News | Leave a Comment on Legion on Subsidies Legion on Subsidies It’s raining in Los Angeles as I write this. Listening to Delerium “Poem.” I listened to it a lot when I worked in San Francisco. It reminds of these amazing ham and cheese sandwiches on sourdough. Cafe Centro. Amazing. There’s an upheaval in the VFX industry right now. The primary reason for this is the lingering subsidy battle going on across the globe. This has an effect of distorting where a show gets awarded. Producers have a fiduciary responsibility to get the biggest bang for their buck. Right now, that is pretty much everywhere BUT California. There are two solutions that come readily to mind. One of them is to bolster California’s own meager subsidies so they we can compete on the same artificial field as everyone else. This would, in theory, help keep jobs here in California. All of the major studios are within 45 minutes of Legion Headquarters. 3 of them within 10 minutes. 1 across the street. “Hi Mickey!” The other is to fight back with this whole CVD thing. Which is basically a tariff on the amount of money that is given back by foreign governments to try to win productions over, by punishing the studios. You can find more information about this battle on VFX Soldier’s blog. The latter will not help keep work in California against New York’s 420 million dollar give away to the movie studios. It wont help us compete with Louisiana, Georgia, Nevada… Any one of the 40 states that offer more competitive tax credits than California. Like all good ideas, CVD’s have a lot potential, but it has to be seen all the way through and something would have to be done about the interstate bleed of talent. Why is Legion addressing this issue? Glad you asked. We don’t really stand to benefit from any particular action. Our business model is a hybrid of old school bid/award and a new way to do the work. We have artists in many states and many countries. We are incorporated here in California and we use the talent that is best for the job, regardless of where they live. That’s an important distinction to make. Legion is about the artist. Not the city, not the state, and not the country. The beauty of the VFX world, and one of the reasons I got into it was to travel and work all over the world. It seemed like the best way to see the world on someone else’s dime. Turns out, by the time I felt competent enough to go traveling the world as an artist, I had my first child, and the idea of running away for 6 months at a time, or longer, wasn’t really an option. As it was, I did go up to ILM, in San Francisco, and had a fantastic and challenging time working on Pirates 3. That lasted for almost 6 months. My wife and son were able to visit once in a while, but it was certainly a lonely period away from a precious 2 year old. A few years later I started working in Television. The first day was 8 hours. The second was 12, and after that I was routinely there 16 – 20 hours a day for most of the rest of the season. It became the new normal. That was 1 month into my daughter’s life. I saw them all in the morning for a few sleepy minutes before I started my hour long commute back to work. It stayed as a variation of that for the next 3 years. I don’t have any regrets. I got much better at my craft and I started taking on a bigger role on the shows. I started to see a broader picture and I could see things that needed changing. So here we are, a rainy February day with a protest march coming up for the Oscars, all set to try and make the awareness of the plight known to the general public. Every solution though, doesn’t really help Legion. If there is a mandate, like there is in Vancouver to do the work IN Vancouver, here in Los Angeles, then we would be stuck. Our goal is to connect the people with the work on a global scale. To make our platform modular and franchise-able. Stargate Studios is doing something similar, by joining with studios in other countries and creating a brand, and I think that is brilliant. Legion needs to go one step further and unplug from the studio model. To reduce the overhead, and spread out the work to the best talent regardless of location. So, subsidies. Yea, they suck. We don’t want to be forced to have an office in New York,Louisiana, or Connecticut because that’s not where the artists are. Enough with telling people where they have to go. Let us work however is natural for us to get you the best possible imagery at the most competitive price. Value. Value is what we offer. Skill, professionalism, and value. Let us know what you think about this. How do you see the Legion model working with and without subsidies?