Saturday, March 02, 2013
VES Board Member thoughts
Van Ling, a visual effects artists for many years and a fellow board member at the VES has asked me to publish his open letter. I've never had a guest blogger post here before but I thought I should make an exception
To my colleagues in the VFX industry:
I wanted to make some observations regarding the recent VES Open Letter, with the understanding that these are solely my opinions as a long-time member of the VFX community who also happens to be a VES Board member, and that I am not speaking on behalf of the Visual Effects Society in any official or unofficial capacity.
I think we as a Society should follow up and clarify, publicly and definitively, a few points that seem to get lost in the initial reactions we see in many articles and posted comments:
1) As a global organization, any push we make for subsidies in California should and must be made IN THE CONTEXT of promoting local incentives for ALL states and nations, and we encourage ALL of our Sections and global members to do the same in their territories by encouraging the hiring of local talent. What we'd like to try differently is to COMMUNICATE with each other about the process so that we can reach as balanced a system as we can for all.
2) The VES will remain first and foremost THE professional honorary society for the visual effects artform and industry, championing what brings us together, rather than feeding what tears us apart.
3) The VES will NEVER turn into a union or a trade organization, as it goes against our charter and mandate, but we DO support efforts to create either or both of these entities and would work with them for the betterment of our industry.
4) The VES should be and is dedicated to taking a proactive stance on the business side of VFX moving forward, not only because everyone can clearly see that the artform and its creatives are materially affected by the way the business works (or doesn't work), but because we ARE our membership and our members want us to help them find ways to solve the issues that have a significant impact on their lives and livelihoods.
The VFX community and the VES membership itself are microcosms of the entire entertainment industry, and are comprised of artists and practitioners from every corner, and there are too many entities who try to benefit from pitting us against one another, either on a single production or on a global level; we have to find the common ground if we are going to find solutions, and the strongest commonality we have is our dedication to making stunning visuals that help tell stories and create wonder. From that shared foundation, we can foster discussion between all levels, from artists to facilities to studios.
To those who consider leaving the Society because it does not serve your needs: doing so is certainly your right, but why not try to get more involved with the Society and help us become an organization that DOES serve your needs as well as the needs of the VFX community as a whole? I may not agree with everything my fellow members choose to do or espouse, but I believe in the mission of the Society and I think we are better off engaged, listening and talking honestly with one another with respect rather than sniping at each other (online or otherwise) and walking away. And I know of hundreds of VES members and the three dozen dedicated members of the VES Board, from all corners of the industry, who feel the same way.
So I'd encourage everyone in the VFX community to bring your ideas, your passion, your creativity and your dedication --the same qualities you use to create amazing images-- to bear on finding solutions that can work for all of us, around the world. We are some of the best problem-solving minds in the entertainment industry, and it's time we apply those minds to the challenges at hand.
Hope to see you all at the VFX Congress.
PS: my thanks to Scott Squires for giving me a space to say my piece.