Early this year, FX artists faced a bitter irony. Life of Pi won Best Director and Best Visual FX at the Academy Awards, but the FX company that created the incredible visuals, Rhythm and Hues, had just gone bankrupt. It’s hard to imagine FX companies going out of business, but they’ve been going through a hard time lately, which is thanks to studios underbidding movies, and outsourcing jobs.
This year, Tippett Studios laid off 40% of its staff, and we just saw Pixar lay off nearly 5% of the company because of their long delayed film, The Good Dinosaur. Now Variety tells us that when Obama visits DreamWorks Animation this week, he will be protested by a group of FX artists in what’s being called a “Green Shirt rally.”
FX artists are tired of seeing their work being outsourced overseas, and a group of them will be wearing green shirts, representing green screen, to protest this. When FX artists protested the Oscars this year, they were carrying green protest signs as a way of saying that a movie can be little more than a blank screen is without the creativity of an FX artist.
FX artists are pushing to have laws passed that would issue tariffs on FX work that’s done overseas. As Variety tells us, “VFX artist have argued that the subsidies may be enough to trigger World Trade Organization duties, especially as the VFX business in California has been decimated.”
With movies costing ridiculous amounts of money, it’s cheaper to film something overseas, and this has had disastrous consequences on moviemaking in the States. A small protest certainly won’t change anything overnight, but if it can raise awareness, it’s certainly a good start.