NZ "The Hobbit Scandal": Threats fly over Hobbit document release

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  02 February 2013
Quote: When I come to think of this, most of the blame should be pointed squarely at Warner Bros. for forcing the hand of the New Zealand government. It's an incredibly disgusting tactic that they have pulled - I did read that the unions retracted their demands, and yet Warner Bros. still threatened to take the work overseas. But still, the government should have told them straight. I doubt Warner Bros. would have followed through with it.


Honestly though, that's how business works. They obviously had leverage and utilized it, if they didn't then they wouldn't be doing their jobs. End goal is to make money! I think people working in creative industries forget this because their passion is not money focused but if you spend any amount of time working in say IT or business focused service industries you quickly grasp this reality.
 
  02 February 2013
Originally Posted by conbom: Honestly though, that's how business works.


Unfortunately that's not how domestic politics works. New Zealand is a sovereign nation and a democracy.

Warner Brothers managed to get the NZ government to rush a law change through parliament within 24 hours of asking for it, completely bypassing a lot of usual processes that laws go through in order to become laws. They also got an extra $30 million on top of the tax break they where originally getting.

I'm less concerned about the money, but I find it hard to imagine anybody would be happy with a foreign corporation or government dictating the laws of their country.
 
  02 February 2013
The documents have been released and look to be a bit of a storm in a teacup. More embarrassing to the NZ govt than anyone else. Time will tell what Warner's reaction will be, if any.

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/politics/...jectid=10868032
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  02 February 2013
Yeah I had a read over the documents last night and after all the threats from WB and PJ there didn't seem to be anything in there that we didn't kind of already know.
 
  02 February 2013
Originally Posted by CGmonkey: What a big bag of bull shit this is.



I totally agree!
 
  02 February 2013
Remember that unions wont get you work.
Unions dont set up a big picture to give you a break from farming potatoes or hunting Bunyips. I grew up in a country where unions held a gun to the head of commerce and as a young Industrial designer I vowed never to produce anything that required labour. My Grandad had a factory with 350 workers, my Mum and Dad had shops and restaurants where they employed a few part time staff, I had a studio for 2 years with 2 staff and the tax and insurance hassle made it great to not employ anyone ever again. See a trend?

My Dad predicted that staff would eventually become so expensive that everyone would become freelance. If you have a job in vfx enjoy it while you can. You can take a noble high ground and say the end doesnt justify the means which no one can argue with but, on the one hand you are screaming about layoffs and on the other hand making yourselves more expensive and less convenient.
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Last edited by Kanga : 02 February 2013 at 11:27 AM.
 
  02 February 2013
Originally Posted by Kanga: Remember that unions wont get you work.
Unions dont set up a big picture to give you a break from farming potatoes or hunting Bunyips. I grew up in a country where unions held a gun to the head of commerce and as a young Industrial designer I vowed never to produce anything that required labour. My Grandad had a factory with 350 workers, my Mum and Dad had shops and restaurants where they employed a few part time staff, I had a studio for 2 years with 2 staff and the tax and insurance hassle made it great to not employ anyone ever again. See a trend?

My Dad predicted that staff would eventually become so expensive that everyone would become freelance. If you have a job in vfx enjoy it while you can. You can take a noble high ground and say the end doesnt justify the means which no one can argue with but, on the one hand you are screaming about layoffs and on the other hand making yourselves more expensive and less convenient.


Corporate profits have never been higher than they are now. Look at executive pay before you complain about unions. Worker productivity has increased dramatically over the past 30 years while wages have gone *down*. Companies are already getting more for less, at least in the US.

You are incredibly fortunate to live in a country where medical care isn't tied to employment, where it's hard to fall through the cracks in the social safety net. America is not the Netherlands.
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Last edited by balistic : 02 February 2013 at 06:12 PM.
 
  02 February 2013
Originally Posted by balistic:
But oh no, the animators want to be able to retire one day, or maybe see a doctor, what greedy slobs.

Same as in Holland, dont be an animator. You make it sound like people are branded with it at birth.
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  02 February 2013
Originally Posted by Kanga: Same as in Holland, dont be an animator. You make it sound like people are branded with it at birth.


