Friday, August 26, 2011
My frustration with discussions about tax rebate incentive programs and the deteriorating exchange rate between the American dollar, the Canadian dollar, New Zealand, China, India, and the U.K. is that these issues distract us from the real daily problems we face. And, about which we have it within our power to fix. In our view, the incentives are here to stay. Whether we like them or not. And the strength of the American dollar is based on many factors which are way beyond our control. What we can control is our own lives. We work ridiculous hours. We tolerate being paid as independent contractors. Some of us even give our work for free. We don't get premium pay for overtime, nights, or weekends. So, when we complain about being undercut by some guy in Mumbai I think we're missing the point. That guy ain't going away. And we're never going to be competitive with his wage rate. Not in my lifetime anyway. But, for some insane reason, ILM and DD and Sony Imageworks, and Stargate and Rhythm & Hues keep getting work. And they hire American artists. Let's do something about that. Let's make sure that, for the puny amount of work that stays in California, we're paid appropriately. Let's do what we can, where we can. I'm not saying you abandon your lobbying on incentives. Give it your best shot. But don't let that distract us from an immediate and realistic goal; bringing better working conditions to hundreds, if not thousands of California artists who deserve better. We can do this. And the IATSE can help.