Social Media Green Screen Protest To Support Visual Effects Artists Who Worked On ‘Life Of Pi’

Life of Pi without Visual Effects

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.

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.

Neal Campbell

Neal Campbell is a writer and artist with a Master’s Degree in Psychology, which may or may not explain why he is a writer and artist. In 2005, he launched and produced GeekBrief.TV, one of the first and most successful video podcasts. Neal writes about technology, pop culture, science, TV, the Internet, and sometimes bacon. He lives on the Internet, and loves his Chihuahua, Zoe, who hasn’t left his lap in eight years.


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  1. Business people sometimes screw over their artistic employees but it always comes back at them. It has happened generation after generation in the media industry. People who only care about money don't know how to make money when it comes to creative products.

  2. 5 weeks without pay, I work as a freelance VFX artist and I would be screwed if I lost 5 weeks of pay. I hope they get it worked out and the industry finds a solution to the outsourcing of VFX jobs.

  3. Too many artists have been exploited since the industry was made. We must make this stop! The "other" minds behind a production is nearly as important as the actors, camera-operator and the director himself! Join us, and show everyone that we won't take this taken-for-granted-crap anymore, and if this goes on for much longer, we will disappear and have to find another profession, which we rather not!

    Stay creative.