PDA

View Full Version : ILM workers protest proposed pay cut.


dmonk
12-16-2004, 01:39 AM
WOW! (http://www.marinij.com/Stories/0,1413,234%7E24407%7E2599252,00.html#)

Saw this over at xsibase.

Shaderhacker
12-16-2004, 01:57 AM
Wow! Unbelievable!

I hope they get what they want. This is *NOT* good for the film industry as a whole. Jobs are already scarce as-is.:(

-M

jmBoekestein
12-16-2004, 02:05 AM
:eek:Oh my god!!! We're all gonna die man...you gotta help, me:argh:, I'm too pretty to die...

And to think I just started following a 4 year visual effects program at our national filmschool. Somebody start watching and paying for B-movies, NOW!

FloydBishop
12-16-2004, 02:06 AM
FISTS IN THE AIR!!

For anyone who's ever been on the inside of a movie studio, you know first hand all the crap that can go on. Good for them!

Lyr
12-16-2004, 02:08 AM
How much of a "strike" is it if they do it on thier lunch break?

Shaderhacker
12-16-2004, 02:10 AM
How much of a "strike" is it if they do it on thier lunch break?
Hmm...you have a point there.

-M

DevilHacker
12-16-2004, 02:29 AM
How much of a "strike" is it if they do it on thier lunch break?
I bet that it is like a warning shot, just showing that they are mad and want change. Also that they are not afraid to go on strike...
:shrug:

malducin
12-16-2004, 02:33 AM
it was not a strike, just a silent protest

Ollarin
12-16-2004, 02:39 AM
Wow!

Damn paycuts.

I hope the workers get what they want. And i hope they don't get fired. :/

DigiLusionist
12-16-2004, 02:39 AM
It was not a silent protest, it was gas. They really should stop eating from the lunch truck...

twidup
12-16-2004, 02:39 AM
our CBA prohits strikes.

it was mearly a silent protest.

-todd
creature TD
ILM

JasonA
12-16-2004, 02:41 AM
I think if they actually went on strike, they'd probably just be fired. There's no shortage of talent lining up to take their place. But for the employees sakes, I do hope that ILM place value in their committed workers.

pthomas72
12-16-2004, 02:42 AM
video games are a cool place to work.

heavyness
12-16-2004, 03:56 AM
well, i hope all goes well for ILM and their employees. salary talks can be tricky and not to friendly at times, but i hope a middle ground is found.

but i'm glad the employees showed their disappointment in a professional way.

maybe EA employees will follow...

Levitateme
12-16-2004, 07:48 AM
i cant imagine what them people are capable of...and they want to give them less pay...the cg industry is a buch of assholes.

noisewar
12-16-2004, 08:54 AM
The cycle is always the same. Company grows, purses swells, strings are tied, responsibilities invented, strings are pulled, talent is dismayed, talent leaves, new companies emerge. It is a good thing in this country and this industry that it is so easy for disgruntled talent to leave and reform into tighter, more efficient teams to distribute competition. It's not all bad if people leave ILM. We live in good times, and technology is only going to improve talent distribution. So relax folks, let them Disneyify, only Pixars will result.

eek
12-16-2004, 08:59 AM
Hasnt ILM got 1,000+ employees and 200 go on strike?

This is no biggy.


eek

siouxfire
12-16-2004, 09:04 AM
I wonder if the deadline for War of the Worlds has anything to do with this?

metroeast
12-16-2004, 09:53 AM
This has been a long time coming. Design professionals are, in a sense, much like carpenters, roofers, and painters. It is skilled labor. We have all heard of staff in both production and game development being forced to work long hours with little to no benefits. We allow ourselves go accept these conditions as part of the busy but they don't have to be. Designers are never going to get a voice without being united.

When you see people who work at such a highly-regarded place like ILM having a protest you know that this really does effect us all. I hope the guys at ILM are successful with their protest and that both sides are able to negoiate something that will make them all happy.

I am sorry if I am sounding like a wacko here, I think it needs to happen eventually.

metroeast
12-16-2004, 09:56 AM
Hasnt ILM got 1,000+ employees and 200 go on strike?

This is no biggy.


eek
How many of those others are afraid of losing there job? and 200 is still a fifth of the workforce. Doesn't that significantly hamper things? Just because they aren't outside doesn't mean they don't agree with what they are protesting.

dmonk
12-16-2004, 11:49 AM
our CBA prohits strikes.

it was mearly a silent protest.

-todd
creature TD
ILMI shouldn't of said strike, Sorry about that. If a mod could edit the thread title it would be appreciated.

ElectroLux
12-16-2004, 12:46 PM
Silent protest or minimal strike, it's still a good start. Weeks or months long industry wide strikes would really shape thing for the better but unfortunately those are not possible in US (lack of unions, culture/political climate, ect ect). Anyway, few good news like this and EA situation is better than none at all.

SUB7NYC
12-16-2004, 02:01 PM
best of luck to the ilm employees, I think there approach so far has been very respectful to Lucasfilms

DePingus
12-16-2004, 02:36 PM
In the article it says "The head of the union representing the 400-plus workers..."
Is there a union for CG Artists (I thought there was NOT)? Or is this only for ILM employees?

Mike Pauza
12-16-2004, 03:35 PM
Do we know for sure ILM is making a profit these days? The concensus that they're just being greedy may very well not be the case.

I wonder how american artists are affected if ILM decides it has to move to another country or even shut down completely? I'm an american and want our jobs to remain here, but the world is rapidly getting smaller and we don't have a monopoly on talent.

malducin
12-16-2004, 03:39 PM
I wonder if the deadline for War of the Worlds has anything to do with this? No, on the contrary. War of the Worlds was welcome news since it's more work for them which means they need the people, have to hire, etc. This is related to internal things at ILM that have been going for quite a while.

Hasnt ILM got 1,000+ employees and 200 go on strike? This is no biggy. 1,000+ is the total number of employees. The 200 figure is digital artists (modelers, animators, TDs, compositors), the core of the force that directly works on projects. There are about 400 digital artists. This does not include R&D, systems and support, The Model Shop, editorial, security, studio and stage perations, HR, PR, VFX producers, etc. Either way it's a huge number.

and 200 is still a fifth of the workforce. or half of the digital workforce which is almost equivalent to the crew working on Episode 3.

Or is this only for ILM employees? Digital artists at ILM are part of a union at IATSE Local 16 (you cn easily find their bargaining agreement online). Other places have or used to have unions for artists, like MPSC loacl 839 for Disney, Dreamqorks, Warner Bros. and others. I believe lately there have been eforts to reduce the role of unions at those places but i really don't know.

Do we know for sure ILM is making a profit these days? The concensus that they're just being greedy may very well not be the case.
I never heard of that consensus before. Wow how does gossip spread. ILM, like most VFX studios work on razor thin margins (although huge volumes for them). They are self sustained but they aren't becoming rich.

agreenster
12-16-2004, 03:47 PM
While I definitely DO sympathize, they STILL work for ILM...a gig many people would kill for.

Bonedaddy
12-16-2004, 03:55 PM
While I definitely DO sympathize, they STILL work for ILM...a gig many people would kill for.
Which, I think, is part of the problem. Reference: EA. If they dump all their long-standing employees who actually want to earn a decent living, they can always pick up an entire new generation of kids who love Star Wars and ILM, for dirt cheap.

Not that they would do that necessarily. I've visited up there and the people are really very nice, but I could see how it wouldn't necessarily be an ideal place to work if, say, you're trying to raise a family.

simoncheng
12-16-2004, 04:11 PM
well, at less they finish star wars 3 ?
is this how they treat the workers?
wish them luck. actually the ilm is not making much money in these years compare the rest
of the big boys. 1000++ workers! imagine what high profile/in house project are coming in after star wars. maybe later ilm will hire online contract/new comer/fresh starter/sub contract ???

no one know.

maybe few weeks later we heard there are few new company formed by ex-ilm staff.

agreenster
12-16-2004, 04:12 PM
Well, yeah, I guess that's true.

That would be a really stupid move on the part of ILM though to let the vets go for newer folk, talented or not. If that's the case, then ILM DOES deserve a kick in the pants.

