Visual Effects Society addresses artist concerns

The Visual Effects Society has released a “bill of rights” designed to address issues of diminishing margins at vfx shops and job instability for vfx artists.

The move is in keeping with the org’s new militancy, first articulated in an open letter to the entertainment industry in May, titled “Visual Effects Society 2.0,” stating that VES was transforming itself from an honorary society to an advocacy organization for its members.

That document expressed major concerns about the vfx industry’s profitability and about the working conditions for its members.

“In the VES open letter, we said it was time to step up as the voice of the visual effects industry,” said VES exec director Eric Roth. “At this time we have engaged in a vigorous dialogue with key stakeholders at all levels and believe our bill of rights lays out the vital concerns of each segment of the industry.”

Stating that vfx worker job security and working conditions have deteriorated, the document declares that vfx practitioners have the right to fully know the terms of their payment and the duration of their assignment, to be paid on time, to negotiate a modification in the terms “should the realities of the position change” and to receive health care coverage.

The VES paper also calls for clear contracts outlining the scope of projects before work begins and for vfx companies to “make a fair and reasonable profit for work performed.” It states that shops should “retain ownership of their intellectually property” and — once a project is commercially released — have the right to show their work to other prospective clients.

Addressing the concerns of film studios, the document says they should be “informed in a timely manner before incurring any excess charges, delays or problems” for work they’ve contracted.

The bill of rights was approved unanimously by the VES board.

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