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VFX Assemble questions

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Hi Guys,

I am not working in the industry, but I have been  reading news about it for many years now, about its economy and what problems it is facing (the tax rebates that push people to move very often between countries, the lack of knowledge on the process on the production side, which leads to poor budget estimation, changing mind at the last minutes and crunching peoples when deadline arrives etc. Etc.), and hearing stories about working in VFX and having difficulties to do it as a living (at least in London ?).

I have read recently about this initiative : https://vfxassemble.unions.org.uk/ . This is a union of workers in the UK in the VFX field. I am not neither expert about unions, but I was wondering why people don’t subscribe that much ? It seems all other workers in the film industry are, and it seems it has helped.

I would be very happy to hear what real workers (and not journalist and so on) thinks about that, and what are their experience so far in the VFX industry. Apart from passion, what makes people stay ?

Happy to hear you !

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I think what you've read and said so far is relatively accurate in terms of downfalls in the VFX industry from my personal experience too,

- Overtime and lack of organisation is quite a widespread discussion/complaint of those in the industry (Often large companies don't want their employee's to be part of a union which would somewhat stop them forcing crazy overtime hours for no extra pay, and often it is written into contracts that you are waving away your right to only work the government recommended 40hours a week and any extra hours worked will be unpaid but you are expected to work the overtime to complete projects) - which perhaps could be avoided with more organisation and understanding further up the pipeline. 

- Another personal take is that due to VFX going through a bidding process where companies compete price wise for a client this means a company can win many contracts but for smaller amounts of money than really required and therefore time. Meaning the artists are the ones doing crazy work hours to deliver on time rather than VFX bidding being sensible and people quoting a more accurate price for what is required. (Due to the competitive nature and need to win big clients over with cheap quotes/bids) 

- Passion and artistry i think is a large reason many people remain in the industry, alongside the scope and importance of projects (who wouldn't want to work on the next big feature film as such or game or commercial) and Pay can sometimes be something worth noting, from what i know its heavily dependant on experience and the company you work for, but can reep some decent financial rewards depending where you go and what exact role you take

Don't get me wrong though this is not a, all the time and every company scenario,  it happens here and there and often most prominent at deadlines (quite like some other industrys), it is a fantastic industry to work in as a creative/tech kinda person and so if you are determined and focused dont let this put you off!  (But be aware of it and dont let people waste your time or overwork you if you can avoid it) 

Sooo to answer your question about unionization i think its purely due to the scare factor and certain companies not hiring those who are part of unions (something i have heard discussed but not sure how correct i am), and so people dont take the risk joining them, thats just my guess/thoughts as i myself consider joining them but wasnt sure of the consequences or how it would benefit me in the work place - But if everyone did i think VFX workers globally would be happier and perhaps better off and not allow large corporations to take somewhat advantage as some already seem to do 

Hope this helps just a small personal viewpoint from my experience and from experiences others have told me :)

Chris. 

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Thanks for your feedback, that’s indeed very interesting !

I read a report made in France for our ministry of Culture, about « how we could foster vfx industry in France », and they noticed the same problems about bad budgeting and bad consideration of vfx at the pre-production stage (apart that few french produced movies require vfx...). They mentionned passion as the main driver for vfx workforce in France. Here we have very low salaries compared to other countries (in vfx industry i mean). But they also said that globally, there is a shortfall of people in that sector : demand remains globally high thanks to us production... so i wouldn’t fear about unionize : they need qualified people :-)

Thanks for this interesting chat !

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