Welcome to the Brave New World of Visual Effects!
The compositing department at MPC has unionised and the global response has been amazing! The Hollywood Reporter covered the story and now fxguide has a post up on their website as well. Twitter has gone bananas on the subject and Reddit is doing that thing that Reddit does!
But this is not just about the comp department at MPC. This is about ALL the departments at MPC. This is about ALL the Visual Effects facilities in London. This is about the whole of the Visual Effects Industry around the world!
So many people in vfx tell me that they’d like to have a union, but they’re waiting for something to happen. Well, guess what? Something’s happening!
You know that train you’ve been waiting for? It’s pulling out of the station right now! Jump on board!
To all VFX Union members: you need to start talking to your coworkers around you and get them to join and you need to get started now! No one else is going to do this for us. Stop sitting around waiting for someone to do something. YOU need to do something! We ALL need to take action now to make this happen!
How do members get non members at work to join the vfx union?
Simple. Stop and chat with your fellow vfx workers. Talk with them one on one.
Ask them if they’ve heard about the union. Ask them if they’ve thought about joining. Most of your coworkers will say yes to both of those questions. They might even tell you they’re already a member! Result! Now you’ve got someone to help recruit more members!
It’s all about talking and connecting with people. It’s so easy to get a bit isolated in this industry and lost in our own little worlds, but I’ve found almost everyone will really open up when the subject of the vfx union is raised. It’s something people in vfx like talking about.
Engage with them on the subject. Tell them about vfxforum.org and our terrific set of FAQ’s where they’ll find an answer to almost any question they can think of. Tell them your opinions on the industry and unionisation but more importantly, listen to theirs.
You will almost always find that they agree to join in that first conversation, but don’t stop there – this is just the beginning of the process!
Go back to them the next day and ask them if they’ve signed up. Most likely they didn’t but don’t despair and don’t give up. Answer any questions they might have or just pick up the chat where you left off yesterday. Do it again the next day. Repeat these visits until they tell you they have signed up. Usually no fewer than 3-4 return chats in my experience. Often many more. Seriously… Don’t give up.
Don’t get frustrated. Everybody WANTS to join, but there is a journey from wanting to join to actually joining that you need to guide them on.
Fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD) are very real in our industry and for many, it is not a trivial thing to break away from it. Short term contracts, demands for overtime, constantly moving from one facility to the next – even moving countries to chase the work has left most of us feeling vulnerable and insecure about our livelihood. Everybody has bills, families, mortgages to worry about and nobody want to put that at risk. It shouldn’t be, but joining the union can be a scary prospect for many of us. For people in our industry, the FUD is a very, very real thing.
Everybody who hesitates joining will give may different reasons, but it all boils down to FUD. The good news is, virtually everyone agrees with the idea of a union and nobody wants FUD to rule their lives.
Perseverance. That’s what it takes. They won’t come to you, so you must go to them and in time, they will eventually sign up. They always do because it’s what they want. They told you that in your first conversation with them!
Good luck everyone!