Dearmad
12-16-2004, 04:20 PM
This has been a long time coming. Design professionals are, in a sense, much like carpenters, roofers, and painters. It is skilled labor. We have all heard of staff in both production and game development being forced to work long hours with little to no benefits. We allow ourselves go accept these conditions as part of the busy but they don't have to be. Designers are never going to get a voice without being united.

When you see people who work at such a highly-regarded place like ILM having a protest you know that this really does effect us all. I hope the guys at ILM are successful with their protest and that both sides are able to negoiate something that will make them all happy.

I am sorry if I am sounding like a wacko here, I think it needs to happen eventually.

They're nothing like roofers or any of the other professions you mention: those professions must be ON SITE to do their jobs. DA (dig artists) do not. They can be in India, singapore, japan, south africa, wherever. And, lo and behold, ILM has already set up its tendrils to be ready for outsourcing to cheap labor markets right now. In order for any union of DA's to work it must be worldwide; I doubt any Indian DA, for example, will sign up to your union to help protect your jobs especially when their job market is expanding because they would consider the paycut the ILMers are facing a pay RAISE! Unlike even actors, there is no recognized star quality to being a DA that can be banked on either.

IMO, you're doomed unless laws are passed to protect labor in this country, because the reality of the market is you're all replaceable, quite easily, and more quickly than it takes you to clean out your cubby.

Oh woops, Bush got reelected. I won't even begin to explain how his administration's approach to opening up markets to outsourcing by giving actual tax breaks to those who do it (not just levelling an equal tax but an actual tax incentive) is gonna hurt bad.

The only reason ILM will negotiate anything at the moment with those workers is if dismissing them and going ahead with its plans to outsource all those jobs is not quite yet ready. And make no mistake about it, ILM plans to outsource ALL of those minimal-creativity (where you don't create a lot of original content: so you're not a writer, director, programmer, etc... you know, higher up on the food chain), maximum-skill jobs to cheaper job markets. Once ILM is ready, the outsourcing will begin.

malducin
12-16-2004, 04:38 PM
well, at less they finish star wars 3 ? Yes they will finish. No project is in danger of being affected.

imagine what high profile/in house project are coming in after star wars. After Episode 3 the films to be released will be War of the Worlds, The Island, Jarhead, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and the Pirates of the Caribean sequels. No in house project though, those were taken by Lucasfilm Animation. Project that are to be released, but before Ep. 3 include Lemony Snicket's (this Friday), Are We There Yet?, The Pacifier and xXx: State of the Union.

ILM has already set up its tendrils to be ready for outsourcing to cheap labor markets right now No, because this is for animated projects (Lucasfilm Animation), not VFX. There were many points when ILM was slated to work on animated project but in the end the powers decided to create a wholly separate company for this. They were never intended to take work from ILM.

Unlike even actors, there is no recognized star quality to being a DA that can be banked on either. With a few exceptions though, say studios, producers and directors requesting specific people to help evaluate projects. I'm talking about someone like Dennis Muren and Stefen Fangmeier. Though they are not digital artists but VFX Supervisors.

Larrikin
12-16-2004, 04:56 PM
I've been on strike against ILM since 'The Phantom Menace' when they turned Stars Wars to crap.

malducin
12-16-2004, 05:12 PM
I've been on strike against ILM since 'The Phantom Menace' when they turned Stars Wars to crap.
Wow, really thought out. What does ILM have to do at all with the screenplay or directing, heh?

KevinKraeer
12-16-2004, 05:14 PM
I've been on strike against ILM since 'The Phantom Menace' when they turned Stars Wars to crap. This remark is so cold and unfeeling. It's left me very unsettled.

*nods to peachstapler

soulburn3d
12-16-2004, 05:26 PM
While I definitely DO sympathize, they STILL work for ILM...a gig many people would kill for. Ok, so lets look at that, say company A fires all its current workers because they can hire a bunch of cheaper kids right out of school. All those kids think to themselves "Those former employees, they should have been happy to work for company A". Then 3 years later those kids become the older employees, have larger salaries, want to do stuff like buy houses, have kids, etc, then Company A fires all of them and hires a bunch of kids out of school. Now all the recently fired people say "that's not fair!" But wait, weren't they the same people that said just 3 earlier that the previous batch of employees should have just been happy to work for Company A? Is that the sort of career you would like, 3 years of industry work and 30 years working at burger king because you're over the hill at 23?

- Neil

DZL
12-16-2004, 05:37 PM
While I definitely DO sympathize, they STILL work for ILM...a gig many people would kill for.
dude, that's easy to say when you're not working. what about people who've been there a while and have families?

this kind of thinking is hurting the industry - look at EA. people will only be pushed so far, and company's can't just get rid of older, more experienced (read: more expensive) talent - and hire fresh-out-of-school talent that will work for day-old bread. you NEED senior people... experience DOES matter. it won't replace talent, but talent+experience is very valuable indeed.

you need to see the long-term effects this will have. quality goes down, morale goes down - and someday, if you're lucky, you will be 'old' in the company's eyes, and you will be cut.

that being said, i've always heard george lucas was the cheapest man alive, so this doesn't suprise me. he'd rather have people standing in front of a green curtain than build actual sets - and it shows.

DangerAhead
12-16-2004, 05:41 PM
We are this generation's mill workers. Norma Rae where are you? Who needs ILM? no really?

I'm all about "Doing It Yourself"
DVD duplicators are about $5,000.
You can sell over the internet and find distributors.
you can do the animation yourself. I know I've done it.
I don't see where a giant greedy corporation needs to be in this equation.

I hate to say it, but porn makers have the DIY process figured out. There's some lessons to be learned here.

All you need is a story and time to make it. If you can get a few people to
agree and join you... voila. you have a company.

Move in with your parents or move to New Mexico. Rent there is still in the $400 range.
hole up for a few months and then make a DVD and distribute it.

That's what i'm going to do. Moving to New Mexico. soon.

unchikun
12-16-2004, 05:43 PM
I recall reading a recent article about VFX budgets, I apologise for not being able to track it down. Basically it was about most blockbuster films these days being VFX driven ie Spiderman2 and how the salary of a single actor can easily eclipse the budget for FX.

As budgets and salaries continue to go up, it seems ridiculous the movie studios are trying to squeeze more out of the VFX studios and are treated more like a commodity rather than skilled talent.

I guess FX studios are easier targets than having to deal with SAG.

leigh
12-16-2004, 05:54 PM
While I definitely DO sympathize, they STILL work for ILM...a gig many people would kill for.

Unfortunately this is a line that many studios use to blackmail their employees into staying and putting up with crappy pay, working conditions, etc.

I'm certainly not suggesting that this is what is going on at ILM, but that people should never resort to this line of thinking.

vizjac
12-16-2004, 05:57 PM
I recall reading a recent article about VFX budgets, I apologise for not being able to track it down. Basically it was about most blockbuster films these days being VFX driven ie Spiderman2 and how the salary of a single actor can easily eclipse the budget for FX.

As budgets and salaries continue to go up, it seems ridiculous the movie studios are trying to squeeze more out of the VFX studios and are treated more like a commodity rather than skilled talent.

I guess FX studios are easier targets than having to deal with SAG.
FX studios need to produce movies,..... that would turn things around. It is sad that a single actor can demand more cash then the whole FX budget.

Shaderhacker
12-16-2004, 06:02 PM
Well, yeah, I guess that's true.

That would be a really stupid move on the part of ILM though to let the vets go for newer folk, talented or not. If that's the case, then ILM DOES deserve a kick in the pants.
Agreed.

-M

talos72
12-16-2004, 06:12 PM
I do believe in the recent years, some of the top ILM artists moved to Sony Imageworks. Also, that in a past year or two ILM has lost a few big projects to Sony, "Chronicles of Narnia" for example. In fact down in LA, Sony has been busy bidding furiously for projects to the point that from what I have heard, they have stuff lined up for the next 7 years or so.


It seems Sony is becomming the new big boy in Socal, and a tougher competitor to ILM.

