5 Simple Clicks to Safeguard Your Future in Film VFX

VFX Soldier launches international campaign to end VFX Subsidies.

You need to support the campaign by donating because “subsidies distort the price of visual effects work. This has led to a race to the bottom where many of our colleagues are forced to constantly move around the world as US studios chase subsidies for their films” – VFX Soldier.

1. VFX Soldier’s Campaign to End VFX Subsidies Begins

2. The VFX Subsidy War – Part I – US 

3. The VFX Subsidy War – Part II – International

4. Mainstream Media on Film Subsidy Race

5. Donate to the Campaign


  1. You are a UK based industry professional. As you’re well aware the VFX industry exists here largely thanks to subsidies. NOT due to the quality of work. Given that ALL the major film studios are California based what is London’s competitive advantage, once the subsidies are removed?
    If you can answer me that simple question, I will consider donating.

    • Dear Charlie,

      I think you are being a bit unfair. 🙂
      UK VFX industry exists because of the extraordinary talent it has and the quality of work it produces. Framestore, Double Negative, The Mill and MPC, to name just few, are the winners of Academy Awards, Baftas and VES awards for their VFX work.
      Subsidies are unfair on both the facilities and the artists as they are short term and create false security.
      Britain has a lot to offer in production and post-production and I am sure you will agree that it is unacceptable for the artists to uproot every six months to follow the work to not just different countries but different continents.
      The Film Studios have simply become too greedy.
      This is a global issue which needs to be tackled and resolved for the sake of everyone passionate about the VFX.
      And if it is not resolved, it will be only fair to make it clear that the career in VFX is going to be an option just for the young, the single and the unattached.

  2. Being a UK industry pro myself, I sure like to think that the industry exists here due to the “extraordinary quality of our work”.
    However that is simply not true. I, as I am sure, you, have met extraordinarily talented artists from all over the world, which have gathered in London, momentarily, due to subsidies.
    Consistently, I can tell you that the most brilliant, technically prepared and artistically savvy artists have been from the U.S., specifically California.
    If the subsidies are removed and California is able to compete on an even keel, and if work is attributed simply on talent of the workforce, London will stop being such an attractive location in short order, certainly in the scale we have become accustomed to, and which employ so many people.
    With massive timezone differences, and the fact that all film studios are located in L.A. what is their incentive in sending work over when incentives are removed?
    Let’s not also forget that despite higher rates and overtime being paid there, the cost of living is still a lot lower in L.A (around 30 per cent lower ). As well as in many other locations. There is simply no reason why work should come to London and not elsewhere in Europe where the cost of living is cheaper.
    You can not forget that 10-15 years ago, there was a massive industry in France ( working in U.S. vfx blockbusters in massive Paris companies which all but disappeared when Potter came to London and the subsidies kicked into gear ). and MPC, Dneg, Framestore, Cinesite et al where nowhere near the scale they are now.
    Or do you think our French colleagues are in London because they enjoy the British summer? In the same way they came here, they can always return and build an industry that dwarfs ours. Same for Germans, Italians, Czech, etc.
    Further, the industry in the U.K. has chronic issues which have never been resolved, chief among them, unpaid over time and low rates ( compared to other international locations ) which propels many film artists to leave the U.K. for greener pastures, whenever they achieve the level of seniority required to get a visa elsewhere.
    The recent mass layoffs in Soho, should also serve to indicate that the industry is not as healthy as the heads of some vfx houses would lead you to believe when they proclaim there is a “skills” shortage in this country. And this is with film subsidies in place, I would dare you to imagine a future in which their current competitive advantage is removed.
    For all of these reasons I would be very careful before endorsing an iniciative which might endanger your livelihood and that of many of your colleagues.

  3. Dear Charlie,

    You see how volatile and uncertain it all is. Facilities can’t even hold onto staff, even when staff work overtime for free and on lower rates than elsewhere. It is the Studios that endanger livelihood of our colleagues who endure constant cycle of ‘hire and fire’ caused by Studios’ chase of subsidies. You have no idea how many panicky calls I get from my very experienced and talented colleagues who are regularly given one week notice on the projects and then left in limbo for months and that is after working weekends and long overtimes for free. The facilities suffer too as they have to sometimes pump their own money (made in commercials) into high profile blockbuster films that the Studios are making enormous profits on. Maybe the time has come to reassess and concentrate on building an industry that is not so dependant on the whims of Hollywood executives.

    • I can certainly see your point. And I am in favour of stimulating local production. But I would point out that current incentives do not exist solely for the benefit of Hollywood studios. U.K. based film studios could take advantage of them to create their films.
      If they haven’t already, what makes you think that they will once these incentives are removed?
      Oh right, there are no U.K. based film studios. Let’s stop the wishful thinking and concentrate on reality. Currently blockbuster vfx films are funded by U.S. studios. as they will be in the foreseeable future, until U.K. based film studios step up to the plate.
      I just don’t see how, if the incentives are removed, we will be able to hold onto work and create more of our own content, when other locations have a lower cost of living and doing business.
      And even if we do, I certainly don’t see how we will be able to sustain the current scale of vfx facilities based solely on locally sourced content.

      Ps: as for working overtime for free, I do not advocate that. It’s a fools game.

      • Hi Charlie,

        Sorry for the delay – worked late 🙂
        The problem with subsidies, as you know, is that there will always be another country that offers better ones, and both the facilities and the artists will be squeezed more and more. That’s a reality.

      • Sure thing. Allow me to simplify reality to that degree:

        Here’s a list of the films released and financed in calendar year 2012 by the major U.S. studios:


        You are free to compare it to the credits list of all the major U.K. vfx studios, during the past calendar year, if you can find it or be bothered to collate it.

        Once you are done, please subtract the U.S funded studio films from the equation.

        And count the British films, funded with U.K. money, whose vfx were done by the major U.K. vfx companies.

        Count many of those?

        Shame. Because that’s what you will be left with once the film incentives to bring in Hollywood productions to these fair shores are removed.

        Removing incentives from the U.K. = comitting U.K. film vfx industry suicide.

        Pure madness, designed to serve the interests of California vfx pros, who want to bring back the production they lost to other locations ( including ours ). It’s puzzling to me how you can’t see that.

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