Why The VES Should Recognize Scott Ross For VES Fellow

The other day I got an email from the VES asking members to suggest nominees for title of VES Fellow:

The Visual Effects Society is asking for your suggestions for nominees for title of VES Fellow, which is a member who has maintained an outstanding reputation and who has made exceptional achievements and sustained contributions to the art, science or business of visual effects, as well as enabling members’ careers and promoting community worldwide for a period of not less than ten (10) years within the last twenty (20) years.

Previous VES Fellows recipients include: Jonathan Erland (2010) Dennis Muren (2010) Doug Trumbull (2010) Ed Catmull (2012) Richard Edlund (2012) Ray Feeney (2012) Carl Rosendahl (2012) Mark Stetson (2012) Bill Taylor (2012) Phil Tippett (2012) Richard Winn Taylor II (2014)

VES Fellows nominations, must include (2) two letters of recommendation for each nominated person. Please have this information available when submitting for this award as it is required.


If you’re surprised to learn that I joined the VES, it was in the hopes of lobbying their members to support ADAPT. Since that effort has ceased I will probably not renew, as the organization is restricted to only doing charitable and educational work.

Before I deleted that VES email I looked at that list of fellows and thought: Why isn’t Scott Ross on that list? He helped build two of the biggest VFX companies as General Manager of ILM and CEO/Founder of Digital Domain. He employed thousands, gave many their start in the industry, and hired many of today’s superstars.

If you’ve been an avid reader of this blog you might be surprised to read that. When I started this blog in 2010 as an anonymous VFX professional, I wrote strongly about my disagreements with Scott and the VFX business. Over the years, we would have a lot of debates back and forth in the comments section of my blog. I would hear about others who had, sometimes illegitimate and sometimes legitimate disagreements and opinions about him.

However, as I got to know Scott personally over the last two years after revealing my identity, I had a chance to see a person who cared incredibly about the VFX industry and the people who work in it. If anyone deserves to be a VES Fellow, it’s Scott.

Here’s why I strongly believe that. We officially met in person over 2 years ago when I wanted to go forward with a legal effort on subsidies and help start the short-lived trade organization ADAPT. It was an immense effort that would require me and someone else to put our necks on the line publicly and do it without compensation.

I wasn’t sure if Scott Ross was up for this immense task. He was relatively better off than most of us in VFX and attained success as a former CEO. Why would he take that risk with me? What I quickly learned is that no matter how deep the disagreements we had in the past, Scott put that aside to stand with all of us in an incredible effort to try to fix a broken industry.

When the big day came to announce our effort and reveal my identity at a demonstration during President Obama’s speech at DreamWorks Animation, Scott joined us and marched with us for hours in the sun. Afterwards I could see that Scott was dehydrated and tired but his spirit was enthusiastic.

As we drove back home and exchanged thoughts about what went down that day, I thought to myself: What former VFX CEO would do what Scott did that day? What VFX person for that matter, would do what Scott did that day for us? It’s sad to realize this but in many cases there were professionals in our industry deeply affected by the issues who wouldn’t even bother to move a mouse to support change, but Scott Ross was willing to move mountains for so many of us.

This is the Scott Ross I came to know and the Scott Ross that should be nominated to become a VES Fellow. If you’re a VES member reading this I kindly ask you to click on the link above and nominate Scott Ross.

Soldier On.

34 Responses to Why The VES Should Recognize Scott Ross For VES Fellow

  1. billgilman says:

    The link above is for nominating a person. Do we each have to come up with two letters or is he already nominated?

    • minoton says:

      Whoever makes the nomination should be responsible for getting and turning in the two letters of recommendation. Check out the ‘policies’ link in the ‘Core Documents’ on the VES website. There’s a PDF specifically for Fellows policy.

  2. Andreas Jablonka says:

    i think to join the ves you need 2 members vouching. i read the article saying at least 2 members need to nominate the same person for it to be counted as only then could they join.

    • minoton says:

      @Andreas, there’s a difference between joining the VES, and becoming a Fellow.

