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robertoortiz
02-06-2013, 02:49 PM
Rhythm & Hues Studios, the Oscar-nominated visual-effects company behind "Life of Pi," is in dire financial straits and will take an emergency $20 million capital infusion from three major Hollywood studios in order to keep its doors open through April, three individuals with knowledge of the situation told TheWrap.

http://www.thewrap.com/movies/article/troubled-visual-effects-company-rhythm-hues-gets-20m-studio-infusion-exclusive-75991

stiff paper
02-06-2013, 03:32 PM
Yes, and then they're probably going to be sold to the Indian company "Prime Focus."

And Prime Focus just closed its commercials and broadcast divisions in London.

geo_n
02-11-2013, 03:14 AM
http://www.deadline.com/2013/02/oscar-nominated-vfx-rhythm-and-hues-filing-bankruptcy/
How's Greenlaw doing?

stiff paper
02-11-2013, 04:00 AM
Ah, that's horrible news.

R&H was one of the very few VFX houses that at least tried to do right by its employees.

The best of luck to everybody affected.

MrWyatt
02-11-2013, 06:46 AM
Sucks big time. Who will be next? I guess a ton of moms will be going like : "I told you, you should get a REAL job, didn't I".

Steve Kaplan
02-11-2013, 10:50 AM
Updates on the R&H troubles: http://vfxsoldier.wordpress.com/2013/02/10/rhythm-hues-chapter-11/


Sad and frustrating news.

cresshead
02-11-2013, 02:49 PM
not another one...who the heck is left....ILM...is that it?

Celshader
02-11-2013, 03:08 PM
not another one...who the heck is left....ILM...is that it?

Sony Imageworks
Weta Digital
Industrial Light and Magic
Digital Domain (???)

Spinland
02-11-2013, 03:28 PM
Zoic?

Dexter2999
02-11-2013, 03:28 PM
SONY and ILM own IP to keep them flush. (Well, ILM had IP, now it is all Disney)
Not sure if Weta has IP or shares in the LOR stuff.
Digital Domain is barely standing at this point. They just took a beating didn't they?

Celshader
02-11-2013, 05:05 PM
Zoic?

Me, I was thinking of only the shops approaching R&H in size.

Greenlaw
02-11-2013, 05:58 PM
http://www.deadline.com/2013/02/oscar-nominated-vfx-rhythm-and-hues-filing-bankruptcy/
How's Greenlaw doing?
Geo_n, thanks for your concern.

This is truly a dark time in visual effects history. After 17 wonderful years (12 years with me on the team,) the Box at Rhythm & Hues closed its doors a couple of weeks ago. Rhythm & Hues itself has been around for decades, with deep historical roots reaching back to Robert Abel and Associates. Of course the studio has a great reputation for creating ground breaking visual effects work like the animals in Life of Pi (most notably 'Richard Parker') but the company also had a stellar track record for treating its employees very well. I love the people I worked with and it was the best job ever! I'm still hopeful that the rest of the studio will pull through somehow but it does look bleak.

Anyway, to answer your question, I'm sad for what's happening but doing okay personally. As of last week I was still attending a class at the Rhythm & Hues campus though I'm not sure what the status of that is now. At the moment I'm staying focused on finishing up 'Brudders 2'. When I'm done with that personal project, I'm probably going to be really, really sad. :(


Me, I was thinking of only the shops approaching R&H in size.
Yes, Rhythm & Hues is a huge company--1000+ artists and programmers worldwide, and the studio develops nearly all its own software and specialized hardware. I'm not sure there is another visual effects company in the world that's as big as Rhythm.

G.

Greenlaw
02-11-2013, 06:03 PM
Guess I need to change my siggy.

Celshader
02-11-2013, 06:29 PM
Guess I need to change my siggy.

:(

Thinking about you and all of the other R&H artists.

Titus
02-11-2013, 07:07 PM
Really? they are no so big to fail :/.

cosbovfx
02-11-2013, 07:13 PM
This is truly Sad, R+H BoX gave me my first studio job, and I always Loved getting the call from Deborah to come back and work on new projects, It was like being back with family. Any studio would lucky to have artists and leaders on their staff Like Dennis, Keith and Ken

Titus
02-11-2013, 08:14 PM
I always thought R+H was smaller.

This is my biggest nightmare, to make my mini-studio grow and the need to keep growing to stay afloat. Ollin Studio, a local company and my first industry related job grew steadily for years, even working for some known movies until they went belly up.

geo_n
02-11-2013, 08:52 PM
Sorry to hear about that Greenlaw. You've always been helpful in the forums and seem pretty down to earth guy even working as a senior for a top studio.

xchrisx
02-11-2013, 09:06 PM
Sorry to hear all of the bad news Greenlaw. Hope you and the other guys all find work soon. Hard to believe its been about 3 years since I was at the Box, time sure does fly.

tburbage
02-11-2013, 09:34 PM
After 17 wonderful years (12 years with me on the team,) the Box at Rhythm & Hues closed its doors a couple of weeks ago. Rhythm & Hues itself has been around for decades, with deep historical roots reaching back to Robert Abel and Associates.
And THAT is about as far back as you can go in digital visual effects... Best of luck and I'm sure you will land on your feet one way or the other. You couldn't have held down a job in that business for that long without being very good at what you do. Your numerous interesting and useful posts are much appreciated (by the whole community, I'm sure).

Steve Kaplan
02-11-2013, 09:40 PM
Sorry to hear about The Box, Greenlaw. I hadn't asked anyone about it hoping that somehow the unique setup the studio had would protect it from all this. You guys did great work and it was always fun to hear tales of the artists inside.

Best wishes for a easy landing at another shop, or at the destination of your choice. I hope your arrive there safely and quickly.

sukardi
02-11-2013, 10:41 PM
Really sad,

If this is a financial institution, I am sure the government would be bringing in truckloads of cash to keep it going.

This will effect the industry a major way. My thoughts is with their talented employees, including those here in Kuala Lumpur. I hope something good will come out of it although I have no idea how...

allabulle
02-11-2013, 11:08 PM
R&H too?! Come on.

Sorry to hear the Box closed, Greenlaw. Good luck on your next endeavor.

robertoortiz
02-12-2013, 02:11 PM
Oh guys, what is killing the FX industry is the screwed up studio bidding process.

Variety has reported this:
"If I don't put a visual effects shop out of business , I'm not doing my job "Hollywood Producer.
"That movie, and the carefully planned, $60 million "300," which was almost all effects, have created increasingly high demands from studios.

The beleaguered f/x houses also find their pay eroding as rival shops open up around the world. Effects budgets may be soaring, but they're being spread over many more houses and many more shots. Effects houses are still paid by the shot, and per-shot fees have fallen 30%-40%.

The studios complain that the visual f/x shops always go over budget. Shops complain that they're asked to absorb costs of poor studio and producer planning.

One producer, according to a story making the rounds of vfx shops, is reported to have said, "If I don't put a visual effects shop out of business (on my movie), I'm not doing my job." "

http://www.variety.com/article/VR1117965871/?categoryid=1009&cs=1&query=blockbuster+take+toll;bcsi-ac-87a1566f7576e15c=2012E8AC00000102glM2qGn9ImHMqcWFf haj1v6nklyxCAAAAgEAAOagIACEAwAAAgAAAHgNDwA=


This quote from the Variety article covering the R&H problems sums up the VFX industry is doomed . . .


“Fox, U and Warners stepped in and quickly agreed to find a financial mechanism to keep the doors open at R&H without making a direct — but the trio could not agree on next steps. Some studio execs wanted to press for better deals on existing vfx contracts; others objected that the last thing R&H — or the vfx industry in general — needed was further financial pressure. Two studios wanted to force R&H into bankruptcy. The third threatened to pull its work if that strategy was followed. These arguments went on for several weeks.”

http://www.variety.com/article/VR1118065654/

- - - Updated - - -

And back planet earth this sad news is having a HUGE impact on the FX industry...
Add to that the Rhythm & Hues Bankruptcy



Quote:
"
Within 24 hours, Rhythm & Hues Studios went from accepting a BAFTA award for its arresting visual-effects work on "Life of Pi" to filing for Chapter 11 protection.

It was a shocking turn of events for a company that is up for two Oscars for its work on the 3D epic "Pi" and for "Snow White & the Huntsman," and a sign that the visual-effects industry may be headed for a reckoning.


http://www.thewrap.com/movies/article/rhythm-hues-sends-shockwaves-77181

robertoortiz
02-12-2013, 02:19 PM
and....
The amount of change Rhythm & Hues has gone through as a business is second only to the ever-evolving visual effects (VFX) industry that it helped pioneer. According to Rhythm & Hues’ Film Division President Lee Berger, “the world has changed greatly in the last 15 years” for the VFX industry. During that 15-year period, the VFX industry went from being based almost exclusively in California to a global industry with stiff international competition. The trend toward globalization, according to Berger, started in the United Kingdom with a generous tax write off in the late 1990′s, which was later replaced in recent years with generous refundable tax credits. “The tax credit trend in London changed the game and started the current [tax credit] trend,” said Berger.

The introduction of the UK financial incentives, which coincided with the filming of the Harry Potter film franchise, created “the perfect storm” according to Berger. For the first Harry Potter film in 2001, over two-thirds of the VFX work was done in the United States; but for the last three Harry Potter films (made from 2009-2011), between 90-95% of the work was done in the UK. During the same period, filmmaker Peter Jackson’s Weta Digital in New Zealand became a global powerhouse because of the groundbreaking effects work the director was using in the Lord of the Rings trilogy and films like King Kong. Complicating the industry further, “the amount of money studios spend on VFX is shrinking,” said Berger. A shrinking VFX pie, of course, raises the stakes in the competition for business even higher.

With the global proliferation of generous tax credits in places like Vancouver, British Columbia, not only is there fierce competition between international VFX companies (like Weta Digital or Rhythm & Hues) for lucrative special effects contracts, but also between state and national governments. California is caught in the middle of the storm.

As a result of the competition among state and national governments to capture a share of the VFX industry, California’s share of the money spent on VFX has been plummeting in recent years. Film Works was able to acquire the spending breakdowns for 12 big-budget films. The name of each film and the studios attached have been withheld for confidentiality. Seven are currently in production, three have (or will be) released this year and two were released from 2010-2011. Click on the image below to for a full-size view:



http://filmworks.filmla.com/2012/08/15/rhythm-hues-special-effects-powerhouse-offers-insight-into-vfx-industry/

Greenlaw
02-12-2013, 03:21 PM
Oh, cool! I just got word that the class I was taking at R&H will continue as scheduled. I'm still not an employee there but the training they're providing will certainly come in handy wherever it is I take my next job.

I'm really going to miss the place when I'm done with this class. Hopefully Rhythm will survive this storm and invite me back someday. :)

G.

Celshader
02-12-2013, 03:54 PM
Oh, cool! I just got word that the class I was taking at R&H will continue as scheduled. I'm still not an employee there but the training they're providing will certainly come in handy wherever it is I take my next job.

That's great!


Hopefully Rhythm will survive this storm and invite me back someday. :)

G.

I hope so, too.

Titus
02-12-2013, 09:52 PM
I'm really going to miss the place when I'm done with this class. Hopefully Rhythm will survive this storm and invite me back someday. :)

G.

That's the spirit!

Mr Rid
02-13-2013, 05:17 PM
Anyway, to answer your question, I'm sad for what's happening but doing okay personally.

G.

I just heard Dennis! I am all teary now. R&H was indeed an exceptional place to work for. I often wonder how you and the gang are getting along. Good memories.

We can always use your mojo at Pixel Magic. :)

Greenlaw
02-14-2013, 02:41 AM
Hey Mr. Rid,

Great to hear from you! I've been meaning to write to catch up but missing your email address...sending a PM now.

G.

Mr Rid
02-18-2013, 04:00 PM
The trouble in the FX industry, and R&H were mentioned at the top of KCRW's 'The Business,' today, 2-18-13. http://www.kcrw.com/etc/programs/tb/tb130218the_perils_of_produc Click 'Listen' or 'Download'.

KCRW is L.A.'s best radio station, and NPR affiliate. 'The Business' segment covers movie business topics.

Celshader
02-18-2013, 04:27 PM
The trouble in the FX industry, and R&H were mentioned at the top of KCRW's 'The Business,' today, 2-18-13. http://www.kcrw.com/etc/programs/tb/tb130218the_perils_of_produc Click 'Listen' or 'Download'.

Thank you for sharing this link.

For what it's worth, Scott Squires recently wrote about the hazard of VFX subsidies:
http://effectscorner.blogspot.com/2013/02/risk-and-subsidies.html

lwanmtr
02-19-2013, 04:45 AM
Wow, Definitely a bad time for VFX in the U.S. R+H was one of the first places I had ever taken my demo reel into (it was bad..hehe).

Hope everyone is able find something...nothing worse than homeless artists.

Celshader
02-22-2013, 10:07 AM
Wow, Definitely a bad time for VFX in the U.S. R+H was one of the first places I had ever taken my demo reel into (it was bad..hehe).

Hope everyone is able find something...nothing worse than homeless artists.

Yesterday a co-worker proposed that the California VFX industry had hit its rock-bottom. He figured that all of the work that could have been lured away by subsidies (http://www.daverand.com/subsidies/), has been lured away by subsidies. He thought Los Angeles artists could still survive on what was left, and that things could not possibly get any worse.

Then I read that one of the Oscar nominees had 85 of its 120 VFX shots created with free labor (http://animationguildblog.blogspot.com/2013/02/free-free-free.html) by thirty-three students as part of their class at San Francisco's Academy of Art. I think things can get worse.

robertoortiz
02-22-2013, 10:24 AM
Yesterday a co-worker proposed that the California VFX industry had hit its rock-bottom. He figured that all of the work that could have been lured away by subsidies (http://www.daverand.com/subsidies/), has been lured away by subsidies. He thought Los Angeles artists could still survive on what was left, and that things could not possibly get any worse.

Then I read that one of the Oscar nominees had 85 of its 120 VFX shots created with free labor (http://animationguildblog.blogspot.com/2013/02/free-free-free.html) by thirty-three students as part of their class at San Francisco's Academy of Art. I think things can get worse.

Posted it on the CGSOCIETY
http://forums.cgsociety.org/showthread.php?f=2&t=1095106

and Tweeter
https://twitter.com/RobertoOrtiz_CG/status/305003831014596609
Please DO RE-TWEET.
People need to find out about this.

erikals
02-22-2013, 12:16 PM
it's nothing new, and it's little we can do about it, other than to adapt.
or start our own company, preferably with artists owning stocks

as for artwork being sent to schools, maybe that's a good thing.
not for us, but for the film industry.

not good for the kids doing the art though, as it lowers their chances of getting a job in the field.
the only thing that can fix it is a new law.
"students should not do the work for big companies without getting hired once out of school"

but let's face it, getting jobs doing VFX or Art has always been damn hard... !

adapt, change field, or get smarter...

here in Norway, we don't have a problem with companies using students, yet.
if it comes to that, i'll take action, but you guys in the US, you have to take action yourselves, no-one is going to do it for you.

talk leads nowhere, action does.

on some of these points you can win.
also VFX are getting to be more expensive overseas, China ain't as cheap as it used to be, so some good news there.

Megalodon2.0
02-22-2013, 12:40 PM
Yesterday a co-worker proposed that the California VFX industry had hit its rock-bottom. He figured that all of the work that could have been lured away by subsidies (http://www.daverand.com/subsidies/), has been lured away by subsidies. He thought Los Angeles artists could still survive on what was left, and that things could not possibly get any worse.

Then I read that one of the Oscar nominees had 85 of its 120 VFX shots created with free labor (http://animationguildblog.blogspot.com/2013/02/free-free-free.html) by thirty-three students as part of their class at San Francisco's Academy of Art. I think things can get worse.

IMO, this just totally and completely disgusting. Getting your work done for free? WTF?

Is this the future? Studios getting their work done for free by using students in schools? It's great for the students WHILE they are in school, but when they get out... they get crapped on as well. And who else thinks that having students PAY to go to school and do free work is completely WRONG?


why are we discussing this though?
You would rather us whisper in the dark? This needs to be put OUT there and continuously.

Perhaps someone somewhere will eventually do something about this - but not if no one talks about it.


it's nothing new, and it's little we can do about it, other than to adapt.
or start our own company, preferably with artists owning stocks
And how would that help? Answer - it wouldn't. If you owned stock in R&H it wouldn't change ANYTHING. The deals would still be made by management and the profit margins would STILL be slim at best. The ONLY way is through owning your own IP and having a distribution network in place.


as for artwork being sent to schools, maybe that's a good thing.
not for us, but for the film industry.

not good for the kids doing the art though, as it lowers their chances of getting a job in the field.
the only thing that can fix it is a new law.
"students should not do the work for big companies without getting hired once out of school"
It won't end up being good for the film industry either. Think about it. You push all of the great VFX people out onto the street and you're only using students? And I say ONLY because if you continue using students ALL of the VFX houses - especially in the US - will be gone. Then all that's left will be students and VERY small VFX houses. And how long do you think students will continue to pour into schools KNOWING that there won't be any job for them when they graduate?


but let's face it, getting jobs doing VFX or Art has always been damn hard... !
Yes, bus that was when there was an actual thriving VFX industry. Unless you are in China or India, it sounds like it's not JUST "damn hard" but IMPOSSIBLE to get that job now.


adapt, change field, or get smarter...

here in Norway, we don't have a problem with it, yet.
if it comes to that, i'll take action, but you guys in the US, you have to take action yourselves, no-one is going to do it for you.

talk leads nowhere, action does.

