Chastened Visual Effects Society Refocuses Its Mission

Visual Effects Society: Chastened org refocuses

Org abandons advocacy for Calif. vfx industry

The Visual Effects Society started out with the idea that a full-fledged Hollywood craft needed a guild, a trade association and an honorary society. The VES would be the honorary society.

When a vfx guild and trade org never coalesced, VES took up advocacy, even pushing for tax incentives to keep the vfx biz in California. That displeased much of its membership, which spans many countries.

So as 2014 dawns, explains VES executive director Eric Roth, “We have spent a long time taking a fresh look at who we are and feel great reaffirming that we are an honorary society and we are global. We are all about understanding, recognizing and promoting the artists and the artistry all around the world.”

Education is high on the to-do list now, including education for its members (not famous for their business acumen) and for the rest of the industry, says Roth. “It’s all about recognizing that the worldwide effort related to creating incredible imagery is growing, and VES will reflect that.”

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  1. DG says:

    I’ve been in the VFX industry for 40 years now–starting with miniatures & traditional photographic effects. Optical compositing was my stock-in-trade for over two decades. Made the transition to digital, where I saw the infighting and back-stabbing to be even worse than the photo-chemical days.

    I have never been a member of the VES and never chased it. Couldn’t see the point.

    Now, I’ve moved into producing. And I would love to see California increase subsidies–as long as it’s done carefully and fairly. Subsidy programs in New Mexico and Louisiana have indeed helped grow their economies–when not abused, that is. (Yes, there’s always going to be someone who will try to scam it, but that’s why people are hired to monitor. Michigan got itself into big trouble, but if you looked at their program, it never made any sense for them to offer what they did in the first place.)

    We have already seen a slight production boost from the present program California has. But the current program is a joke–what, with its lottery aspect & all–so, if they’re going to do something, the state must make a significant commitment to it. If done right, no one’s school funding should be jeopardized, and it *will* greatly help to boost production.

    Southern California still has the best talent and all-round practical locations of anywhere.

  2. Rick Sander says:

    There is no SoCal vfx industry except for some commercial work. So this wasn’t a tough decision.

    • GW says:

      VES has always been a joke as an organization. Organization, organizing what? They are and always have been coattail riders pretending to be a part of the vfx community, the board that is, not the artists that actually had faith in them and promoted the ideology they neither committed to or comprehend, weather they dipped their toes in vfx production or not they really just stroke egos with the agenda to be a part of the community making them special to whomever. Like a filthy rich ceo that acquires a company or project so they can brag to their friends that they’re connected to Hollywood, it’s nothing more than hero worship and hubris.

      But alas, just like any fanboy they look for the next thing that will make them think they’re cool. Honoring VES is a dishonor to ourselves and our contributions as artist’s actually in the field and actually doing the work. They’re simply our entourage swimming in the wake behind our talent. A talent that struggles to stay afloat in an ever growing hostile environment to which their response is hands off cause they were never here to contribute, they were here to pretend they were a part of vfx.

      Talent would be wise to ignore them entirely and stop thinking their opinion has a place in the artist’s\contributors struggles and that a tip of their hat means anything more than, well nothing at all.

      They’ve never had the balls to have an actual opinion worthy of contribution or reflection for any artist or project. They just hope to be the vfx emmy’s guys. Problem is the Emmy’s, the Oscar’s have the weight of supporting their respected artist’s causes. Which is polar opposite of the joke that VES has always been long before things went world wide.

      Now even more they’re more vile than paparazzi for they actually pretend to care about a community that only they alone have the gull to insists exists so they can continue their mirage of purpose.

      Dump your memberships they’re worthless, listen to your family they offer you more honor. Listen to your peers the same. VES is comicon with a rewards ceremony that really means fuck all.

  3. WTF does it even mean that education is high on their to-do list? “Education” is always a focus point for countless politicians, companies and social organizations… and yet we live in a world full of people aren’t smart or capable enough to make employment situations and social economics better than what they are.

  4. Disgruntled says:

    Why does anyone even bother with the VES. Its nothing but a bunch of blowhards who go around doing jack squat for the industry and pat themselves on the back…all the while they take your membership dues. AND FOR WHAT?

    Such a waste.

    • I agree. The VES has been in a position to help artists for a long time but has done nothing while the LA industry collapsed. Vfxsoldier did more to help the VFX industry in just a few years than the VES ever did.

  5. VFX Soldier says:

    I was one of those people who criticized the VES for advocating more subsidies in CA because of my objection to the harmful distorting effects of subsidies. The VES simply cannot take action concerning subsidies and this is why we are forming a trade organization callled ADAPT: The Association of Digital Artists Professionals and Technicians.

    We have attained a Washington based law firm to challenge subsidies in the US Court of International Trade. If the panel of judges agree that the domestic industry is being injured by subsidies and we demonstrate that we have the support of the domestic industry, a mandatory duty will be placed on producers who would have to effectively pay the amount of subsidies they recieve back to the government. This would negate their distortive effects. No Congress or Presidential approval needed.

    You can read about our law firms findings here:

    and You can join our rally to end VFX subsidies on March 2 on Hollywood and Vine:

    • Fede Ponce says:

      Doesn’t it make sense to make California competitive with the rest of the world? The infrastructure is already here. The studios are here. Attract talent and business with long term subsidies and incentives. Fighting the incentives is going to put the nail in the coffin for California. VFX solider before you go on a rant, let me ask you this: Have you ever produced a multi million dollar picture? If not how can you possibly understand the global market from that perspective.

      • Mark Duckworth says:

        Fede, do you really believe it is in the best interest of everyone for California to increase subsidies and incentives?. As a L.A. based VFX artist, would I love to see jobs return to CA. But do I want to see it happen by subsidies? Hell no. I’m also a father and I know that that money would have to come from somewhere. One such area would more than likely be our (already underfunded) schools. I cannot endorse anything that will put my son’s education on the chopping block just so that I can have another gig here.

    • DG says:

      It would be no trick to prove that local jobs are being and have been destroyed. The results so far have already been devastating.

      We especially owe one back to Canada for all the damage they’ve caused us.

      Good luck with this.

      I hope to join you.

  6. Sandy Bullock says:

    Ves is a bunch of old blowhards. They can take their ves awards and shove it. Does anyone really think ‘education’ is an issue? Give me a break.

    • Disgruntled says:

      Haha….I used the exact phrase ‘blowhard’ before even seeing your comment. Its absolutely true.
      The heads of the VES are idiots only looking out for themselves and their studios.

  7. DG says:

    Similarly, the IATSE has locals in Canada–so it cannot properly do anything to protect its US members from jobs migrating North. Lotsa good that does us down here. We need a “national” alliance, not an “international” one.

    The only thing that’s going to really help is the passing of federal legislation that flat-out prohibits the exportation of our jobs. And I’m not holding my breath for that to happen.

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