Marvel has recently come under intense scrutiny for its treatment of visual effects artists. More members of previous Marvel Studios teams continue to speak out about the harsh working conditions, saying, “I’ve had co-workers sitting next to me breaking down and crying. I’ve had people have panic attacks on the phone.
The MCU just got another complaint, this time from guardians of the galaxy VFX artist and Emmy Award winner Joe Pavlo, according to reports from The Guardian. The GOTG The film was applauded for its fantastic visuals when it was released in 2014. But, of course, almost every scene in the film was shot with green screen, relying on the VFX artist to meticulously create the sets and the backdrop of the film.
This is how most MCU movies are made. They rely heavily on VFX work, containing otherworldly planets, aliens, superpowers, and fully CG characters. Marvel Studios releases content quickly, which means their employees are constantly on time, pressured to produce the best work possible under strict deadlines. Every visual effects studio wants to work on projects as big as the avengers, however, small mistakes will cause Marvel and Disney to blacklist VFX companies without a second thought. Pavlo explains the difficulty of working with Marvel:
“The visual effects industry is filled with great people with a lot of goodwill who really care but, at the end of the day, there’s nothing in place when their backs are against the wall and Disney is making demands. All the goodwill in the world evaporates when everything changes and they decide to replace that character with another actor or change the whole environment. They are now in a pizzeria instead of a field of corn. It can be that extreme at the very last minute.”
Unfortunately, tight deadlines are all too common for an MCU project, resulting in some of the lackluster visual effects we’ve seen over the years.
Pavlo details the culture of bullying taking place at Marvel
Pavlo admits to The Guardian that Disney doesn’t grab someone and start “insulting them or something.” But the bullying relationship occurs through multiple levels of management in a particular hierarchy. The Emmy Award winner reveals that “the average artist doesn’t even have any contact with clients.” yet the intimidation persists.
“It can be characterized as bullying, but filtered through multiple levels of management, oversight, and hierarchy. It’s not like the Disney executive grabs someone and swears at them or anything like that. It’s more like an atmosphere where everyone feels like it’s the most desperately important thing and if we don’t we’re all f****d. doesn’t even have contact with clients. It’s really just the producer and supervisor level people and then they pass it on to their team. So you might say, oh, the supervisor is a real bully, but in fact, it’s a ripple effect and then the people who are the team leaders, once they can’t handle it, end up being the bullies.”
Regardless of the chain of command over which commands are passed, Marvel will have to change its strategy when working with VFX artists in the future. It has now been made very public just how toxic the working conditions are, and Disney will want to avoid any scrutiny regarding its most beloved franchise.