You can't expect... no shouldn't expect others to do things for you in life. As creators we have an undeniable urge, a need to create. Its tough. Especially for those of us that freelance. Its stressful, not always knowing where your next paycheck is going to come from or even if it is coming. That is the allure of a studio job. Job security.
However, what it seems like we are seeing is that job security is not enough. With that job security comes low pay, miserable working conditions, poor treatment, unfair deals, and less creative control. That's if you are lucky and can stay afloat. If you are one of the unlucky ones, you're company that worked so hard to make a movie so visually stunning that it has grossed something like half a billion dollars, while your company made so little from it that most of the employees have been laid off already and now the company is going bankrupt.
Sure, every artist, design studio, visual effects studio, etcetera in the country could demand better treatment (and we are), then collectively agree not to work for studios until treatment is fair, pay is fair, but the work will just be outsourced overseas to Korea, China, India, Japan, where they don't have the labor laws we do and they can work people with little comprehension or skill to death for a fraction of what we would charge.
These big studios obviously don't care about us. Why else would we be barely be able to pay our bills while the actors live in multi-million dollar mansions and drive $100,000 Aston Martins? Is our work not as important to the creation of the product as theirs is? They come in and in a few months make what we would never make monetarily in a lifetime, while our work on the same project sometimes takes years. Do we really deserve to be treated the way we are?
I think the question should really be "Do these big studios deserve our help?"
There are so many ways we can independently put out our own ideas, our own creative product, uninhibited, unmolested by the big studios. There are so many untapped avenues for us to travel to get these ideas out there. We just need to collectively come together, decide this is what we are going to do. We are going to kick them in the balls and bring this industry to its knees! We aren't going to take it anymore. We are going out on our own!
In 1992 a group of rebellious book artists who had worked for the "big two" were fed up. They left and founded Image Comics to publish creator-owned material. We need to stand together as today's "X-odus."
Kickstarter, Indiegogo, Netflix, iTunes, Amazon, YouTube, digital distribution, mobile devices, self-publishing. It is so much easier than it was two decades ago. Why are we still relying on the big name studios? Why are we allowing amazing visual effects studios go bankrupt?
Don't get me wrong, I would absolutely love to work for Marvel and DC, its been a dream of mine since I was a kid. But that is only part of what I want to do. In the great scheme of things that is my creative vision, they are a pebble to my mountain. Take away a single pebble and you still have your mountain.
The point is, the big name studios aren't a necessity anymore, yet some of us don't see that. The more we realize we don't need them, the more they will realize they need us. Their realization for their need for us will bring the treatment we deserve.
Mark Irwin, a fellow Ex-Kubie (Kubert School graduate for the uninitiated) recently said during a TED talk, "As artists we are tenacious. Stick to your guns. Don't let anybody stop you. Go out there and get it. No matter how difficult the path may seem, you can make it."
Go out and create. Nobody is going to do it for you. When you do it on your own, there is no one that can tell you you are doing it wrong. No one can stop you. You are an unstoppable force, a creative juggernaut, and there is no immovable object.
I have not the voice, nor the experience to voice it out. Thank you for this.
Everyone has a voice. Just have to find the words. Anger can be a wonderful thing. I was fed up and angry when I wrote that. As artists we need to tap our emotions not just in our work, but in bringing much needed change.
I very much appreciated what you said there, originally saw it on Stephen Silver's FB page, thanks for the inspiration !
Cool! No problem. I'm glad I could reach out to some people. You'll probably hear more regarding my "Creative Revolution" speech in the somewhat near future. I have some cool plans related to it. Keep an eye on my page/ journal for more info coming up after I finished current projects. Thanks for reaching out and letting me know what you thought!