“I don’t like green and I won’t have it on my TV station”. These words echo in my brain even though they were spoken 28 years ago by the General Manager of a TV station. My weekend before this rather one sided conversation was spent creating an animated graphic for a world news segment. The graphic included a map, with water depicted in blue and land masses in green and it had appeared for the first time on the air a few minutes before this “conversation”. I was young, tired, wearing a suit because this GM demanded so and his reputation included an extreme temper and a gun in his top desk drawer. I knew that my next weekend would be spent re-doing this graphic.
Oscar Sunday 2013 I participated in a protest at Hollywood and Vine with almost 500 people. The movie “Life of Pi’ was likely to win the Visual Effects Oscar and the company that was primary vendor on the film is in bankruptcy. We wanted to raise awareness of the broken business model that our industry operates under and how that is hurting artists globally while visual effects movies make record box office.
As I dressed for the protest I thought green would be a good symbolic color as it is so prevalent with green screens in visual effects work. I discovered that I do not own one piece of clothing that is green. Not even a hat. Lacking green wardrobe, I grabbed a roll of green gaffers tape from my on set kit and headed off.
An old friend (Sam) and I we were watching the start of the protest, a few people circling the sidewalk with signs. Sam turned to me and said he wished we had some way to mark people as they walked by so we could have an accurate head count. Reaching in my camera bag I handed him the roll of chroma key green tape.
We were now able to know how many people were there, we could send journalists to Sam who was announcing the count every time he decorated an unmarked protestor with a small tab of green tape. Every photo of the protest shows this iconic green mark.
Another green wave started, this time on social media. People started turning their icons on Facebook and Twitter to a solid green square. If you know anyone in visual effects you probably have noticed this, in fact it has spread to people in other crafts showing their support.
Back to 1985, I would have another big dust up with the anti-green GM when I created a graphic that combined silver and gold. “Jeff, they just don’t belong together” and of course adding “I won’t have it on my TV station”. I got statements from jewelers speaking to the popularity of pieces combining gold and silver and learned that arguing with the boss over irrational things is a waste of energy. I also learned that having to redo work for irrational reasons while not being paid overtime, working all weekend, burns more than doing it the first time.
In 2013 I finally learned to embrace green and while it lasts I will smile every time I open Facebook or see that green square in my Twitter timeline.