Not surprisingly, talk of unionization and a trade association dominated the international Pi Day VFX town hall meetings on Thursday in LA, the San Francisco Bay Area, Austin, Vancouver, and Wellington.
Everyone agrees that the VFX industry has reached a tipping point and that the business model with the studios must change. VFX studios, particularly in Los Angeles, are closing or going bankrupt, with Rhythm & Hues becoming the poster child for all the ills of the industry as a result of its stunning failure to stay in business despite its Oscar win for “Life of Pi.”
But what to do about globalization, slim profit margins, low-ball bidding, tax subsidies, no health care, unpaid overtime, and a lack of solidarity?
At the Gnomon School of VFX in Hollywood, keynoted by vet Scott Squires, Deadline reported that they discussed forming a union or a trade association at the very least, with former Digital Domain co- owner and ILMer Scott Ross once again leading the charge for a trade association (“The Digital Spring”), which is gaining momentum.
But do you organize an association solely in the U.S. or form one internationally to increase solidarity?