Jeff, the problem is that we, as people, are divided. The rich think globally and long term. We
think in terms of countries, in terms of 4-5 years of a political party reign, in terms of city, area,
industry, job specialty, local community and lastly we think about number one. It's not a bad
idea since we only have one life, and we all really are born, live and die alone, yet all this well
played out divide and conquer plan does us ill. Rich people think in terms of decades and stick
to their plans. We don't. We act like starved dogs being given a bone...and maybe the worst is
yet to come.
Yeah I agree with Jeff, its up to the employee. Someone asks you to work for a day without pay you say sure, as long as I can have an extra paid day off after I finish. Someone asks to work on a whole project like they did on Journey to the Center of the Earth without pay, you say EF You, pay me. There's no other answer to that question if you have any moral compass at all. Integrity and morality aren't just things you learn about in philosophy class. Especially when your company is opening a new million dollar facility in another country so they can hire even cheaper labor and get even better tax breaks. I mean how is this even a discussion?
Dpaint, now that you've become clearer on the reasons of being tough on the matter, yes I do agree, and
I'm just as strict in any kind of job. Many a-time I've been hired to go from A to B, then asked to go all the
way to Z, I've always went just to B while everyone around me would cry and moan about my making a
mistake. I'm laughing now...I live in Greece...most have no jobs...those who do literally kiss ass everyday
thanking their employers for the privilege of working 6 hours a day, for the equivalent pay of $350-450 a month.
I make more for less, and by doing art. I still got a long ways to go yet I keep the discipline, so what if
I lose some work by not killing the rates.
For me (and I've bitched about this a couple of times), a major contributor to this is the very thinly dispersed
info on the business side of things. Sure there's abundant info on how to learn to draw and paint, a googolplex
of articles and people who'll tell you to keep learning and practicing, and an infinite number of people who
encourage the notion that the industry is a dog eat dog place and you'd better be prepared to take it up the
ass more and stab your brother deeper in the heart, to get those few more bucks. Couple that with the skim of
info on the rates down the ages and one who knows little of what pay to expect for what jobs and what quality
and time of work, well, he'll undercut himself unknowingly simply because he'll be getting something and that will
make him feel well, because he won't know that he SHOULD be making more for the same work.
Ignorance is bliss, for the boss' pocket.
On the plus side, there's more information readily available now, thanks to the Internet... On the flip side, though, there's also a ton more misinformation flying around. And if someone doesn't know which is which, they'll end up charging DeviantArt rates because they think that's How it's Done. I suppose the best way to combat that is to keep spreading good information as far and as loudly as possible.
Also, if you insist on charging decent rates, it can not only pay off, it can also trickle up (to some extent...) I do a lot of work for a particular agency where the CEO has had a tendency in the past to cave in to the client's demands and do extra work for free. However, the person doing the work is me, and if it's extra, I tell him I'm going to have to charge extra, no exceptions. So if he wants to pay me, he has to charge the client... And you know what, usually it turns out the client is okay with this, once it's explained. And if this happens often enough, the client begins to expect that changes will cost extra, and starts prefacing change requests with "how much will it cost to..."
I think I'm gradually getting some of these people trained, anyway.
I mean it's sad and all, but this is how every single industry works in the free market. When you have an abundance of stuff, it gets cheap. A lot of people want to do art/creative stuff. If you want a guaranteed solid job, pick something where the demand is much higher than the supply like computer programming.
Can you increase your value in a free market with tons of competition? Sure, through branding + networking. Market yourself and increase the quality of the services your provide. Even among the sea of people working in the entry level class, there are people who get picked over others because of their quality of work/references/etc. Once they get in, their value increases, so on and so forth.
When I worked at a web design place, they were outsourcing to a underdeveloped country for cheaper creative services. They still kept me because they knew I had quality graphic design work that the cheaper labor couldn't reproduce.
I 110% agree with the above poster saying that art programs in schools need business classes to teach you how to market yourself, write contracts, etc. Huge hole missing in today's education system in probably every major.
Reading dpaints quote in post #28 exposing some of the lies in the industry gave me the chills and made my stomach turn. Good find. Reminds me of a quote:
""No Greater wrong can ever be done than to put a good man at the mercy of a bad, while telling him not to defend himself or his fellows: in no way can the success of evil be made surer or quicker."
Last edited by Pigeonkill; March 2nd, 2013 at 02:34 PM.
Make a sketchbook happy, feed it a tip to improve!
Great quote Pigeonkill...exactly what we're talking about. Integrity is important because it extends beyond oneself. It extends to those following you, it extends to your peers and it extends to the industry as a whole. Unionized or not those that undercut other creatives are scabs, plain and simple. Anyone who accepted work below its value just to secure that work or job has no right to bitch when the same happens to them.
