Open Letter To James Cameron

Careers in vfx whilst being among the most fun and seductive are for that very same reason a daunting prospect.  The competitiveness in the field promotes low wages and long working hours, “but hey, that’s fine by me I love this job!”

If you’re one of the lucky few to go and see Star Wars a New Hope in the cinema, like explorers seeing something new for the first time – you experienced the future in so many ways, but now lies another Death Star on the horizon – is it on a collision course with western workers which have “flourished” in this industry?

Will many vfxers lose their jobs to a free market where China and India’s economies are gaining momentum with ample low-cost workers, no health and safety restrictions – like a swarm of locusts, will they come and devour the western industries?

There are some interesting articles on vfx wages about this topic by Digital Gypsy,  and also an open letter to James Cameron by Lee Stranahan touching this topic.

Personally I think there is a long way to go before there’s anywhere near the level of technology primed by the big VFX houses in the west.  But does this pose the possibility that vfx in the west could become the sole domain of extremely intelligent R&D teams using proprietory technologies enabling the creation of otherwise impossible shots outsourcing all artistic and simple tasks to the cheapest bidder which is already occurring to some extent, if I were running a business that would make perfect sense to me.  Will there be no place for artists in the west?

Counter to this, the wages are apparently increasing rapidly which could mean that a bubble is forming, especially combined with the geography, culture and language barriers, China and India really need to work on increasing output of their own IPs.


~ by cgvector on February 6, 2010.

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