Earlier this year, I wrote about the poor working conditions for the animation and visual effects artists who have helped create some of most incredible (and profitable) films and TV shows of all time in an open letter to director James Cameron. In that piece, I discussed the open secret of the only major production craft that is still largely non-unionized and the subsequent dearth of benefits, security and even proper credits when the end titles roll.
That article created a stir in the visual effects industry and led to events like the VFX Town Hallmeeting that brought together perspectives from the studios, facilities and VFX workers. Some of the major unions like IATSE also noticed and during the past few months, they stepped up their efforts to organize visual effects artists and animators. Such efforts stumbled a bit as the union’s lack of technological savvy (they didn’t even have a web site that VFX artists could look at) smacked up against the independent spirit that caused many artists to be suspicious of unions.