Cman
12-16-2004, 06:13 PM
They're nothing like roofers or any of the other professions you mention: those professions must be ON SITE to do their jobs. DA (dig artists) do not. They can be in India, singapore, japan, south africa, wherever. And, lo and behold, ILM has already set up its tendrils to be ready for outsourcing to cheap labor markets right now. In order for any union of DA's to work it must be worldwide; I doubt any Indian DA, for example, will sign up to your union to help protect your jobs especially when their job market is expanding because they would consider the paycut the ILMers are facing a pay RAISE! Unlike even actors, there is no recognized star quality to being a DA that can be banked on either.

IMO, you're doomed unless laws are passed to protect labor in this country, because the reality of the market is you're all replaceable, quite easily, and more quickly than it takes you to clean out your cubby.

Oh woops, Bush got reelected. I won't even begin to explain how his administration's approach to opening up markets to outsourcing by giving actual tax breaks to those who do it (not just levelling an equal tax but an actual tax incentive) is gonna hurt bad.

The only reason ILM will negotiate anything at the moment with those workers is if dismissing them and going ahead with its plans to outsource all those jobs is not quite yet ready. And make no mistake about it, ILM plans to outsource ALL of those minimal-creativity (where you don't create a lot of original content: so you're not a writer, director, programmer, etc... you know, higher up on the food chain), maximum-skill jobs to cheaper job markets. Once ILM is ready, the outsourcing will begin.
I REALY wish I could disagree with you on any of your points, but I think you're right. Those guys at ILM, and everyone in this industry, should be afraid. Unless you want to move and learn Hindi, Chinese or French, you better be prepared for a major pay cut or open your own "Mom & Pop" studio shop.
Just like most "Hollywood" live action films/television are done outside the USA, soon EFX and Animation will follow.

mummey
12-16-2004, 06:24 PM
Move in with your parents or move to New Mexico. Rent there is still in the $400 range.
hole up for a few months and then make a DVD and distribute it.

That's what i'm going to do. Moving to New Mexico. soon.
New Mexico has some of the most beautiful landscape in the nation. It also has a pretty steady climate and wonderful skiing. That being said...

Every reservation has its own casino.

Liquor stores seem to be everywhere.

Second-worst education system in the nation.

All this, and Santa Fe turning into a Tourist Trap. I loved NM as a kid, now I'll still go visit but would never want to live there.

Now back on topic:

This issue seems to be between ILM and their employees. I wish the best of luck to both and hope they are able to resolve this conflict of interests.

FloydBishop
12-16-2004, 06:30 PM
While I definitely DO sympathize, they STILL work for ILM...a gig many people would kill for.
With lower and lower pay, less and less benifits, and longer and longer hours, they'd be killing themselves.

soulburn3d
12-16-2004, 06:56 PM
It seems Sony is becomming the new big boy in Socal, and a tougher competitor to ILM.
I really wish Sony would open an office in Nocal so that all the people who have been living up here and getting jobs down there don't have to move.

- Neil

Bulldog
12-16-2004, 07:05 PM
So what exactly is happening with ILM moving to presidio?

I thought the new presidio building were going to house the animation feature division , how does that work with lucas sending that work to singapore?


And agreenstar , please man , think twice before making comments like that , putting a short term band aid solution does not cure the cancer.

RayenD
12-16-2004, 08:05 PM
I wish people at ILM good luck. They are top talent and the best persons out there and deserve good treatment and respect.

malducin
12-16-2004, 08:15 PM
I thought the new presidio building were going to house the animation feature division , how does that work with lucas sending that work to singapore?
No, thee Letterman complex at the Presidio was meant to house most Lucas companies from the start, mainly ILM and LucasArts. Some ILM operations will stay at San Rafael, Lucasfilm and Skywalker Sound at the Ranch. The animation division (well the modern one), was setup at Pixar's old digs, but they setup the main facility in Singapore, though the administrative HQ will probably be in the Presidio as well (since key members are from ILM).

So what exactly is happening with ILM moving to presidio?
This has been planned for a long time. For one thing they were bursting at the seams at their current location. This way they onsolidate everyone into a modern facility.

Shaderhacker
12-16-2004, 09:37 PM
No, thee Letterman complex at the Presidio was meant to house most Lucas companies from the start, mainly ILM and LucasArts. Some ILM operations will stay at San Rafael, Lucasfilm and Skywalker Sound at the Ranch. The animation division (well the modern one), was setup at Pixar's old digs, but they setup the main facility in Singapore, though the administrative HQ will probably be in the Presidio as well (since key members are from ILM).


This has been planned for a long time. For one thing they were bursting at the seams at their current location. This way they onsolidate everyone into a modern facility.Not sure I understand what you are saying.

Is ILM still making an Animated division in San Fran? Will artists be able to apply to work there? Do they have a project now that has been greenlitl to justify creating the new building and branching off to another division? What's this about Singapore?

-M

unchikun
12-16-2004, 09:44 PM
Oh woops, Bush got reelected. I won't even begin to explain how his administration's approach to opening up markets to outsourcing by giving actual tax breaks to those who do it (not just levelling an equal tax but an actual tax incentive) is gonna hurt bad.

It does not matter which candidate is in office, there is intense pressure from corporations and foreign governments (largely from the 3rd world) to have open trade and reduced protectionism. Remember that Reagan nor Bush Sr. could pass NAFTA, it was Clinton. Globalization is here to stay, which candidate gets in will just slightly vary the degree.

I read a good article with Kim Libreri of ILM (ESC previously). One question posed was outsourcing (free registration):

http://vfxworld.com/?atype=articles&id=2319&page=4

"I have mixed feeling about this, but given the cost of feature film work, it is inevitable that studios will be sending more of their work overseas to Asia and other regions where labor costs are lower. Of course, I am pleased to see a global sharing of the wealth, but I am concerned about the impact this may have on the local industry. We may see a “brain drain” of our own talent and capabilities, as much to other industries as to overseas facilities."

RobertoOrtiz
12-16-2004, 10:06 PM
NO POLITICS.
Stay on topic, or I will close the thread.

-R

Artbot
12-16-2004, 10:31 PM
... company's can't just get rid of older, more experienced (read: more expensive) talent - and hire fresh-out-of-school talent that will work for day-old bread.
Watch them.

Best of luck to you all.

malducin
12-16-2004, 10:58 PM
Not sure I understand what you are saying.
Sorry about that, the details are even a bit muddled to me. Besides the story has been a bit varied, so saying animation division depends on what timeframe you are referring.

Is ILM still making an Animated division in San Fran? Do they have a project now that has been greenlitl to justify creating the new building and branching off to another division? What's this about Singapore?
No. The animated features division inside ILM is long dead. After that happened there were plans to have a separate animation company, separate from ILM but closely related as it was supposed to share staff. People like Tom Bertino and Patty Blau headed that. I heard that at that point they had some office space in Point Richmond at the old Pixar facilities (after they moved to Emmeryville). At this point the Animated Features company was starting to look into hiring and trying to get and develop projects. I would say this was, hmmmm, a year or two ago.

Then this year they announced the opening of the Singapore studio (Lucasfilm Animation). This seems will be slated to do most production work or at least be the first. The US division of Lucasfilm Animation seems still to be operational. At least the whole overall administrative and creative part will be handled in the US (I think Patty Blau might still be handling it). As far as having the US division doing animated features, at this point I don't know. After the initial hoopla there has been barely any news about projects or hiring. If they were going to do something it would be at the Presidio, but not long ago Lucas announced he was going to lease more space ie. he doesn't need as much as he thought.

Just to be clear Lucasfilm Animation is totally separate from ILM, just like Skywalker Sound and LucasArts are, so any dealings are tangential. The only thing is that ILM will not do animated features which they really wanted to and at least had 3 projects fall through, 1 or 2 at least already in production.

As far as projects, no greenlit ones as far as I know. Maybe they are developing internally at Sngapore.

Will artists be able to apply to work there?
The only positions of Lucasfilm Animation US I've seen from time to time in this year were mainly management positions. Seems there's more activity for Singapore though. Maybe it's telling there was no mention for US positions at SIGGRAPH.