I'm glad you said that - YET. And yes - adapt, change fields - but no one will do that UNLESS people talk and discuss the problem. Perhaps there are people viewing this forum NOW that are thinking about getting into the VFX industry, And because we ARE discussing this, they may think twice. That's a good thing, no? And before ANY action can take place, TALKING is the first thing you do.

Celshader
02-22-2013, 12:46 PM
why are we discussing this though?

it's nothing new, and it's little we can do about it, other than to adapt.

Dave Rand proposes that more artists follow the example of SKYLINE and create their own VFX films:
http://www.daverand.com/subsidies/

erikals
02-22-2013, 12:47 PM
Dave Rand proposes that more artists follow the example of SKYLINE and create their own VFX films:
http://www.daverand.com/subsidies/

Exactly!!

Power to the Artists, that's what i'm talking about!

Greenlaw
02-22-2013, 12:52 PM
Then I read that one of the Oscar nominees had 85 of its 120 VFX shots created with free labor (http://animationguildblog.blogspot.com/2013/02/free-free-free.html) by thirty-three students as part of their class at San Francisco's Academy of Art. I think things can get worse.
Ugh! It's one thing to have students work on academic productions but having them work on a commercial studio production without pay is exploitation. The precedence this sets doesn't only affect the livelihood of currently working artists but it also hurts the career opportunities for these same students once they've entered the workforce.

Re: 'rock bottom', I'm not a pessimistic person but I disagree that things having reached that level yet. So long as share holders are happy, current industry practices are not going to change any time soon, and things certainly can get worse for vfx artists in Los Angeles. Probably a lot worse.

G.

Greenlaw
02-22-2013, 01:18 PM
Dave Rand proposes that more artists follow the example of SKYLINE and create their own VFX films:
http://www.daverand.com/subsidies/
I think artists empowering themselves is the future. In the course of last decade, professional level production tools and access to a global audience has come within reach of individual artists and collectives of artists, and some have already found great success without going through the traditional studio system.

As more artists grab the reigns of their own 'content', it's only a matter of time before we see a big change in how entertainment media is produced and distributed. You can already observe this shift happening in the music industry.

G.

Greenlaw
02-22-2013, 01:23 PM
FYI, Rhythm was a privately held company--no shareholders to appease. This was one of many reasons how it was able to operate for the benefit of its employees for more than 25 years.

G.

Dexter2999
02-22-2013, 02:16 PM
I don't know the details of the agreement with the school and the film maker in this instance, but I know that the film school I went to actively solicited independent film makers with at least some financing in place to work in conjunction with the school. Their agreement in our particular case was that the film maker had to;
feed the crew (students),
pay for key positions such as DP, Gaffer, etc.. (who acted as instructors/mentors to students)
pay for film stock and lab processing (however doing it through the school so qualifying for discounts)

The school in return provided labor, equipement, and some facilities (edit bay, post audio equip.) The school also was contracted a percentage of profits should the project see success. (None of the projects that I am aware of ever turned a profit.) The students however never were promised any proceeds or deferred payments of anykind, merely screen credit.

Perhaps it is time for facilities to begin similar Net profit participation deals in recompense for deals that are negotiated in "less than good faith" shall we say?

There is just no way that the industry can survive at the level of quality and volume of needed work at the rate it is going.

I dislike the throwing around of numbers such as SKYLINE. There is mention budget and box office gross. But no mention of distribution costs, percentages, and advertising costs. Just because it made SOME money doesn't mean investors ever saw a return on their investment. I point again to entertainment accounting practices and the vile contract negotiations whereby big movies like HARRY POTTER AND THE GOBLET OF FIRE declare they made no profit. http://entertainment.slashdot.org/story/10/07/09/1621218/hollywood-accounting-how-harry-potter-loses-money

ASIDE: The breakdown of SKYLINE revenues is:
Domestic= $21,393,620 (32.0%)
Foreign= $45,427,416 (68%)
Going from reading (not experience) average returns to a production from domestic runs is 45% to 50%, and foreign receipts are lower approaching 20%.
Adjusted revenues would be:
Domestic= $10,696,810
Foreign= $9,085,483
So, the reported $66 Million box office is closer to $19.75 Million to the production company. I'm not saying that is chump change, but it is a far cry from the illusion of the reported earnings. By the way, the produciton company (a corporation) will likely be paying taxes on those earning prior to paying divindends to investors (unless "unseemly" practices of off shore filings to avoid taxation are conducted.)

And owning original work is a gamble. The best you can do is attempt to make a calculated risk. But, I think if the industry is to survive they may have to start wagering on their own talents by developing their own IP, as I believe we have been saying these forums for a few years now. I don't think any facility needs to dedicate 100% of their resources towards this, but I think it prudent to consider say 20%-30% of their resources at any given time be directed towards self enrichment through internal IP development.

lwanmtr
02-22-2013, 02:28 PM
Personally, I feel that companies going to schools for free labor should be illegal....It means that these companie no longer need to pay employees for their work, nor are they pressed to hire any new talent...why should they, there is an ever revolving supply of free student labor. ignore what that means for those who may be looking for work...the student must face the fact that that film they just made shots for will be the only work they get, cause the studio wont hire them (read previous sentences)...and as a double shaft...they PAID to work on it...lol.

Waves of light
02-22-2013, 02:35 PM
What the hell is going? Is this the future, not just in VFX, but in other industries too?

"Hey, wanna get into this industry... it pays well once you get on the ladder. But, to get on the ladder you don't mind handing over all creative rights to us and working for free.... you get your name on the credits!".

I think one guy on CG Society thread summed it up quite well "They are actively contributing to the downfall of the industry they seem to be so anxious to 'break into.'"

Thoughts go out to all the guys and girls who are having to live through the downfall of R&H.

OnlineRender
02-22-2013, 02:38 PM
its a little more than fubar ... goodluck greenlaw and everyone else..

Spinland
02-22-2013, 02:41 PM
And as a freelancer, a dollar for each time I was asked to do a spec job "for the exposure" and they'd add up to a gig all their own.

Best wishes for all the people getting screwed by this mess.

lwanmtr
02-22-2013, 02:54 PM
As a freelancer, I learned to make sure the Effects director and Film Director are in communication....lol

erikals
02-22-2013, 03:07 PM
this blog is great, all kinds of Hollywood Shi*... !
http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/blogs/thr-esq

person X sues company X
company X sues person X
person X1 sues person X2...

etc.. etc.. etc...

Celshader
02-22-2013, 04:03 PM
this blog is great, all kinds of Hollywood Shi*... !
http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/blogs/thr-esq

For what it's worth, right now I get most of my VFX-specific news from these two sources:

TAG Blog (http://animationguildblog.blogspot.com/)
VFX Soldier (http://vfxsoldier.wordpress.com/)

Megalodon2.0
02-22-2013, 04:04 PM
And owning original work is a gamble. The best you can do is attempt to make a calculated risk. But, I think if the industry is to survive they may have to start wagering on their own talents by developing their own IP, as I believe we have been saying these forums for a few years now. I don't think any facility needs to dedicate 100% of their resources towards this, but I think it prudent to consider say 20%-30% of their resources at any given time be directed towards self enrichment through internal IP development.
Quoted for agreement.

OnlineRender
02-22-2013, 04:22 PM
its not just movie studios that are being hit hard , games studios are also in the same screwed up boat , look at valve for instances not to mention the rest...

erikals
02-22-2013, 04:26 PM
IMO, this just totally and completely disgusting. Getting your work done for free? WTF?

Is this the future? Studios getting their work done for free by using students in schools? It's great for the students WHILE they are in school, but when they get out... they get crapped on as well. And who else thinks that having students PAY to go to school and do free work is completely WRONG?
until a law is passed, this will not change.


You would rather us whisper in the dark? This needs to be put OUT there and continuously.
it's been out there already, for years.


And how would that help? Answer - it wouldn't. If you owned stock in R&H it wouldn't change ANYTHING. The deals would still be made by management and the profit margins would STILL be slim at best. The ONLY way is through owning your own IP and having a distribution network in place.
i'm talking in general, that artists have to stand up for themselves, thus owning stocks in a company like EA would have been a great help as EA treats employees /artists like s*** from what i've read.



It won't end up being good for the film industry either. Think about it. You push all of the great VFX people out onto the street and you're only using students? And I say ONLY because if you continue using students ALL of the VFX houses - especially in the US - will be gone. Then all that's left will be students and VERY small VFX houses. And how long do you think students will continue to pour into schools KNOWING that there won't be any job for them when they graduate?
i've been to companies that have done that stuff for years and years, believe me, it works.
if it's the right thing to do, now that's another question. that's why i suggest the law.
"students should not do the work for big companies without getting hired by them once out of school"
as it's abuse.



...And because we ARE discussing this, they may think twice.
learn from history, they won't, you have to take action yourself, like the Disney artists did.


And before ANY action can take place, TALKING is the first thing you do.
this talk has been going on for 5-10 years...


Fight, don't Talk... !

Megalodon2.0
02-22-2013, 05:34 PM
its not just movie studios that are being hit hard , games studios are also in the same screwed up boat , look at valve for instances not to mention the rest...
But don't the game studios actually OWN these games?


it's been out there already, for years.
And you assume that this talk should stop now? Why? Because it's been going on for years? How long does it take to change something like this? A few decades? NEVER stop talking about it if you want something to change.


i'm talking in general, that artists have to stand up for themselves, thus owning stocks in a company like EA would have been a great help as EA treats employees /artists like s*** from what i've read.
Why do you think this would work? Do you think if all of the artists at any studios could buy up enough stock (assuming the company is public) that you could get anywhere near a decent enough percentage to be heard? When the artists own 50.1% of a company, THEN they can have a say. Otherwise... no one cares.


i've been to companies that have done that stuff for years and years, believe me, it works.
if it's the right thing to do, now that's another question. that's why i suggest the law.
"students should not do the work for big companies without getting hired by them once out of school"
as it's abuse.
I agree. Students should NOT do the work for these companies without being hired by them once out of school.


learn from history, they won't, you have to take action yourself, like the Disney artists did.


this talk has been going on for 5-10 years...


Fight, don't Talk... !
What history? How long has this been going on? Barely a decade if that? This isn't a history, it's a BRIEF span of time. Giving up talking now would be like giving up completely.

Fight? What do you think the artists are doing? They ARE fighting. Read the items posted by Celshader. These people ARE fighting. Unless of course you are talking about taking up guns? :question:

erikals
02-22-2013, 05:45 PM
talk is fine, as long as action follows.

"When the artists own 50.1% of a company"
that's exactly what they should do, quit EA, and form their own company.
(...or force the company to re-negotiate contracts)

5-10 years is history to me.

talk is not fighting, taking action is. Call Obama.
but seriously that is what i'm talking about, make a change, and in order to do that you need to contact 10K artists and make them sign that "don't abuse students" paper. then send it to the White House, or whatever the process is in the US.

why did you ignore what i said about the Disney folks?
that's a prime example on what i'm talking about.

Megalodon2.0
02-22-2013, 05:55 PM
talk is fine, as long as action follows.
Without talk, there would be no action. You don't rush in anywhere without a plan and organization.

"When the artists own 50.1% of a company"
that's exactly what they should do, quit EA, and form their own company.
Which also requires money - which most do not have. During the recession we used up 95% of our savings just to survive. It takes MANY thousands of dollars that (I would bet) most of these artists do not have in their savings. It's very easy to say "hey, why don't we all band together and make our own movie to sell" and it is quite another thing to actually realize it.

5-10 years is history to me.
Not enough to bet on.

talk is not fighting, taking action is. Call Obama.
but seriously that is what i'm talking about, make a change, and in order to do that you need to contact 10K artists and make them sign that "don't abuse students" paper.
It's not the artists that have the say here, it's the movie studios that have been forcing this. The VFX houses that are participating in this stupidity are most likely doing it out of desperation. 10k artists signatures will mean nothing to these people.

why did you leave out what i said about the Disney folks?
Since I don't know precisely what you were talking about (no link) I could not comment. But I would say that if it was THAT effective, I would think that other artists (inspired by VFX soldier) would emulate it. No?

Marcia
02-22-2013, 06:01 PM
I've heard some talk about unionization. What are the thoughts about that? Is it a viable option?

erikals
02-22-2013, 06:06 PM
well, i guess keep on talking.

but don't tell me i didn't warn ya'...
keep me posted on when that talk leads to something.

yes, the Disney strike in 1941 was effective, they took action.

- - - Updated - - -


I've heard some talk about unionization. What are the thoughts about that? Is it a viable option?

that's actually one of the things the Disney artists did, form a union.

Disney nearly physically exploded when he heard it and had to be held back by force.

Megalodon2.0
02-22-2013, 06:13 PM
yes, the Disney strike in 1941 was effective, they took action.

that's actually one of the things the Disney artists did, form a union.

Disney nearly physically exploded when he heard it and had to be held back by force.
You must be joking now.

How many animation studios do you think there were in 1941?

How many VFX studios do you think there are IN THE WORLD right now in 2013? Do you think if a handful of VFX houses here went on strike that it would seriously affect anything?

This is a completely unrealistic scenario. Of course if ALL of the VFX houses went on strike ALL AROUND THE WORLD, then you may have something.

What do you think the chances of that are?

erikals
02-22-2013, 06:27 PM
i'm clearly talking about the effect, not the time.

gosh, i'm talking about artists standing up for themselves.

this is leading nowhere.

Megalodon2.0
02-22-2013, 07:02 PM
i'm clearly talking about the effect, not the time.

gosh, i'm talking about artists standing up for themselves.

this is leading nowhere.

Yeah, the effect AT THE TIME worked perfectly. You were saying that they should do the same thing now. And if not the same thing now, then what? HOW do you think they should "fight" back if not strike?

How do you think there artists should stand up for themselves? Unions have been discussed not only here but on dozens of other forums. It's a split decision as to whether it would be good or not. You've got lots of overseas artists - where this is not affecting them right now - saying unions are "bad" and won't help. Most seem to think that it won't affect them anywhere near as much as it has in the US. Wait till all of the US VFX houses are closed and there are only Canada and Europe. China and India will continue to ramp up and then Canada and Europe will be squeezed exactly like the US was. Then we'll hear talk of unions over there. ;)

It's leading nowhere because you aren't suggesting anything that CAN be done - only throwing things out there like "look at what the Disney artists did" and "artist should fight" - I don't see any strategy there.

erikals
02-22-2013, 07:58 PM
HOW do you think they should "fight" back if not strike?

this is democracy 101.
as for the student abuse situation >
some people go together, they all sign that paper, they give it to the guy in control. (the government, the white house, whatever) the suggestion then goes to a process, an voila! what do you know, law passed, problem solved.

if you can't do that, then indeed, there is no hope.

Megalodon2.0
02-22-2013, 08:12 PM
HOW do you think they should "fight" back if not strike?

this is democracy 101.
as for the student abuse situation >
some people go together, they all sign that paper, they give it to the guy in control. (the government, the white house, whatever) the suggestion then goes to a process, an voila! what do you know, law passed, problem solved.

if you can't do that, then indeed, there is no hope.

Well, you are right - we aren't getting anywhere.

If you seriously think that it's really THAT easy to pass a law, you need to do a little more research. That's like saying "Easy as 1, 2, 3." When #1 is "get together," #2 is raise One Trillion dollars, and #3 is "just buy it." Sounds REALLY simple when you say 1,2,3 - until you get into the details and find out what 1,2,3 REALLY entails. Reality has a way of rearing its ugly head.

And "Democracy 101" is pretty much in the same vein - works on paper great, in practice you are dealing with LOTS more than just clients and VFX houses. This is not anywhere near as simple as you seem to think it is. Simple does not cover this problem and it never will.

Celshader
02-22-2013, 08:14 PM
How do you think there artists should stand up for themselves?

I don't agree with everything Dave Sim ever wrote, but I still find his 1993 Pro-Con speech (http://www.amptoons.com/howto/sim/procon.html) inspirational. He aimed his message at comic book artists working for Marvel and DC, but I think it could also apply to VFX artists.

geo_n
02-22-2013, 09:04 PM
Medical students work as interns for free in hospitals and treat patients with a supervising md.
Architecture students do apprentice work for a long time mostly for free to get credit.

Using students to work on films will not be illegal if we follow the same logic. There will be more vfx companies doing this in the future especially since working on films has the "prestige" that some people are desperate to put in their resume even if the vfx industry pays very low.

Megalodon2.0
02-22-2013, 09:13 PM
I don't agree with everything Dave Sim ever wrote, but I still find his 1993 Pro-Con speech (http://www.amptoons.com/howto/sim/procon.html) inspirational. He aimed his message at comic book artists working for Marvel and DC, but I think it could also apply to VFX artists.
I just finished reading.

Actually I think that there are a number of items that could be pertinent to the current problem in the VFX industry.

The biggest thing - and I'm not sure if this is what you are thinking - is that which has been stated here before about IP. Create your own property and actually OWN what you create. IMO I think that's the best method, but there is always a risk since you never know if what you are working on will be successful. Of course you can always reduce the risk by perhaps making something smaller - like a web series or short. This is actually what *I* am doing - I've created a pilot episode for a CG cartoon series and am working on distribution. Is this what you are intimating or is it something else concerning the article.

A VERY interesting read - thank you.

Megalodon2.0
02-22-2013, 09:15 PM
Medical students work as interns for free in hospitals and treat patients with a supervising md.
Architecture students do apprentice work for a long time mostly for free to get credit.

