duties business forward, I highly doubt there would have been a march at all. It’s finally some leadership in our industry that we can (at least locally) get behind.

        We need MORE people like Daniel in every region to take the reigns on this business. If someone in London leads an effort locally for change, you know the international community has your back. Do it.

        Companies that make films like Avatar/Pi/Gravity don’t need subsidies. They need Gross profits. That’s our future. I challenge you to make it our destiny.

        And we don’t need to wait for the NEXT Academy Awards for the next evolution.

      • minoton says:

        I can easily envision a day where every city that is a center for vfx production holds a 5K green shirt run, all held on the same day. They could be held in parks such as the Santa Monica beach path, the Sea Wall or Stanley Park in Van, Hyde Park in London, e.g. Entrants could wear green shirts that say Stamp Out Subsidies or similar phrase to races that support medical research in fighting cancer, etc. It would be another opportunity to be visible and get our message out to the various local populations about the (mis)use of tax payer money. There could even be organized picnics afterwards with appropriate signage and banners and speakers.

        1.) It would get artists away from their keyboards and being active for a little bit.
        2.) It would be an opportunity to express global vfx artist unity.
        3.) Entrant fees, proceeds, and donations would go towards ADAPT’s fundraising campaign. Entrants would not be limited to vfx community only.

        Of course, all of this is easier said than done. But a string of events like this would be a great way to keep the momentum of the March in March type of thing moving forward, and opening it up to our global industry.

      • minoton says:


        I’m not making fun of Vancouver, and many times have said it is a pleasant city and full of nice people, and would be a great place for a family vacation. But when I hear people sound off like a Chamber of Commerce brochure, I think readers who have no experience with the city also need to know about the other side of the coin as well. People considering going up there need to be as well informed as possible. Are you now one of those people who just can’t stand anything negative being revealed about your new lovely home? I didn’t call Gastown a crack neighborhood, but next to it. And it does bleed over into Gastown. I know, I’ve been there, I’ve seen it. Yes, there are pretty women up there, and ratio does favor the guys, but they tended to stay either in Yaletown or on the west side. Gastown hot ladies? How about the one that stands out in front of the hostel on Cambie and Cordova? Reminded me of a lady I did see on Venice boardwalk after midnight after I first moved to L.A. and was helping a new friend shoot their AFI graduate project. Yeah, I’ve experienced a few mean streets, but I try to avoid them. And I haven’t lied about anything I’ve said that I’ve seen or experienced when I visited the city. Yes, I saw a lot of beautiful scenery up there. And I saw a lot of ugliness, as well. But I’m not afraid to mention it because I don’t have a vested interest there.

        You and I used to take the same side in a lot of these debates. But now you’ve gone over to the other side. Who sounds like a liar now? If you’re going to tell people about Vancouver, then tell them the whole story. Sounds to me like you’re trying to encourage more folks up there to help your job security. Are you still against subsidies? Or are you trying to enable them?

      • Andreas Jablonka says:

        I agree with Minoton mafia. You definitely sound like a brochure now. Let me remind you I have spend 10 months in vancouver. and everything is relative. I did not find the people nicer. I found them to be very antisocial. I found no more pretty woman compared to LA unless you like Asians. Cracktown is a known place and ILM has taken shit for along time to the point where artists refused to work there as its too dangerous especially after hours.

        I think both sides of the story need to be told for artist considering this town. Better air, nice hiking, shitty nightlife. Great Food, great Public transport, shitty weather. you know?

        Vancouver has to be a choice. For many its home and that is alright. For many displaced Artist its a beautiful exile from home.

      • Look at the big picture says:

        Vancouver is an amazing city. There is a reason why it is on so many “best places to live” lists. If not for the weather (that and CoL are a BIG drawbacks unfortunately) it would be nearly perfect.

        That being said…

        I hate when the whole LA vs. Van argument creeps up. Both are amazing cities. Both have negatives and positives. LA is not a shithole and Vancouver is not paradise, nor vice versa. All that should really be irrelevant in this debate. The next subsidy fueled boomtown might not be in such a nice location as Vancouver and then the whole LA vs. Van argument will be exposed for the silliness that it is. What if Cleveland, OH decides it wants to own the VFX industry? It has roughly the same GDP as Vancouver. Would it make sense to debate the merits of Cleveland’s nightlife and attractiveness of their females in that event?

        The relative “awesomeness” or “suckage” of individual cities is irrelevant in this debate. Subsidies are economically damaging the industry as a whole. Certain areas may be outwardly experiencing the brunt of this damage but make no mistake, everyone is being negatively affected whether they are aware of it or not. Even in Vancouver. Which, on a side note, just happens to be a great city.

      • vfxmafia says:

        Andreas, Minotan…

        Look My stances on labor and the movement havn’t changed…..Im not promoting anything up here….and I am DEFINITELY NOT proclaiming any Vancouver job security….because there is NO job security left in this business…..so please stop accusing me of having an agenda (minotan your sounding a little paranoid so lighten up)

        I happen to live on/near Cambie and Cordova and their are no fucking hookers on the street. You sound like Pat Robertson when you tell harrowing tales about the mean streets of Vancouver.