FX studios need to produce movies,..... that would turn things around.
Well it has been tried. In particular Digital Domain has attempted to develop and produce movies, like Supernova if I'm not mistaken. Even ILM in the old days co-produced a few movies (a couple Star Trek ones come to mind). But it hasn't been proven as effective and they don't have much leverage.

those professions must be ON SITE to do their jobs. DA (dig artists) do not.
Not exactly true especially in large scale operations. Just doing rounsd to supervise work, dailes and the like require people to be in the same location to be more effective. If you consider the wider work needed, how would things like miniature building, mocap, motion control and blue screnn filming would be done in disparate places. It might work in some cases and contexts (say like Rhythm and Hues outsourcing roto work first), but it a lot more difficult in the big picture.

Jackdeth
12-16-2004, 11:07 PM
I would be more than happy to scoop up any ex-ILMer's who might be drifiting south towards LA. Send me a PM.

soulburn3d
12-17-2004, 12:04 AM
The US division of Lucasfilm Animation seems still to be operational. At least the whole overall administrative and creative part will be handled in the US (I think Patty Blau might still be handling it).
Nope, Patty is no longer with lucasfilm, the current head of the Lucasfilm feature animation division is Gail Currey.

- Neil

agreenster
12-17-2004, 12:51 AM
With lower and lower pay, less and less benifits, and longer and longer hours, they'd be killing themselves.
Okay okay! I take it back!

malducin
12-17-2004, 01:36 AM
Nope, Patty is no longer with lucasfilm, the current head of the Lucasfilm feature animation division is Gail Currey.
Ooops, yeah, it was even in the original press release, didn't recheck before posting.

Joe_H
12-17-2004, 06:23 AM
I've been on strike against ILM since 'The Phantom Menace' when they turned Stars Wars to crap.
No offense, but that is quite frankly the dumbest thing I've ever heard.


It seems Sony is becomming the new big boy in Socal, and a tougher competitor to ILM.


Imagework's slate looks good, but even it doesn't look as good as what ILM has coming. War of the Worlds, Harry Potter & the Goblet of Fire, Episode III, Pirates of the Carribean sequels, Lemony Snickets, Jarhead, The Island, and even Indy IV and Jurassic Park are coming down the road. But Imageworks is a bigger competitor now than they used to be.


in a past year or two ILM has lost a few big projects to Sony, "Chronicles of Narnia" for example.


I believe both Imageworks and ILM lost that gig to Rythm & Hues. Imageworks may have been brought on board to do some work on the film, but R&H got the brunt of that gig and Weta Workshop is doing some miniatures, armor, and props. Then again, seems to me these bid winners have a lot of politics in them. It probably didn't help ILM that they were already on board with the Disney films Pirates of the Carribean. Being that Narnia is also a Disney film, that probably didn't help them on that bid. Then again, who the hell knows what goes into these decisions. Just a guess.

Shaderhacker
12-17-2004, 07:06 AM
I believe both Imageworks and ILM lost that gig to Rythm & Hues. Imageworks may have been brought on board to do some work on the film, but R&H got the brunt of that gig and Weta Workshop is doing some miniatures, armor, and props. Then again, seems to me these bid winners have a lot of politics in them. It probably didn't help ILM that they were already on board with the Disney films Pirates of the Carribean. Being that Narnia is also a Disney film, that probably didn't help them on that bid. Then again, who the hell knows what goes into these decisions. Just a guess.
Huh, not true. Imageworks *does* have the brunt of Narnia. R&H couldn't handle the workload. Also WETA does have some of the shotwork too.

-M

talos72
12-17-2004, 05:51 PM
As far as I know, R&H had 800 shots lined up for The Lion, but Sony took half from them. So I have heard...

Either way, it can only be good for people in the fx and CG biz with all the work comming down the pipeline.

Boone
12-17-2004, 07:52 PM
The picture in that article shows many smilie faces and singing "If you're happy and you know it - CLAP YOUR HANDS!"...what is one to make of that?:curious:

If the company( I am indeed only assuming, here ) is having financial difficulties and needs to drop a few employees - why not set them up in their own production company? Give them a head start an'all? Put it under someone wise( like Master Yoda) and let the company flourish under responsible leadership...who knows - it could work alongside ILM. I personally think it would be wise to have another facility close by when extra labour is needed...

...just a thought. :hmm:

soulburn3d
12-17-2004, 08:46 PM
I really hope this thread does disintegrate into one of those "Day After Tomorrow" threads about who's completing whose shots, and politics surrounding certain shots leaving one company and going to another. The current working environment is that almost none of the big fx movies will be kept entirely at one house, and I think we should all spend more time talking about how cool the work is rather than why it got split up the way it did.

- Neil

Tom N.
12-17-2004, 10:30 PM
I just read the whole thread, I'm curious if anyone knows the specifics on just what "longer hours and crappier pay" is? For working at a place like ILM, what would be considered too little to be worth it? From the interview I did a while ago in my profile, I thought that ILM digital artists (or atleast the animators as far as I knew) only worked a regular 45 hour week up until the end of a project.

Can anyone give a small explanation? I'm sure no one from ILM wants to give away their exact salary but I'm curious what people mean when they say "crappy pay" because I'm still new at this and in school and so far have the ignorant yet blissful attitude of "hell, I'll work there for free!" (I have a lot to learn..)

-Tom N.

MartinGFoster
12-18-2004, 10:58 PM
As far as I know, R&H had 800 shots lined up for The Lion, but Sony took half from them. So I have heard...

Either way, it can only be good for people in the fx and CG biz with all the work comming down the pipeline.
That's about right. Half each to Sony and R&H for the CG.

Neil is correct in that the politics behind these things are boring and a little irrelevant to the artists. However, it can be said that the competition is SO fierce on major VFX projects like this, that big studios are being forced to cut costs wherever they can. This might be the cause of the cost cuts and/or downsizing of ILM.

Nobody has mentioned it yet, but California VFX facilities are competing with London, Australia, and New Zealand much more than anywhere else. London especially, used to get overflow work from the USA but now we're getting overflow from them! How things change, eh?

In any case, I hope the ILM folks work out a good deal for themselves and I support their protests wholeheartedly.

Gregwid
12-19-2004, 12:09 PM
Now what kinda paycut we talking about? The average guy gets what 60k or so,and now it's what? :deal:

kachoudas
12-19-2004, 02:54 PM
I just read the whole thread, I'm curious if anyone knows the specifics on just what "longer hours and crappier pay" is? (...)
-Tom N. This is a very good question. Does anyone as any idea of what are the amount involved here ? What kind of money are we talking about ?

Just curious....

Cman
12-19-2004, 03:19 PM
This is a very good question. Does anyone as any idea of what are the amount involved here ? What kind of money are we talking about ?

Just curious.... Here's a question for you... how much do you think skillz of 5-years+ experience should be worth, at a job where you are expected to work 45-60 hours per week (10 hour days, 6 days per week)?

twidup
12-19-2004, 05:47 PM
ok, so lets say an ILM artist makes 60K a year, thats based off a 52 week year and 45 hours per week, at 40 regualr time and 5 at time and a half.

that comes out to 24.30 an hour.

now, after taxes, this person is taking home roughly 840 bucks a week.

Now, figure that if ILM goes to a 40 hour week, that drops them to a take home of just over 700, actually 705 basically

rent for a 2 bedroom apt in the bay area can vary from 1200 to 3000 a month if you really want to pay that.
most ppl pay about 1600 to 2000 a month for a 2 bedroom place

so, if this person is rooming with someone, thats a weeks pay atleast for rent, not bad
if this person has a family, thats 2 weeks pay, if the spouse isnt working, which happens a lot.

We wont get into health insurance at all.

Now remember, the bay area and marin are in the top 10 most expensive places to live

Cman
12-19-2004, 06:01 PM
ok, so lets say an ILM artist makes 60K a year, thats based off a 52 week year and 45 hours per week, at 40 regualr time and 5 at time and a half.

that comes out to 24.30 an hour.

now, after taxes, this person is taking home roughly 840 bucks a week.

Now, figure that if ILM goes to a 40 hour week, that drops them to a take home of just over 700, actually 705 basically

rent for a 2 bedroom apt in the bay area can vary from 1200 to 3000 a month if you really want to pay that.
most ppl pay about 1600 to 2000 a month for a 2 bedroom place

so, if this person is rooming with someone, thats a weeks pay atleast for rent, not bad
if this person has a family, thats 2 weeks pay, if the spouse isnt working, which happens a lot.