Using students to work on films will not be illegal if we follow the same logic. There will be more vfx companies doing this in the future especially since working on films has the "prestige" that some people are desperate to put in their resume even if the vfx industry pays very low.

I think that the difference here is that IF that is to be the norm, students will do the work for free (and PAY to do it) but they will not find a job after they graduate because the next batch of students will be doing the work that THEY were doing while THEY were students. It's really a self-defeating circle. It may end up not being illegal, but I don't see it as sustainable.

lwanmtr
02-22-2013, 10:02 PM
A big difference is that medical students are more likely to get hired upon completion, whether at the hospital they intern at or another. Another difference is that Hospitals have a harder time outsourcing medical care to other countries. So the comparison is not a valid one.

robertoortiz
02-22-2013, 10:25 PM
Visual effects workers plan Oscar flyover protestQuote:
"
Ang Lee's acclaimed 3-D movie "Life of Pi" is a front-runner to win a top visual effects award at the Oscars.

But some of the people who worked on the film's dazzling visual effects aren't celebrating. In fact, they're planning to stage a protest to call attention to their own plight -- and that of California visual effects workers in general.

A group of visual effects workers has arranged to have a plane fly a banner over the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood during the red carpet Academy Awards pre-show to protest their circumstances.

The banner will read: "box office + bankrupt = visual effects vfxunion.com." That's a reference to the recent bankruptcy filing by Rhythm & Hues. The El Segundo studio also laid off 250 employees, prompting a class-action lawsuit from one former employee alleging the workers were not given proper notice."

http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/envelope/cotown/la-et-ct-visual-effects-oscar-protest-rhythm-hues20130222,0,2940036.story

geo_n
02-23-2013, 02:40 AM
A big difference is that medical students are more likely to get hired upon completion, whether at the hospital they intern at or another. Another difference is that Hospitals have a harder time outsourcing medical care to other countries. So the comparison is not a valid one.

Right. Point was though that if hospitals do it where its not easy to outsource unless they import talent from overseas, then its even easier to do this in the vfx industry where everything can be done online. I don't see the graphic industry in general improving in 10 years.

roboman
02-23-2013, 10:41 AM
This is just a hobby for me that makes me bit of money once in a while. For a living I build custom assembly line machinery. When CAD first started to make it big all the drafts men were all excited about learning it and how it would open up the world. The job is now gone, as people now do their own drawings. CNC first exploded into the field when computers became cheep. The field became flooded with programers. They are now mostly gone, as the people who run the machines or the engineers now do the programing. There are 5 people in the shop where I work. 25 years ago the shop would have needed at least 30 people to do the amount of work we do. I don't think the vfx / animation business is the same, but the software / hardware getting better all the time and the guy in China willing to work for 10% of my wage is still there. Seeing 'the making of ****' and seeing a producer, director or editor or doing something that would have been done by an fx guy is there. Seeing fx that would have taken huge amounts of time and several people done by a person quickly is there. The first short I did took me over 6 months of render time and I'm sure I could do it at much better quality in less then a week. I don't think the vfx or animator job is going away any time soon, but the lines aren't as clear. As much as it has given others the option of doing some of the fx/animation work the cg artist is also more free to reach past that line. As the people who were promoting computers in the early days loved to say, computers will free people up to do other things.

I remember as a kid seeing miles of factories with thousands of people all using manual machines. I remember seeing office buildings with several floors full of nothing but desks full of people typing. Movie / TV seems to be going through that same change.

Celshader
02-23-2013, 11:32 AM
For those interested, the protest is scheduled from 1PM-4:30PM on Hollywood and Vine.
http://vfxsoldier.wordpress.com/2013/02/22/vfx-oscars-demonstration-hollywood-vine-1pm-430pm/


I just finished reading.

Actually I think that there are a number of items that could be pertinent to the current problem in the VFX industry.

The biggest thing - and I'm not sure if this is what you are thinking - is that which has been stated here before about IP. Create your own property and actually OWN what you create. IMO I think that's the best method, but there is always a risk since you never know if what you are working on will be successful. Of course you can always reduce the risk by perhaps making something smaller - like a web series or short. This is actually what *I* am doing - I've created a pilot episode for a CG cartoon series and am working on distribution. Is this what you are intimating or is it something else concerning the article.

A VERY interesting read - thank you.

You're welcome. :) I try to re-read that every few years.

As you noted, Dave Sim makes a case for creating and owning your own intellectual property. It's not common, but I have seen artists pull it off. Software (http://www.komodolabs.com/), games (http://www.gagneint.com/Final%20site/misc/collection/toysandcollectibles.htm), graphic novels (http://www.boneville.com/), statues (http://www.gagneint.com/Final%20site/misc/collection/toysandcollectibles.htm), short films (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w0ffwDYo00Q), posters, T-shirts, picture books (http://seanhargreavesdesigns.blogspot.com/2012/05/more-samples-from-my-book-places.html), or even "a pilot episode for a CG cartoon series" ala Jimmy Neutron (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Adventures_of_Jimmy_Neutron:_Boy_Genius#Pilot_ .281998-2001.29). :thumbsup:

He also makes the case that work-for-hire is a dead end for artists. In the current state of the VFX industry, this is true. Too many of the VFX artists I know have no health insurance. Even fewer have anything saved for retirement (http://lore.greeblegraphics.com/2012/01/08/retirement-saving-for-vfx-artists/). Either things will get better (http://animationguildblog.blogspot.com/2007/07/two-50-year-careers-two-different.html), or this industry will not be able to hang on to most of its best people.

souzou
02-23-2013, 12:12 PM
As you noted, Dave Sim makes a case for creating and owning your own intellectual property. It's not common, but I have seen artists pull it off. Software (http://www.komodolabs.com/), games (http://www.gagneint.com/Final%20site/misc/collection/toysandcollectibles.htm), graphic novels (http://www.boneville.com/), statues (http://www.gagneint.com/Final%20site/misc/collection/toysandcollectibles.htm), short films (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w0ffwDYo00Q), posters, T-shirts, picture books (http://seanhargreavesdesigns.blogspot.com/2012/05/more-samples-from-my-book-places.html), or even "a pilot episode for a CG cartoon series" ala Jimmy Neutron (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Adventures_of_Jimmy_Neutron:_Boy_Genius#Pilot_ .281998-2001.29). :thumbsup:


One of the good sides of this rapid advance in technology is that it is making it easier for creators to produce their own IP. Crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter, 3d printing, the app store for micro games/apps, e-books, etc are disrupting the traditional models of distribution/publishing so the gatekeepers will have less control. And the more big companies squeeze their creatives the more will be pushed to developing their own stuff imho.

Great article btw, thanks for posting. I'm also reminded of a Ralph Bakshi interview (I think this has been posted before):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WApcUBcVMos

Greenlaw
02-23-2013, 12:24 PM
This reminds me of a book I read a few years back called Fans, Friends and Followers (http://www.amazon.com/Fans-Friends-And-Followers-Building/dp/1442100745), which is a collection of interviews with various artists, musicians and filmmakers who have had great success owning and marketing their own creations. Some of the 'how I did it' info may be a little dated by now but the individual stories are very interesting and may even provide inspiration.

G.

jeric_synergy
02-23-2013, 12:35 PM
Actually, students working on profit making films may be illegal. If the school receives government subsidies, essentially the gov't is competing with private VFX companies, and I thought that was generally verboten in the legislation enabling such subsidies.

Spinland
02-23-2013, 12:40 PM
Actually, students working on profit making films may be illegal. If the school receives government subsidies, essentially the gov't is competing with private VFX companies, and I thought that was generally verboten in the legislation enabling such subsidies.

And were this to start becoming commonplace, I wonder what effect it might have on the whole paradigm of educational versus commercial licensing of the tools.

stiff paper
02-23-2013, 01:13 PM
For those interested, the protest is scheduled from 1PM-4:30PM on Hollywood and Vine.
I'm 5500 miles away, otherwise I'd be there waving a sign and making some noise. I hope it goes well. I hope it gets noticed. Most of all I hope it's the start of something that'll lead to some fundamental changes (because - wow - does the business ever need some changes to start happening).

Megalodon2.0
02-23-2013, 02:10 PM
As you noted, Dave Sim makes a case for creating and owning your own intellectual property. It's not common, but I have seen artists pull it off. Software (http://www.komodolabs.com/), games (http://www.gagneint.com/Final%20site/misc/collection/toysandcollectibles.htm), graphic novels (http://www.boneville.com/), statues (http://www.gagneint.com/Final%20site/misc/collection/toysandcollectibles.htm), short films (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w0ffwDYo00Q), posters, T-shirts, picture books (http://seanhargreavesdesigns.blogspot.com/2012/05/more-samples-from-my-book-places.html), or even "a pilot episode for a CG cartoon series" ala Jimmy Neutron (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Adventures_of_Jimmy_Neutron:_Boy_Genius#Pilot_ .281998-2001.29). :thumbsup:
It really seems like the only way to go. Obviously it would be VERY difficult to make any kind of movie on a grand scale - simply due to money and having all of the artists be able to survive while the production is underway. And again it comes back to "will it be successful"? And when it comes to VFX artists in particular, it would more than likely be in the same vein as what Dave Sims talks about - collaborations between artist and storyteller - since many VFX artists are not storytellers. I'm sure many - such as yourself are. I checked out your comic book in your sig! Pretty cool!! :) Do you have a Facebook page to promote this?


He also makes the case that work-for-hire is a dead end for artists. In the current state of the VFX industry, this is true. Too many of the VFX artists I know have no health insurance. Even fewer have anything saved for retirement (http://lore.greeblegraphics.com/2012/01/08/retirement-saving-for-vfx-artists/). Either things will get better (http://animationguildblog.blogspot.com/2007/07/two-50-year-careers-two-different.html), or this industry will not be able to hang on to most of its best people.
I'll never completely understand this. I own a small arch-viz company that currently has only two people - my wife and myself - but we hired two people before the Great Recession started. My goal was to make MORE money for my wife and myself AND make lots of money for our employees. We didn't provide healthcare, but were definitely going to once we knew everything was moving forward and we were stable. Of course that didn't happen since the floor fell out from under us, but it WAS the plan. I will never understand why greed consistently trumps everything else. Why do you NEED to make that extra few thousand dollars when you could have a happier employee and a significantly more loyal one? If the employee is happy and knows that you care about them more than a few extra dollars in your pocket... he/she will generally go above and beyond what an employee would do where they know they are being exploited. I've said to my clients - and to my employees - "I'm greedy as hell and I want more money than I can possibly spend.... but... I won't screw YOU to get it." It seems greed really does trump compassion and fair play as well as honesty and integrity. It's sad that so many people who are "in control" have that mindset. Perhaps the only way to "change the system" is to use it to our advantage and compete with them for the customers dollar? And apparently that's exactly what I'm trying to do. :thumbsup:


This reminds me of a book I read a few years back called Fans, Friends and Followers (http://www.amazon.com/Fans-Friends-And-Followers-Building/dp/1442100745), which is a collection of interviews with various artists, musicians and filmmakers who have had great success owning and marketing their own creations. Some of the 'how I did it' info may be a little dated by now but the individual stories are very interesting and may even provide inspiration.
I think you may have mentiond this a few years ago and I placed it in my wishlist - then forgot about it. It's now in my BOUGHT list and I'll have it soon.

Thanks!

DonJMyers
02-25-2013, 11:43 AM
As a protester with over 377 other vfx wizards at the oscars yesterday afternoon I was disgusted by one portion of the show.

Many of the people marching in protest must have worked at R&H and held signs that said "We want a piece of the PI."

When R&H won best FX for Pi the FX super tried to talk about the problems his company had and the industry is facing. He was booted offstage to the tune of "Jaws". Meanwhile the best supporting actor could babble all he wanted.

The rest of the show? Boring, tedious ... except when it acted like the tony awards. Pathetic!

sandman300
02-25-2013, 02:19 PM
Actually, students working on profit making films may be illegal. If the school receives government subsidies, essentially the gov't is competing with private VFX companies, and I thought that was generally verboten in the legislation enabling such subsidies.
There are a couple of things wrong with this thought. There is a much bigger process that companies go through to get interns. Companies or individuals applying to a college for admittance to their intern program must be accepted by the college as a legitimate learning experience (so anyone looking for last minute help will be out of luck because the process could take upwards of 3 months). Also students are given a list of options for their internship, which makes it more like the students interview the employers, and if that is not enough, a lot of places pay their interns, so if these people who pay very little or not at all, get an intern at all, it will be because everything else was taken.

Now I don't think that a college (subsidized or not) would be allowed to profit off of a students work (that just seems too much like pimping), but then again I'm not a lawyer, and I can still see several ways around this. Even then it would come down to the individuals running the program and not the institution.

lwanmtr
02-25-2013, 02:26 PM
Actually most places do not pay interns anymore...some do but most..nope. I know because from school here none of the internships available were paid.

As for schools profiting from student work...well, greed is a big driving factor..not ethics or common sense. Private schools specially would be likely to no refuse some compensation in exchange for some slave labor.

VFX and Animators have no guild or union that would be allowed to stop these kinds of practices...where as almost every other aspect of production does.

SBowie
02-25-2013, 02:37 PM
Hmm. Just as a point of interest, would there be an argument that the use of academic licensed software posed an issue?

One can easily imagine that a developer might be very disinclined (for obvious reasons) to pursue legal remedies for breach of academic software license agreements ... but if they did refrain, they might leave themselves in a very tenuous position legally. Those who had paid commercial rates for their software over the years could conceivably contemplate a class action suit, since their purchase had been 'devalued' by the de facto condoning of the contravention of license requirements; otherwise, if the company does not defend its license requirements, they would seem to be leaving themselves open to anyone doing the same thing in future. But what do I know ...

lwanmtr
02-25-2013, 02:39 PM
Yes, there is that...but enough compensation and they can get around that

Cageman
02-25-2013, 02:42 PM
Anyway, to answer your question, I'm sad for what's happening but doing okay personally.

Awww... damn... I thought the Box would be able to survive the collapse, since you guys worked mostly with commercials and gametrailers and were self-sustained... oh well... :/

Take care man, and I hope you and the others from the Box will find a new home soon.

SBowie
02-25-2013, 02:43 PM
Yes, there is that...but enough compensation and they can get around thatCompensation to whom? They'd conceivably have to satisfy all who hold current commercial licenses. That could pretty quickly add up to enough to offset the notional value of being associated with a specific Oscar winner, I'd have thought (not discounting other difficulties involved - notably, mounting the challenge).

lwanmtr
02-25-2013, 03:02 PM
Lawyers, Mobsters...I dont know the mechanics involved...Im just saying that unethical practices are everywhere.

Spinland
02-25-2013, 03:06 PM
Hmm. Just as a point of interest, would there be an argument that the use of academic licensed software posed an issue?

This ties into my related post a few ticks up there...and one of my concerns is that if academic licenses (assuming they didn't commercialize the software being used in this case) can be abused with such impunity, might the software vendors decide to stop offering them? That could be a real screw job.

lwanmtr
02-25-2013, 03:13 PM
I doubt they would stop offering academic licenses... for the main reason that it gets users to wanting their software.

SBowie
02-25-2013, 03:15 PM
I doubt they would stop offering academic licenses... for the main reason that it gets users to wanting their software.S'why I bring it up ... seems like (depending on the facts of the particular matter) they may have unwittingly exposed a little Achilles heel in this respect. (edit - of course, even if that were true, it only addresses one aspect of the larger picture).

lwanmtr
02-25-2013, 03:16 PM
Indeed.

sandman300
02-25-2013, 06:00 PM
Actually most places do not pay interns anymore...some do but most..nope. I know because from school here none of the internships available were paid.
Maybe where your at but where I am, the demand is much greater than the supply. I talked to a couple of students that applied for an internship where I work and they all went to places that paid. I guess it all depends on what the experience has to offer a resume (experience, prestige, money, or just an easy A). Now I'm not saying that these places paid anything substantial, but something is more than nothing. (I did a quick google - Disney has paid internships)


As for schools profiting from student work...well, greed is a big driving factor..not ethics or common sense. Private schools specially would be likely to no refuse some compensation in exchange for some slave labor.
I don't know any particular schools that do this so I can only speculate. If it is an accredited school, they are held to a set of standards which give an education from that institution value. I can't imagine such a school allowing such unethical practices to occur. If anything, it would come down to some sort of "under the table" agreement which by nature would be breaking several federal labor laws.


VFX and Animators have no guild or union that would be allowed to stop these kinds of practices...where as almost every other aspect of production does.
Even if there were a union, I don't know if they would really care. But then again you get what you pay for, If your paying [email protected] then that is what you should expect to get. If you want professional work, don't hire interns.

The idea of getting cheep or free labor is not new, and not restricted to the VFX and Animators, everybody does it, and there is nothing wrong with it as long as it is not abused, those who do are not usually allowed to continue to participate in the program.

All I'm saying is that ending the internship program will do more harm than good.

How do other guilds in the entertainment industry deal with interns? Do they require them to join the union?

lwanmtr
02-25-2013, 06:36 PM
I think the intern program is a good thing..however its being abused more and more.

I nterviewed with one local company (after I had graduated) and despite having the skills they needed, which they even commented on, they required a 6 month internship with them before becoming hired on as a paid employee. Clearly abusing the program, specially considering that the work their interns do makes the company money.