      • Andreas Jablonka says:

        yes but the concept is the same. you can nominate a NON VES member and this fellow would become one. hence needing 2 letters of recommendation.

      • minoton says:

        Andreas, I don’t know if you’re a VES member with access to the documents, but it states in the Fellows policy that a Fellow must already be a VES member in good standing.

      • Andreas Jablonka says:

        hehe I am not a member of the hypocritical no balls clown club no 🙂

      • minoton says:

        Fair enough, but then you should probably refrain from making statements like you know what you’re talking about when actually you don’t. 😉

      • Andreas Jablonka says:

        the VES constantly makes statement about stuff they have no idea about. this email being a good example of being unclear as it makes not sense for one member to write 2 letters of recommendation for the same person.

      • minoton says:

        There’s a difference between opinions and declarative statements. Your uninformed statement was the latter.

      • me says:

        ..There is no use of being a VES member, except for free dvd’s. If they cancel this, then I am out. Already tons of “Variety” in my house. Every month I fill up the recycle bin with them..Who cares about this dying industry anymore? and why?

      • minoton says:

        Me, email the VES office and have them take you off the Variety mailing list. That should definitely be an opt in thing rather than an opt out. If you don’t live in or near an area that has a section, you’re definitely at a disadvantage in terms of non-screener benefits. If you do live in a city that has a section, what other types of things do you want them to do? Have you told anyone?

      • itwouldbenice says:

        “what other types of things do you want the VES to do? ”

        Be nice for the VES to pick up the tab for subsidy lawsuit fees.

      • minoton says:

        Yes it would. It would be nice if you could, as well. It would be nice if I could. It would be nice if our government actually did something to return jobs back to America as well.

  3. vfxmafia says:

    Why would anyone want to be apart of an award that honers a jack off like Ed Catmull

  4. Sari Gennis says:

    Hello all,
    I just wanted to clarify a few details about nominating someone for a Fellow… There are 2 letters of recommendation required for Fellows nominations. A nomination can be made by any member, but the nomination isn’t complete until the letters are received, even from BOD members. And yes, the letters need to be from 2 different members!

    Fellows get to use the “VES” letters after their names, and in fact, are the only members permitted to do so.

    Existing Fellows vet the nominations, and then they are approved by the BOD. There can be more than one new Fellow in a year, and they can be female as well!!! Let’s also get some Fellowettes!

    Daniel, I would hope you would stay in the VES and even run for the board. After 6 years, I am timing out of the BOD. I really felt it was important that I stay as long as possible as I felt that the VES was top heavy with producers and VFX Supervisors and not enough artists. We need people like you who get involved! And if any of you have a problem with VES policies, jump in! I certainly don’t agree with everything they do but I’ve been trying to change things. And join a committee, it really changes the way you see the VES.

    • Andreas Jablonka says:


      while i can respect people like you trying to change it you have to admit that the ves has been a joke to most of us. they hold awards for people rather than help the artist have home to work from. their heads are masters of outsources animation houses like praana and the bill of right was a well intended attempt at not seeming irrelevant.

      when we needed the ONLY organ vfx has to step up and help their were hiding like cowards. the vets is as fake as the academy, celebrating glory on the back of their workers. it disgusts me.

      • me says:

        …you’re right. But there is nothing to do from their side. They grab the money and this is all that they can do.
        Oh, and came out long time ago with a bill, which is not respected by anyone.
        MPC might be proud…

      • smells_funny_in_here says:

        VES could at least recind the award to Ed Catmull…..someone who literaly stole about a $250,000 salary from every Pixar artist (over a 10 year window) with salary fixing, black listing, and conspired with other shitty billionare CEOs to further break the back of labor…….

  5. jonavark says:

    WADR. So your premise is that he walked in the sun for a couple hours? Didn’t a lot of people do the same? I am not seeing any reason to follow suit here. The VES is a party planning organization. Nothing more. If Scott really means what he’s been saying for years, he wouldn’t be interested in this so-called honor. If he is, he can do his own lobbying.