We wont get into health insurance at all.

Now remember, the bay area and marin are in the top 10 most expensive places to live Well ILM is not responsible for the cost of living in the Bay Area.
Should they be forced to pay $24.30/hr (USD) for a marginal profit when they can hire in India or someplace and pay $14.30/hr for a huge profit, or pay $4.30/hr (USD) in Beijing for a gigantic profit?

It's sad to me. I recently watched a "making of" for The Simpsons. The key "Animators" basically create an X-Sheet and some thumbnails then "send the whole kit and caboodle to Korea" where the animation is actually made.
Why shouldn't ILM do the same thing?

maninflash
12-19-2004, 06:20 PM
Should they be forced to pay $24.30/hr (USD) for a marginal profit when they can hire in India or someplace and pay $14.30/hr for a huge profit, or pay $4.30/hr (USD) in Beijing for a gigantic profit?


Nepal is a better choice, people there would work for free as long as you gave them a warm office!

twidup
12-19-2004, 06:50 PM
Well ILM is not responsible for the cost of living in the Bay Area.
Should they be forced to pay $24.30/hr (USD) for a marginal profit when they can hire in India or someplace and pay $14.30/hr for a huge profit, or pay $4.30/hr (USD) in Beijing for a gigantic profit?

It's sad to me. I recently watched a "making of" for The Simpsons. The key "Animators" basically create an X-Sheet and some thumbnails then "send the whole kit and caboodle to Korea" where the animation is actually made.
Why shouldn't ILM do the same thing? well, in that same token, why does does ANY company have ite employees where its main offices are at and not in some 3rd world country where they can make HUGE profit on? I sure the hell wouldnt want to be able to walk around the corner to meet with my VFX supe, or go down the hall and talk with the TD working on my shot as well now would I?? and an heaven forbit should the client actually want to have dailies with the Supes, and the artists could possibly be in the screening room as well.

you totally shredded what I was pointing out. You pay your ppl what you can afford and what is just for the area you are doing business in.

If I were back in the midwest someplace, would I pay my ppl 25 an hour? maybe , most likely, no, because the cost of living is soo much cheaper. that just means I can bid lower on the work. If I were in LA, I would pay what is concidered standard for LA, so that my employees can have a comfortable life style, not scraping by paycheck to paycheck.

Anyways, I am done with this thread.
I just hope all my friends at ILM come out with a good contract in the end and are treated fairly once this is all over.

-todd

Lyr
12-19-2004, 07:40 PM
It's sad to me. I recently watched a "making of" for The Simpsons. The key "Animators" basically create an X-Sheet and some thumbnails then "send the whole kit and caboodle to Korea" where the animation is actually made.
Why shouldn't ILM do the same thing?
Uh because ILM delivers a quality product that pushes the envelope of VFX. If ILM were doing projects that used the same characters year in and year out and didn't mind getting the occasional backwards head I am sure they would do it. Try working with asia sometime guys, it's not as easy as send them the work along with a jar full of pennies and get back a masterpiece, far from it.

roger3d
12-20-2004, 12:15 AM
Does it have something related to the rumor about ILM dropping XSI in the pipeline?

In other words, to cut expenses they would be dropping XSI and use only one main software in the pipeline?

Probably ILM dropping XSI is just a rumor, but I'm just curious about how it's going on in the biggest FX company.

keithlango
12-20-2004, 01:02 AM
For those who care to know, the bulk of the ILM Labor contract with their workers is available for online review. Their contract is negotiated via the animation guild. You can read the particulars of the contract here...

http://www.mpsc839.org/_Contract/Contract_h/_ILM_CBA99_03.html

Basic salary info is contained within the document.

-k

Joe_H
12-20-2004, 01:06 AM
Also WETA does have some of the shotwork too.
I believe you are incorrect. Weta Digital didn't get any of the shot work. Weta Digital is working on Peter Jackson's Kong. Those are two different parts of Weta!

I believe you are correct on Imageworks. R&H is the main house on the production and they originally won the bid.

Cman
12-20-2004, 02:29 AM
Uh because ILM delivers a quality product that pushes the envelope of VFX. If ILM were doing projects that used the same characters year in and year out and didn't mind getting the occasional backwards head I am sure they would do it.
Good point.

I'll just say I was trying to provide a devil's advocate position.
I hope the ILM guys win, not the company.

Cman
12-20-2004, 02:39 AM
For those who care to know, the bulk of the ILM Labor contract with their workers is available for online review. Their contract is negotiated via the animation guild. You can read the particulars of the contract here...

http://www.mpsc839.org/_Contract/Contract_h/_ILM_CBA99_03.html

Basic salary info is contained within the document.

-k
It shows us why they're protesting during the lunch break.

24. NO STRIKES OR LOCKOUTS During the term of this Agreement neither the Union nor its members, agents or representatives will cause, encourage, sanction, approve, or take part in any strike, sympathy strike or other interference with the operations or conduct of Employer's business.

It is further agreed that as long as this Agreement is in effect, the Employer will not create or institute any action which would lockout the Union.

Pixelmaestro
12-20-2004, 04:51 AM
Some additional information:

Link courtesy of Deathfall:

http://sanfrancisco.bizjournals.com/sanfrancisco/stories/2004/12/13/newscolumn4.html

nickepstein
12-20-2004, 04:29 PM
have to say this is a very interesting post as i live and work in london. the studios over here are facing the same cost-cutting dilemmas as i imagine most people are with the weak dollar - however right now there is alot of work and all the major studios are full, most are still hiring too. is this the same situation in the states?

MartinGFoster
12-20-2004, 06:41 PM
however right now (in London) there is alot of work and all the major studios are full, most are still hiring too. is this the same situation in the states?
I think it's a little bit quiet here in California in VFX facilities but that's just a hunch. I have nothing more than the rumour mill to go on. Competition for shows is high.

Spring and Summer look like they'll be very busy, though.

stevopolis
12-20-2004, 08:44 PM
The writing has been on the wall for some time. Star Wars has turned to poo poo. Just an opinion from a disappointed fan.

I think this is the only industry that doesn't realize that investment in employees, mean investment in the company.

Give employee fair conditions and pay = employee cares about company and puts in the work for his/her team.

We are seeing this all over the industry. I think there is alot of management out there that dedicates very little time to understanding the entertainment industry as a business.

Jackdeth
12-20-2004, 09:29 PM
LA will be very busy over the next year since it looks like the UK is killing the Lease-Buy-Back tax loophole that has been forcing the US studios to do all thier post over seas.

Shaderhacker
12-20-2004, 09:33 PM
I think it's a little bit quiet here in California in VFX facilities but that's just a hunch. I have nothing more than the rumour mill to go on. Competition for shows is high.

Spring and Summer look like they'll be very busy, though.
Martin,

I'm just curious as what a "Look Dev TD" means at R&H. Do you guys program (in C/C++) shaders and/or rendering tools? Or do you use scripts and build shader networks?

Thanks,

-M

Shaderhacker
12-20-2004, 09:35 PM
LA will be very busy over the next year since it looks like the UK is killing the Lease-Buy-Back tax loophole that has been forcing the US studios to do all thier post over seas.
Yea, but right now, it's very quite over here in LA and the Bay. Especially in the latter production pipeline jobs (i.e. fx, texture, lighting, etc..)

-M

Dirtystimpy
12-20-2004, 10:55 PM
LA will be very busy over the next year....
I Just wrapped up my work on episode 3, and since the Bay area is pretty cold right now, it looks like I"ll have a few weeks to work on my portfolio.

The buzz I hear is January is supposed to be a big ramp up, I hope it is.

Shaderhacker
12-21-2004, 01:29 AM
I Just wrapped up my work on episode 3, and since the Bay area is pretty cold right now, it looks like I"ll have a few weeks to work on my portfolio.

The buzz I hear is January is supposed to be a big ramp up, I hope it is.
Hmm...we'll see about that. I doubt it for some reason actually.. summer would be more realistic..

-M

strangelife
12-21-2004, 04:39 AM
The economy is falling! The economy is falling!

