Monday, July 2, 2012

VFX Artists Feeling the Squeeze from Incentives

The following is an email sent to Dave Rand.  

Dave Rand receives letters as a result of his using his real name in association with Meteor Studios and other issues that affect VFX artists. He hopes to dispel fear of speaking out for a good cause especially after witnessing first-hand the potential to abuse VFX artists due to a lack of solidarity and leverage.

Dear Dave,

I'm up in Vancouver. I don't know if you've heard the situation up here. The big companies are almost all here now (not necessarily a bad choice, because it is beautiful). It's getting more dire every week. They are not only for the incentives. But also for super cheap labour.. They are taking advantage of every loophole in the BC labour laws. A few very good friends at Sony have been forced to sign their amended/updated contracts (5 times in the past year). MPC is doing the same thing. (their lawyers must share info).. so all of us are being stripped of any rights, benefits, OT, security. We can all be fired/laid off with no notice, no reason.

We now have to arrange and pay for our own visas. We are all classified as IT/Support, instead of film/VFX/artists now. So we are losing any hope of security or benefits. The ratio of artists is about 30 senior/intermediates, 70 juniors.. Whom we have been asked to train.. In turn, asking them to train the employees in their daughter companies in Mumbai, our jobs. My salary has been reduced to the same as when I started 15 years ago. It's kind of scary.

They are going to destroy our industry for all of us in Canada, US, and Europe. Sony is trying to force all the artists to move from LA to Vancouver. My friends are now renting out their homes in LA, and renting in smaller (more expensive) apartments here, with their families.. It's really not cool.


  1. I quit Film VFX after 20 years and moved to EA. It's very nice.

  2. Yeah... The more I think about this, the less this story jives with my experience. There are lots of places to work here (In Vancouver), and I've never seen it as good for all of my pals in the industry in 20 years in the business - includeing my time in the late 90s - early 2000s in L.A.) I think this article doesn't reflect the truth on the ground in general. Perhaps it's a small subset, or perhaps it's harder for people without much experience. I dunno. Vancouver has been the *best* move I've made, and I've had a great career so far. Perhaps someone else could substantiate this story?

    - Vancouver works for me!

  3. I don't deny anything said about Sony. I worked there (in L.A.) in '05-'06.

  4. I really enjoyed my time at Sony and the show I worked on barely had a need for OT. Other shows like, like Green Lantern, that were poorly staffed because they were trying to outsource to Albuquerque, were not so fortunate. Perhaps instead of trying to open another broken shop in another place, Sony should try and fix the shop they have, learn how to be profitable and bid correctly, and then open shops in other places. Seems like business 101.

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