    • sumatra says:

      …however, i am wondering what Scott is doing there?

    • fight back against illegal reruiter and vfx company behavior says:

      it’s another selfish way to control the vfx industry, like the blacklist he and his upper management seem to have supported and perpetuated?


      What for? their own sense of false power over vfx artists ?
      to create a hegemony ?
      to stop talented individuals and other cliques taking over their control?

      Why does vfx management continually trainwreck their companies and abuse hard working artists ?

      He was very much against a vfx union for many years and the union tried to stop work going to DD because of it. He has lived a life prospering off the the hard work and overtime of vfx artists.
      I know people who actually studied for their PhD’s. It wasn’t given to them after being at work or associated with a big project. None of those people who actually worked for their degrees, many over 5 years of very hard work, supported or created a blacklist.

      Why ?

      The vfx society is a paid membership clique, which falsely tries to maintain power within a small group.

      Handing awards for this and that…….I don’t believe the Chinese care. The Chinese can mass produce exact replica awards to make everyone “feel special” while focusing on the REAL reason people go to work: to make money.

  6. time for truth says:

    Scott Ross led Digital Domain for many years.

    Did Scott know about the existence of this list ?

    I find it hard to believe he wouldn’t know about the existence of this vfx blacklist (aka “proceed with caution” list) since it is mentioned by such high ranking people in his organization.

    “Knowingly permitting or failing to take reasonable steps to prevent blacklisting.”

    It’s ESSENTIAL this list is fully published.

    The people responsible for the illegal suppression/destruction of the careers and lives of many vfx artists, simply to bolster their own political circles needs to be fully and legally addressed.



    Many vfx companies are mentioned: Blue Sky, R&H, Sony, Digital Domain, I would guess there maybe others……

    Maybe Mr Assange could be contacted to publish the rest ?

  7. . says:

    “I joined the VES”

  8. Wayward Son says:

    Scott achieved success as a CEO? When he sold out, he left 500 people with worthless stock options that we all thought would be our retirement. He made money (probably) and we were told there wasn’t enough left over to pay anything to us. Our entire stock option plan was flushed down the drain and now we have to hear him talk about his successes at DD. Kid, you are starstruck and naive. History gets re-written when people don’t remember. Those were not good times.

    • n307t says:

      I agree, those turned out to be very bad times. The toxic politics is still like a needless cancer on my life after all these years.
      I 100% wished I’d never worked there.

      • Helmut Klinger says:

        As an outsider to the vfx industry in the US, i get the exact same feelings about Scott. After DD went down he had nothing better to do than to serve as a consultant for outsourcing vfx jobs to asia? I’m not saying they don’t deserve equal access to the market- but we all now what the term “outsourcing” means to our trade.

  9. jen says:

    I watched the whole lecture “A Discussion with Women in the Visual Effects Industry” from VES NY(see link attached below), I’m writing this only because i think those girls that were there listening need a little more advice added on top of that discussion.

    I agree with the idea of helping women to be more confident in VFX industry. But i cannot agree with the brain-washed idea of “you must accept long hours…” kind of notion. This has the same effect as telling your daughter that she’s excellent at math, yes, she might be excellent at math, except that she’s going to think that she has no right to want to have a family( or enjoy time with her family) while at the same time doing what she loves doing. This way of thinking is exactly why big companies continue to have people wanting to work for them under conditions which can be defined as slavery, and therefor slavery continues. This is also a problem in Taiwan. Here,a starting salary for 3D artist in a mid size company is around 900 -1900 USD, while a short car commercial for the company might have a budget of 62,000 USD. And they totally expect you to work 12 hours a day, sometimes duty on weekends. Hell, I’d divorce my husband if he had a job like that and loved it!! His children would not know who he is anyway!!

    I hope people can be aware of this kind of distorted “Education/ advice” seminars. Be aware people might have been mislead, and be nice and explain a little why they are mislead.I was commenting below the original link but I had to sign up first, don’t really want to. Post it here instead.


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