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View Full Version : DANG: Asylum VFX closing



jeric_synergy
11-18-2010, 01:35 PM
Crap!

http://www.studiodaily.com/blog/?p=4843

Pretty hard to be optimistic when hardcore companies shutter up.

Markc
11-18-2010, 01:45 PM
Sad news indeed :(

Nicolas Jordan
11-18-2010, 03:21 PM
From reading the article on the link I get the impression that both producers and VFX studios seem to undervalue VFX work and over time the VFX studios dig there own hole that they can't seem to get out of.

Titus
11-18-2010, 04:01 PM
From reading the article on the link I get the impression that both producers and VFX studios seem to undervalue VFX work and over time the VFX studios dig there own hole that they can't seem to get out of.

It's part of the production game, producers squeeze the studios. John Knoll said while presenting Pirates of the Caribbean 3 at the VES festival that
time and budget constrains were reaching a point they couldn't pass.

OnlineRender
11-18-2010, 04:13 PM
I read it here :http://www.fxguide.com/qt/3161/asylum-visual-effects-closing

Sad hope everyone pulls threw

cresshead
11-18-2010, 04:25 PM
looks like VFX is going to go thru a lean period in future film productions if all the top VFX studio's and artists fold up and go elsewhere to make a dime.
..we'll be left with yawn inducing drama's and situation comedies and feature length reality shows..EEEK!...'cheap stuff'.

dandeentremont
11-18-2010, 04:29 PM
D'oh I just sent my reel there! :facepalm:

Hieron
11-18-2010, 04:30 PM
From reading the article on the link I get the impression that both producers and VFX studios seem to undervalue VFX work and over time the VFX studios dig there own hole that they can't seem to get out of.


Don't think it has to do with undervalueing work.
It's supply and demand. Apparantly there is supply enough of quality work, you can't blame the one demanding to try and get the lowest price they can get. It seems it works for them so far.

Ofcourse the VFX guys don't undervalue their work, they just don't have an option. Either all VFX studios increase their prices at the same time, or studios would just drop out faster for not getting a job at all.

edit: if the established VFX companies start increasing prices to make a nice margin, you can bet on it there will be even more new VFX studios starting out, with lower prices and no lack of talent. I don't see a way out of it tbh.

Lightwolf
11-18-2010, 04:49 PM
It's surely going to be tough for pure VFX studios. You either find a niche or make sure you manage to get a slice of the rights game. In the that's what allows some of the larger studios to work at a loss - there's other source of revenue that's still driven by the vfx.

Mind you, there's only a small amount of studios world wide that have managed to compete purely in the vfx and movies market for a long time.
Many have subsidised their vfx shots with income from commercials which tend to have better budgets (but that probably changed a lot over the past years as well).

I'm sure glad I'm not playing that game anymore (I only did on a smale scale anyhow though)...

Cheers,
Mike

Cageman
11-18-2010, 04:58 PM
Someone posted (can't remember the forum now) something about efficiency and that larger facilities have a tendency to not be efficient enough to produce good stuff with less resources, because there is an "established way of doing things" which doesn't always go hand in hand with the demands vs funds avaliable.

I think, to a certain extent, that many VFX-heavy TV-shows (BSG in particular) would have been impossible to do without a tool like LightWave. The studios working on BSG (Zoic, Atmosphere, BSG VFX) all had (and still has) the flexibility to use the tool that fits the client demands the best, and because of that, they are able to staff accordingly without sacrificing too much quality and still earn money.

Dexter2999
11-18-2010, 09:51 PM
It's part of the production game, producers squeeze the studios. John Knoll said while presenting Pirates of the Caribbean 3 at the VES festival that
time and budget constrains were reaching a point they couldn't pass.

And the thing is they aren't even trying to make movies for less. They just want to keep more of the money in the "above the line" payrolls.

Titus
11-19-2010, 01:31 AM
And the thing is they aren't even trying to make movies for less. They just want to keep more of the money in the "above the line" payrolls.

To be fair, VFX studios don't have the capacity to decide movie budgets.

