Campaign To End VFX Subsidies Begins

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Old 12 December 2012   #16
its' easy to bash on Americans... personally experienced it myself over the past several years... ok, maybe one of those times was due to heavy drinking in a Helsinki bar.. but, we do listen.. ok, maybe some of us do.

regardless, this does seem odd to me.. especially when any "law firm" wants funding to get a process started. Which just says to me, "hey, we can help you and believe your story (but not really cause we want money first)"
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Old 12 December 2012   #17
Again, its all about self-preservation.

I dont expect Canadian or European workers to be any more anti-subsidy than I expect Cali/US workers to be pro-subsidy.

If you are a California artist, and *like* living in California, *and* make a living in visual effects, *but* support subsidies then you are kind of shooting yourself in the foot.

Meanwhile, if you are a Canadian/European artist, like where you live in work, and are *anti* subsidy you are also shooting yourself in the foot.

I dont see what there is to argue about. I dont expect my Canadian and European peers to be against subsidies. But that sure as heck doesn't mean I am going to be for them.
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Old 12 December 2012   #18
Originally Posted by SanjayChand: Again, its all about self-preservation.


Actually its about Money.

The whole subsidy system is a farcical joke, that allows the bigger studios, to shift work where ever they desire, keep people wanting, and drive down costs. You wonder why so many vfx have closed? You wonder why Cameron is talking with China?

Consider that NZ changed the labor laws because WB threatened to pull out of making the hobbit there. There was no democratic vote, there was no asking the people, there was just 'yes sir, what ever you want.

If a company from another country can get the laws changed in it's favor, bypassing the democratic process, then there is no hope for any vfx artist, in fact we should be call keyboard monkeys, because that's the reality.

For those in favor of subsidies, then i'll assume you had no problem with the $700bn going to Wall St bankers either, after all it was just self preservation right?

What's also telling this that the vfx site seems to be deleting comments. So I guess he's playing the same game. $.
 
Old 12 December 2012   #19
Quote: "The whole subsidy system is a farcical joke, that allows the bigger studios, to shift work where ever they desire, keep people wanting, and drive down costs. You wonder why so many vfx have closed?."


I disagree Mate , respectfully.
Subsidies tend to Drive up costs as they distort the natural market driven incentives to be competitive with your pricing.

Just look at how Government"guaranteed' loans has allowed major Universities in America to charge ridiculously high tuition costs with little regard for how the student will pay or what competing Schools are charging.

and the result: $$1 TRILLION in Student Debt in the west.

Subsidies also create Phantom "productivity& prosperity" in private industry, were it would not naturally exist sans the public funding

I refer you to the U.S. Housing market " bubble"

This contraction in the VFX industry is a natural "correction" that occurs in the age of Austerity
when the free money is reallocated to other vital services or sovereign Debt service itself Takes precedence over all other considerations.


Quote: You wonder why Cameron is talking with China?"


I dont,
China is still in the foolish process of funding its unprecedented "growth" through bank lending, & foolish money printing.
so cameron et al; is just chasing after one the last remaining sources of this ,Cheap money& labor.


Cheers
 
Old 12 December 2012   #20
Originally Posted by THX1311: I disagree Mate , respectfully.
Subsidies tend to Drive up costs as they distort the natural market driven incentives to be competitive with your pricing.

I disagree Mate , respectfully too A producer will go to the location that offers the most subsidy, factored in with labor costs, thats why mad max is being film in Namibia not as previously Australia. Look around the world at all the 'free trade zones' and how they are manipulated by corporations. Look how Ireland who offered max tax incentives in the past, lost those companies who bailed as soon as they ended. I know in fact of one who even said you dont extend we quit.

The reality is subsides distort the real market value, the real wage, and people rights to have unions. That is all done for one invariable reason, to lower wage and other expectations. Globally.

Originally Posted by THX1311: Just look at how Government"guaranteed' loans has allowed major Universities in America to charge ridiculously high tuition costs with little regard for how the student will pay or what competing Schools are charging. and the result: $$1 TRILLION in Student Debt in the west.

And you know that the majority of those debts are backed by Goldman-Sacs, who insisted that these debts are not forgivable, ie even if you personally declare bankruptcy you still have to pay it back. The the real value, from an economic point of view of debt, is that you end up with wage slaves. Basically because you have to take what ever to repay. Whomever controls the debt makes the rules.
Originally Posted by THX1311: This contraction in the VFX industry is a natural "correction" that occurs in the age of Austerity
when the free money is reallocated to other vital services or sovereign Debt service itself Takes precedence over all other considerations.

Sorry this is not a natural correction, because you cant naturally correct any market in any country nor like vfx solider is trying to do, by only looking at one location. Leigh's own comments have pointed out that work has gone from London to Canada. What your seeing is now global and systemic.
To show just how global and systemic it is note it's just not just vfx etc anymore, look up the uk amazon, starbucks, google, none have been paying uk taxes, all have been using loopholes.

