vfxAssemble – What Happened

vfxAssemble Wraps

The vfxAssemble campaign finished on 10th November and we’d like to give a big shout out to all those who took part in it. Thanks to all of you out there who believed in it!

Also, a very special thanks to everyone in the VFX branch committee, our VFX branch chair Joe Pavlo, and the BECTU Branch rep Paul Evans and everyone else who worked on vfxAssemble for their tireless efforts to make our industry a better place for every one of us.

While we didn’t reach 50% membership at any of the four big London VFX facilities: (Double Negative, Framestore, ILM and MPC), hundreds and hundreds of you did believe in a better vfx industry and did sign up for vfxAssemble.

What Have We Achieved?

Because of all of you, vfxAssemble has started conversations and raised awareness and we are now a stronger VFX union than before. The VFX branch of BECTU is now the biggest and most active visual effects union anywhere in the world!

Building a movement isn’t easy and it doesn’t happen overnight and it certainly takes a lot of work. We’re hoping that a whole bunch of you that got inspired by the vfxAssemble campaign will join the union now and become active in helping to grow this movement.

Even when the progress is in small steps, it’s plain for all to see that what we are doing is moving things forward, changing attitudes and changing our industry for the better. One movement at a time, one campaign at a time, we are creating a space for the VFX union.

Going Forward

What we who have joined the union envisage in the not too distant future is an industry where VFX workers don’t have to lead unsociable and unhealthy lives. Where women working in the industry are not victims of geek sexism and an equal voice and equal pay isn’t left to chance. Where a juniors pay doesn’t average out to below the living wage because of unlimited unpaid overtime. Where film credits are guaranteed for those who work on the visual effects. Where more experienced artists do not have to fear being singled out and blacklisted for wanting a better and fairer industry. Where vfx workers can feel confident that their skills and experience are valued by the London visual effects industry. Where they can all feel that the industry they work for is also working for them.

We Want To Hear From You

The revolutionary vfxAssemble crowdsourcing model for union recruitment has been a huge leap forward for unionisation in our industry. We think the idea that people can pledge to join the union without signing up until enough of their colleagues pledge to join too is a brilliant strategy and we are going to keep working at it and refining it until we are successful. The light bulb is a great idea  In fact, it’s become symbolic of all great ideas, but Thomas Edison made a lot of light bulbs that didn’t work before he got it right. We’re going to keep working at this until we get it right too! Help us make it even better next time around by taking the survey.

We don’t know how long it will take but full unionisation of visual effects is inevitable. The truth is, in the short time that the VFX union has been active we have seen marked improvements in the workplace and the London VFX industry has never been busier. There’s no need to fear unionisation. We are already making things better and it will be only be a matter of time before VFX workers across London collectively choose to assemble a majority to take our industry to the next level and help make it better and stronger for everyone.

Until then, and beyond, it’s never too late to sign up!


A New Era for London VFX?

Will London VFX workers be able to take their destiny into their own hands?

Soon we will find out. Tonight is the deadline to sign up for vfxAssemble.com

If we succeed, you can rest assured that at least 50% of your colleagues at Industrial Light & Magic, Double Negative, Framestore and MPC will be fellow union members.
This would mark the beginning of a new era for London VFX. Together, we would have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to fix the many problems that afflict our industry. We would be able to look after each other and help out fellow colleagues who are less fortunate than us.

If we fail, companies bosses across Soho will cheer, as they will be able to continue doing business without taking the wellbeing of their workforce into account.
This will mean more one-week notice periods, more bare minimum redundancy pay, more juniors earning below the national minimum wage when you factor in overtime, more seven-figure earnings for managing directors and CEOs, more shutting down of departments in the pursuit of cheaper labour. More of the same.

Most of us VFX workers are on short term contracts. We all have rent or mortgages to pay. Some of us have families to support. Our fears of being exposed as union members and singled out are legitimate and real. Our fears of being unable to find employment or watch helpless as all the work moves to cheaper labour markets are understandable. But it won’t be by turning a blind eye to these problems, or keeping to oneselves, that we will have a chance to fix them.

Today is the day. Sign up now.

Credits – “We need to save the VFX houses from themselves”

This morning, I paid a visit to the HQ of Warner Bros UK to deliver a petition to Warner CEO Kevin Tsujihara challenging major motion picture companies who don’t give a film credit to VFX artists that work on their films. You can see a video of this here. Alongside me was a movie star who has left a transformative impression on the modern film industry. You can see him prancing around behind me in the pic (below).

VFX Credits.
Delivering the Credit Where Credit’s Due petition to Warner Bros London HQ earlier today.

At the time of writing, over 6100 people have signed this petition about this issue. The workers that are refused a credit often work 70, 80, even 90 hours a week, and if they’re doing it here in London, they often don’t even get paid overtime for doing so.