Dexter2999
11-19-2010, 02:00 AM
I don't blame FX houses for the predicament we are in. It is film producers and other bloated above line expenses.

Producers really don't see the problem with saving money by outsourcing to emerging market countries.

I think there is a real problem when the agent and manager for stars (who get paid percentages of negotiated wages) make on an order of magnitude more than the people who actually contribute to a film. Let's be real. Many above the line positions will make more in per diems than they will pay the people creating the effects that make or break the movie.

The system is broken. Driven by greed and a sense of entitlement. It is eating itself.

-EsHrA-
11-19-2010, 02:25 AM
"The system is broken. Driven by greed and a sense of entitlement. It is eating itself. "

Welcome to Earth!

ericsmith
11-19-2010, 09:11 AM
I feel really bad for Asylum, as well as other studios in the same predicament, and I have as much of a problem as anyone else with how production companies are squeezing their vendors. But I don't think it's accurate to lay the blame on actors and writers.

I keep hearing the sentiment that FX in a film can be more important to it's success than good writing or acting. Now I know this is going to get controversial, but somewhere in the numbers, the truth lies.

Skyline has made around $13 million so far. From everything I've heard, the FX were pretty top notch, but it suffered from lousy writing and lousy acting. Transformers 2 made $200 million in it's opening weekend. The FX in that were top of the line as well. So the only thing left to account for the $187 million difference is the writing and/or actors (and frankly, the writing hasn't been too well applauded on this one). So based on the numbers, which is more important - premium acting talent or premium FX?

The harsh bottom line here is that in a capitalistic system, everyone gets paid based on supply and demand. If an actor gets millions to do their thing on set for a few months, that's only because there's a lot more demand for premium acting talent then there is supply. And there are probably more actors willing to work cheap or free than there are 3d artists willing to do the same. They just don't have the same level of skill as an A-list actor.

One way or another, the system always finds equalibrium.

Eric

Lightwolf
11-19-2010, 09:16 AM
So the only thing left to account for the $187 million difference is the writing and/or actors (and frankly, the writing hasn't been too well applauded on this one).
There's two major things missing... marketing and the value of basing a movie on a franchise (comics, books etc...).

Cheers,
Mike

ericsmith
11-19-2010, 10:12 AM
Well, I think skyline was well marketed. I typically see movies on dvd as opposed to going to the theater, but this one had me ready to go spend ten bucks on opening weekend. It was well positioned as an awesome blockbuster, but the attrocious reviews ultimately made me change my mind.

As far as franchise value goes, there may be some validity to that, but I could have compared to several other non-franchise movies (like ID4 or Armageddon) and made the same point.

Eric

Lightwolf
11-19-2010, 10:19 AM
As far as franchise value goes, there may be some validity to that, but I could have compared to several other non-franchise movies (like ID4 or Armageddon) and made the same point.

The problem is that this is true for all the mentioned factors. They might increase the chance of success but certainly don't ensure it (just as the cast or the vfx do).
Otherwise there'd be little risk in movie making... and apparently there is. ;)

Cheers,
Mike

OlaHaldor
11-19-2010, 10:28 AM
I just read in Variety that Technicolor is closing down one of their printing facilities too..

Dexter2999
11-19-2010, 11:08 AM
The example of comparing Transformers 2 to Skyline is a little skewed.
Skyline is an unknown quantity. The unknown may attract the curious.
Transformers is a known quantity because everyone knows they are going to see giant fighting robots. The robots here are the stars not the talent. The robots are the box office draw that talent usually banks their name on to justify their salary.

Tranformers 2 being a sequal is statistically more inclined to make more money. They get (presumably) everyone who saw the original in the theater and those who may have seen the movie only on DVD. SHREK 2 is a reasonable comparison to Transformer 2. A sequal making more than the original, where no one really cares who the actor is, and as a "kids movie" they average ticket sales of 3 tickets per transaction.