Combined with digital work and digital transfer (ie internet) you're seeing a complete market deregulation irrespective of countries, laws and is now purely based on supply side economics, and subsidies factor into that financial equation too. Countries like NZ subsidize and change the laws, out of fear, temp job creation, unemployment levels and kickbacks. But that is not a sustainable business model, its broken, and no-one knows what to do, so they just repeat the decisions of the past, and offer more subsidization than the next country. Which is why your seeing it again and again.
Originally Posted by THX1311: I dont, China is still in the foolish process of funding its unprecedented "growth" through bank lending, & foolish money printing. so cameron et al; is just chasing after one the last remaining sources of this ,Cheap money& labor.

Lets not forget one thing about this, that regulation and working conditions, and human rights and working conditions come into play too, because what is done in China would not be allowed anywhere else (maybe Africa). Want a green screen set, sure it'll get pained overnight, lead paint, no protective gear. Sure need vfx no problem, hired apartments with AC (for the kit only) where 40 are jamed into the space happen, and the company dissolves after completion, pirate software who cares, it lowers costs. And you as a producer are just sub-contracting to them, so it's not like you 'know' what going on. That's happening even -with- large software companies offering huge discounts, which everyone in the West and Japan with it's higher software and higher subscriptions prices is paying for (ie cross subsidization).

Honestly I see more and more of this work getting dumped on cheap labor, no rights (visit the sets in Namibia), because it all about making a back as fast as you can, and anyone who's not at the top, is now by definition, at the bottom.

And vfx soldier, while his intentions are mixed, is trying to so something, but I believe he'll fail, too many powerful people have vested interests in keeping labor costs down, and working conditions flexible to their benefit, what ever the costs. (see vf soldier on ILM firing an artist). Artists are not speaking in one voice, they are too dissolved, too local and too few, so I would expect and ground swell of change coming from them.

I dont see much hope, another thread was 'what advice do you have', I was going to suggest another career, I just dont see this getting better any time soon.

Cheers

Last edited by cojam : 12 December 2012 at 02:08 PM.
 
Old 12 December 2012   #21
I don't have a solid opinion on subsidies to be honest. there are parts of it I like and parts I don't. So I'll be keeping up with this thread to try and learn more about the good sides and bad sides of it. (you know, with posts that inform, not just generalize and insult an entire nation of people...)

First I'd like to say people who are losing work cause jobs are moving, it is not fair to tell them just to get over it and move. Not everyone is so easily mobile, they could have kids in school, a spouse with a career, or any other number of reasons relocating, especially to another country, isn't just a simple solution. Sure, they can do it, just don't think it's a frivolous response that can be thrown around.

But on that note, I am more than ecstatic to see cg move away from california, and into other countries. It's much healthier for the industry.

I guess what bothers me about subsidies are the long term effects. So a government wants to bring in jobs, so they pay to get vfx into their city. Well wouldn't the government just have to continue paying to keep that work there? And the second they stop or some other country pays an even higher subsidy to undercut them wouldn't they then lose the vfx work they brought over?

Is setting up a vfx community in a city strong enough to keep the work there even after the subsidies end and they have to charge the same or higher than other places? Or do the subsidies just continue indefinitely, and now the government is just spending more and more to fabricate an industry out of nothing?

I guess my point is, while they seem great in the short term to spread the work around, what are the long term effects of this?
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Last edited by Michael5188 : 12 December 2012 at 02:12 PM.
 
Old 12 December 2012   #22
Michael, you ask some good questions, but as for not moving, the world is changing, the mobility of skilled staff is now seen as critical, not just in this field. Someone I knew basically became a frequent flyer to singapore, and saw his family and kids on the weekends. I think thats significantly more prevalent with everyone I know. It's either fly, nor no job, for many.

To think that all cg work in done in calif, is a mistake, Animal logic, and many others have done significant work over the years.

If you, Michael are personally getting a subsidy, what would you do if you lost it due to some government saying no more. You'd move. Screw the employees, you'll find some elsewhere, because there is always another free trade zone, always another country that wants your business. You want those profits, that's the decision you make. Pure and Simple.

The long term effect, is simple, only the countries that have cheap labor win, only the countries that have less individual rights win. Only the companies that are large enough to leverage governments win. The only prevention of exodus and so higher unemployment is further and more subsidization. That's not sustainable, unless you lower standards of employees to the lowest common denominator globally.

We're living in an age where you can run a company, without ever seeing the employees or the factory floor. Because all of that manufacture is remote. (see Nike, Apple...). Ask yourself just how much easier is that with digital products?

Not to be the voice of total doom and gloom, I think there is a way out, for employees, that is to deliver local services, where you dont work for multinationals, is a long term strategy. Where you supply your goods and services to those who want and need personal and direct interaction. Its like going back to square one, some have done it, and succeeded. It's sustainable, it has growth potential, and it's non-exploitative, it might not be high end $, but should you wish it ( i was going to put allow!) lets you have a family life.

I think there is a time rapidly coming when everyone is going to really have to ask themselves these fundamental life issues and work out whats best for them.
 