MartinGFoster
12-24-2004, 06:42 PM
I'm just curious as what a "Look Dev TD" means at R&H. Do you guys program (in C/C++) shaders and/or rendering tools? Or do you use scripts and build shader networks?

At R&H we actually call our job "prelighters" because it encompasses the traditional 2 jobs of "shader writer" and "look developer" at somewhere like Sony, into one job called "prelighter".

So a prelighter writes the scripts in a proprietary script format native for our in-house renderer and establishes the look of each character, object etc in a neutral, standardized environment before releasing it to scene lighting.

Naturally, as things get more complex, we might start having to write shaders in C++ but that hasn't happened yet.

MartinGFoster
12-24-2004, 06:55 PM
For those who care to know, the bulk of the ILM Labor contract with their workers is available for online review. http://www.mpsc839.org/_Contract/Contract_h/_ILM_CBA99_03.html

Jeez, those conditions are pretty poor compared to LA's big studios. And ILM wants to cut the pay and conditions more?!!! I'd be upset too. Actually, I would probably never work for them with even under their existing contract. The cuts would make a bad thing worse.

Interesting reading. Thanks for posting it. I always heard ILM pays badly compared to the rest of the big studios. This confirms it.

Just wondering are these hourly wage numbers minimums and can individuals negotiate better rates? Or does ILM stick to those numbers rigidly. I can't see how they could compete for experienced talent otherwise.

thesuit
12-24-2004, 07:12 PM
Originally Posted by keithlango For those who care to know, the bulk of the ILM Labor contract with their workers is available for online review. http://www.mpsc839.org/_Contract/Co...M_CBA99_03.html (http://www.mpsc839.org/_Contract/Contract_h/_ILM_CBA99_03.html)
Very interesting reading... does anyone have contracts of other big studios for review?
It would be nice to view them and critically compare.
I had heard that ILM pays badly as well but now I see its true.

Jackdeth
12-24-2004, 10:29 PM
Wow, now I feel like I'm really over paying people...:eek: I really wonder how true those figures are for senior supervisiors...hmmmm...

Shaderhacker
12-25-2004, 12:05 AM
At R&H we actually call our job "prelighters" because it encompasses the traditional 2 jobs of "shader writer" and "look developer" at somewhere like Sony, into one job called "prelighter".

So a prelighter writes the scripts in a proprietary script format native for our in-house renderer and establishes the look of each character, object etc in a neutral, standardized environment before releasing it to scene lighting.

Naturally, as things get more complex, we might start having to write shaders in C++ but that hasn't happened yet.
Interesting.. so who does the actually coding for say, something like, subsurface scattering? Would that be your R&D department?

-M

Stormy151
12-25-2004, 06:32 PM
I can't see how they could compete for experienced talent otherwise.
Because of their name. The way I've always heard it, it's like ILM expects people to pimp themselves out just because they get to put ILM on their resume/reel.

Which may have been applicable 10+ years ago, but now there are so many other houses putting out work which meets or even surpasses theirs- I think they should be making their pay/benefits package more competitive. I've never understood how they can be located in an extremely high cost of living area and justify paying their employees LESS...

MartinGFoster
12-25-2004, 07:07 PM
Interesting.. so who does the actually coding for say, something like, subsurface scattering? Would that be your R&D department?

Yes, but more specificially, that would be the renderer team. A subset of the software department. R&H has always tried to write as much of their own software as possible and therefore has a pretty large software group.

Do you work for Sony? I have worked at Sony a bunch of times. They have a pretty huge R&D group, too.

Anyway, Happy Holidays.

MartinGFoster
12-25-2004, 07:26 PM
Because of their name. The way I've always heard it, it's like ILM expects people to pimp themselves out just because they get to put ILM on their resume/reel.

Which may have been applicable 10+ years ago, but now there are so many other houses putting out work which meets or even surpasses theirs- I think they should be making their pay/benefits package more competitive. I've never understood how they can be located in an extremely high cost of living area and justify paying their employees LESS...
Besides the name but it is also the caliber of projects they get. They do get some of the most prestigious directors and projects coming to them, almost by default. So for some it's probably the name but for many others (typically industry veterans) the cool projects might be the major attraction. So you trade off some pay to work on some mega cool project.

Personally, I'm at the stage in my career where I'll work on slightly less prestigious projects to get better pay, conditions, and treatment.

One thing I found ironic is the company's entertainment lawyers complaining about how ILM has a union and many of their competitors don't. It seems their union hasn't been able to get them competitive conditions anyway because the non-union shops pay better.

shwrn
12-25-2004, 08:23 PM
Wow ... with the cost of living in the bay area being very high ( I'd say even higher then LA ), I don't see how people can live comfortably if ILM lowers their salaries even more.

Shaderhacker
12-25-2004, 09:21 PM
Yes, but more specificially, that would be the renderer team. A subset of the software department. R&H has always tried to write as much of their own software as possible and therefore has a pretty large software group.

Do you work for Sony? I have worked at Sony a bunch of times. They have a pretty huge R&D group, too.

Anyway, Happy Holidays. Nope - don't work for Sony. It seems that a lot of the bigger studios (Sony, Pixar, R&H) don't really have "shaderwriters" in the traditional sense (ie. programmers who code shaders at the C++/C level). The people with titles like Look Dev TD and Shader TD don't seem to do the same work as a programmer in R&D which I would expect. Hmmm.. interesting.

-M

MartinGFoster
12-25-2004, 10:33 PM
Nope - don't work for Sony. It seems that a lot of the bigger studios don't really have "shaderwriters" in the traditional sense. Those people seem to be programmers in R&D. Hmmm.. interesting.
-M
I haven't found that to be the case. Sony, Warner, Dreamworks and Disney probably hire (or did hire) dedicated shader writers all the time. I wouldn't mind becoming a dedicated RenderMan shader writer but I like my current job too well to change right now.

Shaderhacker
12-25-2004, 11:10 PM
I haven't found that to be the case. Sony, Warner, Dreamworks and Disney probably hire (or did hire) dedicated shader writers all the time. I wouldn't mind becoming a dedicated RenderMan shader writer but I like my current job too well to change right now.
I can't speak for Sony or Warner, but I do know that there aren't any dedicated coders that write in C/C++ at the other 2 studios (and some more) under the title "Shaderwriter" or "Look Dev TD". It seems that the term "shaderwriter" or "look dev td" leans more towards the artistic end as opposed to the technical end (i.e.coding all the time and not doing shots). And the description I'm thinking about is more along the lines of the latter.

-M

VFXJ
12-26-2004, 06:40 AM
Wow, now I feel like I'm really over paying people...:eek: I really wonder how true those figures are for senior supervisiors...hmmmm...

The numbers in the ILM Labor contract are minimum salaries seasoned artists can negotiate highter rates.

jake_$teed
12-26-2004, 11:56 PM
Wow, now I feel like I'm really over paying people...:eek: I really wonder how true those figures are for senior supervisiors...hmmmm...
Yeah, just don't forget the times you've hired some of these "senior supervisors" from various facilites, and the actual quality of work they produced.

Still feel like you're overpaying those who actually bring the skills?

percydaman
12-27-2004, 03:29 PM
Yeah, just don't forget the times you've hired some of these "senior supervisors" from various facilites, and the actual quality of work they produced.

Still feel like you're overpaying those who actually bring the skills?
umm... I think he was being facetious... do you know that word?

Emmanuel
12-27-2004, 05:56 PM
Hi,

just out of curiosity,did I calculate this right, a typical Level-3-modeler at ILM earns about 6500.- dollars per month working 40 hours "normally" compensated, 5 hours (called overtime) compensated with 1.5 times standard hourly rate ?

MartinGFoster
12-28-2004, 12:41 AM
Hi,

just out of curiosity,did I calculate this right, a typical Level-3-modeler at ILM earns about 6500.- dollars per month working 40 hours "normally" compensated, 5 hours (called overtime) compensated with 1.5 times standard hourly rate ?
is this a test? :)

actually the gross would be more than that:

as of 2003 a level 3 digital modeler makes $34.36 per hour

multiply by 40 regular hours and 5 hours @ 1.5 (47.5 hours)

multiply by 4.333 weeks in an average calender month.

so 34.36 x 47.5 x 4.333 = $7072

visionmaster2
12-28-2004, 02:02 AM
sorry isf it is a stupide question : 7072 $ ,is it good or not ?

if not, how much a level 3 digital modeler must be paid ?