        Im just saying spout facts……and cut the Vancouver demonizing ad lib (because you suck at it)

        making boogie man stories…about Vancouver is ridiculous…..its a very safe and hip city…it is also the most whitebread… most caucasion city i have seen in a while.

        If you want some factual talking points about Vancouver that are NEGATIVE….(Id be happy to site a few for you guys)…

        1. It rains up here….(for like 4 months straight) the weather sucks up here….I mean sucks….(but its not 40 below like Montreal)
        2. The canadian dollar has depreciated 85 cents to the US dollar….(so if you get paid in Canadian) …you just took a %15 pay cut!
        3. The hours are just as bad up here…..nothing has changed since i left Los Angeles…Im still stuck in a dark room for 10-12 hours a day..
        4. Moving up here costs ALOT of fricking money…..first months rent…security deposit….shipping belongings……pet travel….family travel…..rebuying all your furniture….shipping a vehicle up here….(You wind up fronting $5-6,000 in expenses that most companies just can’t cover)

        So when you accuse me being a brouchure for Vancouver….are you guys gonna make me take “Loyalty Oath” or something?

        this is what the title should read on the Vancouver Brouchure….. “Least its not Montreal” (where it is 30 below)…Van has pros and cons just like Los Angeles…

        The real issue is the scumbag Mazerati driving producers and studio CEO’s who get a priveleged life off of tax dollars……and have a private international slave labor VFX workforce….

        Billion dollar film companies should NOT be getting welfare to fund their movies……shouldn’t we talking about that rather than “crack shack or mansion?”

      • JonMeier says:

        vfxmafia. I’d welcome your discussion to be elevated. I doubt anyone here really wants dithering.

        We probably deserve a new thread about the business model. Anyone?

      • minoton says:

        Again with the names, only a bit more subtle this time, I see. But I’ll ask who’d been sounding more evangelical about his new found heaven?
        Did I mention anything about hookers? No, we were talking about the habitants of east Van. The lady I mentioned staked out that corner as her begging territory. Why is this aspect of Vancouver important to talk about? Because many of the inhabitants of Vancouver’s mentally disabled facilities on the east side were put out on the streets in a Reagan-esque move when the city shut them down due to “lack of resources”. I can think of 437 million resources the city had in 2013 they could have (should have) used for these Canadian citizens rather than give them to rich Americans so that people would have to chase their jobs to Van to find out what a wonderful place it is. Boogie men? No. A real problem that film subsidies could be better used for, if only people would stop making the process seem viable.



      • vfxmafia says:

        @ jonmierer

        Thanks Jon…You made some stellar points as well…..

        Daniel’s press releases lately a laser focused….and every day he sounds more and more like an International Labor leader….

        The next evolution of this movement must encompass the global perspective…….ALL of us need to poll our money together…..to fight subisidies……and shady companies….(from around the world) and also if i may quote you as well..

        “We also have to support the Montreal artists who get shafted by companies who fail to pay them. The New Zealand Artists who have to work 80-100 hour weeks as a way of life. Together, we need to support the evolution of VFX houses in a fight against the fixed bid, and other bogus contracts.”

        I also feel that there is something illeagal about these companies that are taking, manipulating, and spending of tax dollars…There is big spot light (thanks to Daniel) on the MPAA and CEO’s of these big companies…..

  15. vfxmafia says:

    and Vancouver traded Roberto Luongo today….its all down hill from here now….

  16. Big Dawg says:

    Reading these comments really gets me pumped up to work harder to get out of this industry. These studios generally get the loser MBA’s and business people. – these are the guys that can’t hang in the big 4. We get the hand me down managers. I’m off to work in technology, energy, or anywhere these hand-me-down managers get weeded out quickly. Reading these forums make me just want to jump ship more. VFX is fun to do, but really, really at what cost. If you can, get out…

  17. Lots of interesting comments. It’s pretty obvious who are the people who benefit from the subsidies and who are the people getting hurt by them.

    There are also the people who “get it” and the people who clearly don’t.

    It has not been advances in technology that has caused the current problems in L.A. It has not been normal market forces.

    There HAS been an intentional effort to artificially contain costs at taxpayer expense, to the benefit of a very specific few. A side effect of this is that SOME VFX artists in some areas have temporarily benefitted.

    Believe me, it’s a side effect, and it will be temporary. Somewhere else someone will eventually offer a bigger subsidy. Your job depends entirely on a couple of percentage points on a rebate. And right now, lobbyists are pushing somewhere to get those percentage points.

    The studios will exploit every legal means to contain costs and make profit – as they should.

    But they should not get to decide what is legal.

    There is a decent case that the activities are not legal, but are simply ignored, due to effective lobbying and general ignorance of what’s going on. People honestly believe that we’re talking about lower taxes instead of taxpayer-funded subsidies for the studios.

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