These workers are essential to the success of the modern motion picture industry – today, every major success is drenched in VFX. It’s an odd situation for them to be in.

They don’t get a credit, but almost everyone else does, mainly because every other part of the industry is unionised in one way or another. Hang around until the lights go up at the end next time you’re at the cinema and you will see that the rest of the crew get a credit. The reason that VFX Artists don’t is because this sector isn’t seen as unionised – they work for companies that will give their rights away to win the work.

When Warners, and the other big picture companies a firm ask DNeg to jump, DNeg can only ask “how high”? Warners can do this because they know that DNeg will always oblige, worried that they may lose the business otherwise. Continue reading “Credits – “We need to save the VFX houses from themselves””

vfxAssemble Facebook Live

We will be talking about vfxAssemble and answering your questions live on Facebook on Monday, 23rd October from 21:00 GMT.


vfxAssemble is a way to realise the vfx union we’ve always wanted. Here’s how it works: You pledge to join the union, but you pay nothing and no one’s membership is made active unless we achieve over 50% of the vfx workforce by the deadline. It’s a sort of Kickstarter/crowdsourcing thing. It’s anonymous, it’s risk free and we will only charge you if we are successful in achieving our numbers.

Don’t wait – join today at vfxAssemble.com!





London VFX Industry’s Last Chance

Last week we launched vfxAssemble, a new call for unionisation in the London VFX industry. It’s designed so that you won’t have to commit to anything until over 50% of the London VFX workforce is unionised.

Why is the 50% threshold important?

Because it will allow you to have an elected representative inside your workplace, so that if you feel you are being treated unfairly, harassed or made suddenly redundant, you will actually be able to do something about it.

Have you ever had to work unreasonable hours for months on end to meet unreasonable client demands? Have you ever been worried that if you don’t do that you won’t last long in the industry? Are your children growing up without you because you are always at work? Are you not able to start a family because of your job? Have you witnessed or experienced first-hand discrimination, sexism or bullying? Are you worried that the work will move elsewhere and you will be forced to relocate to another continent? Is your physical and mental health suffering as a result of your job?

Whatever your worries might be, there is not a single instance where you wouldn’t benefit from being part of a collective voice.

If together we can’t make things better, you certainly won’t be able to on your own.

November 10th is the deadline to sign up. If we don’t meet our goal by then you won’t be a member, you won’t be charged anything, and London VFX will remain an industry of mostly isolated migrant workers at the mercy of company bosses, tax breaks and weak employment laws.

vfxAssemble is a campaign put together by volunteer VFX workers in their very little spare time. The website might not be sleek, and we don’t have the budget for marketing and advertising. But we want to be part of a better industry, and we think vfxAssemble is the last chance we’ve got to achieve that.

Now it’s up to YOU! Two things happening right away that you can participate in to find out more:

First, there is a big BECTU meeting tonight called “Eyes Half Shut” where we will talk about vfxAssemble, A new research report into long hours in film production followed up with a discussion on Brexit and how it impacts our industry. It’s free to attend and all are welcome

Wed 18 October 2017, 19:30 – 21:00 BST – Regent Hall, 275 Oxford Street, London, W1C 2DJ

Second, there is a Facebook Live session on Monday, 23rd October at 9:00 pm where we will talk about vfxAssemble and you can ask questions live.


We hope to see you there.

VFX Assemble!

Today London, tomorrow the world!

Something really huge regarding the VFX union here in London has just happened.

It’s a campaign we’ve been working on for months called vfxAssemble that is a completely revolutionary approach to building our union that, if it works the way we think it will, we could see the majority of people here in London joining by the end of the month!

The number one obstacle to unionisation of VFX has been fear that becoming a member will compromise ones career. Everybody says they’ll join once everyone else does. It’s a catch 22.

So here’s the deal: We have created a way for everyone to join together at the same time with no risk. If successful here in London, it will change the VFX industry around the world overnight!

If you work in VFX, recognise the problems and have always wanted to change our industry for the better then this is for you!If you always thought unionisation was out of reach… that’s all changed. Now is your chance to anonymously and safely show what you think.

vfxAssemble.com is a crowdsourcing idea – sort of like Kickstarter. Basically, you pledge to join the union, but nobody’s membership is activated until we reach our target of over 50%. That way, we all join the union together, overnight!

The Visual Effects industry can’t go on the way it has. We need to fix it and getting organised is the only way to save this industry we all love.

It only takes a few minutes and you only become a member if we achieve our target of over 50% of the VFX workforce here in London. Sign up today.

If we do this, we will make history and we will make VFX a stronger, more sustainable and happier industry. Let’s do this! After all, what have we got to lose?