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Atkin Says its Time to Move On From VES

Tom Atkin told VFXWorld that he will be stepping down as founding exec director of the Visual Effects Society (VES) because he's come to the realization that "the goal is accomplished and there is nothing more that I can do at this level. Now that I've built this organization, it's time to turn it over to the membership to dictate future policies, goals and business plans."

Atkin announced last week to the VES membership that he will depart the non-profit organization to seek other entrepreneurial endeavors when his contract is up on July 31, 2004. But that he intends to guide the orderly transition of a new executive board and officers after they are elected in December.

"I consider myself the architect of the VES and couldn't be prouder or more satisfied with what I've accomplished and how far the organization has come." In a prepared statement to the members, Atkin reminded them that there were those who said the establishment of the VES couldn't be done. "Now I'm here to report that it has been done."

For the past 10 years, Atkin has helped VES become a global presence. Yet for the first three years, he worked out of two residences while still consulting with Sony. It took another seven years for VES to make its mark. During Atkin's reign, VES has successfully launched five festivals of visual effects in the U.S., three festivals in Europe and soon a new festival event in Asia, with three more on the horizon. Also, VES will host its 2nd Annual Awards in February 2004 and recently announced that for the first time a Lifetime Achievement Award is being given to George Lucas.

Atkin adds that VES has achieved four of the five goals it first established: Membership growth and development to build a quality base and good benefits; an awards program; festivals; and archives. The final goal, distance learning, using assets to target youth for future storytellers, is still in the works.

As for his future plans Atkin said he will consulting with various organizations and businesses, and might get involved in content development. Several business propositions have already been in the offing, and, a few more nibbles have come in since the announcement of his departure.

The Visual Effects Society (, founded in 1997, is comprised of distinguished visual effects artists and technologists who are professionally committed to the specialized industry of visual effects. The society provides its members with a platform for communication, education, and recognition of the current and future state of the visual effects industry. Society headquarters are located in Santa Monica, CA.

Bill Desowitz's picture

Bill Desowitz, former editor of VFXWorld, is currently the Crafts Editor of IndieWire.