Point being 99% of the audience went to see Transformers to see giant robots not Shia LaBouf, or Megan Fox (I don't think anyone knew who she was before the movie).
Same thing with GHOSTRIDER, people went to see a guy with a flaming skull ride a motorcycle, not Nicholas Cage.
Same with SUPERMAN RETURNS, no one knew who Brandon Ruth was. The character was the star not the actor.

Skyline only has a generic theme of alien invasion, which has been done many times over, so in using a relatively unknown cast they are at a double handicap. People feel like they have heard the story before and there is no actor they feel compelled to see.

We will need to wait and see how Skyline finishes up. I think JUMPER is a closer comparison. It had an unknown cast and used a premis not based in a known quantity. Production budget of $85 million, it made $80 million domestic, $222 million world wide theatrical. Most of the worldwide the investors never see but they might have neared that number when you figure in pay-per-view, DVD sales, and other markets.

District 9, which had phenomenal marketing (I heard more people talk about the marketing than the movie) was made for $30 million (in a country where that equated to $50 million or so) and earned $115 million domestic, $210 million worldwide.

Wait...what? How did that happen? They spent a ton on marketing and made much more at the box office domestically. So that marketing eats up the inferred profit margin. Then worldwide, they made less than JUMPER. So it appears that running a single language campaign in the single largest market yeilds the greatest reward for your investment. Whereas running multi language campaigns all over the world in countries that keep the majority of revenues isn't worth it. You would spend most (or all) of your earnings by pouring them into the campaign. The only thing to gain by that is increasing the numbers of the box office for bragging rights, to drive hype, for DVD sales and ancillary market negotiations.

Okay, now I'm boring myself. I'll stop now.

OnlineRender
11-19-2010, 11:34 AM
FULL POST


ahh dont stop that was an epic well detailed post ! .
:thumbsup:

Andyjaggy
11-19-2010, 02:26 PM
Well the system will balance itself out in the end. If suddenly there are only half as many studios and the same demand of work, then the existing studios will be able to negoitate better rates. The profitability will go up and then people will start jumping on the bandwagon again. At least that is how the free market is supposed to work.

OnlineRender
11-19-2010, 02:55 PM
Indie FTW , think my sig image needs to be bigger :) > thinking 2560Χ1600

ericsmith
11-19-2010, 04:45 PM
Point being 99% of the audience went to see Transformers to see giant robots not Shia LaBouf, or Megan Fox (I don't think anyone knew who she was before the movie).
Same thing with GHOSTRIDER, people went to see a guy with a flaming skull ride a motorcycle, not Nicholas Cage.
Same with SUPERMAN RETURNS, no one knew who Brandon Ruth was. The character was the star not the actor.



Well, it's pretty much a known fact that actors are one of the biggest draws for almost any movie. But even if we take your examples as an exception to that, the real fact is, the things you mention as what's drawing the audience are basically stuff that originates above the line. It may be more about a character than an actor, but that's still something created by writers and/or actors.

Eric

Titus
11-19-2010, 05:16 PM
Well, it's pretty much a known fact that actors are one of the biggest draws for almost any movie.


And not only movies, Broadway is using big names to bring people.

Lightwolf
11-19-2010, 05:34 PM
Well, it's pretty much a known fact that actors are one of the biggest draws for almost any movie.
Which also explains the prominent naming of voice talent on purely animated movies.

Cheers,
Mike

Dexter2999
11-19-2010, 05:36 PM
Relying on names for box office earnings is how Shaquille ONiel made KAZAMM and Maria Carry made GIGLI.

They are certainly reasons for having name talent as a draw. But I think the $10 million or $20 million dollar deals plus point participation in box office and dvd sales is "double dipping".

And I don't think the industry will "even out" any time soon. India and China are two relatively poor countries with huge populations of somewhat educated people. If the companies there find themselves over-run with work, they can train up more. Their issue would possibly be in getting additional facilities set up because that takes more capital that is based on a standard that isn't flexible like labor rates. In other words, they can make a $500 a day technician into a $30 a technician through training, but that $250,000 workstation for compositing is still going to be $250,000 and they can't change that.

Again, I ramble.

