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Friday, September 11, 2009

Public Healthcare

Quite a few visual effects artists are freelance. They work from project to project. Some are contractors. Even when working at large VFX companies there are frequently large gaps when there is no work and the artist will be unemployed. Since there are no VFX unions there are none of the benefits of having united support. A few categories are covered under unions (modelmakers of physical models, matte artists and possibly a couple of others) but typically none of the CG areas are covered. I'm in the cinematographer's union (since I started before the days of digital I dealt with cameras) but some of the large studios refuse to recognize this since there's no official 'vfx supervisor' position listed by the union.

The problem here is trying to maintain health coverage in a field that has constantly changing amount of work and where most of the work is based project by project. That's why the Hollywood unions were set up to help artists working on films deal with things like health care, overtime and working environment. Studios are big businesses and as such they will try to save a dime where ever possible.

Fortunately the Visual Effects Society has signed up to the same health plan as the Producers Guild. So if you're a member of the VES it may be a little easier or cheaper to get health coverage than before.

However everyone in the US should be taking a look at the health care discussion. The US is the only industrial nation without some type of national health care support. The public supports schools, libraries, medicare and other things but the health of the people is not a priority. If you've had to pay for health insurance or medical care it's clear that the current system is very broken. The health insurance companies and the drug companies are making a mint off everyone.


Public Healthcare Video

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