It’s official. Star Trek’s opening weekend Box Office pulled in around $182 million coinciding with the franchise’s 50th anniversary. One of the heaviest Visual Effects films of the summer, it’s no surprise that the VFX community here in London pulled off awe-inspiring visuals for this blockbuster, but artists expecting a bit of starlight and Hollywood spectacle are likely to be disappointed.  We’ve heard that two-thirds of the hardworking individuals for this film didn’t get the opportunity to see their name on the big screen.

It is rumored that Paramount originally only initially wanted to give 100 credits, and Double Negative, the lead VFX house on this, pegged them up to a little over 300 names to split between London, Vancouver, Singapore and Mumbai. For a team of nearly 900 artists, it’s just another notch on the growing divide felt between the treatment of the rest of Hollywood and the visual effects industry.

Double Negative’s valiant efforts still leave a crushing blow for the artists left out.  As one of the few non unionized Hollywood workforces we are often at the bottom of the credit list, almost tacked on as an afterthought, while assistants to the assistants and catering names come up ahead of us.  It is the power of the Hollywood unions that has ensured their members don’t get left out.

The union negotiations with Hollywood studios are the reason why other film industries get higher billing and a long credit list.Why are we being left out?  With digital reels, it would cost no extra money to add extra lines to include VFX crew in the credits. It’s another slap in the face, showing how under-represented and under-appreciated we VFX artists are in an industry when it’s often OUR shots that brings in an audience and profits to Hollywood Studios.

  • Bill Gilman

    It’s like the studios want a VFX strike & union. Problem is, the studios know that we’ll never work together to make that happen, so they’ll just continue screwing us as hard and as long as they want.

    • PeterBlood

      Pretty much. Studios only give respect when they have to. If they can opt out they’ll do it every time.

  • bellwether

    This is an issue of ‘Moral Rights’. An aspect of copyright law that requires the name of the artist to be mentioned in connection to their work. Moral rights are recognized in most of Europe but not in the US. It is possible to claim moral rights in the UK but you have to ‘activate’ them in your contract. Generally, there is a clause in employment contracts that asks you to waive moral rights (look at your contracts). Then, the problem is that if an individual asks for their moral rights to be respected i.e. given a credit at the end of a film, there is a tacit fear of being overlooked for future work. Never the less, ‘moral rights’ are the way to go to get recognition. See here for more info.

  • Michael H.

    I’d like to take this seriously, but if you can’t get a simple fact of how much “Beyond” made over the weekend correct, how do I know the rest is correct?

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  • PiDicus Rex

    This sort of rot is spreading, and the spread started from the top.
    The “Technical Oscars”,.. a whole other night, with nearly zero press cover, and a 2 minute mention in the main show if you’re lucky.
    Here in Oz we have the A.A.C.T.A. awards,.. (say it out loud,.. Not biased at all,…) where Lighting and Make-up don’t even get recognised ??
    And when was the last time Stunt work got applauded and recognised at major industry event?
    If we continue this way, it won’t be long before Cult of Personality trumps every other part of the industry and only those faces in front of the camera get any recognition.
    We need to move to where everyone gets fair recognition, fair pay, and fair conditions, worldwide.
    We need to create unity within the arts, not division.
    Failure to do so now will just keep the same stories happening, and to more and more areas of expertise.

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