Dexter2999
11-19-2010, 05:47 PM
Which also explains the prominent naming of voice talent on purely animated movies.

Cheers,
Mike

Who did the voice for SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS? (Which made $140 million worldwide.)

Actors can be a draw. But they are not a guarantee. Especially if there is hook built in like an established following.

Stars bring crowds in yes. But stars aren't born, they are made. The right property makes them into stars.

When I heard a few years ago that Tom Cruise wanted $70 million plus 30% of DVD sales to do a movie I thought, "I hope he never works again." That sort of ludicrous greed is just sickening. No one is worth that. NO ONE.

Lightwolf
11-19-2010, 05:56 PM
Who did the voice for SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS? (Which made $140 million worldwide.)
Counter question: Who did the donkey? ;)
(and it's not even the same actor in countries that dub).


When I heard a few years ago that Tom Cruise wanted $70 million plus 30% of DVD sales to do a movie I thought, "I hope he never works again." That sort of ludicrous greed is just sickening. No one is worth that. NO ONE.
He's worth what he gets, as simple as that... ;)

Cheers,
Mike

ericsmith
11-19-2010, 07:41 PM
Yeah, as rediculous as it seems for Cruise to ask for that much, it's really no different than someone asking for millions just to play baseball (something that most people do for fun).

But if you're in his shoes, and you're watching movies based on your personal contribution make hundreds of millions, then that may change your opinion of what's fair.

Don't get me wrong, I still think it's a ludicrous amount of money for less than a year's work, but the world has never been an even playing field.

Eric

tonyrizo2003
11-20-2010, 12:07 AM
really sorry to hear yet another facility closing; however,of all the contributing factors that drive movies, actors are the biggest. A pretty face goes along way, outrageous antics also help to sell a movie. Not trying to be shallow here but I wonder how many young men went to go see Machete not just because of the action, but also the girl on girl scenes? or Lindsey baring it to the camera.

Everyone is right to some extent here, in my opinion what has really helped to kill off these businesses is the state of California! Ca. Has made it very difficult to do business here without taxing the hell out of the little guy. Disney is building or has built new studio buildings outside of LA county, I am presuming for tax purposes. Just wait until everyone around them start to get greedy with taxing them. Foundation Imaging went under years ago, as well as Netter Digital and they were a big employers of us LW artists, Cafe FX and the list goes on and on.

As for outsourcing to China or anywhere else, well the US has been exporting work for ages. Rocky & BullWinkle were shipped to Mexico and though Bill Ward tried to fight that from happening, he lost because he did not own all of his creation like Disney., but they outsource too! Tom & Jerry outsourced to Prague!

The only way we will be able to bring work back home and keep it here is if it is somehow subsidized by the state, as Canada has done for years with their movie industry. Or some really good tax incentives!

Just my two cents... boy what a downer :(

tonyrizo2003
11-20-2010, 12:13 AM
I need to correct myself here,see this website.
http://filmtaxincentives.com/
:)

tonyrizo2003
11-20-2010, 12:16 AM
http://www.film.ca.gov/Incentives.htm

Philbert
11-21-2010, 07:29 PM
I wonder how many young men went to go see Machete not just because of the action, but also the girl on girl scenes? or Lindsey baring it to the camera.

I didn't even know she was in that movie *runs for Google images search* :D :devil: :hey: lol

But really it sucks, they were supposed to be opening a big studio around here last year, 8 sound stages, office buildings, the works. Then as time went on the plans for the studio kept getting smaller and smaller until it was just one soundstage, and now I've just heard that it has been canned all together. What I hear is that the local government around that neighborhood is corrupt and the execs didn't put money in the right pockets. The website for it is even still up.
http://www.studiocentrenorristown.com/

Dexter2999
11-21-2010, 09:55 PM
I didn't even know she was in that movie *runs for Google images search* :D :devil: :hey: lol

But really it sucks, they were supposed to be opening a big studio around here last year, 8 sound stages, office buildings, the works. Then as time went on the plans for the studio kept getting smaller and smaller until it was just one soundstage, and now I've just heard that it has been canned all together. What I hear is that the local government around that neighborhood is corrupt and the execs didn't put money in the right pockets. The website for it is even still up.
http://www.studiocentrenorristown.com/

I went to the page. Says they presented $10 million dollars to the developers two years ago. Sounds like the state got scammed. Look at the proposed plan. They were going to put studios in a strip mall? Why do you need to build a supermarket next to the studios? Why wouldn't you build something that would serve the studio better like a hardware store? Or Kinko's FedEx? You know a support structure that would take money from the studio and cycle it into the community?

