The visual effects industry has become an integral part of all entertainment products. In its early stages, a small group of skilled artists and technicians created the unreal and impossible from their imaginations with the use of new computer software. It’s now safe to say that most of the entertainment created today is touched by the visual effects industry in some way. As the business model of entertainment changes, the dependence on this work becomes stronger.
Visual effects is one of the few parts of the entertainment industry that is not yet unionized. Visual effects artists are handed shots that were created under agreements that mandated better working conditions and benefits for the crew that made them. VFX artists and technicians are then handed “unionized pixels” to work on, yet don’t have the same protections and benefits the rest of the industry enjoys.
Unionization of the industry would bring the ability to introduce much needed benefits to VFX artists and technicians the rest of the industry enjoys. Some of those are:
- Portable health plans that are available from job to job,
- Portable retirement benefits,
- The ability to create and monitor industry-standard wage minimums.
Most importantly, creating a visual effects union gives the working people of visual effects the ability to sit with the VFX studios on a regular basis to discuss and agree on the improvement of these terms. This ability to speak with a “collective voice” is a powerful way to make the industry better for yourself.
The IATSE has been successful at providing the workplace improvement and benefits needed in the visual effects industry across the range of our agreements for our members. We stand ready to assist working people in the visual effects industry speak together to make their working lives better.