This Sunday's Academy Awards will be a grand array of blowhards, backpatting, and Jennifer Lawrence .gifs, but it will also be the scene of a contentious, bitter protest. Visual effects artists who brought more Smaug to Smaug and more feathers to Tonto, refuse to move to British Columbia and they are ready to tell you why.
The field is losing jobs and relocating to countries with bigger subsidies for employers. It's the result of a technical revolution that's changed the profession since it kicked off in the 70s with Star Wars creator George Lucas' visual effects company, Industrial Light and Magic.
George Lucas, perfect shaman of filmmaking, is directly responsible for unemployment. As the industry builds, the problem lies within visual effects being one of the only fields without a union or guild.
It all comes down to foreign tax incentives, says David S. Cohen, who covers the special effects beat for Variety. Cohen says California cannot compete with the lavish subsidies studios get from Canada, Australia, the UK and New Zealand. He says other places can offer about 10 percent to even more than 50 percent back on the labor costs for visual effects.
An already bloated industry is looking to cut corners! This means that visual effects artists might have to effectively visualize themselves in other, less-desirable places. As Daniel Lay of VFX Soldier revealed, "many of those remaining workers were given an ultimatum: Move to British Columbia or lose their jobs." Anywhere but British Columbia. Anywhere.