What bothers me about this entire issue (and I mean outsourcing in general, not just the deterioration of VFX) is there is a simple fix. The simple fix is for the US Government Trade Commission (or whichever arm of the octopus) to establish tarriffs and taxes that balance the equation so that outsourcing doesn't provide any advantage. But since the guvment is now owned and controlled by Americorp they have gamed everything to maximize profit and concentrate wealth at the pinnacle rather than allowing it to spread to the people who actually do the work. If the trade equation were equalized I could care less if they want to ship whatever jobs overseas.
I think it would have to be a bit calculated as to what you tariff. But say foreign governments provide a 30% incentive that goes into the studios pocket. That should be addressed no?
If the undercutting keeps happening with nothing being addressed it's impossible to compete locally. Local workers can't afford to work for the pay some in foreign factories can where it's basically slave labor. It happens in job market after market .
The lie that is being told is that companies can't compete with the lower costs in other countries. Sure they can the just don't make as much on their returns because society dictates and regulates their profits based on social morays.
It all depends on what we decide is an acceptable level. Why not use child labor? Or criminals and not even pay them. Why not just take over weaker countries and take what we want? If you allow profit and power to pool into smaller and smaller circles you end up with corporate oligarchies on a global level. All oligarchies tend to be nepotistic and tyrannical. This is why we should encourage building a middle class world wide not dismantling it.
What we currently have going on is a major difference in economic pressure (by that I mean like atmospheric pressure) which only equalizes by the high pressure center losing pressure to the low pressure areas. That takes the form of jobs, money, experience, innovation, etc. leaving the U.S. and being developed elsewhere. The result is a much lower standard of living in the U.S. and a higher standard elsewhere. The rich don't care because here or there they still make money as the investors and directors - in fact it is to their benefit to find and exploit the cheaper labor. Which is exactly what has been happening since Reagan and rampant deregulation.
Might be a good thing for the rest of the world but kinda sucks here.
Edit: On the Smoot-Hawley Act...not sure I'm bright enough to make much sense of all that...and whether it even relates in principle to the global markets of 2013 is an important question. Just to be clear I am not advocating some kind of general tariff policies on all kinds of goods...and maybe tariff is the wrong tool as well. What I'm saying is companies/corporations that use offshore labor and resources should be taxed or have some sort of fees applied to the goods and products they bring back into this country that balances the equation so that American jobs and innovation are protected to some degree.
Edit Dos: By the way thanks Kamber for the link to that wikipedia page. Very interesting - now reading teh related page on Protectionism. Which made me realize something important (related to this discussion anyway - which is pretty much not important)....tariff is definitely not what I'm talking about - high tariffs with trade partners on imports. I'm talking about U.S. companies profiting by taking jobs, equipment, etc. offshore and gutting middle class America just so they can maximize their profit margins. Seems to me it would be fairly easy to assess what something should cost and levy fees to cover the difference. Sure, it might mean that the CEO doesn't make 700% what the lineworker makes but I'm all for that.
Last edited by JeffX99; March 2nd, 2013 at 08:31 PM.
Not meaning to launch an attack on you. I invoke Smoot Hawley, as a sort of reasoning by analogy, to bring up the issue of "unintended consequences" involving any, legislative, attempt to "protect American jobs."
Unfortunately, in a global economy, the American CEOs will go with the cheapest labor they can find-- hence most of our clothes and electronics are made in places like China, Korea, Vietnam, Bangladesh, and other parts of the world. (You can take off the shoes you're wearing or pull the back of your cell phone battery compartment to verify this. As well, most of the "drive train" and electronics of your "American Car" are probably fabricated offshore.) Famously, to paraphrase Steve Jobs, when asked when Apple products would be manufactured in America he replied: "Never."
Corporations exist to make money for the owners and shareholders by any legal means, period. (And, prior to the mid-1800s in America, that included slavery).
American kids take 3 months off every year from school-- at one time they were needed to harvest crops-- they no longer are for the most part. As well, the rank and file dumber (middle class and upper middle class) American highschool graduates graduate without knowledge of Calculus or nuts and bolts programming skills-- that's not the way it is in. . .India.
I hear the moral aspects of your position. But, markets are a bitch!
I wouldn't disagree with any of that...that is the reality and what has been happening for quite some time. The consequences of that process are radically shifting the geo-political world and power structure in ways we can't begin to predict...but in ways I find to be very worrisome.
And yes, corporations exist to make money - hell people exist to make money essentially. But governments exist to protect their citizens and unfortunately our government has been bought and is owned by corporations.
And yet things can change if we make them change
the greatest expansion of the middle class in the history of the world. It only began to be dismantled with Reagan and it continues to this day. Its not impossible, just difficult.
Many teachers have been complaining about that policy. The worst of it is that it leaves very little room for well-meaning teachers to add any real useful assignments to the curriculum, and any useful assignments they add aren't counted in the official evaluations of students' so-called "progress", so it's all a huge mess. Homeschooling looks better and better these days.
Our educational system here will only get worse. We can't stop the flood. Money is simply more important to us than culture or knowledge. As long as a bad to average athlete is paid way more than an excellent 6th grade teacher where to you think the priorities will lie?
