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Finally: Union Talk at VFX Town Hall

Photo of Bill Desowitz By Bill Desowitz | Thompson on Hollywood March 16, 2013 at 6:10PM

Not surprisingly, talk of unionization and a trade association dominated the international Pi Day VFX town hall meetings on Thursday in LA, the San Francisco Bay Area, Austin, Vancouver, and Wellington. Everyone agrees that the VFX industry has reached a tipping point and that the business model with the studios must change.
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The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
'The Curious Case of Benjamin Button'

Not surprisingly, talk of unionization and a trade association dominated the international Pi Day VFX town hall meetings on Thursday in LA, the San Francisco Bay Area, Austin, Vancouver, and Wellington.

Everyone agrees that the VFX industry has reached a tipping point and that the business model with the studios must change. VFX studios, particularly in Los Angeles, are closing or going bankrupt, with Rhythm & Hues becoming the poster child for all the ills of the industry as a result of its stunning failure to stay in business despite its Oscar win for "Life of Pi."

But what to do about globalization, slim profit margins, low-ball bidding, tax subsidies, no health care, unpaid overtime, and a lack of solidarity?

At the Gnomon School of VFX in Hollywood, keynoted by vet Scott Squires, Deadline reported that they discussed forming a union or a trade association at the very least, with former Digital Domain co- owner and ILMer Scott Ross once again leading the charge for a trade association (“The Digital Spring”), which is gaining momentum.

But do you organize an association solely in the U.S. or form one internationally to increase solidarity?

Read the rest of this Immersed in Movies story here.

This article is related to: VFX, Immersed In Movies


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.