EmperorPete
02-25-2013, 11:58 PM
I just saw what Ang Lee had to say about all this:

I would like it to be cheaper and not a tough business [for VFX vendors]. It’s easy for me to say, but it’s very tough. It’s very hard for them to make money. The research and development is so expensive; that is a big burden for every house. They all have good times and hard times, and in the tough times, some may not [survive].
I have no words to express my scorn for this jackass. (well, that's not quite true. I have a lot of words, but I can't use them here). Actors get paid obscene amounts for their art, and VFX people deserve exactly the same. Let's see how impressive Life Of Pi would look without R&H's hard work and dedication.
You're an idiot, Lee.

Mr Rid
02-27-2013, 03:11 AM
http://io9.com/5987131/why-the-visual-effects-industry-protested-the-oscars-and-how-the-academy-insulted-them-in-return

geo_n
02-27-2013, 04:02 AM
Pixomondo was mentioned also in the article.

Dexter2999
02-27-2013, 07:07 AM
The comments to that article are largely disgusting, demonstrating the attitude and ignorance of the general public. "VFX bore me", "your effects are all just generated in banks of computers", "it's their job to negotiate better pay", while these are paraphrasing I assure you they are not taken out of context or misinterpreted in any way.

If this is representative of how Hollywood producers and studios see FX, it is doomed.

I think it is time for Hollywood VFX to take a break from R&D. For the same rate as these outsourced projects, they get out of the box services and cut their overhead. Perhaps the industry would take more note?

Mr Rid
02-27-2013, 11:07 AM
.

erikals
02-27-2013, 01:42 PM
"VFX bore me"

most people today don't even know it's VFX they are watching. > http://www.artofvfx.com/?p=2286

i honestly often have trouble seeing it myself. > http://beforevfx.tumblr.com/

mom and dad thought it was a real tiger btw... http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-OaiwV9J3mJ4/UOROtotfQZI/AAAAAAAAEec/_p9L7u8SnDU/s1600/Life+of+Pi+Tiger.jpg


- - - Updated - - -


I just saw what Ang Lee had to say about all this:

I have no words to express my scorn for this jackass. (well, that's not quite true. I have a lot of words, but I can't use them here). Actors get paid obscene amounts for their art, and VFX people deserve exactly the same. Let's see how impressive Life Of Pi would look without R&H's hard work and dedication.
You're an idiot, Lee.

+1

HenrikSkoglund
02-27-2013, 01:43 PM
.

looooooool :)

Mr Rid
02-27-2013, 04:38 PM
By me.

https://sphotos-b.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-prn1/823624_10151490553591826_1185997916_o.jpg

LW_Will
02-27-2013, 04:54 PM
It is illegal for a company to use interns to do significant work without paying them in California.

Now, that pay would be minimum wage, but there you are...

lwanmtr
02-27-2013, 04:56 PM
Min wage is still something, at least :)

geo_n
02-27-2013, 08:13 PM
http://i47.tinypic.com/sdmfjr.jpg
uber low budget

lwanmtr
02-27-2013, 08:19 PM
Lol...that reminds me of the old Thumb movies like Thumb Wars, BatThumb, etc...

Titus
02-28-2013, 10:14 AM
Roberto posted this:Rhythm & Hues Taiwan studio to open by late March: manager

http://focustaiwan.tw/ShowNews/WebNews_Detail.aspx?Type=aECO&ID=201302280002

cresshead
02-28-2013, 11:49 AM
Roberto posted this:Rhythm & Hues Taiwan studio to open by late March: manager

http://focustaiwan.tw/ShowNews/WebNews_Detail.aspx?Type=aECO&ID=201302280002

yup...i'll call it "pot, kettle...black"

rcallicotte
02-28-2013, 12:11 PM
Exacerbating the problem will help. Sure. Jump on it.

Greenlaw
02-28-2013, 12:26 PM
Just so people don't get the wrong idea, I believe this group was set up mainly to service ride films for theme parks and films made in the eastern region. It's something that had been in the works for quite a long time. I know a little about this because their office was right around the corner from mine and I saw a variety of the Chinese ride film posters when I walked by every day. In other words, they were not set up to compete with R&H here in the United States.

R&H has (had?) facilities all around the world which allowed the company to work on productions 24-hours around the clock. For example, on the many recent jobs the Box did, during the daytime hours here in Los Angeles, we worked on the environment, effects and character animation, while in the evenings (daytime in Mumbai,) the crew there worked on roto, matchmoving, and camera tracking for us. This meant the crew here in LA could keep reasonable working hours (for the most part anyway,) and our jobs would get done in the crazy schedules dictated by clients, which became increasingly shorter every year. I, for one, was always grateful that the Mumbai R&H crew could help us out like this. Anyway, for many R&H employees worldwide we were all one 'family' so to speak but 'mother' was always here in Los Angeles.

I hadn't put too much thought into how the international branches might survive if the headquarters here in LA went away. I guess being in other countries they might continue business as separate companies.

G.

cresshead
02-28-2013, 01:19 PM
It's not fair just to apportion 'blame' to the producers and the big guys in Hollywood, you have to also take a look at the effects studio owners signing up to loss leader VFX work and piling overtime onto their workers with no budget to actually pay them.

they deserve to fold if that's their prefered method of running a business into the ground.

i tihnk everyone needs to get realistic...which is ironic for a VFX topic.

Greenlaw
02-28-2013, 01:30 PM
The reality is, the terms for work are more or less dictated by the movie studios. The reality is that Rhythm could only turn away so many jobs and still stay in business. The reality is that the movie studios don't see the value in what companies like Rhythm offer to film--they believe the R&D and artistry behind films like 'Life of Pi' can be easily reproduced by "two kids in a garage."

Good luck, Hollywood--you go with that. ;)

G.

KevinL
02-28-2013, 01:41 PM
"Hollywood" is a system. "The system is broken. At some point, fixing a system does not make fiscal/social sense. Then a new system needs to be implemented."
We know quite a bit about what's wrong. We know quite a bit about paradigm shifts that have produced interesting and potentially profitable/equitable results, not possible in the old
systems.

New Direction?

my 1/8th kroner....
KevinL

Titus
02-28-2013, 01:46 PM
We know this problem has a history. I can remember a VES Festival circa 2005-2006 at the end of one session, John Knoll stood in the middle of the audience and said they (ILM) were almost not able to finish Pirates of the Caribbean on time and budget. They were required everytime to do more scenes and faster.

Megalodon2.0
02-28-2013, 03:17 PM
It's not fair just to apportion 'blame' to the producers and the big guys in Hollywood, you have to also take a look at the effects studio owners signing up to loss leader VFX work and piling overtime onto their workers with no budget to actually pay them.

they deserve to fold if that's their prefered method of running a business into the ground.

i tihnk everyone needs to get realistic...which is ironic for a VFX topic.
That is FAR too simplistic a take on the way the industry works. Reality is definitely not that simple.

I sincerely doubt that R&H worked like that since they are known for treating their employees fairly. The industry has been ever-so-slowly working in this direction and while I'm sure some VFX studios treat their employees like a commodity, others - who are ALSO in the same boat - do not.

IMO it IS fair to apportion the blame to the big studios. THEY are the ones pitting VFX studios against each other in a never-ending spiral into the ground. Subsidies are also part of that "apportioned blame."

cresshead
02-28-2013, 06:35 PM
i'm sure making a profitable VFX studio would itself require some visual effects to make it "real" and "believeble" for the accountant.

ironic.

112055

Megalodon2.0
03-01-2013, 12:53 PM
Not to derail this thread, but there are some people in the industry who are fighting back working to create their own IP:

http://www.facebook.com/GhostTrainPictures?ref=hl

http://www.larrywhitakerproductions.com/


If you're on Facebook, make sure you Like it (if you do of course) and pass the word. Independent productions and owning your own IP is the only way to fight back and stay in the game.

FAR better than giving up and in to Hollywood!

Titus
03-01-2013, 08:54 PM
Not to derail this thread, but there are some people in the industry who are fighting back working to create their own IP:

http://www.facebook.com/GhostTrainPictures?ref=hl

http://www.larrywhitakerproductions.com/




If you're on Facebook, make sure you Like it (if you do of course) and pass the word. Independent productions and owning your own IP is the only way to fight back and stay in the game.

FAR better than giving up and in to Hollywood!


Well. I've been developing my own IP for a couple of years now. This is a project of animated TV series I've ready to produce, with half of co-production already promised (with a company in China, nevertheless). I've been in several TV markets (Annecy-MIFA, MIPTV, MIPJUNIOR, CARTOON, etc.). Business is tough, but there is money out there.

Here's a trailer (shameless plug):

https://vimeo.com/57872708

Greenlaw
03-02-2013, 12:15 AM
Yes, go for it! As mentioned earlier, I'm a firm believer in and supporter of artists creating and owning their own property--I dabble in this myself in fact.

With each new 'Little Green Dog' (http://littlegreendog.blogspot.com/) personal project, Alisa and I have been developing workflows that we intend to use for more commercially viable productions that we want to do in the future. In recent years, we experimented with a variety of 'low-cost' production tools and technology, self-publishing services and distribution venues. It's been fun, educational and a ton of hard work, and it's probably time for us to take our 'hobby' to the next level and start putting it work for us.

Now, if we can just push 'Brudders 2' out the door... :)

G.

Megalodon2.0
03-02-2013, 12:31 AM
Well. I've been developing my own IP for a couple of years now. This is a project of animated TV series I've ready to produce, with half of co-production already promised (with a company in China, nevertheless). I've been in several TV markets (Annecy-MIFA, MIPTV, MIPJUNIOR, CARTOON, etc.). Business is tough, but there is money out there.

Here's a trailer (shameless plug):

https://vimeo.com/57872708
That looks really great! Lightwave?

Same here, we're working on our own IP as well. It's slow going, but doing nothing is a waste of time. :)

Too few others are going to plug your stuff, so you've gotta do it.

Good luck with it!!!


Yes, go for it! As mentioned earlier, I'm a firm believer in and supporter of artists creating and owning their own property--I dabble in this myself in fact.

With each new 'Little Green Dog' (http://littlegreendog.blogspot.com/) personal project, Alisa and I have been developing workflows that we intend to use for more commercially viable productions that we want to do in the future. In recent years, we experimented with a variety of 'low-cost' production tools and technology, self-publishing services and distribution venues. It's been fun, educational and a ton of hard work, and it's probably time for us to take our 'hobby' to the next level and start putting it work for us.

Now, if we can just push 'Brudders 2' out the door... :)

G.

Yeah, I've been following "Brudders." IMO having your own IP and producing it yourself is the BEST way to make any money in this business. Of course we ALL know that that won't be easy at all, but it provides a little hope. I definitely agree with the "fun, educational and a ton of hard work" stuff - but I'd have to say it's been worthwhile too. We've experimented with an 8 camera optitrack system for the mocap and it's worked flawlessly.

Good luck with Brudders 2!

Titus
03-02-2013, 09:48 AM
That looks really great! Lightwave?



Sadly no. But I still use LW for commercials.

- - - Updated - - -


That looks really great! Lightwave?



Sadly no. But I still use LW for commercials.

Greenlaw
03-02-2013, 11:12 AM
Good luck with Brudders 2!
Thanks!

We were hoping to have this film done by now but the production has been fraught with all sorts of unforeseen technical issues from the very beginning. I won't go into the details because it's actually a very long and boring story. These last three weeks have been very good though though--developers came through for us, friends and colleagues jumped in to assist, or we simply figured out some new tricks for getting things done to our satisfaction. It now looks like all our technical obstacles have been cleared away and we're finally on our way to finishing. Yay! :)

Anyway, we now return you to your regularly scheduled thread.

G.

BigHache
03-02-2013, 11:56 AM
Very cool Greenlaw. I've enjoyed the cartoons and animations so far. Just cute and light-hearted.

jeric_synergy
03-02-2013, 07:25 PM
I won't go into the details because it's actually a very long and boring story.
G.
I don't know: a story that helped us all avoid our OWN long and boring story might be very worth knowing.

BigHache
03-02-2013, 09:31 PM
I don't know: a story that helped us all avoid our OWN long and boring story might be very worth knowing.

OK he's got a good point. Blog post(s) maybe?

SBowie
03-03-2013, 07:55 AM
For those interested in related media coverage: http://www.cbc.ca/day6/blog/2013/03/01/oscar-winning-vfx-company-behind-life-of-pi-goes-bankrupt/

Greenlaw
03-03-2013, 12:23 PM
OK he's got a good point. Blog post(s) maybe?
I can probably go over all that in this long and boring thread:

Brudders 2 Production Log (http://forums.newtek.com/showthread.php?133274-The-Brudders-2-Production-Log-%28Well-sort-of-%29)

As a matter of fact, I've been dealing with a brand new 'fun surprise' since late last night. Think I have it licked though--will write more about it in that thread in the next day or so.

I don't want to get spanked so that's all I'm going to say about 'Brudders' in this thread. :p

G.

Sculley
03-04-2013, 06:02 PM
Didn't DD (Digital Domain) shut its doors at some of its offices?

lwanmtr
03-04-2013, 06:03 PM
I think I read somewhere, they filed for bankruptcy too recently.

rcallicotte
03-05-2013, 07:57 PM
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=352455591529679&set=a.342640865844485.73938.342634472511791&type=1&theater

rcallicotte
03-06-2013, 05:39 AM
Check out the URL at the end of this quick video - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jmVMuonFSHE

robertoortiz
03-06-2013, 09:10 AM
Yes, go for it! As mentioned earlier, I'm a firm believer in and supporter of artists creating and owning their own property--I dabble in this myself in fact.

With each new 'Little Green Dog' (http://littlegreendog.blogspot.com/) personal project, Alisa and I have been developing workflows that we intend to use for more commercially viable productions that we want to do in the future. In recent years, we experimented with a variety of 'low-cost' production tools and technology, self-publishing services and distribution venues. It's been fun, educational and a ton of hard work, and it's probably time for us to take our 'hobby' to the next level and start putting it work for us.

Now, if we can just push 'Brudders 2' out the door... :)

G.
I will be launching an Ip incubator effort at the CGSociety and I wanto invite you to join us.
I WILL BE MANAGING IT, so you would be well taken care of.

allabulle
03-06-2013, 09:42 AM
Do they know, at CGSociety, that he uses LightWave? Be careful there. :)

robertoortiz
03-06-2013, 10:30 AM
Do they know, at CGSociety, that he uses LightWave? Be careful there. :)

I am a Lightwave user, and proud of it. And I promoted LW left and right (I have the scars to prove it)

I you go to Youtube right now, one of the most viewed LW profiles was produced by me.
http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=lightwave+11+rob+powers&oq=lightwave+11+rob+powers&gs_l=youtube.3...4233.6914.0.7074.11.11.0.0.0.0.11 5.718.9j2.11.0...0.0...1ac.1.B8_5jfkR4MY

Ask anyone about how my forums in the CGSociety are run, and they will tell you that I am a straight shooter.
Stay in my areas and you will be taken care of, and I got some top of the lin people willing to help each other developing IP.

allabulle
03-06-2013, 03:45 PM
I know you are an active member of this forums and others. It should be plain clear to anyone paying attention to this forums how supportive of this community you are and I don't dispute that at all.

Seeing your factual statement I realize my remark was unfortunate. Relaxed at home I joked about a situation probably being more than unconsidered to you and your nice proposal. Also to the other fellow forum members. My intention wasn't to make fun of you or adding a bitter thought to a constructive initiative. I apologize for that sincerely.

Still, in my mind CGSociety isn't as friendly for LightWave users as it could be. The times when it was plain aggressive towards LightWave and even more to people using the software (!?) are certainly long gone, but you can still feel some of that attitude there. Maybe it's just me. Sitting comfortably at my chair and typing carelessly letting a nice thread derail because I didn't think twice what can be assumed reading what I say is wrong, though.

I hope we can move on. If you have something else to say or want any further explanation from me, please don't hesitate to pm me, Roberto.

In short, I wasn't bitter but careless.

Greenlaw
03-06-2013, 04:13 PM
I will be launching an Ip incubator effort at the CGSociety and I wanto invite you to join us.
I WILL BE MANAGING IT, so you would be well taken care of.
Sounds interesting but what is an 'IP incubator'?

G.

robertoortiz
03-06-2013, 09:29 PM
allabulle; my amigo note preocupes... :)


Ok the IP incubator idea is to have a place where people interested in developing their own Ip can come in and post their progress once a week.
Think of it as a never ending fxwars challenge.
The IP can be anything, fro ma comic book to a short.
-R

KurtF
03-07-2013, 08:09 PM
Intellectual Property. In other words, you create and own the content, reaping any financial rewards, rather than being a worker for hire on someone else's project.

Megalodon2.0
03-08-2013, 01:25 AM
Still, in my mind CGSociety isn't as friendly for LightWave users as it could be. The times when it was plain aggressive towards LightWave and even more to people using the software (!?) are certainly long gone, but you can still feel some of that attitude there. Maybe it's just me. Sitting comfortably at my chair and typing carelessly letting a nice thread derail because I didn't think twice what can be assumed reading what I say is wrong, though.
There are still times when they are... aggressive towards LW. Of course LW fanboys don't help it either when praising something up and down that other software has had for a long time. Still... LW is akin to the "red-headed stepchild" at CG Talk - Roberto is (IMO) the exception.

Of course many there can't stand Blender either. :)

Long live both of them!

lwanmtr
03-08-2013, 04:11 AM
Mention Poser on CGTalk and watch what happens...lol

jeric_synergy
03-08-2013, 09:15 AM
Do Stanley and Black & Decker fans act so ridiculously?

