Saturday, April 27, 2013

April's VFX News..

April 30th

State of Cinema: Steven Soderbergh from San Francisco Film Society on Vimeo.
The company also said during its previous earnings call that 400 layoffs were coming as DWA attempts to "right-size the whole enterprise," as CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg put it.~THR

April 29th

Unfortunately, we had to decide to close the production site in Berlin to May 31, 2013. This decision fell us very difficult, but essential in the framework of the restructuring process. As a result, PIXOMONDO streamlined its production structures and strengthens the other sites at the same time.

It goes without saying that provided invoices for Berlin continues to remain in force.

If you have questions, we are under like available. via Pixomondo's Facebook 
VFX Company for 'Oblivion,' Closes Berlin Office

April 28th

April 27th

Friday, April 26, 2013

Complete Video of the International VFX Town Hall Meeting 2: Facilities

Dave Rand responds...

This post is a response to the Town Hall meeting from 4.26.20013 The recorded version of which can be found on youtube. perhaps Scot will put up a link.

I appreciated all of points of important to see how they are thinking.

I tried to get some of these topics into the mix but my connection was down right at the question and answer time. Had to listen to the rest of the show later.

Although some of the panel members stated they were against forming a union...that's to be expected ....sadly there's always been a stigma amongst employers regarding unions, and that is understandable but we have to take car of ourselves, no one else is going to do it for us. As Mariana put it so well in her recent video...facilities will do what facilities need to do, and we should do what we need to do.

Unions do not have to be expensive unless you call it expensive to simply pay the artists rather than have them go unpaid over a bad business model that they have no control over. Unless you call it too expensive to have them be able to afford healthcare that follows them from facility to facility. Unless you call it too expensive for them to have representation when it comes to shady ideas like comp time, flat rate, paying their own employer taxes (something IATSE if fighting for free for a group of us now), and the encouragement of unpaid overtime, something that happens consistently everywhere I work....even when it's simply the practice of allowing some artists to "donate' time while other family members have to go home...creating a culture of competition and free labor.
I'm getting emails these past few months regarding a shop in Montreal that is consistently having artists fly in on their own dime...then not reimburse them for their flight, not pay them, and when they finally run out of money, borrow money from home to get back home, the facility keeps their files, advertise for someone to replace them, then rinse and repeat, These kinds of stories cross my desk regularly because I've been outspoken using my real name for seven years now. My point of view is different from the panel...had they walked in the shoes of the artists of course they'd feel differently . 

Although we have protective labor laws we have artists at R&H having to settle for 12-17 cents on the dollar for money owed that goes into the tens of thousands for some 100 thousand dollars.

As your list above points out...those very protective labor laws that Jules Roman, president of Tippet, so adeptly points out in this town hall were instigated by labor unions....funny how that is often forgotten in our culture...especially when it's used in an anti-union argument.

The plans employers have in place are not helping them now....I'm still waiting for my Cobra information and it will be expensive, for some families more than their mortgage. When I worked at union shops the deal was far, far better, having a plan that followed me from shop to shop and covered gaps is worth obtaining. Especially when it's funded in part by the very projects I've worked on rather than being the sole burden of VFX facility I'm working for.

Bottom line...those that have the least amount of leverage, especially in a business like ours that approaches a monopolistic culture, will always get treated accordingly.

Cost plus works great on the movie set, delivers focus, and eliminates the bad blood between the client and the facility These panel members have never tired it.... I've run shows both ways HUGE difference. I've beat Canadian subsidized bids working on cost plus while paying premium wages right in Los Angeles. I've even seen what happens when a show I started as cost plus went to bidding, and the relationships between client and shot were destroyed. I worked for Centropolis when it was cost plus, essentially working on the owners projects only (Devlin and Emmerick) I watched it fall apart when it went to a bidding model for Das Werk after Dean and Roland sold it to them.

This a repost of Dave Rand's comment on Scott Squires Effects Corner Post on Visual Effects Guilds on APRIL 26, 2013

Thursday, April 4, 2013

April's VFX News

<~ Note: The VFXTippingPoint Twitter Feed will be more up to date with articles, bits of news, & discussions...
SpinVFX, CafeFX, MokkoStudio, Nvizible, ZoicStudios, Tippett Studio & PDI

The meeting will take place online TODAY at 1:00 PDT.

April 26th

April 25th

We are not alone...

April 24th

"Through our brainstorming we realized that if you do a hard comparison in terms of what actual money you get from the rebate, and the actual money you might spend for hard costs, such as per diems for housing, food and travel, sometimes it's a wash," Lin said.

