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Why You Should Support a Visual Effects Artists’ Union

VFX govern our movies now more than ever … so why are studios (and certain directors) treating VFX artists like shit?

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By Meg Shields · Published on December 5th, 2022

Welcome to The Queue — your daily distraction of curated video content sourced from across the web. Today, we’re watching a video essay that looks at the state of the modern visual effects crisis.


The VFX industry has gone through seismic changes in the last couple of decades. Big-budget films being helmed by singular “hero” VFX houses (like Industrial Light and Magic) is a thing of the past. The business model has changed. What was once one VFX house can now bloat into twenty-five. Visual effects have never been more present in the movies we watch. And yet, the workforce is being overworked, bullied, and burnt out.

Behind all the memes about a “butthole” cut of Cats or Twitter’s horrified reaction to Sonic’s human teeth, there was an exhausted collection of VFX artists fielding unreasonable demands from directors used to the quick turnaround time of live-action reshoots.

There is a fundamental disconnect between what people think VFX can do and the labor that actually goes into making them a reality. And with a workforce that is increasingly taken for granted and no overarching body to advocate for and protect their rights as workers, it’s no surprise that VFX artists are in crisis.

The following video essay expands on how we got here and what the shape of the VFX crisis looks like. Check it out:

Watch “The Visual Effects Crisis”


Who made this?

This video on the current visual effects crisis is by Andrew Saladino, who runs the Texas-based Royal Ocean Film Society. You can browse their back catalog of videos on their Vimeo account here. If Vimeo isn’t your speed, you can give them a follow on YouTube here.

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Related Topics: The Queue, visual effects

Meg Shields is the humble farm boy of your dreams and a senior contributor at Film School Rejects. She currently runs three columns at FSR: The Queue, How’d They Do That?, and Horrorscope. She is also a curator for One Perfect Shot and a freelance writer for hire. Meg can be found screaming about John Boorman’s ‘Excalibur’ on Twitter here: @TheWorstNun. (She/Her).

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