GandB
03-08-2013, 09:30 AM
Do Stanley and Black & Decker fans act so ridiculously?

No; they're too busy doing actual work. ;)

Megalodon2.0
03-08-2013, 01:28 PM
Mention Poser on CGTalk and watch what happens...lol

Of course years ago you could do the same here.

Mention Poser and you would receive MANY negative and nasty replies.

robertoortiz
03-08-2013, 02:53 PM
Intellectual Property. In other words, you create and own the content, reaping any financial rewards, rather than being a worker for hire on someone else's project.

Yes,
The idea is to provide a meeting place to showcase your IP and your progress.
EDIT
And about the Poser hate....I kind of get it.


-R

jeric_synergy
03-08-2013, 03:10 PM
Hating someone else's choice of 3d software is like hating a musical instrument choice: pointless and aggravating.

Celshader
03-08-2013, 03:12 PM
Of course years ago you could do the same here.

Mention Poser and you would receive MANY negative and nasty replies.

Years ago, the same would go for mentioning LightWave as well. ;) ;) ;)

;) *ba-DUM-bump (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Frd53vbCHLg)* ;)

Spinland
03-08-2013, 03:16 PM
Is it hate so much as snobbery? I've played around with Poser since version 4, but "played around" is the operative word. I've never tried to use it for anything serious. Some people might take that perception a little far.

Celshader
03-08-2013, 03:41 PM
Is it hate so much as snobbery? I've played around with Poser since version 4, but "played around" is the operative word. I've never tried to use it for anything serious. Some people might take that perception a little far.

I worked for 10 months on a Poser/AfterFX production (http://afterworld.wikia.com/wiki/Crew) in 2007. Poser's greatest strength back then was the deep third-party libraries of rigged characters and props. If you needed a sheriff, an astronaut, a schoolboy or a scuba diver, you could buy one that day and render out a shot that night.

Poser's Python support and partial-ASCII file format option helped out, too.

Spinland
03-08-2013, 04:01 PM
Very cool.

I never doubted that as a tool great things could be done with it, it just never occurred to me, personally, as the tool of choice for what I was after.

As you point out, I mainly used it as a vehicle for getting quick access to high-quality models (which I'd then render elsewhere). I still consider the DAZ Millenium Dragon to be one of the nicest-looking dragon models you can buy. Its downside is being so poly heavy as to be nearly unusable in something like Layout (I tried).

I guess my larger point is my somewhat dismissive attitude, taken to extreme, might be a driving force behind the nastiness alluded to above.

I might still re-topo that dang dragon some day as a personal project, you never know. ;)

stiff paper
03-08-2013, 04:07 PM
Is it hate so much as snobbery?

Software wars aren't about either hate or snobbery. Y'all need to get with the times. These days your own self-worth and everybody else's perception of your worth have nothing to do with you. What an outdated idea! It's like you all live in 1969 or something. It's all about the bling. You have to represent. S'all about signifying.

Many people do it with their car. Many people do it with their chosen sports team. Some do it with the labels on their clothing. Some even do it by paying $67 for styling gel. (Randomly chosen foolish number.) Some deeply sad people do it with software...

Look at me... I'm better than you because I Maya...

(Although, actually, in my experience Houdini people are by far the worst for this kind of thing.)

robertoortiz
03-08-2013, 05:30 PM
Look at me... I'm better than you because I Maya...

(Although, actually, in my experience Houdini people are by far the worst for this kind of thing.)

Well the tipping point for that kind of mentality might have started on Oscar night.

All of the sudden we are not Maya, Lightwave, Modo, Cinema4D, Houdini, Blender and even Poser Artists.
We are all Cg artists, and for the Hollywood establishment (and by extension the money people) we are all collectively worth less than spit.

Also the price of what you pay for software will become a BIG ISSUE as soon.
As the unemployment rising in our industry in FX hubs like LA, London, Vancouver FX pros will have to pay for software out of their own pockets, just to be able to keep their skillsets up.

Sadly in CG/Comp SCi I have meet some Cast Iron arrogant bastards. Hell one of the most arrogant bastards that I have meet in my life is an east coast based motion graphics artist.

The thing is that there is no better cure for arrogance than an extended period of unemployment.

lwanmtr
03-08-2013, 05:31 PM
I hate Asparigus and beans (had to get that out in the open).

Megalodon2.0
03-08-2013, 09:00 PM
Years ago, the same would go for mentioning LightWave as well. ;) ;) ;)

;) *ba-DUM-bump (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Frd53vbCHLg)* ;)

Ouch. :foreheads

Actually it wasn't that Lightwave that was being bashed, but Newtek, and how they handled certain... things. :devil:

For me, I've always enjoyed the software. But other software like Poser and DAZ Studio can really help.

It's good to see that this is now more of a mainstream way of thinking instead of "What? Poser? Model everything in LW for pete's sake. What do you mean you don't want to waste time reinventing the wheel?" :)

lwanmtr
03-08-2013, 10:07 PM
I use poser quite often...I make content for it, and its great when I need extras in the background. :)

jeric_synergy
03-09-2013, 12:25 AM
I have nothing against poser, and the one time I used it gainfully was to output a bunch of 'construction workers'.

Spent a LOT of time flipping triangles, but it did what it said on the tin.

geo_n
03-09-2013, 04:34 AM
Weren't the short films Rosa and The Ruin created with the help of Poser assets? Its no different than using assets from turbosquid. The "art" aspect of cg graphics can sometimes be as superficial and elitist as classical art.

lwanmtr
03-09-2013, 02:09 PM
Its unfortunate, but true. I've seen artists create some amazing stuff in Daz or Poser, but then get chastised because they didnt use some big name software like Max or Maya.

It's even happened with Lightwave.....I've personally had the pleasure of a place I apply to turn me down because I list Lightwave aas my primary 3d app. Not sure how this attitude is now, as I've concentrated on freelance projects more than applying at studios.

kopperdrake
03-09-2013, 04:32 PM
This is why I like the industry I'm in, mostly illustration and visualisation. No client gives a diddly what you use, as long as you can deliver the goods, to the standard required, in the time slot you have. LightWave has let me do that so far, with other bits of software thrown in. I even supplied a .dae file to a Max user who could use the file last week - I think that surprised both of us, in a good way!

robertoortiz
03-09-2013, 05:42 PM
Its unfortunate, but true. I've seen artists create some amazing stuff in Daz or Poser, but then get chastised because they didnt use some big name software like Max or Maya.

It's even happened with Lightwave.....I've personally had the pleasure of a place I apply to turn me down because I list Lightwave aas my primary 3d app. Not sure how this attitude is now, as I've concentrated on freelance projects more than applying at studios.
I get that ALL THE TIME.
It almost feel like over CG pro have this insane outdate vision of Lightwave, and refuse to see the great done with it.

I show them the virtual set done in Chrome and Blood, and it is like it is no big deal (WHEN IT IS)

It is quite frustrating, because I love the program. A friend of mine who is one of the top visualization specialist in the country (At the NTSB) uses SoftImage and she get a lot of grief over that program too.

Titus
03-09-2013, 06:42 PM
I read the words and frankly can't understand a thing:

Rhythm & Hues bankruptcy update: Court approves $17m ‘Stalking Horse’ bid from Korean firm

http://variety.com/2013/film/news/rhythm-hues-bankruptcy-update-court-approves-stalking-horse-bid-from-korean-firm-1200006091/

Dexter2999
03-09-2013, 07:55 PM
I read the words and frankly can't understand a thing:

Rhythm & Hues bankruptcy update: Court approves $17m ‘Stalking Horse’ bid from Korean firm

http://variety.com/2013/film/news/rhythm-hues-bankruptcy-update-court-approves-stalking-horse-bid-from-korean-firm-1200006091/

From Investopia "Investopedia explains 'Stalking-Horse Bid'
This method allows the distressed company to avoid low bids on its assets. Once the stalking horse has made its bid, other potential buyers may submit competing bids for the bankrupt company's assets. In essence, the stalking horse sets the bar so that other bidders can't low-ball the purchase price."

The Korean company has put in a bid to assume the outstanding loans of R&H which amount to $16M, plus an additional $1M.

The company asked for a "Breakup Fee" of $675,000 if R&H should decide to sell to another bidder.

Breakup Fee as defined at Investopia, "Definition of 'Breakup Fee'
A common fee used in takeover agreements if the seller backs out of a deal to sell to the purchaser. A breakup fee, or termination fee, is required to compensate the prospective purchaser for the time and resources used to facilitate the deal. Breakup fees are normally 1-3% of the deal's value.

Investopedia explains 'Breakup Fee'
A company might pay a breakup fee if it decides not to sell to the original purchaser and instead sells to a competing bidder with a more attractive offer. Sometimes a breakup fee can discourage other companies from bidding on the company because they would have to bid a price that covers the breakup fee."

So as I understand it, the deal is this company has set up a tentative deal where they buy R&H for $17M. By making this deal they prevent other companies from coming in and trying to lowball the bid process and sort of steal the company.This protects R&H.

The Breakup Fee is to protect the company. They have gone through the trouble of setting up the funding to make the deal happen and extend a minimum safety for R&H, but if R&H gets a better deal what do they get for all of their trouble? The answer, the Breakup Fee. And the court approved a smaller fee of $420,000. This fee must be paid on top of whatever the winning bid is. If the fee is too high then competing bidders might find the deal distasteful so it is a deterrent to the bidding process.

Hope this helps.

Titus
03-09-2013, 09:39 PM
Thanks. Now that makes sense.

toby
03-09-2013, 10:23 PM
No idea where you are - but in los angeles, Houdini people are in general the nicest & smartest artists I've met.

VonBon
03-11-2013, 05:24 PM
As Artist, we need to take back control of our Craft.

Mr Rid
03-12-2013, 01:47 PM
http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/thr-esq/fox-responds-liquidation-suggestion-rhythm-427503


'Doctor Who' Special Effects Company, Mercury FX Limited, To Close
http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2013/03/12/doctor-who-special-effects-liquidation_n_2859364.html

robertoortiz
03-12-2013, 03:23 PM
As Artist, we need to take back control of our Craft.

I am launching an IP development effort on the CGSOCIETY forum sometime next month.

-R

sandman300
03-12-2013, 03:40 PM
I am launching an IP development effort on the CGSOCIETY forum sometime next month.
I was considering this since you first mentioned it but I'm worried that someone might come along and see my IP and develop it out from under me. There would be nothing I could do to stop.

I know a little about the laws concerning IP, and it can be very costly. Most people would not be able to afford it.

Megalodon2.0
03-12-2013, 04:07 PM
I was considering this since you first mentioned it but I'm worried that someone might come along and see my IP and develop it out from under me. There would be nothing I could do to stop.

I know a little about the laws concerning IP, and it can be very costly. Most people would not be able to afford it.

I've read countless books and articles on this and similar subjects, and I don't think you have anything to fear. Too many people (myself included) think that THEIR ideas are original and the best thing since sliced bread. Chances are... they're not. First of all, anyone on that IP thread at CGTalk will more than likely have their own ideas and don't want yours. "Theirs are better, so why would they want to steal yours?" ;) There is also a chance that someone IS working on something similar to what you're doing or contemplating on doing. Obviously you don't want to give out ALL of your details, but seriously... I wouldn't worry about theft.

I can't recall the name of the book - but it was about animation production - and very often people would pitch what they thought were original stories and characters only to find out that the studio already had something similar in the pipeline OR rejected something similar previously. It's the nature of the business. Theft is few and far between.

robertoortiz
03-12-2013, 04:09 PM
I was considering this since you first mentioned it but I'm worried that someone might come along and see my IP and develop it out from under me. There would be nothing I could do to stop.

I know a little about the laws concerning IP, and it can be very costly. Most people would not be able to afford it.
You got a point, but most people get basic copyright protection for free.

There are three kinds of Intellectual property we care about:
Patents, Trademarks and Copyrights.
As artists we care about Copyrights and Trademarks.

Most artists have automatic copyrights on most of the work they develop (http://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ15a.pdf
). Trademarks are different, but the registration process is fairly straight forward and and the fees are not exorbitant.

To be honest most artists are not aware of the rights they have as artists concerning their own IP.

And with the thread I want to provide feedback on what ever project you might be working on, from a web comic to a short film.

Celshader
03-12-2013, 04:17 PM
And with the thread I want to provide feedback on what ever project you might be working on, from a web comic to a short film.

Perhaps the new forum could have some sticky threads detailing how to register copyrights and trademarks.

allabulle
03-12-2013, 05:41 PM
Double post, minute 43.

allabulle
03-12-2013, 05:42 PM
I've read countless books and articles on this and similar subjects, and I don't think you have anything to fear. Too many people (myself included) think that THEIR ideas are original and the best thing since sliced bread. Chances are... they're not. First of all, anyone on that IP thread at CGTalk will more than likely have their own ideas and don't want yours. "Theirs are better, so why would they want to steal yours?" ;) There is also a chance that someone IS working on something similar to what you're doing or contemplating on doing. Obviously you don't want to give out ALL of your details, but seriously... I wouldn't worry about theft.

I can't recall the name of the book - but it was about animation production - and very often people would pitch what they thought were original stories and characters only to find out that the studio already had something similar in the pipeline OR rejected something similar previously. It's the nature of the business. Theft is few and far between.

If you do remember the book, would you please tip us off? It looks like and interesting reading.

Megalodon2.0
03-12-2013, 06:00 PM
If you do remember the book, would you please tip us off? It looks like and interesting reading.

The two books I really like are:

Animation Development From Pitch to Production by David Levy
(http://www.amazon.com/Animation-Development-From-Pitch-Production/dp/1581156618/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1363132464&sr=8-4&keywords=David+Levy)

and

The Animation Business Handbook by Karen Raugust (out of print by still available in Kindle format)
(http://www.amazon.com/Animation-Business-Handbook-Karen-Raugust/dp/0312284284/ref=sr_1_4?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1363132519&sr=1-4&keywords=karen+raugust)

I've got both and they are invaluable. The book by Levy is more recent AND very well written IMO. Very helpful in talking about ALL aspects of production.

From Animation Development:

"Among the most common rookie questions concerning pitching is 'How do I protect my creation?' My default answer is 'You don't.' You don't protect a creation' you develop, nurture and freely pitch a creation.Copyright questions and the fear of getting ripped off prevent many would-be creators from getting off the ground."

And there's lots more. Great book and great read. HIGHLY recommended.

sandman300
03-12-2013, 06:19 PM
Megalodon2.0: I absolutely understand what your saying. But I tend to err on the side of paranoia. I have an IP that I was developing years ago, that is based on fish. It started out as filler and bumpers from a local TV show that I produced. I created around 20 unique characters, wrote a pilot episode, and even recorded all the voices. I was starting to animate it when Finding Nemo was announced. It was a little discouraging but I had no reason to believe that they stole my idea. So I continued to work, I was doing this all by myself (except for the voice acting part) so it was taking a while. I was even shopping it around at a licensing convention. And then a sharks Tale was announced. After that, no one really wanted to talk about fish. I tried to think of it as different media, completely different story. But it really didn't matter, it was like the global consciousness was saturated with the idea of animated fish. It did make me wonder if somebody from Pixar or Dreamworks, might have seen one of my test renders that I posted and been inspired. Maybe, maybe not, but there really is no way to know and it's pointless to even try to find out.

Now I still have all the assets created for the IP, and if the timing feels right, or I have time to finish the pilot episode it may yet see the light of day.


To be honest most artists are not aware of the rights they have as artists concerning their own IP.

robertoortiz: I for one would like to see more about this.

edit: I was still typing when you posted. Levy makes a lot of sense. I'll have to get that book.

Megalodon2.0
03-12-2013, 06:31 PM
Megalodon2.0: I absolutely understand what your saying. But I tend to err on the side of paranoia.
I can fully understand. Though as I've read in other books, "THE IDEA" can "hit" a few people at the same time. I've read people on opposite sides of the planet coming up with similar stories and characters. Completely innocent. The fact is, no one KNEW that a story about talking fish would take off as it did. There is always a risk - is it a hit or will it bomb? No one knows. Of course films by Disney and Pixar and Blue Sky tend towards the "it's a hit" end of the spectrum. Everyone wants to protect themselves, but in the end the big studios will ALWAYS have the advantage over us little guys. They'll have the money AND the lawyers. We can just do the best that we can and get our stuff "out there" before they can. And truth be told, it takes them years to get something together and completed while it can take us FAR less time. ;) If you get YOUR stuff out there first, there will (hopefully) be no disputing who created it.


Now I still have all the assets created for the IP, and if the timing feels right, or I have time to finish the pilot episode it may yet see the light of day.
I would hope so. If you've already put allot of work into it, I'd say GO FOR IT. :) It also helps if you have everything about it documented and dated so if anyone were to inquire... "I completed this BEFORE they cam out with THAT." :thumbsup:

jeric_synergy
03-12-2013, 06:52 PM
Ideas are nothing. Execution is everything. --Well, luck and timing.... never mind. ;)

Titus
03-12-2013, 07:38 PM
About Copyrights. I've some experience with this.

All works can be protected by the Berne Convention. But you need to fill an application for every country. If you want to copyright a work in more than one country, there are different treaties than can help to achieve this, an example:

Madrid Agreement:

http://www.wipo.int/madrid/en/

With this mechanism you can register your work in every country of the EU (and few other countries outside) with just one application.

There are several other treaties than cover different parts of the world.

