Campaign To End VFX Subsidies Begins

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Old 12 December 2012   #31
Originally Posted by refract: (DD fail, and Pixomondo fail anyone?)

going offtopic, but whats the news/gossip on pixomondo?
 
Old 12 December 2012   #32
I don't like how this has hit California, but I have to agree reading vfxsoldiers blog its all self pity because its hit his backyard however I understand any one country could be next to lose work to another country.. but I need to be reassured its looking out for all vfx artists in all the world and I am not feeling this.

As for the comment that all vfx is serving american films - how many directors of those exact films are american, and how many films are now being funded by asian money? And this is growing! The asian film market is westernising and it will grow don't doubt it. America can't stand on a podium and declare that its unfair other countries are making films be it the production, post production or whatever - its a global thing now, others see the benefits of making big movies and we all need to play well together.

Mean while, in america, it would appear folks like Textor can sink companies (DD) and do very well for themselves - surely this fact needs to be the front page news not subsidies!
http://gossipextra.com/2012/11/28/d...lls-house-2063/
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Last edited by vfx : 12 December 2012 at 10:32 PM.
 
Old 12 December 2012   #33
Originally Posted by cojam:
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.



Originally Posted by cojam: 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...

Yeah man,... just what I said. Subsidies are a form of protectionism.
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Old 12 December 2012   #34
Dave Rand

There is certainly a considerable amount of confusion on these pages as to what VFX soldier is trying to accomplish. I thought I'd give a brief summary and encourage readers to read up on their own before shooting from the hip so to speak and condemning what I believe, once understood, deserves some merit.

First of all our respective countries, the USA, Canada, UK, NZ, and OZ are all members of the World Trade Organization and have signed agreements to basically not subsidize each others industries in concerted efforts to move those industry to their shores. Our concern is with VFX, we can't change the world or all industry practices. The WTO does not act unless an industry, it's members, or member nations ask questions. We are simply doing just that. So if you are upset over potential outcomes look towards your own government's actions and ask yourself which of your countries industries should be up for grabs and which of your family or friends would be fine with their jobs being hijacked by some foreign politician who's joined forces with one of your local industry leaders. Empathy is invaluable here, and for all sides.

Now, I don't think it can be argued that there are six main studios controlling most of the content and distribution of that very material we work on as VFX artists and that those entities are all based in the United States. Why and how this has happened should be a the great question burning in your mind..and a far better place to focus your frustrations..You'd think all this infrastructure created by subsidization would have sparked new studios and distribution to arise in your respective countries but it has not....mainly because subsidies in filming and post production have done the opposite, they've help keep the fence up --and the newcomers out. it's created an entertainment mafia so to speak, and they aren't in Italy, they are in my country with your bought politicians and an endless supply of pilfered tax payer's money funding an industry that needs no help in profit making for themselves while giving back little in return. Take a look at the article in Bloomberg ( a London based publication btw ) titled "Kill the Hobbit Subsidies to save Real Earth".

Why should the capitalism of these six studios require market socialism for the VFX vendors to survive? ..and to survive on razor thin margins? DD created many great films that went on to generate billions of dollars, yet for the last 7 years they could not turn a profit, they opened in Vancouver, did Thor, Transformers, Jack....got tons of taxpayer foreign and domestic dollars to satisfy the hungry studios....that did not help, unless you count the politicians and executives who raked in plenty just before it all went to shit.....and now the Chinese own them and are cutting everyone's pay.

So who's next? Your shop?

We will never see growth from market socialism for the vendors. The subsidies go to the the studios often involving brokers that sell the tax "rebates" or "incentives" to third party wealthy citizens of the respective nations, citizens that having nothing to do with our business..and the pay only 80cents on the dollar, creating cold hard cash for the big 6, cause they pay almost zip in local taxes to your communities already...not your shop and not your country. No surprise that brokers are involved is there? Search under Tax "Breaks for Sale: Transferable Tax Credits Explained"

Talent....that's what it's still all about and there is not enough of it for our industry. Of course many industry leaders in entertainment want you to believe that your job is a learned profession only, but one only needs have a serious discussion with any recruiter in our business and you'll find that it is is a very difficult search to find and retain quality artist that have that combination of creative AND technical TALENT ....not just warm bodies that know how to push the right button. If you have not seen crap in dailies by now you've not been in the business very long.

You think it's just Americans left in LA? I sit in a room in Los Angeles with four other artists and I'm the only American, most of us are experiencing the exact same thing, and I love it! It shows our VALUE. Your shop in OZ, NZ, UK, and Canada will not implode if the subsidies stop.
Trust your TALENT, we've had to here in LA since foreign politicians started plucking our jobs away and gave nothing back in return...some private film makers may have wanted to add to the mix but they did not....because they were not allowed to. We are simply trying to take away one of the main tools of this monopoly.

