Spring has arrived a little bit early in the VFX community. Scott Ross posted an article about formation of an employer trade association and it has ignited a lively discussion on Linked In. Check it out at VFX Foundation.
Two threads are proceeding simultaneously: one about formation of an employer trade association, the second about establishment of a union to seek representation of vfx artists. Perhaps, the two are intertwined, perhaps not.
I like to think that those employers that agree to provide modest benefits and fair treatment to artists will actually enjoy a recruiting advantage in hiring the cream of the crop in the artist community. And the IATSE is astute enough that we won't kill the goose that lays the golden egg. Or, in this case, the ceramic (low-cost-version) egg. Medical benefits can be had for as little at $2 per hour. A cost that artists would undoubtedly be willing to absorb, if their employer needed a little nudge in the right direction.
but, so long as we eventually establish a level playing field for the vast majority of employers, we're confident unionization will not exacerbate runaway production: there will still be a demand for the highly skilled artists, and the advantage that only comes from having the effects created in close proximity to where principal photography takes place. Yup. some filmmakers actually like to have their effects done nearby!!!
one of these days, the employers will realize that modest worker benefits stabilize the workforce, encourage career development, retain high quality artists, and allow for cooperation among competing companies. one can look to the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, where the major studios work together to solve industry problems and then go out and compete like cats and dogs to increase their profitability and market share.
It's a great country, isn't it????