April 23rd

"The company launched two key initiatives to scale VCL in the last two years, entering into a joint venture to develop and produce original content for children's entertainment, and setting up a VFX studio in Los Angeles. While these showed initial promise, they did not perform as expected and adversely impacted the company's results in FY13."
You can follow/catch up on the FMX Future of the VFX Industry Panel response and discussion via Twitter using #fmxpanel I will have a post for video of the panel as it becomes available. This event was streamed live here and has ignited another round of discussion on the twitter-sphere today.
FMX Conference (Stuttgart, Germany)Panel Discussion on the Future of the VFX Industry is TODAY! April 23rd. (16:30 CEST/7:30 am PDT) Panel to include: Eric Roth (VES), Pierre Buffin (BUF Compagnie), Mark Driscoll (LOOK Effects), Christian Vogt (PIXOMONDO), Jean-Noël Portugal (jnko)
We can change this ending ... right? by Jesse Toves

April 22nd

April 21rst

Trade Association Update: Exploratory trade association meeting is set for May 2.  So far, almost every company invited, EXCEPT the UK facilities will be attending. What up London? ~Scott Ross

April 20th

April 19th 

Encouraging all VFX Professionals to take this Visual Effects Working Conditions Survey Information is power so please share this with your friends and colleagues.

April 18th 

April 17th

“Just like our relatives worked in factories making cars and sweaters, we are going to be getting our VFX from the internet dealers from now on,” Capizzi said.

April 16th

Rhythm & Hues has no work...
by Floyd Norman

April 15th

April 14th

April 13th

April 12th

Unionizing Rumors w/ Mariana Acuña

April 11th

April 10th

The U.K. has bolstered its tax incentive to bring post-production work to its film industry. According to the report, "Hercules" would stand to receive $6 million back in credits. Thus, $18 million of visual effects work, alone, has been given to London-based VFX shop Double Negative. (L.A. BIZ)
CSI Anaheim. Or Burbank. by Jesse Toves

April 9th

Scott Squires & Scott Ross
talked today at the Las Vegas
Supermeet NAB
photo by @EPKproducer

April 8th

Execs re-screening JP1 by Jesse Toves

April 7th

April 6th

April 5th

PJ on VFX crisis
In this week’s issue of Entertainment Weekly, The Hobbit director Peter Jackson, a digital effects pioneer who co-founded the F/X company Weta Digital, says studios are taking advantage of an oversupply of F/X houses to drive down prices. “Competition between VFX houses, which the studios obviously use to their advantage, has resulted in VFX houses operating on tiny profit margins,” Jackson says. “And when we talk ‘profit,’ it’s not about the owners buying a Porsche at the end of a big movie — it’s about having a nest egg to ride out the slow periods.”
Even after the collapse of Digital Domain and Rhythm & Hues, Jackson doesn’t believe that studios truly understand the need for F/X companies to charge sustainable prices. “Studios have to answer to their shareholders and will always try to get the cheapest possible work,” he says. “If anything, it’s a wake-up call to the F/X companies to address the weakness in our industry.” But with VFX layoffs announced regularly now — and more houses expected to shut down — one high-ranking studio exec acknowledges that the studios need to be a part of the solution: “We as a studio need these companies to be thriving and innovating — that’s our bread and butter. I guarantee you, there’s no one who defends the current visual-effects business model. It’s been brutal.” (

April 4th

Trade Association Update: "A few of us attended a meeting at Manatt Phelps in LA yesterday. With multiple offices and great political connections as well as world class anti trust and trade association lawyers, we have chosen Manatt to host our International Trade Association exploratory get together. Date to be determined." ~Scott Ross

April 3rd

"Our sympathies go out to those who have lost their jobs today."

Event Reminder:

UK ArtistsAttend the VFX Forum in London
VFX Forum: What's wrong in VFX and how can we make the industry better?

See Also: Via Facebook:

With job insecurity high, pay unreliable and long hours common, VFX can be a tough industry to work in. BECTU, the union for VFX professionals, is here to help.

Come along to this forum to discuss how we can work together to build links between staff in different production houses and find a way to improve the industry for good.BECTU's General Secretary, Gerry Morrissey, will help explain what a union can do for staff working in VFX and detail the support the union can give for people at work.

There will then be a general discussion about howe we can ensure that staff in VFX can get a better deal and how the union can help.Refreshments will be provided.

UK VFX Professionals Join BECTU today

April 2nd

April 1rst

Regarding The Wrap's Pixomondo's article... there was some back and forth today regarding headline and it's contents.  Variety's David S. Cohen spoke with Thilo Kuther ( CEO and Executive Producer of Pixomondo) and Cohen tweeted that Thilo denied pretty much everything in that article, and that they are NOT getting out of features.

Later Sharon Waxon of The Wrap tweeted back that "We stand by every word of our Pixomondo exclusive. indeed, i just spoke to ceo thilo kuther and he did not dispute any of his quotes or substance of article. he didn't like headline"