Old 12 December 2012   #23
Originally Posted by cojam: .....The whole subsidy system is a farcical joke, that allows the bigger studios, to shift work where ever they desire, keep people wanting, and drive down costs. You wonder why so many vfx have closed? You wonder why Cameron is talking with China?.....


Why can't governments just give subsidies to companies who guarantee keeping jobs in the country that gives them the subsidy? To me that seems to be a fair way of getting something back in exchange for handing taxpayers money to what are commercial entities. I always disliked companies who put their hands out for government money and closing shop and doing a runner to some other country when the money runs out.
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Old 12 December 2012   #24
Quote: The the real value, from an economic point of view of debt, is that you end up with wage slaves. Basically because you have to take what ever to repay. Whomever controls the debt makes the rules.


on this Mate....we are in COMPLETE AGREEMENT!


cheers
 
Old 12 December 2012   #25
Ha ha! Protectionism will turn around and bite you in the butt! Free Trade anyone?
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Old 12 December 2012   #26
Originally Posted by cojam: I disagree Mate , respectfully too A producer will go to the location that offers the most subsidy, factored in with labor costs, thats why mad max is being film in Namibia not as previously Australia.


Subsidies had nothing to do with that. The Australian outback received a record amount of rain that winter, and caused the red dessert to bloom and grow. I went for an outback road trip during that time and I saw it for myself, it was actually quite beautiful. Uluru had an amazing array of wild flowers.

Because of the shoot move to Namibia, the budget has grown even more than if it was shot in Australia.

http://afr.com/p/national/broken_hi...V4Vd1Lb bUWV3H
 
Old 12 December 2012   #27
Originally Posted by Dillster: Why can't governments just give subsidies to companies who guarantee keeping jobs in the country that gives them the subsidy? To me that seems to be a fair way of getting something back in exchange for handing taxpayers money to what are commercial entities. I always disliked companies who put their hands out for government money and closing shop and doing a runner to some other country when the money runs out.


it is what it is... here the UK promotes incentives to make British content games?

http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/...hp#.UM11fuLnYuU
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Old 12 December 2012   #28
In California here,.. we have no subsidies. Almost everything is outsourced. The Unions and politicians made sure of that. They tax us into oblivion, and apparently these douchebags like it. They voted for it.
I think the article is most likely (I didn't read it) talking about work to Florida, or Louisiana..etc (DD fail, and Pixomondo fail anyone?) Or, the right to work states where they don't have be forced to hire Unions who are too expensive. What was it in Canada.. you get back 1 mill for every 10mil spent?..
And if you get work from Ca in London, Vancouver, Beijing, count yourself lucky.
 
Old 12 December 2012   #29
I'm torn about this. On one hand, without subsidies and cheap labor big animation studios wouldn't even exist over here (Malaysia & Singapore). On the other, being paid a pittance really sucks..but what choice do we have :/

I'm lucky enough to be able to start my own business and pay my employees a fair wage, but I can only do so much when other companies are offering the same thing at half the price.
 
Old 12 December 2012   #30
Originally Posted by Njen: The Australian outback received a record amount of rain that winter


This is true, but it's also true that Australia is unionized, whereas Namibia isn't. So labor costs are 1/4. Whats also true is the filmmaker seems never to ever be able to stay on budget Talking about labor costs, Qantas always services and maintained its own planes, now because of labor costs those are all done in China. Qantas has denied it is experiencing systemic maintenance problems after the latest mid-air scare when a jet suffering engine troubles was forced to land in Bangkok. Connected?

I disagree with ashrafazlan, maybe animations studios in Malaysia and Singapore shouldn't exist, because anyone remember on here the whole Prime Focus in India scandal, where workers by the thousands were / are getting shafted and having to pay enter the job? Is that -really- what Malaysia and Singapore govt. want for it's people? Is that what the people want?

What I've realized is that once any industry gets subsidized, then it becomes a bubble that will burst. The only people that will win, are the people that can play the subzidy and cheap labor game for the longest, and for those others, the work never comes back.

And THX is correct about China and printing money, but are you seeing the long scenario? The same methodology of subsidy and cheap products won (all?) manufacturing and it didn't happen overnight. But now look to the shirt on your back, the phone in your pocket, where's that made?

Leigh is also right, in that we've become used to cheap prices, and to add to that, once you have an expectation of that, again you never go back, and no manufacturer can compete against that price, unless you too race to the bottom. Look at Roberto's thread about digital media seeming having less value, are all these things are connected?

As for protectionism will bite you in the butt, really look at your history books, unions in the UK and many other places - ended - the slave workhouse conditions that were prevalent at the time. Free trade and subsidizations seems in some places, and some practices, is maybe taking us back there...

http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/en/li...ay_slavery.html

(warning: The above video contain distressing images)

I ask whats wrong with NOT playing the subsidy and low wages game, so what if vfx in London or Games development does not exist. Is it not better for the "people" of a country ..in the long term.. to have sustainable jobs whatever they maybe, that pay a decent living wage?

Last edited by cojam : 12 December 2012 at 10:24 AM.
 
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