Wednesday, February 27, 2013

My 2 Cents...

What's wrong with the VFX industry?

I feel there are 2 major issues that have been occuring (for far too long), formost creating better business practices between the VFX houses and the Hollywood studios. Protecting the rights, providing benefits, and improving working conditions for the artists and employees of the VFX houses is the other. All visual effects companies, small, medium, and large, have been racing to the bottom in bid wars for projects, utilizing subsidies all over the place that often times just manage to sustain operations, suffocatting on 5%(or lower) profit margins. If that trend continues more houses will be forced to close their doors, and our industry will become one of the post apocolyptic landscapes we have brought to life for the very same directors and studios that employ us.

We're all to familiar with the trend of cheaper, better, faster, and this is the race to failure. Production schedules on projects have steadily diminished over the years catching us all in a vicious spiral of just... pulling it off, some how, some way, in the 11th hour, (or maybe more appropriately the 111,000th man hour), making it happen, despite all odds, the stress, and time restraints involved. So what's that mean for the vfx companies next project? They are put in a position to at the very least stay on par with previous work in terms of time & quality, and then forced to exceed it.

Our industry has been known to say... "Your only as good as your last daily." VFX houses most recent work can be thought of the same way, it's indicative of and essential to what you as a company can offer and create. Quality has to remain of highest regard, but somethings gotta give. It's either $$$, quality, or time.

This process translates into long hours, even longer days, more often and earlier in the schedule 6-7 day weeks, piling up mountains of overtime, in the end, the work has to get done, and both the artist and vendor suffer tremendously. The negative impact on artists health, and relationships with friends. family, are severe. This is in regards to the companies abiding by governing labor and wage laws... over the years many companies haven't been and others operating now still don't, and we've found this to be true here in the US, and abroad. Furthermore the nomadic lifestyle of the vfx artist, backpacking project to project can be desirable for a time, but it's not sustainable.

Despite the focus and scope of solutions currently in development, they are all in an effort to steer our industry out of troubled waters so that we may then continue this evolving journey that is creating amazing new and breathtaking worlds, exciting and emotionally engaging characters, and invisible feats of artistry unknown to the the viewer so that they may be as connected to the story of pictures we help create as possible.

We can change our industry for the better, let's figure it out.

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