the latest VFX scam

TAG skewers Yurcor (and The Mill): “The latest VFX scam: get the artists to pay the taxes.”

About the author

Justin Cone

Together with Carlos El Asmar, Justin co-founded Motionographer, F5 and The Motion Awards. He currently lives in Austin, Texas with is wife, son and fluffball of a dog. Before taking on Motionographer full-time, Justin worked in various capacities at Psyop, NBC-Universal, Apple, Adobe and SCAD.



Thanks for posting this Justin.  We believe Yurcor has misrepresented the practice of withholding employer-responsible taxes as legal and customary.  Any state agency I’ve spoken with verifies that employers alone are responsible for paying those taxes.

In our research on this matter, we’ve found that Yurcor sells itself as being able to offer lawful compliance and cost savings to employers.  They know what they’re doing is wrong, and are exploiting peoples hunt for the cheaper way to run a business.

Anyone who has had employer-taxes withheld from their pay is entitled to have those wages returned to them.  Please contact me using the information found in the link post above.

Steve Kaplan
Labor Organizer
The Animation Guild, Local 839 IATSE

Some Freelancer

TheMill isn’t the only company that does this.  I know from experience that DK uses Yurcor as well with the employer tax.  They recently sent out a survey to their freelancers asking their opinion.  I spoke out and told them I was either going to stop freelancing for them completely or significantly raise my rate to compensate.  Unfortunately, I think a lot of the other freelancers in town, less confident of finding enough work without DK, only mildly voiced displeasure.  I haven’t received a response of how it went, but when they asked for my current availability I politely told them I was taking a break from freelancing for them and would let them know when I’m ready to come back…  I would hope more freelancers take a similar stand against these companies or else I don’t see things changing.


Wow, great timing for this post as it’s right above the The CG Whiz competition partially sponsored by the Mill. The prize of “A 12-week work placement at The Mill” should be replaced with “12 week work placement at the Mill where unjust amounts of you wages will be withheld in order for us to meet compliance requirements”. Could Yurcor’s document explaining the benefits to an artist be any more absurd? Anything peppered with that many exclamation points sounds like a charlatan at a boardwalk pitch. 


Totally illegal, out and out theft.  The solution?  Add $100 to your day rate if you are forced to work through yurcor….see how fast the studios drop them.



Bill Dorais

Boo to yurcor, the companies that use them and the accountants that try to explain to us that “it’s totally legit.”  Companies that use yurcor need to stop turning their heads, get off their asses and do business the right way.


i think that the main issue here without resorting to the blame game is that there is no trust. as a freelancer i really feel that freelancers should have dialogues / assemblies / forums that discuss freelancer’s issues. especially legal and ethical ones. the 60 day waiting period after completed work and at time months to get paid is a clear indication that we as freelancers are doing a disservice to each other. i’m well aware that waiting periods mostly have to do with clients but the clients problem gets handed down to us(freelancer). 


I’ve answered questions about what artists can do on their own in a new post:

Sean Wehrli

It hurts,  I assumed I would get more back at the end of the year since I was losing so much.  Instead I owed more at the end of the year.  The Mill and/or Yurcor owes me about $15,000!


if you work for them again, you should go through them with an LLC, about 2 months of working I was just an individual then someone told me they would except an LLC (begrudgingly). It’s great, now they take NOTHING out :) Ignore what they say about needing proof of payroll through your company, etc. just submit your LLC and they must accept it. Hope you’re doing well Sean!

Sean Wehrli

oh, and now I know why our check stubs never had any information on them.  I asked for them to put details, but they refused.  You can only get it on their website if you log in.  Check stubs don’t even say what days it is for.


It is important for a freelancer to get involved in a freelancer community. A forum is an accessible one you can join . There are a lot out there wwwDOTfreelanceswitchDOTcom , wwwDOTfreelancefolderDOTcom and many more. Take a pick.

It is also important to know your rights as a freelancer and an employee, so you’ll be able to know when to raise the red flag and when to seek for an advice. Always ask before getting yourself into something..

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