A new short-form documentary, Hollywood’s Greatest Trick, will debut on the internet on February 22, just in time for the Oscars.
Watch the teaser below:
Produced by McClatchy Video Lab, a division of the McClathy media organization that owns dozens of newspapers around the United States, the documentary includes interviews with vfx studio founders and former company execs, tax policy analysts, trade law attorneys, and vfx artists to reveal the perils of the vfx industry, from life and death health issues to the costly race for global subsidies.
The trailer makes no mystery of whose side its on. It says that the stars of the documentary are A Starving VFX Artist, A Broke VFX Company In Need of A Superhero, and Six Stupidly Rich Film Studios. Those six studios, by the way, are the Hollywood majors: Warner Bros., Walt Disney Studios, 20th Century Fox, Paramount Pictures, Universal Pictures, and Sony Pictures Entertainment.
Shining light on the problems is important, but it’s also important to recognize that nothing will change in the broken vfx industry as long as the artists themselves remain reluctant to unionize. The animation industry pushed to unionize 75 years ago, and it was a painful process, but the results are a much higher standard of living in L.A.’s unionized animation industry than any part of the vfx industry.