Technicolor, owner of London VFX house MPC, is celebrating it’s 100th anniversary. Variety has come out with a series of puff pieces to showcase the company and one piece was on how MPC values it’s artists:
Given the reaction in the comments section, it shouldn’t be a surprise that I snickered a bit reading the article. While I have never worked at MPC, many people have constantly expressed to me that it is one of the worst VFX companies to work for amongst the top tier VFX companies. I occasionally get an email from someone showing me an MPC contract that violates local labor laws by not paying overtime or I hear a horror story of someone who was wrongfully blacklisted or fired for really stupid reasons.
In my view MPC is sort of the Walmart of the VFX industry: It’s a powerful company that treats it’s workers just poorly enough to where they can get the most amount of work out of them. They’re pretty good at being really bad and I have to admit I’m regretfully impressed at the amount of work they can do at good quality while treating their workers so poorly.
So I read the comments on the thread about the bad conditions and can’t help but ask at this point. What do you want to do about it?
I’ve been in the complaining game for quite some time over the years and whether you agree or disagree, I stood up and did something actionable about it. Variety’s comments section is a great place to air grievances but what I want to hear from many of you is what’s your actionable solution?
I’ve heard a lot of proposals for solutions: “END THE UNDERBIDDING!” “MANDATE LABOR STANDARDS!”
I along with others agree with all those and I’m sure even some of the VFX vendors do. The problem is the big six studios based in Hollywood don’t care and in order to get them to care you have to have leverage to bring them to the table. What leverage do you have? “LETS DO A GLOBAL WALKOUT!” Okay so how do you convince VFX artists at Weta Digital, ILM, Disney, and Dreamworks etc to walk out because of how bad things are at MPC? Who is going to negotiate with the studios when that happens? You’ll probably need some lawyers. Who will pay them? How do you convince artists who love love love VFX and are willing to do anything, even work for MPC, to help change the industry?
Scott Ross and I have come up with our solution which seems to have the studios’ and national media’s attention. What’s your actionable solution?