GatorNic
12-28-2004, 03:45 AM
yeah seriously it seems pretty good to me. hell an assistant modeler pos. sounds good to me. atleast for just starting out. and people are saying these aren't that good?

withanar
12-28-2004, 05:20 AM
yeah seriously it seems pretty good to me. hell an assistant modeler pos. sounds good to me. atleast for just starting out. and people are saying these aren't that good?They may be fine if you are single and can live out of a U-Store-It bay, but they are pretty tough for anyone wishing to settle down and raise a family:

-If you don't want to drive more than an hour to and from ILM, considering the move to the Presidio, you're looking at over $600K for a starter home.

-After the $80K downpayment, your monthly mortagage payments, plus taxes, insurance, and utilities will cost you over $3K.

-Taxes carve off about 40% of your income in California. So if ILM is paying you $7K per month, you're actually getting closer to $4K.

This doesn't leave much room for putting away funds for rainy days, retirement, or your kid's college.

There are many ILMers doing very well, who could probably survive a wage decrease intact. They would be the ones who've been there a long time, purchased their homes 5+ years ago, and have a reliable and generous second income from a spouse.

However, there are many ILMers who are single income and just trying to get their careers and lives started. And plenty of Canadians, Brits, and Germans with visas that don't allow their spouses to work, even if they wanted to. These folks will be hardest hit by any wage decreases, and I wouldn't be surprised to see a mass migration out of ILM if the proposed wage cut happens.

This really is a sad time for our industry. Until recently, ILM had been a place where artists could expect to stay for many years and work on amazing projects, without fear of layoffs, without working themselves to death, and with enough free time and corporate support to raise a family and have a hobby or two. If that goes away, what do we have as a model for better working conditions and quality of life in our business? Are we all expected to be single, workaholic, kids, moving from one location to another depending on where the jobs are from year to year? May as well return to being nomads, living off the barter system. "A goat for your shader, sir!" :-)

keithlango
12-28-2004, 06:23 AM
For those interested in seeing the ILM CBA in contrast t others, here's a link to PDFs that outline the new 2003-2006 CBA for the LA unionized shops, as well as pay minimums and a 2003 wage survey for the LA area union members.

http://www.mpsc839.org/_Contract/Contract_h/cntrctFRM.html

The big union shops in LA are Disney and Dreamworks, but there are dozens of smaller shops (many primarily 2d doing TV work) in the guild as well. I think Sony Imageworks had a vote to join the Guild last year but it was rejected. They typically pay pretty well, especially compared to ILM. But even in SoCal/LA market there are no shortage of studios that are a bit skinny on the pay for the high cost of living.

The scuttle butt I've heard from folks up at ILM is that morale is pretty low. There are some lead artists and TD's looking to get out. This is just the culmination of a trend that's been occurring for the last 3-4 years or so. I remember recruiting at a job fair they had when they laid off all their commercial people a few years back. They were also scaling back on the film and VFX side as well. This was pre-Hulk. In fact one of the people I interviewed that day was shown in that news photo of the lunch time walk out. So I guess they've since been able to get back in at ILM again. Shoot they probably have been in and out 3 times since I spoke with them. Heh. The Bay area and Marin County seems like an impossible place to live the seasonal worker lifestyle. It's been a while since I gave any serious thought of ever working in that part of the country for any studio. For a single income family of 5 it's just not managable on those wages.

-k

malducin
12-28-2004, 06:34 AM
The numbers in the ILM Labor contract are minimum salaries seasoned artists can negotiate highter rates.
The other thing not generally considered here is that they do/did get benefits: dental, health, child care, etc. Only the bigger places can afford that. For small places and freelancers you might usually get a higher pay but you also have to take care of all those things like health coverage for your family and the like. So in essence it's a trade-off of which way you prefer to work like.

It's a tough decissions because many of the bigger places are privately held. They don't have the huge company backing of say Imageworks or Dreamworks, or not having to worry about benefits at the small outfits, so the competitive pressures for places like ILM, R+H, DD, Tippett and others that fall in the middle must be significant.

If you don't want to drive more than an hour to and from ILM, considering the move to the Presidio, you're looking at over $600K for a starter home.
It should balance witht the current situation. I knew of people that either lives in San Francisco or even the East Bay that do the commute to San Rafael every day anyway. SO next year the San Francisco you take out of the equation, but you addthose that live around San rafael.

Emmanuel
12-28-2004, 02:02 PM
Well, 600k for a "starter home" sounds probably like a lot, and it is, but quite frankly,
if that is what one wants, he needs to save up those pennies, right ?
Living in an apartment is not that bad for a while, I for one wouldn't exspect to get myself
a house right after starting at ILM's :)
BTW, how much does "ILM" on Your resume affect Your chances for future jobs in other parts of the country ?
I would really like to know if ILM-experience gives one's career the exspected boost...

MartinGFoster
12-28-2004, 05:58 PM
sorry isf it is a stupide question : 7072 $ ,is it good or not ?

if not, how much a level 3 digital modeler must be paid ?No. Not for a 45 hour week, no.

I look at the hourly rate. Nothing else. Most people with experience in LA make more than that for a 40 hour week, because they are making $40-50 an hour. LA is actually probably a bit cheaper than San Francisco for cost of living. So they should actually get more in SF.

I believe this is actually typical in the big name studios in SF area. I talked to Dreamworks before I went to R&H and their pay was pretty low. They also tried to shove me in a low category on their scale to keep my pay low. I told them "thanks, but no thanks". I have a house and a wife and 2 kids to support, so I'm not going to lower my pay expectations to work on some big name project, like the fanboys who will live alone in the YMCA and eat cup-a-noodles to keep living costs down.

visionmaster2
12-28-2004, 06:04 PM
thank you for the answers :)

Shaderhacker
12-28-2004, 06:26 PM
I talked to Dreamworks before I went to R&H and their pay was pretty low. They also tried to shove me in a low category on their scale to keep my pay low. I told them "thanks, but no thanks". I have a house and a wife and 2 kids to support, so I'm not going to lower my pay expectations to work on some big name project, like the fanboys who will live alone in the YMCA and eat cup-a-noodles to keep living costs down.
I have to agree with Martin here. Having a family with kids and trying to balance that is a hard task to accomplish in this industry for any length of time. Especially if the spouse isn't working. Also, $80k to save up for a house is very hard indeed if you are barely making $100k/per year under those same conditions.

-M

jake_$teed
12-28-2004, 11:18 PM
umm... I think he was being facetious... do you know that word?
Ummm, yeah, I know that word.

And considering I've worked with Jack Deth, he knows exactly the situation I was joking about. So don't talk down to me.

But here are some more words I know, like....

work.

in the industry.

Do you know those words?

MartinGFoster
12-28-2004, 11:35 PM
The other thing not generally considered here is that they do/did get benefits: dental, health, child care, etc. Only the bigger places can afford that. For small places and freelancers you might usually get a higher pay but you also have to take care of all those things like health coverage for your family and the like. So in essence it's a trade-off of which way you prefer to work like.

I disagree.

All the small/medium/large places I've worked as an employee or project-hire freelancer have given benefits and they've all been somewhat similar in quality, except R&H which is by far the best. Sony was probably the worst by a small margin. So size doesn't seem to help much.

Obviously, I have NOT worked everywhere but I have worked at a decent sampling of places. So, other than R&H, which is exceptional, I think the benefits are pretty similar everywhere. Certainly everybody gave some type of healthcare and you would pay some sort of contribution for wife and kids.

It's funny you mentioned childcare at ILM, because I haven't seen on-site chidcare anywhere. Did you mean on-site childcare? Or some financial assistance for childcare? In any case, they don't seem to pay enough for most "grunts" to have any children in the first place, so it seems like a bit of a wasted benefit. Seriously, I'd be curious if people use that service much. All the people I know who've worked at ILM below VFX supervisor level were single and childless.

percydaman
12-28-2004, 11:55 PM
Ummm, yeah, I know that word.