We can all agree that our jobs are done best when the director is present with us like he or she is on the set....and those directors are not just in LA, they live and have homes everywhere on earth.

We aim to change THAT, we aim to question laws that are already in place and agreed upon.
We aim to create a free market based on talent and branding, so that one day you can sit in a theater in OZ or NZ or Canada or the UK, India, China....Peru, Brazil and see quality visual effects inside the best of fresh storytelling.... Instead hashed stories with endless prequels, sequels, and mashups ..what's next.....Avatar vs Predator?

I look forward to the day when a local Canadian producer fronts his cash and creates a blockbuster VFX flm in Vancouver that rakes in a billion. I look forward to more action like that from the UK, OZ, NZ, China, India....any nation. It won't happen if you allow these tools to keep the walls up.

Trust your talent, not your government handouts. I never had any trouble getting paid until i worked in subsidized Montreal where they could not turn a profit because the 40% kickback never lined local pockets..just Americans. Eventually the film work dried up and games came in paying most far less than their lower rate.

...and before you just shoot from the hip out of fear, read up on these topics. You can search on your own with phrases like "World Trade Agreement" or "Subsidies in Entertainment" or "Film distribution monopolies" and there's a list of great resources on vfx soldier. Type subsidy or World Trade in the search window.

I'll leave you with this ... the most destructive thing, and the thing that will consistently weaken the industry for everyone of us is to begin slamming artists, who like you, just want a home and place to go to work that creates stunning digital art. Free markets have always shown the best growth rates, that is our best bet for the future. Don't let them divide and conquer us.

Trust your talent, that is your only real leverage. Use it to build a real lasting brand.
 
Old 12 December 2012   #35
Wink The Other Guy

The problem isn't that we are used to cheaper price, the problem is that we are willing to give money to the 1 percent and not to those that deserve it.

I haven't watched "The Other Guy" yet but I viewed the ending credit. While this is a hot topic with multiple viewpoint, I think there should be a limit on profit and minimum salary. Just look at Walmart case. Should they making so much profit while their worker live on food stamp?

http://www.winningwordsproject.com/...n_the _country

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/..._n_1878457.html

http://boingboing.net/2012/11/23/ho...dicaid-and.html

Is this what exactly happens in the VFX industry in a sense? Just replace food stamp with subsidy / etc.
 
Old 12 December 2012   #36
Originally Posted by fablefox: TJust look at Walmart case. Should they making so much profit while their worker live on food stamp?
One of the main reasons my wife and I will be shopping at Costco beginning in 2013. They treat their employees FAIRLY and we want to support THAT business model. Only when people wake up and take a stand will things change. It may cost a little more, but for those of us who can afford it we should take that stand and force businesses to change how they treat their employees.
 
Old 12 December 2012   #37
You need to understand why government subsidies industries to begin with.

For example the automotive industry is subsidized heavily in many countries because its the back bone of manufacturing capacity for a nation and is very important in times of war, in ww2 for example the car companies in Germany/USA/England/Australia all produced tanks weapons etc.. the only way you can quickly have that capacity is to have a suitable industry in place..

In the case of the VFX industry governments may want to attract the VFX and Film making industries to their countries because they are interested in the associate R&D/IT/Tourism etc side benefits that come along with film making so they subsidies it heavily. Look at WETA for instance and LOTR the NZ government did what they could to keep it all produced in NZ and the result of that is a massive boost in tourism and support industries..

So i guess the point of what i'm saying is we are all subject to the broader decisions our respected governments make in what they feel is best for the nations future growth..

If you want to compete what vfx solider and the like should be doing is playing up the value of the VFX industry to their local government and trying to create an environment which is attractive to film / vfx producers to setup shop..
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Old 12 December 2012   #38
Originally Posted by Kabab: You need to understand why government subsidies industries to begin with.

For example the automotive industry is subsidized heavily in many countries because its the back bone of manufacturing capacity for a nation and is very important in times of war, in ww2 for example the car companies in Germany/USA/England/Australia all produced tanks weapons etc.. the only way you can quickly have that capacity is to have a suitable industry in place..


Well its not because they can build tanks in time of war. The Auto industry is given handouts because it supports thousands of jobs in both the assembly of the car but also in all the component and raw material supply.

Originally Posted by Kabab: If you want to compete what vfx solider and the like should be doing is playing up the value of the VFX industry to their local government and trying to create an environment which is attractive to film / vfx producers to setup shop..