Megalodon2.0
03-12-2013, 08:07 PM
International Copyright

There is no such thing as an “international copyright” that will automatically protect an author’s writings throughout the world. Protection against unauthorized use in a particular country depends on the national laws of that country. However, most countries offer protection to foreign works under certain conditions that have been greatly simplified by international copyright treaties and conventions. There are two principal international copyright conventions, the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works (Berne Convention) and the Universal Copyright Convention (UCC).

The United States became a member of the Berne Convention on March 1, 1989. It has been a member of the UCC since September 16, 1955. Generally, the works of an author who is a national or domiciliary of a country that is a member of these treaties or works first published in a member country or published within 30 days of first publication in a Berne Convention country can claim protection under the treaties. There are no formal requirements in the Berne Convention. Under the UCC, any formality in a national law can be satisfied by the use of a notice of copyright in the form and position specified in the UCC. A UCC notice should consist of the symbol © (C in a circle) accompanied by the year of first publication and the name of the copyright proprietor (example: © 2006 John Doe). This notice must be placed in such a manner and location as to give reasonable notice of the claim to copyright. Since the Berne Convention prohibits formal requirements that affect the “exercise and enjoyment” of the copyright, the United States changed its law on March 1, 1989, to make the use of a copyright notice optional. U.S. law, however, still provides certain advantages for use of a copyright notice; for example, the use of a copyright notice can defeat a defense of “innocent infringement.”

Even if a work cannot be brought under an international convention, protection may be available in other countries by virtue of a bilateral agreement between the United States and other countries or under specific provision of a country’s national laws. (See Circular 38a, International Copyright Relations of the United States.)

An author who desires copyright protection for his or her work in a particular country should first determine the extent of protection available to works of foreign authors in that country. If possible, this should be done before the work is published anywhere, because protection may depend on the facts existing at the time of first publication.

There are some countries that offer little or no copyright protection to any foreign works. For current information on the requirements and protection provided by other countries, it may be advisable to consult an expert familiar with foreign copyright laws. The U. S. Copyright Office is not permitted to recommend agents or attorneys or to give legal advice on foreign laws.

roboman
03-12-2013, 10:11 PM
An additional note. Copyright is a very big complicated legal thing. In the USA you, as stated more or less above, you have copyright on your work with out needing to do any thing. Registering it with the copyright office doesn't cost a lot ($35), sets a clear date, gives you extra legal leverage, does make your intent clear and shows that you do in fact own it (or have really screwed your self by filing a false claim).

http://www.copyright.gov/ Good site and where you go to register a copyright.

robertoortiz
03-12-2013, 10:32 PM
Since we are recommending books on production,
I STRONGLY recommend this one:
Creating Animated Cartoons with Character: A Guide to Developing and Producing Your Own Series for TV, the Web, and Short Film
http://www.amazon.com/Creating-Animated-Cartoons-Character-Developing/dp/B008W3GSJY/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1363149062&sr=8-1&keywords=creating+animated+cartoon+with+character

BeeVee
03-13-2013, 05:20 AM
Don't dismiss Creative Commons (http://creativecommons.org/) as a modern alternative to copyright. It is more easily trackable and offers more choice than just "Hands off! This is mine!"

B

raymondtrace
03-13-2013, 06:59 AM
Don't dismiss Creative Commons (http://creativecommons.org/) as a modern alternative to copyright.

For clarity... CC is not an alternative to copyright. CC is a definition of a type of copyright.

https://creativecommons.org/about

Greenlaw
03-13-2013, 08:51 AM
Yes, I've been interested in CC and its many 'level' for some time now. It should be fun to open source parts of a project and allow others to create brand new works with the parts. Some levels of CC allow the original creator to maintain creator status of the original source but share the ownership for offshoot creations by other artists. It's a very flexible system with as many shades of gray as you care to paint with. :)

allabulle
03-13-2013, 11:40 AM
The two books I really like are:

Animation Development From Pitch to Production by David Levy
(http://www.amazon.com/Animation-Development-From-Pitch-Production/dp/1581156618/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1363132464&sr=8-4&keywords=David+Levy)

and

The Animation Business Handbook by Karen Raugust (out of print by still available in Kindle format)
(http://www.amazon.com/Animation-Business-Handbook-Karen-Raugust/dp/0312284284/ref=sr_1_4?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1363132519&sr=1-4&keywords=karen+raugust)

I've got both and they are invaluable. The book by Levy is more recent AND very well written IMO. Very helpful in talking about ALL aspects of production.

From Animation Development:

"Among the most common rookie questions concerning pitching is 'How do I protect my creation?' My default answer is 'You don't.' You don't protect a creation' you develop, nurture and freely pitch a creation.Copyright questions and the fear of getting ripped off prevent many would-be creators from getting off the ground."

And there's lots more. Great book and great read. HIGHLY recommended.

Thank you for the recommendation, I'll take a look at both.

Thank you to Roberto for his book recommendation too. You two are very kind :)

robertoortiz
03-13-2013, 02:33 PM
BTW guys Kickstarter is becoming a BIG PLAyer in the development of IP.

For example:

The Veronica Mars TV show needed to raise 2M to do a movie...

Well guess what, in less than 4 HOURS they raised 1 million dollars!

Wow.

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/559914737/the-veronica-mars-movie-project

Greenlaw
03-13-2013, 03:13 PM
Re: Kickstarter - last year I helped fund an indie documentary, partly because I wanted to see it made but also to see just how effective Kickstarter could be. The production's goal was $34,000 and I saw the filmmakers make at least that amount in about two days--that was pretty amazing! Another project I contributed to was Form Lab's Form 1 3D printer--this group exceeded their goal several times over well before their deadline.

Obviously, the key is to have an idea that gets a lot of people excited and then you have to demonstrate that you can pull it off by showing a prototype, demo reel or animatic, past projects, a proven track record, etc. This is something I've been thinking about for some time and I'm hoping that our 'tiny' Little Green Dog productions will bring us the credential we need to successfully fund large scale productions through resources like Kickstarter. Someday anyway. :)

G.

Titus
03-13-2013, 05:09 PM
I had a project in kickstarter on hold for almost two years (has been already accepted), waiting for my inner producer to find the guts to ask people for money. I've everything, even a simple trailer but sometimes feel don't own the charisma that helped other people to succeed in kickstarter. I've contributed to several projects, though.

lwanmtr
03-13-2013, 05:12 PM
I've been looking at Kickstarter too.

Celshader
03-14-2013, 01:40 PM
VFX Townhall tonight at 7:45PM PST; to be livestreamed at http://vfxsolidarity.org/

Hope everyone on this thread can tune in.

jeric_synergy
03-14-2013, 03:22 PM
I had a project in kickstarter on hold for almost two years (has been already accepted), waiting for my inner producer to find the guts to ask people for money. I've everything, even a simple trailer but sometimes feel don't own the charisma that helped other people to succeed in kickstarter. I've contributed to several projects, though.
Chutzpah is also a producer requisite.

Titus
03-14-2013, 04:37 PM
Chutzpah is also a producer requisite.

Without a doubt.

robertoortiz
03-14-2013, 09:40 PM
VFX Town-Hall 3.14 LIVE STREAM
http://vfxsolidarity.org/vfx-town-hall-3-14-live-stream/

Titus
03-15-2013, 11:46 AM
VFX Town-Hall 3.14 LIVE STREAM
http://vfxsolidarity.org/vfx-town-hall-3-14-live-stream/

That was a great meeting!

Celshader
03-15-2013, 12:47 PM
A recording of the meeting for those who missed it:
http://vfxsoldier.wordpress.com/2013/03/14/people-power-vfxtownhall/

lwanmtr
03-15-2013, 02:02 PM
Cool. Thanks for the link to that. I missed it.

Megalodon2.0
03-15-2013, 06:25 PM
I watched most of the meeting live last night. I'll have to review it again later.

One thing that seriously annoys the hell out of me are the responses over at CGTalk. It's like there is zero empathy from most people. I am not in the industry myself (yet) but I don't have a problem seeing their POV and empathizing with their problem. What is wrong with someone WANTING to have a life outside of VFX AND enjoying their job? What is wrong with wanting to have a little job security, a decent wage and healthcare? Especially when THESE PEOPLE are the ones that put the money into the pockets of the studios. It boggles my mind that so many don't seem to give a frak at all.

Celshader
03-15-2013, 06:34 PM
One thing that seriously annoys the hell out of me are the responses over at CGTalk. It's like there is zero empathy from most people.

For industry news and commentary, I strongly recommend TAG Blog (http://animationguildblog.blogspot.com/), VFX Soldier (http://vfxsoldier.wordpress.com/) and Effects Corner (http://effectscorner.blogspot.com/). Even though TAG Blog covers our sister industry (animation), it has enough overlap with VFX to make it worth reading every day.

I do not get my industry news from CGTalk at this time.

jeric_synergy
03-16-2013, 12:12 AM
No reasonable job chronically involves >40 hours a week-- that's the DEFINITION of a 'reasonable job' in the civilized world.

People willingly casting themselves into serfhood are idiots.

Megalodon2.0
03-16-2013, 12:28 AM
No reasonable job chronically involves >40 hours a week-- that's the DEFINITION of a 'reasonable job' in the civilized world.

People willingly casting themselves into serfhood are idiots.

While I would generally agree with you, there are times when people who want something VERY badly will do things they normally would not do to achieve it. I would not call these people idiots, but perhaps blindly passionate. I doubt that there are many people here who haven't worked more than 40 hours a week - and some without OT - to work at something that they enjoy.

I guess you have to think... who is more of an idiot - the person who goes to a job he/she hates for 40 hours a week - or the person who works more than 40 hours a week at a job they love and surrenders some pay in order to do it?

Good question?

geo_n
03-16-2013, 12:49 AM
No reasonable job chronically involves >40 hours a week-- that's the DEFINITION of a 'reasonable job' in the civilized world.

People willingly casting themselves into serfhood are idiots.

What is your job currently?

Celshader
03-16-2013, 05:18 AM
(Cartoon) The Great VFX Job Hunt
http://blog.juanluis.com/2013/03/2163-great-vfx-job-hunt.html

Spinland
03-16-2013, 06:39 AM
Good question?

Excellent question, I'd say, personally. When I have a paying gig it's often hard to pull away from working on it, and I lose track of time. When I'm between gigs I still work hard on spec projects, both to build my portfolio and for the love of doing it. I often can't imagine what else I'd be doing (until golf season starts, anyway).

The freelancer approach is different from someone employed, I know, but I'd imagine the passion is no less in either situation.

jeric_synergy
03-16-2013, 01:58 PM
While I would generally agree with you,
Note: "chronically". Every job, no matter how dull, is going to occasionally require overtime.

But for overtime to be the job, well, that's just bullSh*t, poor management, and employee abuse. For it to be common doesn't excuse it.

It's not even productive, IMO. And why people let it happen is beyond me. This is not a critical care unit, it's pictures on a screen.

stiff paper
03-16-2013, 03:16 PM
Jeric, I'm in broad agreement with your point of view on how things should and shouldn't work. The list of shouldn'ts is pretty large.

However...

If the situation at the outset of very large scale digital VFX work (for the sake of argument let's call that 1995) had been as it currently is, then I'm sure things would have turned out very differently by now. But because where we are now is the end result of a very long, very slow moving decremental slide, there was never a point at which anybody felt there was some sort of firm threshold being crossed. There was never a trigger point, except on an individual level. (And, yeah, no union, so individual problems have thus far counted for nothing.)

When I was first hired into the industry, artists had full medical benefits and when there was overtime it was paid as such. If when I'd applied they'd said "No medical benefits" then that might not have stopped me going to work there, but it would definitely have given me pause, because up until that point I'd taken medical benefits as a given. But hey, there were benefits. No problem. After I'd been there a while, management held a company wide meeting and said "Hey, we're changing the medical deal. You all need to pay a chunk, otherwise it'll just have to go away. We can't afford it, we aren't doing well enough. Sorry." Hmm.

The next thing that went away was overtime pay. It went gradually. The first time they did it they said "There's no money whatesoever in the budget on this job and we want to ask nicely if you guys will work just enough over to get it done by when we're supposed to deliver. Otherwise it's penalties and we're screwed. We're really sorry." Pretty soon there was never any overtime pay. There was plenty of overtime though, because schedules kept getting shorter and budgets kept getting smaller. Fewer people. Less time.

That's how it's been all along. Lots of tiny little steps.

You can't shout at people that they should never have agreed to any of it, because to a large extent they never did; when you're inside it there's never any point where you can stop, catch your breath, and really assess what's going on.

It's taken until now for things to become so bad that only an idiot could pretend the situation's fine. I think it probably had to take until now. (That's how labor relations works, and "I'm alright Jack" is the modern era's dominant philosophy. If you read VFXSoldier's blog you'll see that even now there are people who say it's all fine and anybody complaining is just a whining 47% loser.)

Megalodon2.0
03-16-2013, 03:18 PM
Excellent question, I'd say, personally. When I have a paying gig it's often hard to pull away from working on it, and I lose track of time. When I'm between gigs I still work hard on spec projects, both to build my portfolio and for the love of doing it. I often can't imagine what else I'd be doing (until golf season starts, anyway).

The freelancer approach is different from someone employed, I know, but I'd imagine the passion is no less in either situation.
Yeah, I think we're all guilty of that. I do CG full time - at the height of our busy time (2003 to 2007) we often worked more than double a 40 hour workweek - often spending more time than we wanted on certain projects JUST to make them look like we wanted them to look. But then I was my own boss and I told myself to get back to work or no raise. :D

Too bad I'm not into golf - would probably be quite relaxing. :)


Note: "chronically". Every job, no matter how dull, is going to occasionally require overtime.

But for overtime to be the job, well, that's just bullSh*t, poor management, and employee abuse. For it to be common doesn't excuse it.

It's not even productive, IMO. And why people let it happen is beyond me. This is not a critical care unit, it's pictures on a screen.

I agree. But here you have two entities involved - the employer and the employee.

As I said above, if the employee REALLY wants to get into the field and can't find anything suitable, he/she will often sacrifice to get there. Having the employer take advantage of this is nothing short of disgusting. And I definitely agree - it is bullSh*t, poor management and employee abuse - no question about it. Well... I "might" question the poor management aspect since many of these employers WANT to do this and that IS there management. From their POV, it isn't poor but rather intelligent and targeted. As I've said in previous threads, treating the employee fairly with good compensation leaves that employee feeling good when they come into work and looking forward to coming in the next day and the next and so on. I will NEVER understand why it is so important to have that extra few bucks in the employers pocket instead of having happy employees that enjoy working. Perhaps after being an employee for so long I understand the mentality? Treating them poorly only makes them search the want-ads for a better gig. Unfortunately in VFX right now... better gigs are nearly impossible to find.

Celshader
03-16-2013, 03:39 PM
I will NEVER understand why it is so important to have that extra few bucks in the employers pocket instead of having happy employees that enjoy working.

It starts with the VFX shops underbidding each other just to get the gig...then the "winner" of the bid trying to make do with the insufficient budget given to do the work. This is where employee abuse helps subsidize VFX productions.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qzk4P-U9vXo

toby
03-16-2013, 03:58 PM
Jeric, I'm in broad agreement with your point of view on how things should and shouldn't work. The list of shouldn'ts is pretty large.

However...

If the situation at the outset of very large scale digital VFX work (for the sake of argument let's call that 1995) had been as it currently is, then I'm sure things would have turned out very differently by now. But because where we are now is the end result of a very long, very slow moving decremental slide, there was never a point at which anybody felt there was some sort of firm threshold being crossed. There was never a trigger point, except on an individual level. (And, yeah, no union, so individual problems have thus far counted for nothing.)

When I was first hired into the industry, artists had full medical benefits and when there was overtime it was paid as such. If when I'd applied they'd said "No medical benefits" then that might not have stopped me going to work there, but it would definitely have given me pause, because up until that point I'd taken medical benefits as a given. But hey, there were benefits. No problem. After I'd been there a while, management held a company wide meeting and said "Hey, we're changing the medical deal. You all need to pay a chunk, otherwise it'll just have to go away. We can't afford it, we aren't doing well enough. Sorry." Hmm.

The next thing that went away was overtime pay. It went gradually. The first time they did it they said "There's no money whatesoever in the budget on this job and we want to ask nicely if you guys will work just enough over to get it done by when we're supposed to deliver. Otherwise it's penalties and we're screwed. We're really sorry." Pretty soon there was never any overtime pay. There was plenty of overtime though, because schedules kept getting shorter and budgets kept getting smaller. Fewer people. Less time.

That's how it's been all along. Lots of tiny little steps.

You can't shout at people that they should never have agreed to any of it, because to a large extent they never did; when you're inside it there's never any point where you can stop, catch your breath, and really assess what's going on.

It's taken until now for things to become so bad that only an idiot could pretend the situation's fine. I think it probably had to take until now. (That's how labor relations works, and "I'm alright Jack" is the modern era's dominant philosophy. If you read VFXSoldier's blog you'll see that even now there are people who say it's all fine and anybody complaining is just a whining 47% loser.)
Damn skippy. And all those cuts go straight up the chain, it's the same old gravity-defying trickle-up.

Megalodon2.0
03-16-2013, 04:21 PM
It starts with the VFX shops underbidding each other just to get the gig...then the "winner" of the bid trying to make do with the insufficient budget given to do the work. This is where employee abuse helps subsidize VFX productions.
I think you misunderstand. I wasn't referring to the VFX shops - more employer/employee in general. My mistake for not clarifying.

