Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Could unionization save vfx facilities?

Could unionization save vfx facilities? is  a posting by vfxsoldier.

There are those who argue that any type of unionization will drive the nail in the coffin for US VFX production.  Since it's unlikely the pay will be increased at most facilities the only additional costs should be things like health insurance.  As he rightly points out the IA unions receive film and TV residuals so the burden is much less than normal insurance, especially given the number of members.

Scott Ross has said unions would only make sense if the vfx companies were rich.  But health and welfare along with pension plans are also involved.  There are also issues of working conditions and hours.

The likeliest conflict is overtime pay.  Sure, some productions can cause this situation but in other cases the vfx company is the indirect cause of the problem by not properly scheduling crews or resources from the start.

If you watched the initial BP segment on 60 Minutes after the spill, an executive at the company demanded the drilling be sped up and precautions to be ignored.  That broke the drill and now a new hole had to be created from scratch. The same executives were putting pressure on the workers because they were now 2 weeks behind and so many millions of dollars over budget; as if it were the workers fault.

Poor decisions can be made by anyone - vfx artists, vfx supervisors, vfx company management, studio executives, producers, etc.  The problem is when a lot of other people have to suffer because of it. And it's even more of an issue when you see those same poor decisions made repeatedly.

Unions aren't the cure all for the ills of the vfx industry but they should be honestly considered along with other approaches and restructuring.

1 comment:

  1. Many of the issues you mention arise from poor leadership skills. You'd be surprised by how many "VFX Producers" have never heard of Project Management techniques and refuse to invest in or learn the tools needed to do it. Resource allocation, load balancing, a true understanding of the critical path of a particular shot or whole show (project), somehow individuals are put into positions of power without understanding these key attributes of the PM process.

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