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VES launches effects industry ‘bill of rights’

Saturday, September 24th, 2011 | Posted by Jim Thacker

VFX artists should be free to turn down unexpected overtime work, according to the Visual Effects Society’s new industry bill of rights.

The 23-point charter, published on the VES’s website, sets out a proposed code of rights for artists, visual effects facilities and the companies that hire them.

Other proposed rights for artists include prompt payment, health care coverage, and the automatic right to use work in demo reels after its commercial release.

Rights for facilities concern the need for the scope of a project to be defined clearly in advance and the right to turn down additional work – for which, read project creep – “without fear of reprisal on future projects”.

Rights for changing times
In a statement explaining the new bill of rights, the VES writes: “Though the number of jobs has grown worldwide, job security and working conditions have significantly eroded.”

“In some parts of the world, many artists do not have access to health care coverage [and] non-paid and unchecked overtime, lack of access to pensions and day-to-day job security are key issues. Similarly, many facilities are experiencing tremendous difficulties keeping their doors open because they are finding out that their current business models are broken.”

Enforcing the bill?
The VES’s statement emphasises negotiation over enforcement, positioning the bill as “a starting point for a meaningful discussion that will unfold over the months ahead” – and, as a membership organisation, it has no other way to enforce its proposals.

However, the bill is the first manifestation of the action promised in VES director Eric Roth’s May open letter to the industry, which proposed “virtual town hall meetings, a VFX artists’ Bill of Rights and a VFX CEOs’ forum”.

It will be interesting to see where the VES goes from here in the coming months.

Read the full bill of rights on the Visual Effects Society website

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