I’ve participated in a few discussions that revolve around the issues of labor and visual effects in these forums. In those discussions, I’ve been asked many questions about the mechanics of a union, the process of unionization and what a contract holds or entails. Recently, I proposed to start a thread where questions about the mechanics of our union could be posed and further discussion about unions in visual effects could take place.
For those who have not met me yet, I am Steve Kaplan and the Labor Organizer for The Animation Guild, Local 839 of IATSE . We are a labor organization that represents animation and visual effects artists in the Los Angeles and surrounding area. We currently represent artists at studios like Disney, DreamWorks, Sony Pictures Animation, Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon, among many others.
My job responsibilities include facilitating the organization of animation and visual effects artists not currently covered by our contract, outreach and interfacing with our membership, and providing a public and online presence for the Local. I feel forums such as this are an integral part of public outreach and I enjoy the opportunity to speak about our organization and what we have to offer.
My intention for this thread is to provide a venue for questions from a voice inside the IATSE as well as offer a place for open discussion about organization and the role of a union in visual effects. I realize that this venue is multi-national and multi-cultural and the topic of unions means much different things to the wide range of people who read these threads. I hope that the discussions to come can respect the differences that are present here. I hail from the sunny shores of Southern California and my facts and opinions are based in the reality that I encounter. While I will attempt to answer any question posed to me, I ask that you understand the limitations of my field of knowledge.
I also understand that these forums are visited by those just finding interest in the field of visual effects, those who are experiencing that field and also by those who’ve explored its boundaries over years and even decades. I will attempt to tailor my answers to fit your experience level as best I can.
I look forward to your questions and comments.