Many will say that the demonstration that took place a block away from the Oscars by VFX artists was a waste of time, but nothing can be further from the truth.
Today, Jeffrey A. Okun, Chair of the Visual Effects Society (VES), sent a message to all VES members responding to the demonstration, to what happened at the Oscars ceremony, and to the outrage that now reigns in all the digital and social media.
In his message, Okun emphasized that without a doubt, the situation that VFX studios are facing has come to a “tipping point”. “It has become painfully obvious that while profits abound for producers and distributors, our budgets are being squeezed to the point of jeopardizing our jobs and the quest for a reasonable life style for VFX artists,” said the VES Chair.
But he wanted to make clear that blaming the production studios and subsidies is the wrong approach. The solution lies in the studios working together as one. “We are in a business, not a charity. We must be willing to say ‘no’ unilaterally if we want to make change. It is not enough for one company or one artist or one city, state or country to do it alone. We must all do it.”
At the end of his message Okun assured VES’ commitment to bring the leaders of the industry together to think about a business model that is sustainable.
He also messaged his outrage to the way the “Life of Pi” VFX team was forced to finished their acceptance speech during the Oscars and what he called an “insult.”
Okun also took the opportunity to clear up that his interview with Variety was taken out of context and wanted to give the message himself. ” What I said was: Change needs to happen. That I supported the protest and even more the protesters. I said that what we need is a clearer sense of strategic thinking about what we should be asking for with the support of the entire VFX community. I felt that to organize a formal protest without well defined goals was not the best way to capitalize on the anger in our community (although I was heartened to hear that hundreds of artists from our community took part).”