Home schooling is an option but is hard as hell.
By the way Armand. I don't know how to get commenting status on your FB page but I wanted to shout with joy over your Journey post. Saw them twice before the Perry death blow. Once in the gym at Foothill College sitting in the front row with the Doobie Brothers. I can't tell you how many enraptured, yes I used the word enraptured, hours I spent devouring their first two, mostly, albums. My Chevy van with speakers all around blasting Of a Lifetime or In the Morning Day. I know we all have stories of band sell outs but this one was particularly brutal for me. If I were connected to the Korean mob in those days I would have hired someone to deal with Steve Perry. Sorry for the derail. Just hit home with me Armand.
Last edited by bcarman; March 3rd, 2013 at 12:51 PM.
Bill I don't see how home schooling is an option we as a society and government are basically abrogating responsibility to lower and middle class families that can't support themselves now or can barely support themselves. When both parents work one or more jobs how do they home school someone?
You're right. It takes a special situation to be able to handle it. A situation that very few people have. Did you check my edit above Armand?
It's definitely an issue. My wife and I homeschooled our daughter until eighth grade, but that was only possible because we both freelanced, and even then we sacrificed a lot in terms of the amount of work my wife was able to take. Also, any view of homeschooling as a panacea suffers as soon as one meets an "unschooled" eleven-year-old who can't read, not to mention the creationists and antivaxxers.
**Finished Work Thread **Process Thread **Edges Tutorial
Crash Course for Artists, Illustrators, and Cartoonists, NYC, the 2013 Edition!
"Work is more fun than fun."
"Art is supposed to punch you in the brain, and it's supposed to stay punched."
You'd be surprised how much kids can learn on their own if you let them, though. Me and my sister were largely self-motivated and self-taught. Our parents were mostly there for encouragement and answering questions.
Although I agree stupid parents make for a terrible homeschooling environment... So yeah, it depends. The other alternative is private schools, but those tend to cost a lot, so middle-class families and below are kind of excluded from that option.
Journey was the biggest sellout in the history of rock. I remember the first concert at Winterland when Steve Perry came out people booed them off the stage and threw stuff at them. You could tell the other band members were pissed because they had quite a strong following in the bay area. It wasn't long after that Ainsley Dunbar quit I think Greg Rollie hung on for awhile longer I don't remember exactly when he left. But yeah i'm with you I was upset for months. There was something great that never translated to their albums from their live concerts.
Currently, the learning of calculus and programming leans more towards the elite students who will end up in college. In other countries, kids graduate from highschool with tech and math skills that can be directly used by employers in the global economy. Until our "secondary" schooling is revamped to give kids viable "S.T.E.M." skills upon graduation, they're not going to be able to compete with their 18 year old competitors in Korea, China and India.
As well, looking at foreign tech schools and "community college" equivalents, they're consistently producing grads who can hit the ground running faster and harder than grads of American 4 yr. Engineering programs.
(And if you're an American engineer, over 50, and out of work? Lots of luck. . . )
It's a new world-- improvise, adapt, overcome. . . or die.
Let's make that STEAM instead of STEM.
It seems to me, most people commenting here have hit some very good points. Especially the point about VFX houses working for less money, for fear that the studios will then just outsource the jobs to third world countries.
However, I want to humbly bring up the fact that WE are a MAJOR part of the problem.
Somehow, the MILLIONS of current aspiring concept artists, 3d modellers, matte painters, animators etc... Think that overflooding the market with new talent, will still allow them to make as good a living as previous generations of proffessionals. No can do.
The fact is, that with the recent boom in interest in this field on the younger generation. Countless universities are adding VFX related training programs EVERYWHERE.
This allows for the all too familiar "Work for free while you are in school so you can get exposure" type scenarios, of which the studios are all too aware.
Also, this is not only true for the USA. The industry is using this kind of practice of getting free labour from schools all over the place.
Even schools like FZD in singapore bring in the students into certain low level projects as "part of their education".
If you are a studio, why would you want to hire a full time professional and provide him with employee benefits, when there are litterally HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of young, hungry students willing to work for mere pennies just to "Get their foot in the door"?
Competition generates higher work quality, BUT it also drives down the price of labour.
Schools are also extremely guilty of this. Not only are they taking advantage of this feverish obsession of the millions of aspiring artists by charging astronomical tuition costs, but they are also getting free labour from the students, by accepting paying contracts and turning these into "school projects" that PAYING students have to do for them for free!
Has anyone also missed the fact that the number of jobs in the industry simply does NOT match the increasing number of new comers and hopefuls?
This means that the VAST MAJORITY of future professionals might just have to accept terrible pay and no benefits, just to be able to "Live the dream" of working in videogames and films. (Or to try and pay back their crippling school debt.)
This is one more factor to consider when making sense of the dire, gloomy state of the VFX industry.
Last edited by Holydivered7; March 10th, 2013 at 12:49 PM.