Thursday, July 7, 2011

Aren't You Ashamed?

Of course you're not! You know who you are. You own an "independent" fx company. You have no "employees". All of the people at the computers are "independent contractors". They get paid on a flat. No overtime. No payroll taxes. Lucky folks, they get a 1099 at the end of the year and can fend for themselves with social security, state disability, to say nothing of federal and state income tax.
And, you've made it clear that if any of those folks seek union representation not only will they be fired, but you'll make sure they're blacklisted from the industry and never work again. And to boot, you've convinced yourself that all of the vfx work is headed overseas anyway and you're just doing (what everybody else does and) what you have to do to survive. Survival meaning staying current on the mortgage on the house in Malibu as well as the second home in Aspen, and paying the lease payments on the Ferrari parked right outside.
All the IA wants to do is to level the playing field so that you don't have an unfair advantage over the competition. You all start at the same point. Payment as "employees". Social security, state disability and income taxes withheld. And, if there's a tiny drop of cash left, maybe a medical insurance policy? Just for the time being. When all the work is being done in faraway lands, we'll take a job at Starbucks as a barista. But in the mean time, as long as the big studios keep sending work your way could you at least treat us like a craft service guy gets treated?
I know by this point you're laughing yourself silly. "As if I care what my employees think??" But, maybe one day you'll look yourself in the mirror and be ashamed of what you see there.....


  1. If the IA is really interested they have to start getting real information out to VFx workers, the people who sign up. Trying to shame a couple of small time owners is not going to do it.

  2. This attitude is one of many reasons VFX workers are turned off by the iA's ham-handed and outdated "organizing" methods. There are some shop owners like that. The majority of small-shop owners, however, are not -- they are in fact VFX workers who have struck out on their own, taking immense risks to do so. For the IA to fail to recognize that the artists they are trying to get to sign rep cards are the same kind of people as the ones running small shops is amazingly short-sighted. In fact, sometimes they are the same people. I know a lot of people who have their own small shop who continue to freelance at the big companies when work dries up. There is a big difference between a publicly- or privately-held $200M/yr corporation and shop that's owned by people who are right there on the workstations doing the work, billing maybe a $1-2M a year. The people you lump in with the abusive minority are the same people you're courting -- you offend a lot of your best prospects that way.