I do understand how R&H and the VFX industry have been pushed down into the mud. And yes, I do understand how some people taking these lower paying jobs and working for no OT are hurting the industry - the same as students working for free on a movie that will make millions since they displace jobs that would go to VFX artists. I honestly don't see any way out of this problem at the moment. A Trade Association - as discussed at the meeting - would probably be the best route, but this will take time AND it would require (AFAIK) many VFX shops coming to an agreement. I think that no matter how you cut it things are going to get worse before they get better.

My response was essentially in the "standard" employer/employee relationship - where employers intentionally take advantage of employees. I doubt the R&H would fall into this category, yet many other VFX houses do. I was thinking of myself as an employer and preferring to pay my employees/team fairly - instead of keeping most of the cash and paying low wages. As I've told the professional voice artists I've hired - being FAIR is very important; treating everyone fairly is the only way (IMO) to keep great talent and have that talent work at 100%. Not to mention that good pay means that you respect their talent!

I hope things improve, but I am pessimistic - unfortunately. :cry:

Greenlaw
03-16-2013, 04:53 PM
When I was first hired into the industry, artists had full medical benefits and when there was overtime it was paid as such...

...The next thing that went away was overtime pay. It went gradually.
I can only speak for my personal experience at Rhythm but it's worth mentioning that, right up to the end, Rhythm paid full medical benefits to their employees and, in many cases, to returning freelancers. They used to have great educational benefits too, though some of that started to go away in the last few years due to cost.

It's also worth noting that Rhythm had a 'normal' 40 hour work week and if you were required to stay longer, it was the 'normal' time-and-a-half any worker should expect, and after so many days/hours (I forget exactly what the threshold was,) your pay went into double-time. Because the company was unwavering on the matter of OT compensation, supervisors and producers were encouraged to keep OT down as low as possible.

Box veterans can tell you 'war stories' about the brutal hours they endured with certain productions but, in such case, we were always warned in advance of taking a job what the hours would be like and, in the end, we were always fairly compensated for our time.

IMO, this how all production houses should operate--many artists in the industry are probably too young to remember this but these practices and policies used to be the norm for almost any business. For example, I started out as an illustrator for Pan Am World Airways and we not only had all the benefits described above but we also got to fly for free to any country in the world, and an upgrade to first class cost only $50. (Of course, deregulation in the 1980's effectively put an end to this and eventually bankrupted the legendary Pan Am--but I digress.) :)

G.

Greenlaw
03-16-2013, 05:04 PM
Hmm. First Pan Am and now R&H. Could it be me? :question:

lwanmtr
03-16-2013, 05:04 PM
lol

lwanmtr
03-16-2013, 05:08 PM
It is sad that businesses no longer seem to care about their employees the same as they did. Finding any job these days with benefits is nigh impossible since all they have to do is give you 30 hours or less work and you are part time....im sure there are companies trying even to find a way to not have to pay L&I insurance for employees.

stiff paper
03-16-2013, 05:55 PM
Hmm. First Pan Am and now R&H. Could it be me?
Good lord! We've all been protesting the wrong thing! Everybody! Over here!

jeric_synergy
03-16-2013, 05:55 PM
Jeric, I'm in broad agreement with your point of view on how things should and shouldn't work. The list of shouldn'ts is pretty large.
{Cardboard goes on to describe the classic "frog in a saucepan" scenario.}

Absolutely, and I understand, but the water is clearly boiling now.

To all those people inveighing against even the CONCEPT of unions, I say: kiddos, this is HOW and WHY unions are created.


It's taken until now for things to become so bad that only an idiot could pretend the situation's fine. I think it probably had to take until now. (That's how labor relations works, and "I'm alright Jack" is the modern era's dominant philosophy. If you read VFXSoldier's blog you'll see that even now there are people who say it's all fine and anybody complaining is just a whining 47% loser.)
Anyone who'd quote a Rethuglican talking point without derision or irony is too stupid to breath anyway.

It starts with the VFX shops underbidding each other just to get the gig...then the "winner" of the bid trying to make do with the insufficient budget given to do the work. This is where employee abuse helps subsidize VFX productions.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qzk4P-U9vXo
As long as Jen agrees with me, I know I'm on the right path.

And I always wondered if that SuperNormal video was a direct transcription of a conversation. I could certainly believe that.

Megalodon2.0
03-16-2013, 06:02 PM
Anyone who'd quote a Rethuglican talking point without derision or irony is too stupid to breath anyway.

Wel said - and completely true. :thumbsup:

Megalodon2.0
03-16-2013, 06:11 PM
It is sad that businesses no longer seem to care about their employees the same as they did. Finding any job these days with benefits is nigh impossible since all they have to do is give you 30 hours or less work and you are part time....im sure there are companies trying even to find a way to not have to pay L&I insurance for employees.
This has been my point in this and other threads. Both the owners of Papa Johns and Olive Garden said they were probably going to have to scale back their employees hours because healthcare costs would be SO EXPENSIVE. Papa John said it would cost him something like 21 to 25 cents MORE per pizza. Oh the horror. He was lying - after a study was shown it would only add about 4 to 5 cents more per pizza, he backed off the lowering of hours. But the thing is... WHY do these millionaires feel they have to screw over their employees? Is it THAT important to make that extra million a year? Is it that important to keep your employees down? Why do these big corporate a-holes feel the need to squeeze every single red cent out of the people who work for them?

They are compassionless a-holes and THIS is one of the big problems in this country that brings EVERYONE down. Gone are the days of Henry Ford where he paid his workers well and they felt secure in their jobs and were proud of the work they accomplished. I can almost understand why people don't have any self-respect when it comes to their employment. If I were working for one of these corporate a-holes I probably wouldn't care either.

Very, VERY sad. (My opinion of course.)

Celshader
03-16-2013, 06:21 PM
Why do these big corporate a-holes feel the need to squeeze every single red cent out of the people who work for them?

If it cheers you up, Costco takes a different approach:


From http://www.latimes.com/business/money/la-fi-mo-costco-wages-20130306,0,7790766.story

The company has earned a reputation over the years for treating employees relatively well. Costco pays a starting wage of $11.50 an hour, gives most employees healthcare and other benefits, and has not switched to the model adopted by many big-box retailers of using temporary firms in warehouses to keep costs low.

“Instead of minimizing wages, we know it’s a lot more profitable in the long term to minimize employee turnover and maximize employee productivity, commitment and loyalty,” said Craig Jelinek, Costco’s chief executive.

Analysts have sometimes called on Costco to cut back on benefits or lower wages, but the company has not listened, James Ragan, a senior equity analyst at Crowell, Weedon & Co., said in an interview last year. Such calls on the company have quieted as the stock has continued to grow in value. The stock is now trading over $100 a share; a decade ago it was at $32 a share.


I think R&H took the same approach to its employees. Many artists chose to work there for years, if not decades, because R&H was a good place to work.

Mr Rid
03-16-2013, 06:47 PM
While I would generally agree with you, there are times when people who want something VERY badly will do things they normally would not do to achieve it. I would not call these people idiots, but perhaps blindly passionate. I doubt that there are many people here who haven't worked more than 40 hours a week - and some without OT - to work at something that they enjoy.

I guess you have to think... who is more of an idiot - the person who goes to a job he/she hates for 40 hours a week - or the person who works more than 40 hours a week at a job they love and surrenders some pay in order to do it?

Good question?

The movie industry thrives on taking advantage of that artistic passion. Studios and FX houses will gladly let artists slave away for little reward as long as they are willing, and their egos will work even harder for praise that costs nothing. And working on spec or for cheap, on the hope of bigger and better opportunities in the future is the biggest BS there is. Hollywood absolutely thrives on it to ring free work out of people (like John Textor's brilliant scam to put students PAYING to work on their movies).

Too many people, particularly those new in the biz, are naive to slavishly work 60+hours, often with no OT or benefits, while the studio may profit BILLIONS off your work. That eagerness to rent yourself out as a slave is a big part of the problem. Each artist has to give themselves a break, because no one they work for will. And no one thinks it will happen to them, but if you suddenly find yourself struck down by disabling health as myself or Larry Schultz have been, you may find that your passion has left you with little or nothing to survive on.

After you've killed yourself at this awhile, and are maybe well into your 40s, you may start feeling burned out as most artists my age now do, and may be wanting to buy a home, or have kids, and have a life outside of a workstation. But if you get demanding, there are always more stupid kids coming down the pipe, eager to sleep under their desks for the chance to 'work on a movie!'

A 45 hour week should be standard. The compressed schedules of production (with all the daily & weekly rentals racking up) should not carry over to prolonged post. Personally, I insist I will not work more than 6 days in a row. I sincerely believe it should be a federal law against any employer requesting or expecting any employee to work more than six days in a row. Perhaps some life-&-death emergency occupations are exempt. But we are talking about stupid, disposable entertainment here.

"Its only a movie." - Hitchcock.

Megalodon2.0
03-16-2013, 07:32 PM
If it cheers you up, Costco takes a different approach:
I know. :) That's why I now shop there instead of Walmart. :thumbsup:


The movie industry thrives on taking advantage of that artistic passion. Studios and FX houses will gladly let artists slave away for little reward as long as they are willing, and their egos will work even harder for praise that costs nothing. And working on spec or for cheap, on the hope of bigger and better opportunities in the future is the biggest BS there is. Hollywood absolutely thrives on it to ring free work out of people (like John Textor's brilliant scam to put students PAYING to work on their movies).

Too many people, particularly those new in the biz, are naive to slavishly work 60+hours, often with no OT or benefits, while the studio may profit BILLIONS off your work. Renting yourself out as a slave is a big part of the problem. Each artist has to give themselves a break, because no one they work for will. And no one thinks it will happen to them, but if you suddenly find yourself struck down by disabling health as myself or Larry Schultz have been, you may find that your passion has left you with little or nothing to survive on.

After you've killed yourself at this awhile, and are maybe well into your 40s, you may start feeling burned out as most artists my age now do, and may be wanting to buy a home, or have kids, and have a life outside of a workstation. But if you get demanding, there are always more stupid kids coming down the pipe, eager to sleep under their desks for the chance to 'work on a movie!'
:i_agree:

It really is quite sad. I can easily understand why these artists do what they do - and generally they don't see the bigger picture. Hell, I didn't either for years - though I was not in the position that most of these artists have been in. Having not worked in the industry I was not exploited by these studios. I worked in retail where I had a decent workweek, benefits along with sick days and vacations. My biggest beef is with these companies that intentionally "take advantage of that artistic passion." To screw over someone else who works for you is something that is so intrinsically wrong that I can't understand the type of person who would implement that policy. It just seems so barbaric that these people prey on other people. Has compassion and fairness really been completely replaced by survival of the fittest and greed?

I can understand movie studios wanting to do things as cheaply as possible, but at some point they must realize that they are seriously screwing over MANY people and question themselves. As I said previously, is it absolutely necessary for a movie studio to make $500 million or can they settle for maybe $490 and have their VFX artists compensated fairly? I want LOTS of money too, but why would I screw over people to obtain it? If anything will bring down civilization, I think it will be greed coupled with stupidity. The movie studios are shooting themselves as they run VFX houses out of business. Ultimate it may cost them MUCH MORE as talent chooses to find other jobs or create competition to their product. Not to mention the fact that the fewer studios there are, ultimately the more VFX will begin to cost.


A 45 hour week should be standard. The compressed schedules of production (with all the daily & weekly rentals racking up) should not carry over to prolonged post. Personally, I insist I will not work more than 6 days in a row. I sincerely believe it should be a federal law against any employer requesting or expecting any employee to work more than six days in a row. Perhaps some life-&-death emergency occupations are exempt. But we are talking about stupid, disposable entertainment here.
We have unions to thank for most of the benefits workers receive in most industries. But the unions (thanks to one political party) are beginning to go extinct. Soon the workers will have no one to stand up for them. Unions aren't perfect, but they have made incredible progress for workers rights. If we lose them completely, it will be the lowly worker against the mighty corporation.

jeric_synergy
03-16-2013, 09:07 PM
Why do unions have so much power in LA? Cuz the industry abused the workers so long, everybody that could joined the union.

Now we've forgotten the lessons (or heard propaganda from the other side) learned in the '20s and '30s. So producers are sending VFX workers to Socialist school. The tuition is harsh.

geo_n
03-16-2013, 09:35 PM
No reasonable job chronically involves >40 hours a week-- that's the DEFINITION of a 'reasonable job' in the civilized world.

People willingly casting themselves into serfhood are idiots.

What do you do currently? I would like to live in Seattle and not be an idiot. :D

jeric_synergy
03-16-2013, 09:36 PM
Or, get a reasonable job in jpn. Which is, from what I've read, the very Mecca of overwork.

geo_n
03-16-2013, 11:28 PM
Or, get a reasonable job in jpn. Which is, from what I've read, the very Mecca of overwork.

When you're a seishain(regular employee) in any kind of work not just CG, your job is not 40 hours a week fixed. Expect overtime, usually unpaid.
So a "reasonable" job doesn't exist. Reasonable is relative. Only way you can work 40 hours fixed is if you work per hour but that's not a regular employee which means one is dispensible, like working in a coffee shop. And you don't get insurance, medical, pension, etc.
I don't see how anyone can demand to just work 40 hours period and get a job especially in this industry. That's against the "works well with the team" prerequisite. But anyway we will stay idiots as you say. :D

Mr Rid
03-16-2013, 11:28 PM
...I sincerely believe there should be a federal law against any employer requesting or expecting any employee to work more than six days in a row.



I'm not religious, but even God thought it was so important to have a day off he made it one of the top ten no-nos and "Anyone who desecrates it is to be put to death;":eek: I think there should also be a strict limit of 60 hours per week. I think these simple measures would force the industry to work around a more civil pace and cost, leading to more predictable and reasonable FX bids.

Like most, in the beginning I killed myself at my first FX sweatshop, putting in 100 hour weeks near deadlines with no OT, and going to bed at 7AM. After adding up my hours, I saw I was working 3 months for free by the end of year. I actually put in more hours than anyone else on each of the films I worked on, including directors and producers. While I shared cheap rent with 3 other people in a leaky dump with a sewer that backed up onto the floor every other month, the producers are off doing blow and hookers in Eastern Europe, while lining up a sweatshop there to downsize the rest of us in L.A. But we wuz 'working in the movin' pictures!'

Every time I have observed a group of animators working regular 7 day weeks, I did not see that they were actually working an extra day. That stressful schedule only caused workers to get tired, burned out, slow down, make more mistakes, goof off more, surfing the net and having longer talks by the cooler, as they squander time over the course of the week that would add up to an extra workday that is supposedly gained. It is a waste of money and time to overwork people. Humans need at least one day off, but really two- one day to do basic chores you couldnt get to during the long week, then you need an actual day off to recoup, play with the kids, pet a monkey, or sleep all day. Then you can show up Monday all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed ready to take on another glorious week of pixel f***ing.

The author of Digital Grunt https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HPflLGEHUAI worked at the same sweatshop I was referring to.

Megalodon2.0
03-16-2013, 11:51 PM
When you're a seishain(regular employee) in any kind of work not just CG, your job is not 40 hours a week fixed. Expect overtime, usually unpaid.
So a "reasonable" job doesn't exist. Reasonable is relative. Only way you can work 40 hours fixed is if you work per hour but that's not a regular employee which means one is dispensible, like working in a coffee shop. And you don't get insurance, medical, pension, etc.
I don't see how anyone can demand to just work 40 hours period and get a job especially in this industry. That's against the "works well with the team" prerequisite. But anyway we will stay idiots as you say. :D
One of the benefits of living in a country that has unions I guess. :) Typically in most industries... a 40 hour workweek; OT pay; benefits and vacations. And of course workplace safety regulations and minimum wage. :thumbsup:

When workers are taken advantage of by employers, it takes all or most of the employees to fight back. It's probably more difficult in this day and age as opposed to 100 years or so ago, but corporations need to know that they cannot think of their workers as JUST a commodity. We are - in fact - human beings and deserve respect for not only our work but our talent. I know that it's easy to "talk" about these things and far more difficult to do anything about them. At least the VFX community seems to be TRYING to resolve some of these issues. I hope they are successful.

Dexter2999
03-17-2013, 12:09 AM
It is sad that businesses no longer seem to care about their employees the same as they did. Finding any job these days with benefits is nigh impossible since all they have to do is give you 30 hours or less work and you are part time....im sure there are companies trying even to find a way to not have to pay L&I insurance for employees.

I don't know how much of it is that the business doesn't care about the employees. The business wants to keep people employed. They want to have employees. They want good employees. They understand what this entails.

The market however doesn't give a damn about the artists. The "market" being film and television producers trying to squeeze $100 out of a $1 budget will shop a job all over the globe to find the best deal on labor or gain a subsidy. And on top of that they will demand their list (and any changes) on increasingly shorter deadlines, largely because they don't think of the people doing the long hours. Their mentality is they aren't "artists", they are "JUST" people sitting at computers pushing buttons (not real work) and the computers do all the work. So what if they have to sit in their Aeron chair drinking cappuccinos all night to get the work done on time? Even better if it is a faceless person on the other side of the globe they can mistreat without threat of ever having to meet them eye to eye. De-personalized it becomes much easier to inflict inequities on others. To them, at the end of the day "it's just business". Even though the business they are in appears to be benefiting them quite well while screwing others over.

It is equal parts greed and ignorance, IMO.

