fxpodcast: we nominate Scott Ross

When we talked with Scott Ross about six months ago you let us know by the number of downloads, emails and personal comments that it was one of our most popular podcasts. We check back in with Scott with an unusual proposal, for the duration of the podcast we put him in charge of the worldwide visual effects industry to get his view on what the industry needs to do for its health, growth and survival.

Visit the fxpodcast page for direct downloads and RSS feed links. To be notified automatically and have the episodes downloaded in iTunes, subscribe via this link.

19 thoughts on “fxpodcast: we nominate Scott Ross”

  1. Thank you Scott and Jeff for this great podcast. Fantastic insight but a little scary to students like me who are wanting to enter the industry…

    Thank you for fighting for current and future generation of VFX artists.

  2. Where’s the survey again? Couldn’t get the link mentioned in the podcast to work. (Maybe it’s just me)

    1. We’re mad as hell and we’re not going to take it anymore, Scott!
      We support you.
      Thank you for your candid comments and insight.
      The interview could have gone on for hours.

      Thanks for the Interview, Jeff!

  3. Yeah, I am particularly interested in global issues Scott mentioned, and more specifically toward China.
    More and more people are coming to China or show interests in its business. But it is still a myth place to a lot of outsiders I think.
    Within years it could become worlds largest vfx OEM market, just like all the other businesses. You definitely need to reckon with that when talking about so-called world wide trade organization of VFX. Hope there will be a podcast talking about the ongoing industry in China and its own issues/hopes/influences.

    1. Jack, I’ve spent a bit of time in China… I was there about 6 weeks ago… Xi’an, Shanghai, Beijing, Macau, HK. I’ve been invited back in the end of August. I’ve some insight into that market and if FX Guide asks me back, I’d be happy to do another podcast about China, it’s VFX industry and film industry.

  4. Pingback: Scott Ross Vs. Scott Ross « VFX Soldier

    1. I would really like for Scott Ross to explain why the companies and not the artists should organize and to explain his contradiction.

      The TAG Blog and VFX Soldier have already discussed why its a contradiction what he’s said.

      1. Josh,

        Unions have traditionally benefitted employees in an environment where the employees are terribly underpaid, taken advantage of, have poor benefits and are unfairly treated… usually by employers that are fat cat industrialists. A Union representing the employees are interested in changing the above and making sure that their constituency is heard… addressing their concerns.

        In the case of VFX, the “fat cats” (the VFX companies) are not fat at all… in fact, they are starving feral beasts barely able to keep their doors open. This is not because of bad management, it is because of not being able to negotiate fair deals w their clients, the major motion picture studios (in this case, the really fat cats). VFX artists are generally highly compensated, and in the larger companies… have reasonable benefits. The issue here oftentimes is the workload…. and the feast or famine nature of the business.

        If the VFX employees were able to organize and form a union… the results of that organization would most probably be to increase the cost of VFX production. In our industry, given the wage structure, most artists are not paid scale…. so the cost per hour would not substantially change. What most likely would change is OT pay, short turn around time and health benefits. Health benefits are extraordinarily expensive nowadays, as everyone knows. Of course, most employers would love to offer its employees great health benefits, but with the way VFX companies are not making any money…there is NO wiggle room in bids. So increased costs will not be able to be passed on to the clients…. and therefore there will be even greater margin erosion… or greater losses by the already starving VFX companies.

        OTpay/short turn around… contrary to what many of the digital artists may think… the management of the VFX companies would love to curtail OT…. OT further lowers the VFX compaies margins as the VFX company is on a FIXED bid. And oftentimes that OT and horrendous schedule crunch is because of the directors whims and wishes…. not the desire to work the VFX employees to death. At present, the VFX company has no way of controlling the director or the studio and so, the VFX company becomes the whipping boy and the VFX employee is the one that gets whipped. Any union regulations imposed on the VFX company will only increase costs but have very little effect on ACTUALLY reducing OT.

        And finally… there are no Unions in China and India. If you haven’t noticed there is a great deal of run away production. Oftentimes I hear producers say that…. “there is no union in Prague”. Well, if there was a VFX union in the USA, the effect of that, IMHO would be to accelerate the globalization of the VFX business and we will see accelerated job deterioration as well.

        I hope this helped explain my take… I’d love the opportunity to discuss this further w you….


    2. I just read the VFX soldier piece on Scott Ross vs Scott Ross (after I wrote the response). Wow… impressive.
      I used to be a member of the board of trustees of the IATSE and over the years had dealings with the IA.

      I am speaking from the position of having owned and operated large VFX facilities as well as my familiarity with the IA. I am open to learning more and would enjoy discussing many of the points you bring up in your very well crafted piece. Send me an email ([email protected]) and we can set up some time to grab a coffee. I’d enjoy hearing your perspective.

      And, btw, thanks for the choice of using my pic…. I look really young there!


  5. Pingback: Scott Ross Slams Unions, but Really .. He’s Just Another Labor Organizer « Nickelodeon CG Artists and The Animation Guild

    1. Slams Unions?

      I love the choice of words. A little over the top? I am not against unions…. I am for solutions.

      At present, I don’t see how a Union solves the VFX industry dilemma. I’d be open to learning more about how unions might be a solution for the industry, in fact, I’d like to invite the IATSE and/or the Animation Guild to sit down with me and have an open public forum to discuss what the paths of correction might be to save our industry. If the appropriate path is a Union or a Guild…. I’d throw my support behind either effort. Let’s stop making disparaging remarks and start solving problems!

      1. Greetings Scott!

        I don’t think its “over the top” to call your misrepresentation of IA wage scales or of how you draw a conclusion to union organization as “exacerbating the situation”. I also found it a bit alarmist to say that organizing visual effects artists under the Guild or an IA contract would force the work overseas because “there are no unions in India”.

        However, I did agree with you that the industry would benefit from having studios organized as well as the artists. As I pointed out in the TAG Blog post I authored, I agree that having the VFX studios collectively bargaining with the producers would achieve the goal the Guild has for its members and any visual effects artist. That with healthy and profitable studios comes a place where artists can work and be appreciated. I also feel with your experience and passion, there isn’t anyone more qualified or able to do that task.

        Finally, I think its important to reiterate that while the studios need organization to stop their practices of undercutting each other and stretching schedules and budgets to get their names on the screen, its the artists who bear the burden of that cutting and stretching. Therefore, its of tantamount importance that the artists be represented collectively by an organization who has proven itself to be willing and able. That is where we, TAG and the IA, proudly would stand with you.

        Steve Kaplan
        [email protected]

  6. As the co-owner of a smaller VFX facility, I am ready to open my wallet and support Scott because he is probably the only person who is in the right position at the right time with the right rolodex. There are very few if any other candidates who understand how hard it is to run a vfx facility. I would rather play nice with other facilities than tear each each other apart in a race to the bottom.

    -david burton
    with a twist studio

  7. Pingback: FILM INDUSTRY NEWS « Piasa Valley Film's Blog

  8. Pingback: Film Industry News Latest « Piasa Valley Film's Blog

Comments are closed.