Marvel has built itself into one of the premier studios in the entire world. People flock to see any MCU film that comes out, making the studio and Disney a ridiculous amount of money anytime any film with superheroes is released. The shows are much of the same too. However, there have been plenty of VFX artists coming out and sharing some harrowing details about what it is like to work for that department. What makes matters worse is that there is a ton of pressure on the Marvel VFX department considering they are mostly responsible for bringing superheroes to life. A famed artist by the name of Joe Pavlo recently spoke about conditions in Guardians of the Galaxy. According to Pavlo, “The visual effects industry is filled with terrific people with lots of goodwill who really care but, at the end of the day, there’s nothing in place when their backs are up against the wall and Disney is making crazy demands.”
The pressure to perform in the Marvel VFX department is starting to become well documented, and Pavlo went into detail about what is asked of the department. He added, “If you imagine you get the art department to design a set, you wouldn’t get them to tear down the set and rebuild a completely different set 35 times. Because its digital, people don’t see it as the same thing but it is: it involves work and creativity and long hours. It doesn’t create itself.” Most people forget that workers that create things in the digital space often have to pull long hours as well, as it takes a ton of work to even create the expansive environments used in Marvel films. However, because VFX artists aren’t performing labor of any kind, their job is written off as “easy.”
Those who work behind a computer all day tend to understand more that there is a great deal of mental exhaustion that takes place when having to handle a computer all day. Sure, it’s not as bad as laying asphalt in the summer sun, but there is hard work done on both ends of the spectrum. The Marvel VFX workers have often stated they work long hours, which could mean they are pulling over 12 hours to ensure that some environment in the digital space is perfect. Disney seems to be getting itself in trouble often these days, and if enough VFX workers band together, there could be another massive walkout. It’s not as though Disney can’t afford to change things to make people far more comfortable. Also, the movies these artists are helping to make end up banking hundreds of millions of dollars, some even going past the billion mark. The artists themselves likely make around $70,000 annually. They deserve to be treated better.
Fair working practices will always be a point of contention for anyone, and that is exactly why unions are created. Workers fight for what is fair to them pulling long hours and doing the work that higher-ups wouldn’t do. So, naturally, those workers want to be treated fairly. The Marvel VFX department does a lot to ensure that these huge money-making MCU films are done the right way, so they should be given a bit more in terms of perks for their efforts. However, it sounds like they are put in place to work long hours and be treated this way because it is an “honor” to work for Marvel. The tension might grow to a point that Disney and Marvel cannot control if something is not done soon. Keep your eyes peeled in the coming weeks for more on this growing drama.