Employees are just at the bottom of this as business owners close shop after finding they can't keep competitive talent and wages while cutting their throats on billing fees to keep clients who threaten to take their business elsewhere.

jeric_synergy
03-17-2013, 02:24 AM
When workers are taken advantage of by employers, it takes all or most of the employees to fight back. It's probably more difficult in this day and age as opposed to 100 years or so ago, ..
I can't tell if you mean it's more difficult to fight back, or more difficult to change the corporatrons minds, but remember a lot of people DIED, were MURDERED by the companies, the cops, and the Pinkertons during the labor unrest of the early 20th century. Many more were injured in a time of crap medical care (gee, what does that remind me of?) and zero "workers comp" or welfare. So, it was never very easy.

Woodie Guthrie's guitar slogan, "This machine kills fascists" wasn't talking about Mussolini: he was talking about home-grown American fascism, aka "corporatism".

stiff paper
03-17-2013, 10:21 AM
Sigh. I can hear the distant clanking of chain and padlock as another thread lock sets off on its weary trudge over here to make us please stop getting all political. It is against the rules, after all.

The subject is impossible to discuss without this happening, though, because in every way that counts the situation in VFX is almost entirely political. It's a pity we don't have a "Free-for-all" forum.

Celshader
03-17-2013, 12:12 PM
Sigh. I can hear the distant clanking of chain and padlock as another thread lock sets off on its weary trudge over here to make us please stop getting all political. It is against the rules, after all.

The subject is impossible to discuss without this happening, though, because in every way that counts the situation in VFX is almost entirely political. It's a pity we don't have a "Free-for-all" forum.

I think that would be the comments section on VFX Soldier (vfxsoldier.wordpress.com). ;)

jeric_synergy
03-17-2013, 01:25 PM
The subject is impossible to discuss without this happening, though, because in every way that counts the situation in VFX is almost entirely political. It's a pity we don't have a "Free-for-all" forum.
Indeed: it's a pretty fine line between "business" and "political". Let's just smile and say "checks and balances".

Right now, it would appear there are few checks on producers to avoid cost overuns, apparently (Dept of Redundancy Dept approved!). The discussion is how to achieve some balances between the VFX companies, the production companies, and the individual artists.

Maybe a 3 legged approach (studio/VFX/artist-org) is a more stable than what we have now: 3 entities can all point fingers without any 2 pointing at each other. ;) A proliferation of power centers might make that particular eco-system more resilient.

Megalodon2.0
03-17-2013, 02:25 PM
I can't tell if you mean it's more difficult to fight back, or more difficult to change the corporatrons minds, but remember a lot of people DIED, were MURDERED by the companies, the cops, and the Pinkertons during the labor unrest of the early 20th century. Many more were injured in a time of crap medical care (gee, what does that remind me of?) and zero "workers comp" or welfare. So, it was never very easy.

Woodie Guthrie's guitar slogan, "This machine kills fascists" wasn't talking about Mussolini: he was talking about home-grown American fascism, aka "corporatism".

Oh I know. I was "lecturing" over at CGTalk about that very subject - people fought and died for the labor rights we have today. That was directed at the people who wanted to just accept what was going on and bend over and take it. IMO,that attitude shows great disrespect for those who actually did die to provide us with the rights we have today.

But actually I meant both - difficult to fight back AND change corporate minds. Corporations are MUCH more organized today and they know far better how to destroy unions or any hint of a union forming. Look how Walmart has been so successful. That does not mean I accept defeat. But in the case here of VFX, since I'm not in the industry it's very "easy" for me to talk but I don't see how *I* can fight back. ONLY if and when I open my own animation studio can I have any say - and treat the employees as I would want to be treated. All I can do is support those in the VFX industry and let them know that others outside the industry feel their pain and are on their side.

Yes, politics will always be intertwined with unions and wages and job fairness. But it can be discussed in a civil fashion and we don't have to go off the deep end. Fortunately for you and I, we are on the same page. :thumbsup:

jeric_synergy
03-17-2013, 02:29 PM
I wonder what that producer who said "If I don't put an effects company out of business I'm not doing my job" was thinking? Was he thinking he'd never need another in the future???

That's the kind of short-sighted thinking that makes for a very unpleasant culture.

Megalodon2.0
03-17-2013, 02:45 PM
I wonder what that producer who said "If I don't put an effects company out of business I'm not doing my job" was thinking? Was he thinking he'd never need another in the future???

That's the kind of short-sighted thinking that makes for a very unpleasant culture.

No, he was thinking of VFX houses as an easy commodity to replace. "There's always another" is probably what was going through his tiny mind.

What he and others with similar attitudes fail to comprehend is that the talent that is pushed out of these bankrupted VFX houses will ultimately be lost and the quality of VFX will suffer. As fewer and fewer VFX studios are left, it's reasonable to assume that the cost of VFX will start to rise again.

It still irks me that people like THAT producer WANT to put a VFX house out of business and are actually in charge. Why? So he can say he got the cheapest price? Greed is paramount in Hollywood accounting.

stiff paper
03-17-2013, 03:46 PM
Greed is paramount in Hollywood accounting.

I can assure you that there's nothing unique about Hollywood in that regard.

And yes, we're back to me saying snarky things about Ayn Rand and the stool-brained oafs who think her irrational, psychologically damaged stupidity offers some kind of justification for their sociopathic behavior. The logic behind "...not doing my job." is that it's the job of any rational man to extract the maximum benefit for himself with absolute disregard for how much unnecessary harm that will cause to others. With a producer and a VFX house, that means that if the VFX house carries on existing when the job is finished, there must have been a little bit further that their finances could have been squeezed.

From this perspective, the perfectly produced VFX job is one that concludes with the VFX house expiring five minutes after the final shots are delivered.

The Randian view of that eventuality is that the producer would have behaved "Heroically" (I'm not joking, that really is the correct word.) and that it's the VFX house's own fault for being comprised of weak, non-heroic men who were bound to fail when confronted by the "Heroic" producer.

I believe Atlas Shrugged is one of the most popular books in the USA, and the most popular book amongst businessmen. A frightening statistic.

Edit: For anybody who wants to know why I keep mentioning Ayn Rand, a good place to start would be to try to track down the first episode of "All Watched Over By Machines of Loving Grace" by Adam Curtis (it's a three episode BBC documentary series). It gives a good overview of Ayn Rand's status as the "bible" of the modern business world.

jeric_synergy
03-17-2013, 07:07 PM
Yeah, we've been having to put up with those petulant idiots (that word again) who are now polluting our politics with their schemes. There's even a US Senator named after Rand. Him and his dopey racist father have been stinkin' up the airwaves.

BigHache
03-17-2013, 10:56 PM
I wonder what that producer who said "If I don't put an effects company out of business I'm not doing my job" was thinking? Was he thinking he'd never need another in the future???

I always thought that quote/idea was driven by Hollywood execs. who were pushing producers to drive prices down so they could bank more money for themselves. I could be completely wrong on that though. However, to me it makes the most logical sense. Yes, it's a very short-sighted thing to do because eventually there will only be a handful of vfx companies left and do you think that prices will stay down? No. With less competition, the market will start driving prices back up.

Titus
03-18-2013, 12:30 AM
I always thought that quote/idea was driven by Hollywood execs. who were pushing producers to drive prices down so they could bank more money for themselves. I could be completely wrong on that though. However, to me it makes the most logical sense. Yes, it's a very short-sighted thing to do because eventually there will only be a handful of vfx companies left and do you think that prices will stay down? No. With less competition, the market will start driving prices back up.

For me it makes completely sense. As I've stated before, I've been selling a couple of TV animated series in different TV markets. I've a business tutor, a seasoned producer so I'm not completely lost (but for most part of my projects I'm almost on my own) but my first lesson was to understand that others will take as much as I'm willing to cede. Business are though, basically you're swimming with sharks, and it's daunting. You met people who can talk to you with a sweet voice, and at the same moment doing math inside his heads on how much they can take from your project, equilibrium point, etc. I mean, the project is mine, I worked the budget and they have the ability to calculate how much they can take, and how much to squeeze from you while holding a mojito in his right had. After this experience, I simply can't imagine how tough these executives can be if they are in possesion of dozens of millions to produce anything.

Greenlaw
03-18-2013, 02:03 AM
Good lord! We've all been protesting the wrong thing! Everybody! Over here!
Are those villagers with torches outside my house?

G.

stiff paper
03-18-2013, 03:20 AM
Are those villagers with torches outside my house?

Oh please. It's just crowd-sim and FumeFX...

Greenlaw
03-18-2013, 09:16 AM
Whew! Give that crew an Oscar.

Carry on.

G.

robertoortiz
03-18-2013, 10:11 AM
Rhythm & Hues headhunting in Taiwan, offers 200 job openings

Quote:
"TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The U.S.-based company behind the stunning visual effects in Ang Lee's Oscar wining movie “Life of Pi” is offering 200 job openings in Taiwan, an executive said yesterday. "



"Rhythm & Hues (R&H) is looking for special effects engineers, 3D animation artists and creative personnel to join its workshop in Kaohsiung, Southern Taiwan, the executive was cited as saying by the Central News Agency.

R&H, which has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the United States, set up the Kaohsiung operation in 2011. The U.S.-based firm was among 65 companies running booths at a job fair at National Chung Hsing University (NCHU) in Taichung."

http://www.chinapost.com.tw/taiwan/national/national-news/2013/03/17/373330/Life-of.htm

Spinland
03-19-2013, 08:04 AM
Anyone read this article? is it a fair overview of the situation, in your opinion?

http://magazine.creativecow.net/article/vfx-at-a-crossroads

Dexter2999
03-19-2013, 08:53 AM
Anyone read this article? is it a fair overview of the situation, in your opinion?

"Is it fair"? Largely. Flat bids are a particularly insidious part of the industry. And I think producers abuse it and the competing bid process to the end of "putting an FX house out of business."

The article also points out that there is a lack of business savy people in the industry. I think it rediculous that actors have used points in bargaining with producers to supplement insufficient budgets for over five decades yet post houses just cut their own throats in the negotiations.

Flat bids, undercutting pricing, working for a loss...how many actors, directors, and producers work this way? "They'll do the movie for how much? I'll do it for less than that." Maybe the catering works that way. Maybe the craft services works that way. The DP doesn't work that way. The art department set construction crew doesn't work that way. I doubt even hair and make up work that way. Why should the VFX?

VFX companies (IMO) deserve a bargaining right equal to the consideration of any of the above the line positions in budget negotiations, because as has already been aptly pointed out, without them it just wouldn't happen.

If all VFX houses held gross point participations (and possibly ancillary market participations) in the blockbusters they have helped create I doubt there would be as many closing up shop.

I'm just sayin'. Then again, I'm not qualified to comment as I don't actually work in the industry. I'm just a "wanna-be."

Megalodon2.0
03-19-2013, 12:26 PM
VFX companies (IMO) deserve a bargaining right equal to the consideration of any of the above the line positions in budget negotiations, because as has already been aptly pointed out, without them it just wouldn't happen.

If all VFX houses held gross point participations (and possibly ancillary market participations) in the blockbusters they have helped create I doubt there would be as many closing up shop.

I'm just sayin'. Then again, I'm not qualified to comment as I don't actually work in the industry. I'm just a "wanna-be."
Unfortunately this isn't going to happen - at least anytime soon. They have nothing to bargain with - there is ALWAYS another VFX house to "take over."

Currently there is no reason for ANY movie studio to provide a VFX house with gross points - it's not extremely easy for actors to get gross points.

The only way is for VFX houses to move from service-oriented productions to their own IP productions where they own everything lock, stock and barrel. I hope that the remaining VFX firms see this and start making their own in-house films like ILM did with Rango. IMO, it's the only way they will survive in THIS climate. Of course... this takes a huge wad of cash, which VFX houses obviously don't have. Catch 22 unless they can get an investor, which... may not be too difficult seeing the quality VFX these places do. Again... look at the movie Skyline.

More power to them! :thumbsup:

Dexter2999
03-19-2013, 01:43 PM
it's not extremely easy for actors to get gross points.

I respectfully disagree with this statement. It is common practice now for star talent to have gross points deals. It is part of my argument that talent is "double dipping" by taking huge up front paychecks as well as negotiating gross point deals. Gross point deals, well actually they were originally net point deals, were started because studios wanted to use talent they couldn't afford up front.

Net point deals turned into "first dollar gross point" deals because of Hollywood accounting practices.

Peter Jackson personaly made at least a hundred million dollars for the LOR Trilogy (and had to sue to get the rest.) Robert Downey Junior is reportedly making $50 million from Iron Man 2. Eddie Murphey, Will Smith, Tom Cruise, and the list goes on...all get gross point deals as well as residuals.

The argument of "there is ALWAYS another VFX house" should hold no water either. Producers should only be able to get what they can afford. "Dropping trou and bending over" or operating at a loss should not be an option. It devalues the entire industry. It is the professional equivelant of what independent artists deal with when competing with kids working at home with systems paid for by their parents using cracked software. You as a professional cannot afford to cut your prices and maintain a viable business operating on that model. Some sort of association fee or acreditation or guild should be preventing this conduct. If you can't keep your business by operating at an accepted rate, then maybe you aren't meant to be running a business. But working for cut rates and undermining the industry as a whole shouldn't be allowed.

Think of it like this. If one company wants to work this way, then you should not compete. Let them build a base of work that keeps them busy at a loss. Eventually they will close. They cannot stay open. The math doesn't work.

But if everyone else chooses to maintain their integrity and grit their teeth through tough times. Eventually the business must return. Either because the company working at a loss is too busy to take on more work, or because they close. But by lowering fees to try to compete with a losing business model, you only set a precedent that you to are willing to work for failure.

robertoortiz
03-19-2013, 01:51 PM
Mark my words,
The quality of the VFX shots will GO DOWN thanks to this stupid VFX are a commodity mentality.

And soon audiences will start noticing.

Megalodon2.0
03-19-2013, 03:30 PM
I respectfully disagree with this statement. It is common practice now for star talent to have gross points deals. It is part of my argument that talent is "double dipping" by taking huge up front paychecks as well as negotiating gross point deals. Gross point deals, well actually they were originally net point deals, were started because studios wanted to use talent they couldn't afford up front.
MOST actors don't have the kind of negotiating clout that a Peter jackson or Robert Downey Jr or Tom Hanks or Tom Cruise have. The top actors can, but the VAST majority do not. Hollywood doesn't like to give up any money if they don't have to - and most of the time they don't have to.

Net point deals turned into "first dollar gross point" deals because of Hollywood accounting practices.
Of course. Hollywood greed trumps fair every time.


Mark my words,
The quality of the VFX shots will GO DOWN thanks to this stupid VFX are a commodity mentality.

And soon audiences will start noticing.
I agree and also hope that that is the case.

I look forward to when we hear studios complaining about the high cost of VFX when there are only a few VFX houses left and THEY end up sticking it to the studios.

It's too bad that this will happen after far too many VFX artists have been screwed over.

lwanmtr
03-19-2013, 03:35 PM
Wont Happen....The studios will just use overseas houses

Megalodon2.0
03-19-2013, 04:12 PM
Wont Happen....The studios will just use overseas houses

Disagree. Movie studios will continue to want lower prices. As the 1st world VFX houses slowly are put out of business, the movie studios will continue to squeeze VFX studios overseas.

Just because movie studios are getting getting lower and lower prices for their VFX doesn't mean they will stop REQUIRING lower prices. More VFX shops will go out of business - overseas or not - and when there are but a few left, only then will costs begin to rise.

Titus
03-19-2013, 07:16 PM
I really don't know what will happen. The VFX Solidarity meeting was an excellent bootstrap for global organization.

KurtF
03-19-2013, 07:45 PM
Thanks for posting that. Very insightful. I liked the part about having a day- or weekly rate card, and advising the client how quickly they're burning through the allotted budget.

robertoortiz
03-20-2013, 11:17 PM
Rhythm & Hues Sale Update:(Korean Firm Out)


Quote:

"

Bankrupt visual effects studio Rhythm & Hues announced this evening that Korean firm JS Communications, which had been the “stalking horse” bidder in the bankruptcy process, has missed its deadline to complete a binding Asset Sale and Purchase Agreement (APA). Thus JS is out as stalking horse bidder.



JS managing partner David Shim told Variety “I worked hard with the studios (Universal and Fox) to establish some sort of an order in the working relationship. I think it’s a problem inherent in this industry, and the type of cooperation I was seeking wasn’t working out.” He said he would miss today’s deadline because there wasn’t time to execute a proper bid, and suggested he still would like to bid. All bidders must submit their APAs no later than this Friday, March 22.



Brian Davidoff of Greenberg Glusker, the law firm representing Rhythm & Hues, told Variety Shim’s communications with them had also suggested he intended to submit a bid at the end of the week. Shim spent quite a bit of time on-site at R&H’s El Segundo HQ working on a plan for the company. He also met privately with Universal and Fox."



http://variety.com/2013/digital/news/korean-firm-out-as-rhythm-hues-stalking-horse-bidder-1200326232/



AND

How Failed Studio Talks Left Rhythm & Hues Adrift

Shim says he asked Universal and Fox to agree to make “best efforts” to send a total of $60 million of work to R&H over the next three years, while R&H would be repaying their loans. During busy years, Fox and U sent far more than $60 million a year in work to R&H, but last year that figure fell off to just $18 million.

Essentially, he said, the studios wanted “just patch it up, like it was a bad accident,” and return to the same business relationship they had with R&H before the bankruptcy.



http://variety.com/2013/digital/news/how-failed-studio-talks-left-rhythm-hues-adrift-1200326570/