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!

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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””

UK VFX Union featured on fxguide podcast!

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Paul Evans, the BECTU national official for the vfx branch and Joe Pavlo, the vfx branch chair had a chat with Jeff Heuser from the fxguide podcast to talk about their work in the UK to establish a Visual Effects Union. A lot of ground was covered from the explosive growth of the vfx union in the UK over the last year, to some of the issues facing people working in the visual effects industry and a look ahead at the future of the union in the visual effects industry.

listen to the episode here:

fxpodcast #303: UK Union update

We discuss the latest info about UK visual effects artists who are seeking union representation. Joe Pavlo (artist) and Paul Evans (BECTU) are our guests. Unpaid overtime, fear, social media, how to organize, collusion, opting out of overtime… just a few of the things Joe and Paul discuss with our Jeff Heusser

also available to download in iTunes

Inspired? Why not come along to the Thursday VFX LunchMeet every week from 1-2pm in the courtyard at St. Anne’s Church, Wardour Street (nr. Shaftesbury Avenue) and find our more about the vfx union – or just cut to the chase and join the union right now!

London VFX house closing shop?

 

Meard St

 

News has it that Method London is undergoing a huge restructuring which will result in the loss of many jobs during a huge shrinkage. Method currently has around 70 employees, so if true this would be a substantial loss of jobs. Only a few years ago on April 30, 2013 Method gave news on an expansion from a shared existence at its Deluxe Office to a new facility on Meard Street and they were looking forward to a continued growth through 2013.

Just over two years later it looks like Method is reversing trends perhaps to refocus on its global operations? Their website also appears to be currently available at this time.

This just on the back of Double Negative’s announcement last week of its reduction in employees in both London  (40 staff) and Singapore (80 staff) while annoucing the opening of a new Mumbai  expansion in June of this year. Not to mention the contracts that would be up for renewal in its London office, which one can only assume will either not be renewed or will be encouraged to move abroad. To Vancouver, perhaps?

If you are a Bectu member and are affected by these changes either at Method or Double Negative, please get into contact with the VFX Bectu representative, Paul Evans, who can be of service to you in this time of London redundancies and closures. Bectu can help clear up any questions you have about UK Laws and make sure you are aware of your employee rights as well as be your advocate in these situations. That’s one of the great benefits of being part of the union.

If you are not yet in the union, it’s not too late join. Join Here