Getting the message right

Thanks to all who attended the VFX protest yesterday afternoon.

A gentleman on Facebook quipped that we should make sure to unify our message before this turns into another Occupy Wall Street. Despite the name of this blog, we would tend to agree. When the WGA went on strike several years ago, they had a very clear list of demands, and they knew who they were delivering this list to.

Let’s do the same for us.

VFXSoldier has done quite a bit to lobby the WTO, and we fully support his efforts. Along these lines, we demand an end to illegal trade subsidies. Visual Effects work should be awarded based on merit and talent, not based on corporate welfare for the movie studios.

We want a union and a collective bargaining agreement in place. We want pension, health, and welfare coverage for all. We want guaranteed pay, and payment for all hours worked, including overtime. This should be an international union, as artists who work in the UK and Canada should be entitled to the same overtime pay as those in the United States.

For the facilities that employ us, we want several things as well. We want a trade organization, so that these companies can protect their interests. This trade organization should accomplish two main goals. First, movie studios, or any client, will pay for overages when additional work is asked for. Nobody, or no company, will work for free. Second, when a facility creates a star character in a film, such as R+H did with Richard Parker in Life of Pi, the company should be entitled to residual income, as if that character were a SAG actor.

Finally, and possibly the most important demand of all:

We want to be recognized by the entertainment industry and the general public as artists, not technicians. We are not assembly line workers creating a commodity product. We are gifted and talented artisans who create a unique work of art for every shot in every film that we touch.

We should send this list to the six major movie studios, and other independent film makers who wish to use visual effects in their films.

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