Dunno...just my two cents. Sad story though.

Philbert
11-22-2010, 03:55 PM
Here's an interview with Nathan McGuinness from Asylum:

http://www.studiodaily.com/blog/?p=4862

robertoortiz
11-22-2010, 05:07 PM
Thanks for the post.
On the comments section I found this post to be quite sobering:

"Well. Asylum has just joined the the respected list of those who came before them (see below). As one who ran a profitable facility with 154 talented artists and technicians only to see it go away, my heart weighs heavy for Asylum.

Since I started my career in this business in 1975, this list might have a couple errors, so feel free to correct me.

And amongst all this, I’ve decided to get back into the Vfx Business. What the heck.

Phil Feiner

"

Out of Business VFX Shops:

2010
• Asylum
• CORE Digital
2009
• Pacific Title
• Illusion Arts
2007
• The Orphanage
2006
• HFV
• The Post Group (Fred Rheinstein sold)
Giant Killer Robots
2005
• DFW (Digital Film Works)
2004
• Howard Anderson Company
• Title House
• Escape (Warner Bros.)
• Imagica USA
2003
• Cinesite-Los Angeles (Kodak)
• The Mill (Featue Film Division)
• The Secret Lab – Disney (Formerly Dream Quest)
• Buena Vista Imaging
• BGL Post
2002 and Prior
• VI Efx. – 20th Century Fox EEG (Entertainment Effects Group) Digital Anvil
• VI Efx. Praxis Rainmaker-LA
• Centropolis Post Group Film Unit Station X
• Warner Digital Encore Efx. Sidley-Wright
• WBIT Look Out Mountain Pittard Sullivan
• Vision Arts Available Light Colossal Pictures
• Digital Magic Robert Able & Associates Netter Digital
• CRC (Cinema Research) Digital Productions Virtual Magic
• D-Rez PDI Film Vfx Skyline Digital Images
• Boss PDI-Los Angeles Atomix
• Apogee CFC – LA Unitel
• Dream Quest Images Omnibus Varitel
• Modern Film Effects DeGraf / Wahrman POP
• Movie Magic Universal / Heartland
• RGA-LA Magi Synthivision Hollywood Optical
• Bob Greenberg & Assoc.- NYC Cranston Curri I-Magic
• The Optical House-LA Optical Cinema Service Side Effects
• Mannex The Optical House-NYC Whitney-Demos
• Cinergi Efx. Bill Cruse & Associates Motion Opticals
• Mass Illusions Disney Visual Effects Flat Earth
• Universal Title & Optical Freeze Frame / Cinefx
• Universal Matte Department Westheimer
• Universal Digital Department Metrolight Studio’s
• Jack Rabin & Associates Van Der Veer Photo Effects
• Introvision Zoptic
• Ferren & Associates Film Effects of Hollywood
• Magicam Chandler Group
• Triple I Digital Muse
• MGM Optical Dept. LA Effects Group
• EFX Unlimited Inc. (NYC) Eastern Opticals (NYC)
• Ray Mercer CFA
• Total Optical Productions TNT Optical
• CFI Optical Master Film Effects
• National Screen Coast Productions
• Cascade Mirage
• 525 Hollywood Digital
• Boy Wonder Pixel Envy

erikals
11-22-2010, 06:35 PM
And amongst all this, I’ve decided to get back into the Vfx Business. What the heck

hehe, way to go ;]

but,.. remember, there are new VFX studios being opened as well... :]