And how do they do that, offer better tax incentives than the next country or city. Put in a low bid until someone else comes along and bids lower, the industry them moves and you loose your job. Then what are you going to do.

b
 
Old 12 December 2012   #39
Originally Posted by mr Bob: Well its not because they can build tanks in time of war. The Auto industry is given handouts because it supports thousands of jobs in both the assembly of the car but also in all the component and raw material supply.



And how do they do that, offer better tax incentives than the next country or city. Put in a low bid until someone else comes along and bids lower, the industry them moves and you loose your job. Then what are you going to do.

b

Which is why I said its the backbone of a nation...

Yes it's straight up capitalisim countries are like businesses but remember its not always about being the cheapest there is value in lots of different things...
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Last edited by Kabab : 12 December 2012 at 05:15 AM.
 
Old 12 December 2012   #40
Originally Posted by Kabab: Which is why I said its the backbone of a nation...

Yes it's straight up capitalisim countries are like businesses but remember its not always about being the cheapest there is value in lots of different things...


I totally agree its ruthless and in many ways quite interesting to see wages decrease when compared to the cost of living as technology allows things to be done cheaper and better.

b
 
Old 12 December 2012   #41
Originally Posted by vfx: Mean while, in america, it would appear folks like Textor can sink companies (DD) and do very well for themselves - surely this fact needs to be the front page news not subsidies!


Did you notice that he only sunk the company AFTER he got the subsidies! So maybe the writing is on the wall for those that look, if your studio is getting subsidies, or work that's subsidized... We all know who the very long list of companies now gone.
 
Old 12 December 2012   #42
Originally Posted by mr Bob: And how do they do that, offer better tax incentives than the next country or city. Put in a low bid until someone else comes along and bids lower, the industry them moves and you loose your job. Then what are you going to do.


Well said, because as i said before if you subsidize and dont play the long game, where you decide to destroy all other countries opposition by besting the subsidy amount and give lower wages, you'll be one of the dead along the way.

Because you'll be playing right into the predatory nature of subsidy jumping, where any producer will go to another locale to get a better deal.

Here is a very simple example, I was looking (online from the comfort of home) at the cost of a modeler in the UK, lots of freelance people, looked at their rates, then looked at Malaysia (again online). Figured I could either hire more people for the same money, or less money for one job from Malaysia. Previously, you could have said you'll get better quality in the UK, I'd have agreed, not any more. Both would be working remotely, thanks to high speed internet... how nice (for me!)

Now please tell me why I should hire from the UK and x times the cost? If i can in that simple example see that, you're telling me that others cant?

So sure lets subsidize them, ok, then when or what industry do you not subsidize, as more work is tech based? Or do you say ok lets subsidize them all. And if you do, then we're all working for the state. Hello China, here we come.
 
Old 12 December 2012   #43
Originally Posted by vfx: Mean while, in america, it would appear folks like Textor can sink companies (DD) and do very well for themselves....


That's hardly anything new. From what I remember reading in history class about Enron, the top guys did very well before the ship went down. Cashing in on their stock before it became worthless, well as I said it just isn't anything new.
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Old 12 December 2012   #44
Originally Posted by cojam: Well said, because as i said before if you subsidize and dont play the long game, where you decide to destroy all other countries opposition by besting the subsidy amount and give lower wages, you'll be one of the dead along the way.

Because you'll be playing right into the predatory nature of subsidy jumping, where any producer will go to another locale to get a better deal.

Here is a very simple example, I was looking (online from the comfort of home) at the cost of a modeler in the UK, lots of freelance people, looked at their rates, then looked at Malaysia (again online). Figured I could either hire more people for the same money, or less money for one job from Malaysia. Previously, you could have said you'll get better quality in the UK, I'd have agreed, not any more. Both would be working remotely, thanks to high speed internet... how nice (for me!)

Now please tell me why I should hire from the UK and x times the cost? If i can in that simple example see that, you're telling me that others cant?

So sure lets subsidize them, ok, then when or what industry do you not subsidize, as more work is tech based? Or do you say ok lets subsidize them all. And if you do, then we're all working for the state. Hello China, here we come.

There is still a lot of reasons to hire someone from the UK if your UK based for example cultural and language barriers also since your in the same country you have legal protection and things like NDA's stick so you can do sensitive work...

Countries subsidize industries to compensate for perceived weakness in their economy / society, governments take holistic views on what is best for the entire country.. Yes it might suck for you if your industry is being eroded because some other country offers better incentives but that has always happened throughout history no job lasts forever things always evolve..

You have to fight the battles you can win.. Ask yourself how much can you influence your own local government? not all that much.. So how much do you think you will be able to influence the government of another nation.. SFA.. You can get all worked up about this issue and beat your head against the wall but nothing will change, use that energy on something more productive...
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Old 12 December 2012   #45
You have to fight the battles you can win..

Thats why firms are all moving to Canada.
 
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