Filmmakers and film fans have started replacing their profile photos with a green block to show support for visual effects artists who worked on Life of Pi. The film won the Academy Award for visual effects, but 250 artists responsible for creating those effects were laid off when their employer Rhythm and Hues filed for bankruptcy.
According to the Los Angeles Times, those artists haven’t been paid for five weeks.
Over 400 technicians and artists gathered outside the Dolby Theater in Hollywood during the 2013 Oscars to demand a “piece of the pi.” Now the protest is going social.
The solid green blocks people are using as their avatars to show solidarity with visual effects artists are inspired by green screens that make so much of the magic we see in movies possible.
Film fans augmenting their Oscar viewing fun on Twitter were annoyed when the orchestra played off Bill Westenhofer just as he started to tell the audience about the plight of Hollywood’s visual effects industry.
ORCHESTRA IS THREATENINGLY PLAYING JAWS AT VISUAL EFFECTS PEOPLE
— Kit Sudol, Esq. (@kitstrudel) February 25, 2013
Westenhofer later told the press what he was trying to say when his mic was turned off:
“What I was trying to say up there is that it’s at a time when visual effects movies are dominating the box office, that visual effects companies are struggling. And I wanted to point out that we aren’t technicians. Visual effects is not just a commodity that’s being done by people pushing buttons. We’re artists, and if we don’t find a way to fix the business model, we start to loses the artistry. If anything, LIFE OF PI shows that we’re artists and not just technicians.”
Replacing profile photos on social media with a green screen block isn’t intended to make Hollywood executives magically stop outsourcing visual effects work to overseas firms. The goal is to let other film fans know its happening.