- Adaptation: VFX Town Hall (btlnews.com) - May 1, 2013
- Pac Title's Phil Feiner: Tax the Studios on Incentives (hollywoodreporter.com) Speakers discuss the troubled VFX business model during an online town hall meeting - Apr 26, 2013 @ 4:46 pm
This post is a response to the Town Hall meeting from 4.26.20013 The recorded version of which can be found on youtube. perhaps Scot will put up a link.
I appreciated all of points of view..so important to see how they are thinking.
I tried to get some of these topics into the mix but my connection was down right at the question and answer time. Had to listen to the rest of the show later.
Although some of the panel members stated they were against forming a union...that's to be expected ....sadly there's always been a stigma amongst employers regarding unions, and that is understandable but we have to take car of ourselves, no one else is going to do it for us. As Mariana put it so well in her recent video...facilities will do what facilities need to do, and we should do what we need to do.
Unions do not have to be expensive unless you call it expensive to simply pay the artists rather than have them go unpaid over a bad business model that they have no control over. Unless you call it too expensive to have them be able to afford healthcare that follows them from facility to facility. Unless you call it too expensive for them to have representation when it comes to shady ideas like comp time, flat rate, paying their own employer taxes (something IATSE if fighting for free for a group of us now), and the encouragement of unpaid overtime, something that happens consistently everywhere I work....even when it's simply the practice of allowing some artists to "donate' time while other family members have to go home...creating a culture of competition and free labor. I'm getting emails these past few months regarding a shop in Montreal that is consistently having artists fly in on their own dime...then not reimburse them for their flight, not pay them, and when they finally run out of money, borrow money from home to get back home, the facility keeps their files, advertise for someone to replace them, then rinse and repeat, These kinds of stories cross my desk regularly because I've been outspoken using my real name for seven years now. My point of view is different from the panel...had they walked in the shoes of the artists of course they'd feel differently .
Although we have protective labor laws we have artists at R&H having to settle for 12-17 cents on the dollar for money owed that goes into the tens of thousands for some 100 thousand dollars.
As your list above points out...those very protective labor laws that Jules Roman, president of Tippet, so adeptly points out in this town hall were instigated by labor unions....funny how that is often forgotten in our culture...especially when it's used in an anti-union argument.
The plans employers have in place are not helping them now....I'm still waiting for my Cobra information and it will be expensive, for some families more than their mortgage. When I worked at union shops the deal was far, far better, having a plan that followed me from shop to shop and covered gaps is worth obtaining. Especially when it's funded in part by the very projects I've worked on rather than being the sole burden of VFX facility I'm working for.
Bottom line...those that have the least amount of leverage, especially in a business like ours that approaches a monopolistic culture, will always get treated accordingly.
Cost plus works great on the movie set, delivers focus, and eliminates the bad blood between the client and the facility These panel members have never tired it.... I've run shows both ways HUGE difference. I've beat Canadian subsidized bids working on cost plus while paying premium wages right in Los Angeles. I've even seen what happens when a show I started as cost plus went to bidding, and the relationships between client and shot were destroyed. I worked for Centropolis when it was cost plus, essentially working on the owners projects only (Devlin and Emmerick) I watched it fall apart when it went to a bidding model for Das Werk after Dean and Roland sold it to them.
This a repost of Dave Rand's comment on Scott Squires Effects Corner Post on Visual Effects Guilds on APRIL 26, 2013