If we were talking about something like poetry, which there is no commercial market for, you'd have a point.

But animation and VFX generate huge amounts of money. The problem is that the money is not distributed properly.

We can turn our backs an accept the status quo, or we can work for a more equitable world.

I favor the latter.
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  02 February 2013
Quote: If we were talking about something like poetry

You must be joking? I am pretty sure Poets take their craft as deadly seriously as fx profs. I wouldn't be judging the worth of any calling by how much money it brings in. When I said then dont be an animator I meant drive a truck and feed your family and be an animator at the same time.

Originally Posted by balistic: The problem is that the money is not distributed properly.

You have no idea how many times I have said this to myself while passing a Porsche dealership
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  02 February 2013
Originally Posted by Kanga: You must be joking? I am pretty sure Poets take their craft as deadly seriously as fx profs. I wouldn't be judging the worth of any calling by how much money it brings in. When I said then dont be an animator I meant drive a truck and feed your family and be an animator at the same time.


You have no idea how many times I have said this to myself while passing a Porsche dealership



I think we're talking past each other. What I'm saying is that, because there is a market for animation, it isn't unreasonable to expect to make a living doing it, if you're good at it. Because there's no real commercial market for poetry, that fits much more with your idea of something you'd do on the side for the love of doing it, while keeping a mundane day job to pay the bills.

I have music that I make on the side. It's good, but it's in an obscure genre that has only a few thousand dedicated fans in the entire world, so I've never fooled myself into thinking I could make a career of it.

But games, films, TV series ... those generate serious money.
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  02 February 2013
That does not give you the right to expect fair or reasonable compenstation for the work you do. YOU have to organize it so you get paid properly. We are not talking past each other. I have nothing against you, just the line of thought you have.

Edit: that sounds a bit crap from me. When I say YOU have to organize I am also screaming at myself as well. Cant afford the luxury of taking refuge in a fobbing off of action on another party.
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Last edited by Kanga : 02 February 2013 at 09:10 PM.
 
  02 February 2013
Originally Posted by Kanga: That does not give you the right to expect fair or reasonable compenstation for the work you do. YOU have to organize it so you get paid properly. (Snip)


From a practical standpoint you are right - everyone should be alert, doesn't matter if you happen to be staffed as contractor, temp or perm. If you don't watch out for yourself, the likelihood is high, that you can be taken advantage of, especially if you are young and eager, lacking the experience to know your worth, you can be easily exploited. And there is many employer around that will.

Now.

From an ethical standpoint, we are talking about basic human rights here.

Let' see what the universal declaration of human rights has to say
(http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/)

Article 23.
  • (1) Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment.
  • (2) Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work.
  • (3) Everyone who works has the right to just and favourable remuneration ensuring for himself and his family an existence worthy of human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection.
  • (4) Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests.
Article 24.

  • Everyone has the right to rest and leisure, including reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay.

Obviously human rights and their enforcement go a long way. But it should be clear that there is a certain perception supported by IGOs that nurtures the thought that people should have a right to get paid fairly without them having to fight for it.


That this doesn't match reality is another story.
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  02 February 2013
Originally Posted by Kanga: Remember that unions wont get you work.


No, but union work gives artists a better deal than non-union work.
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  02 February 2013
Originally Posted by Celshader: No, but union work gives artists a better deal than non-union work.

Or, it might eventually get the work to happen elsewhere. See Cameron in Pinewood and Alien
http://www.slashfilm.com/how-james-...-set-of-aliens/

Something that happened repeatedly after that, just not always this publicly.

While Pinewood still more or less thrives, there are reasons if A LOT of shoots moved to the Czech Republic, and more recently Romania, even in cases (minority, admittedly) similar wages are paid to the stage/set workers, or even entire crews are imported there for the same wage + transfer they would be paid for in Pinewood.

Some of those reasons are, of course, lower running costs, lower per foot cost and so on, but the ability to shoot more than six hours a day and not needing four additional people to a six guys light crew for no good reason is no small part of it.
The quality of the work, when the stage needs didn't put Pinewood on top but were down to other factors, is comparable, and often better.

Food for thought.
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