Some of you may have never heard of the Visual Effects Society (VES) - see the previous link or last paragraph if you have not.
The society sent out an open letter to the entertainment industry, charging that VFX workers don't receive proper credit, benefits or working conditions. As such, there is no union representing the industry, and whilst this may change in the future it's great to see the body standing up for the rights of this industry.
The letter explains, "Artists and visual effects companies are working longer hours for less income, delivering more amazing VFX under ever diminishing schedules, carrying larger financial burdens while others are profiting greatly from our work... Many feel VFX artists are being taken advantage of and many others feel that VFX facilities are operating under unsustainable competitive restraints and profit margins. There have been calls for the creation of a VFX union to represent artists' interests while others have pushed to create a trade organization for VFX facilities to better navigate today's economic complexities."
Of course in reality, every industry has issues, but at least the VES are speaking out and trying to protect what is precious to them. At a time when the VFX industry, particularly in London is thriving and more job opportunities are around, it has to be of some reassurance to new entrants that this is being highlighted now.
The overriding factor for me in all of this is that in 20 odd years of being around the industry I cannot remember anyone complaining about the pay. The hours are long and there is only so much pizza you can eat, but for many this is a passion and a dream. That's not to say the hours are acceptable, but again this seems to be an accepted norm as deadlines loom.
Good for the VES, we are all behind you!
VES is the entertainment industry's only organisation representing the full breadth of visual effects practitioners including artists, technologists, model makers, educators, studio leaders, supervisors, PR/marketing specialists and producers in all areas of entertainment from film, television and commercials to music videos and games. Comprised of a diverse group of more than 2,200 members in 20 countries, the VES strives to enrich and educate its own members and members of the entertainment community at large through a multitude of domestic and international events, screenings and programs.