Visual effects artists work behind the scene creating some of the most iconic and mind-blowing effects in the movies we love. In fact, every single one of the top ten highest grossing films of 2016 contained impressive computer generated imagery. The work of the visual artists has become an inseparable part of cinema and fundamental in many films. In fact many scenes couldn’t even be attempted without this imagery.
But Hollywood has an even greater trick. One that has led almost everybody to believe that these men and women who work for hours behind their computer screens receive the recognition and pay that they deserve. The trick consists in making everyone believe that the accolades go way beyond the golden statue.
Most workers in the visual effects industry work for months at a time without any time off. They have no benefits, no health insurance, no retirement, and worst of all, they also see their jobs constantly going overseas. Yet these unseen engineers create all the pop culture phenomena that are worshipped by young and old. Those top ten movies of 2016 together brought in more money than the gross domestic product of 55 different countries.
Not only do movies depend on visual effects, but the blockbuster franchises do too. Standard romantic comedies that don’t include a lot of computer-generated imagery are not doing as well as they used to 10 or 20 years ago. People nowadays aren’t that interested in who’s starring in the movies because the visual effects have become the real stars. Visual effects even go as far as making actors look better: they appear on the screen with less wrinkles, less under eye bags, more gorgeous.
80% of the movie Gravity was animated. What made the movie popular was the cinematic experience that the special effects gave moviegoers. The actress, who was hardly ever there because she was animated, earned over $60 million, while the company that provided the visual effects didn’t make that much.
The most dangerous part is that some people are willing to work for almost no pay because they get to see their name scroll quickly down the screen just when everybody already stopped watching.
What would it take to be able to hear what the six major movie studios have to say about their business practices with the visual effects industry?