Unpaid Artists


That sucks… I remember a while ago the company I worked for tanked as well, Price Waterhouse Cooper people came, sold parts of the company separately and everyone were made redundant. Luckily we got what was due to us.

I hope you guys get what was owed to you.


Worse in the case of a company I worked for. Ex Foundation Imaging artists were promised reduced salary but offered shares in the company. Of course they were strung along until the company couldn’t find any more investors to sap - so they didn’t see a dime of value from the agreements.


I think common sence is more important than a union. If you are doing it for the love and told ‘i will gladly pay you tuesday for a hamburger today’ then expect to JUST do it for the love. I know doctors and lawyers that love what they do but will not do it for free. If you work on a whole movie and did not get a dime all I can say is shame on you. I watch kids on the play ground smart enough to know that if one says ‘you go first’ that the other has no plans of ’ going second’… If artist would stop being so willing to be used then the unethical practices would not be taken.


I work in Montreal in the industry and I heard about what was happening with Meteor with all of this and got mad. I hate to hear artist taken advantage of because of our dedication to the arts. And I heard now the same owners opened shop again and are calling it Lumiere FX and artists are agreeing to work there. Promised that things are different this time around. It’s all BS. They should black list that place. If I was un-employed as an artist I wouldn’t go work there period. I rather bartend and wait for another opp. I don’t trust them…it’s the same guys backing it. ALSO…if previous Meteor artist get employed there…they still refuse to pay them what they owe them. Telling them it’s a different company and they can’t legally. I can understand if the owners had nothing else but the VFX company and it went wrong…but they own Discovery for crying out loud. They worked on projects for that company…they CAN pay those artists. Why screw up your reputation to the community if you can avoid it and DO THE RIGHT THING. Forget the law, people know that it’s the same damn owners. Get them back…and find a way to pay them.
Or Black list Lumiere FX…it’s the same people that ran Meteor. Period. Educate the artists in Montreal and what happened when it was Meteor. Alot of people don’t know about it. Meteor lost a reputation in hollywood screwing up, I wonder how Lumiere FX will do.
As artists you have to protect yourselves, there are companies out there that will take advantage of your drive and blind passion. It’s business…don’t be stupid. For yourself…and for others that will follow you. Montreal is a small city unfortunatly and not many reputable vfx houses exist for the demand from artists. Be willing to work elsewhere when things don’t seem right. Meteor isn’t the only place that was having this issue in Montreal from what I hear.
my 2 cents.
god speed.


quoted for agreement. It´s allways easy spoken as long as it doesn´t happen oneself but if you have to recognize you get not payed as agreed by contract or even you get this information at start of a project it is a must to decline the job. Damn it´s hard plus a creative damage not to be involved in a major project but in a long run it will pay off for everyone involved in this bussines.

p.s. at least it would be neccesary to get milestone payments during the project. I´m not involved in FX bussiness but is this “doing things in advance” method standard?


This practice happens on a regular basis in many industries. Building construction, the design industry … etc. Usually it’s a result of lack of management expertise and the employees end up paying for the managing group’s incompetence … when management should be paying for it directly. I suspect the senior group of Meteor profited immensely and covered all their personal financial responsibilities, because they wouldn’t have been able to reopen under a different name without some credit.


Doctors, plumbers, and electricians don’t earn their business by showing a potential client what they did for their previous clients.


I was one of the American “contract” artists who is basically out of luck as far as getting my lost pay. In retrospect, it was pretty stupid of me to be so trusting of the management when their incompetence had been glaringly obvious. I felt very bad to all those who had families to support, as I was lucky to escape with relatively little unpaid wages and am not supporting a family as well.

But to add insult to injury, they didn’t send us “contract” employees our year end tax statements, which makes our tax situation truly a pain in the ass to sort out.


How can someone recover from that type of treachery? I mean how do you carry on working for an industry that does not even pay you? Those guys have earned millions with that film and they cannot show simple respect for the guys that helped to create it?

Would you guys that got screwed work for free any more?


you’re suing them ONLY for 1 million? wow you’re making them get off easy if it goes to trial. you’re missing another 0 after those 6. Id be pissed if it happened to me and sending in letters through proper channels to the government never works out.

use the media, contact tv station and newspapers and make noise. acting nicely about this is bs.


use the media, contact tv station and newspapers and make noise. acting nicely about this is bs.[/QUOTE]

We are doing just that, if you go to the top of the thread there are 4 emails for reporters working on this. Variety’s editors shot it down as you will read. The Media in this area is too busy writing fluff. The press release was sent everywhere by the service listed.

So drop the writers a mail with your thoughts and spread the word through out our community.


The film is great, we have no beef with production, only with Discovery and Evergreen.


My experience is these people will only pay when forced to. The money went somewhere. You are suggesting it has been used to set up the new company. Follow the money and apply pressure in such a way that not paying will be more expensive than paying. A publicity campaign is too abstract.

The first mistake is working in the hope you will be paid. If you do this you are in the wrong business or you are doing business in the wrong way. Freelancers have no security and we are confronted with these situations often. It is getting so bad it has become normal to ask for money up front or at least payment at each phase.

In the ad world this story is woefully commonplace.
I hope you guys succeed.


We were paid bi weekly, the freelancers were on site and paid like the local employees, we paid taxes each pay period. Meteor being owned by deep pockets Discovery Communications and their parent company Discovery Holdings worth 6.4 billion was a strong arguement to stay on. Evergreen Films, a smaller company in Pacific Palisades was also part owner. However, if unionized, we would have all been MADE to leave when the first pay period was missed.

You have to read the whole thread to comment, all this is previously stated.

The reason we are going to the media is because the only way the owners willing pay is to embarrass them. This would not be unlike Disney closing a division and not paying artists or Sony Imageworks, that is why it is so important to make it known. Being a Canadian corporation owned by American companies made it possible in the short run. The labor laws in Canada are backwards, employees are the last on the list of creditors to get paid.

Canada does not want to make trouble for American companies.

What happened at Meteor does NOT happen all the time, it’s just an indication of how fu@@cked up the buisiness models employed in this industry are, and how they are causing the big houses to fall and now reaching into the pockets of the employees.


I read enough to get the jist, however it seems the important elements dawned on me. Read my post and you will see I nowhere stated this happens all the time in your industry but in the ad industry. My reason for doing this (and stating the obvious) was to try and help you personally in your future endevours.

I shall refrain though and once again wish you the best of luck.


your right! sorry about that. I’m getting a little worked up today over this, we’ve had several interviews over the past few weeks and today was a big day. Should see something in Playback Magazine of Canada in the next couple of days.


Good luck with that. I wish you the best.
You have your work cut out for you though, as they are probably not easily embarrased.
Have you tried getting your story on places like slashdot, aint-it-cool-news, and arstechnica?

If the shaming doesn’t work out, you and your fellow co-workers should contact a good lawyer and take them to court.


Having lived here in quebec for almost a decade, i can see how this could have happened and no one batted an eye, from the goverment to the company owner\co-owner, anyone can be bought out and are bought out on a daily basis to turn a blind eye to the constant injustice brought on by blinding greed.

I sincerely hope you guys get what you rightfully deserve.


Perhaps cgtalk could help more, and put this thread in front page or doing an article about it in the feature. This bad experience must be share with the community to prevent the other members who are working in studios.



Death to the bourgeois. This is why Marie Antoinette lost her head.