Monday, December 13, 2010

VES Handbook for Kindle - Back soon

The Kindle version of the VES Handbook was up for a short time a month or two ago but it was discovered that the Table of Contents was missing (a critical feature).  Focal Press pulled it to fix the problem and I'm told they have submitted an updated version.  It's now up to the Amazon process when it will be re-posted. Hopefully soon.

[update 7-20-2011: Now available]

Friday, December 03, 2010

US Health Care

Health care:
In a recent posting one of the commenters  suggested that I was being a bit over the top regarding issue of health care.  As I noted there all the information I provided was based either on my direct experience with insurance companies or were covered in multiple news sources. Seems to me this was someone who wasn't following the news for the last year or two during the health care debates.

Wendell Potter, previously the chief spokesperson for insurance giant CIGNA, tried to stop the Michael Moore film 'Sicko' from being seen.  The insurance companies set up a phony PR company that sent out incorrect health care information that was never fact checked by journalist among other things. He himself has now turned a new leaf and has written a book about the realities of American Health Insurance companies.  Deadly Spin: An Insurance Company Insider Speaks Out on How Corporate PR is Killing Health Care and Deceiving Americans.

Here's an interesting interview where he says the health insurance was planning to push Michael Moore off a cliff.

For those interested here is some recent health care news:
A Republican was complaining his health care didn't start fast enough:

For those Republican's who said that government health care was socialist, they have been asked to give up their health care, which is government based. Oddly, they all seem to like government healthcare just fine.

I do find it baffling that those who can ill afford health care want to avoid any reduction in costs and in fact want to provide tax cuts for the richest Americans.

IA VFX Union note

I met with Jimmy Goodman of the IA last week.

They are planning to have a blog setup within the next 2 weeks to keep people informed.
This would be one vfx union that covers the U.S. and they are continuing to meet with small groups of those interested.  [Note that the union cards they pass out do not have to have your social security number filled in.]  They'll progress to larger groups.
Their hope of course is to work with both the vfx studios and the major studios to get them aboard.  It will require a number of vfx studios and their employees to sign on to make it happen.

The IA feels they're a better fit for VFX artists given that they cover the majority of artists and crafts people on a stage or set - camera guild, art directors, sound, wardrobe, etc.

Jimmy said they were well aware of the concerns people have about runaway production related to vfx and they will have to work with both the members and the vfx companies to strike a balance that makes sense in terms of the benefits.  Most of the better/larger places already have benefits so this shouldn't be large gap, if any.  If you work at a place that offers no benefits or forces employees to file as contractors then it will have an impact on them.  If that's your situation you should probably consider working elsewhere anyway.

I suggested they needed to have a clear plan that they can articulate if they want to succeed at this and ideally post that information to the web so it could be reviewed by those unable to make a meeting.

If you want information directly: vfx at 

IBEW VFX Union meeting

IBEW Announcement
Attention all Visual Effects Artists, Practitioners, Aficionados, & Mavens:

IBEW Local 40 will be hosting its’ 4th Informational Meeting for those working in the Motion Picture FX Industry.
We will be meeting again at the American Legion Post located @ 5309 S. Sepulveda Blvd. Culver City, CA 90230
Sunday December 12th  1pm. has been selected to accommodate most Brothers’ & Sisters’ work and Holiday schedules.
Once again representatives from both the IBEW and Local 40 will be there to answer all of your questions and provide additional information on why the IBEW is …the Right Choice!
Everyone who has already signed cards and all the Brothers & Sisters who have attended past meetings are strongly encouraged to bring along as many co-workers that can fit into your cars.

You can now check out IBEW Local 40 on YouTube

In Solidarity Forever,

Dave Grabowski
IBEW Local 40
Business & Membership Development
dave at
818-762-4239 ext.223