And considering I've worked with Jack Deth, he knows exactly the situation I was joking about. So don't talk down to me.

But here are some more words I know, like....

work.

in the industry.

Do you know those words?
haha oh my you sure put me in my place. I didn't talk down to you, but you sure have attempted to do it to me. My post wasn't meant to piss anyone off, just as Im sure you meant the same right?

Oh and I dont give a rats ass if you worked with jackdeth, for ILM or whatever. Whether you did, or I haven't, or vice versa isn't germane to this discussion nor should it include or preclude anyone from chiming in with their opinion.

Shaderhacker
12-29-2004, 06:02 AM
Obviously, I have NOT worked everywhere but I have worked at a decent sampling of places. So, other than R&H, which is exceptional, I think the benefits are pretty similar everywhere. Certainly everybody gave some type of healthcare and you would pay some sort of contribution for wife and kids.Actually I disagree here Martin.:)

I don't know how many studios you've worked for (small or large), but I've pretty much been close enough to most of them (whether hired or interviewed) to know that there are actually some of the smaller studios that don't offer any medical benefits at all (it depends on the budget of the project and whether you are contracted or a staff hire). And some (closed down or not) offer only to pay for single employees. Family benefits almost always require a big contribution from the employee - in some cases it's better to actually get insurance seperate instead of the company's group proposal.

Most of the larger companies *do* pay the premium on Health Insurance for the employee. The smaller studios usually have a larger premimum for the employee to contribute (save the exception of R&H) and/or some caveat that makes it unattractive (i.e. insurance doesn't kick in until being at the company for a year).

-M

jake_$teed
12-29-2004, 03:28 PM
Oh and I dont give a rats ass if you worked with jackdeth, for ILM or whatever. Whether you did, or I haven't, or vice versa isn't germane to this discussion nor should it include or preclude anyone from chiming in with their opinion.you need not give anything from your vast collection of vermin hides. just know I was trying to illustrate that the user who I was quoting knew what I was talking about. even if you did or not, you got snotty with your "ummm...i think he was being facetious, do you know that word?" and there was no need for it.

No go back to making those killer jack in the boxes.

percydaman
12-29-2004, 03:45 PM
I can see why the "do you know that word" could be construed as snotty, so I apologize for that.


-goes back to making the most killer jack in the box ever seen.

malducin
12-29-2004, 05:55 PM
It's funny you mentioned childcare at ILM, because I haven't seen on-site chidcare anywhere. Did you mean on-site childcare? Or some financial assistance for childcare?
I should have been more clear. I believe there is on site care at the Ranch. But back in 98-99 there was a near site child care site at ILM, where 40% of the cost was paid for by Lucas Digital. They also had up to 10 days for sick children.

They also had elder care and for health care 100% premium for employees and 70% for dependents. There were a few other perks and benefits as well.

Of course this was a while ago so I don't know if those benefits were kept more recently.

Seriously, I'd be curious if people use that service much. All the people I know who've worked at ILM below VFX supervisor level were single and childless.
Well if they had a full on site at Lucasfilm and subsidized the near site one at ILM they must have had quite a few people using it. I do have friends there below supervisor level that are at least married.

Maybe a lot (most) of places have benefits but you still get some operations that defy good working practices like that Boy Wonder Studios, though that was an anomaly.

Dirtystimpy
12-29-2004, 08:20 PM
yeah, the childcare is now at Big Rock, and it ain't cheap!

jbradley
12-30-2004, 03:15 PM
I have to agree with Martin here. Having a family with kids and trying to balance that is a hard task to accomplish in this industry for any length of time. Especially if the spouse isn't working. Also, $80k to save up for a house is very hard indeed if you are barely making $100k/per year under those same conditions.


Reality check people.

$80,000 is a ton of money. Barely making $100k/year? You gotta be kidding me.

A previous post mentioned a $600,000 home - eh? Don't spend $600k then. You choose your lifestyle.

I've got a 2800 sq ft home, new build, which would cost about 800k in Newton, MA or any of the Boston suburbs ... or in LA, close to a million. As soon as you move 50 some odd miles outside of these cities, your $600,000 home becomes a $250,000 home. You chose where you want to live. Making $80k a year and maybe traveling 50 miles a day to get to and from work is fairly typical and isn't a hard thing to do.

I think some people have gotten brain washed. The salaries at ILM are very typical of what someone would make doing the same job throughout the US ... in many cases, the salaries seem to be 10-30% higher. That more than accomodates for the cost of living increase.

I just don't want people that are starting out in this industry to get the wrong impression. Making $80-100k a year for a job that doesn't require graduate school is way impressive, regardless of where you live.

opus13
12-30-2004, 03:41 PM
i was wondering how long it wold take some one to drop the 'bullsh!t card'.

i do taxes for more than a few people (22? 25? i'd have to check) that live in la and san francisco. they all live pretty well, with only 2 of them having roommates. none of them make more than 50,000 per year.

if you cant make 80,000 work... then you arent nearly as smart as you think you are. mismanagement is the number one reason for a business to fail, and its the number one reason for someone to whine about their income.

Lorecanth
12-30-2004, 03:59 PM
Reality check people.

$80,000 is a ton of money. Barely making $100k/year? You gotta be kidding me.

A previous post mentioned a $600,000 home - eh? Don't spend $600k then. You choose your lifestyle.

I've got a 2800 sq ft home, new build, which would cost about 800k in Newton, MA or any of the Boston suburbs ... or in LA, close to a million. As soon as you move 50 some odd miles outside of these cities, your $600,000 home becomes a $250,000 home. You chose where you want to live. Making $80k a year and maybe traveling 50 miles a day to get to and from work is fairly typical and isn't a hard thing to do.

I think some people have gotten brain washed. The salaries at ILM are very typical of what someone would make doing the same job throughout the US ... in many cases, the salaries seem to be 10-30% higher. That more than accomodates for the cost of living increase.

I just don't want people that are starting out in this industry to get the wrong impression. Making $80-100k a year for a job that doesn't require graduate school is way impressive, regardless of where you live. and in regards to this post I call bullsh!t . I don't care who you are or what studio you're at, the statement about not requiring graduate school is utter crap. There ARE no masters programs for the really truly advanced concepts of 3D. (Not counting berkley and some other research minded programs) Unless the student is exceptional, coming out of a bachelors program, there is no way they're getting a job that first or second year out.

In any case, if you choose to spend 2 hours a day in commute, thats your life. For me I'll take those two hours a day (3 years over a 40 year career), and become your boss, because thats a lot of time that can be spent becoming a better artist. Life's too short.

Tirjasdyn
12-30-2004, 05:36 PM
Wow...sometimes I wonder.


$2000.00 take a month is good.

$7000.00 is excellent.

I live off of $1500.00 per month, own a new house, in a city, with a family and pets.

If you can't live off of 80,000 a year, I agree...learn to budget, I don't care where you live.

frick...my cousin lives in LA. She makes 60 thou a year and she does very very good.

Shaderhacker
12-30-2004, 06:24 PM
Reality check people.

$80,000 is a ton of money. Barely making $100k/year? You gotta be kidding me.

A previous post mentioned a $600,000 home - eh? Don't spend $600k then. You choose your lifestyle.
That's easy for you to say when the housing prices are off the freakin charts!! The realestate market is way overpriced right now. Perhaps when the cost of a so-so house goes down, we can think in smaller terms. Yes, $80k is a lot to save up, but so is $30k.



I've got a 2800 sq ft home, new build, which would cost about 800k in Newton, MA or any of the Boston suburbs ... or in LA, close to a million. As soon as you move 50 some odd miles outside of these cities, your $600,000 home becomes a $250,000 home. You chose where you want to live. Making $80k a year and maybe traveling 50 miles a day to get to and from work is fairly typical and isn't a hard thing to do.
If I find a deal like that 30 miles outside of LA, I'll let you know.:)


I just don't want people that are starting out in this industry to get the wrong impression. Making $80-100k a year for a job that doesn't require graduate school is way impressive, regardless of where you live.
Agreed.

-M

Shaderhacker
12-30-2004, 06:25 PM
if you cant make 80,000 work... then you arent nearly as smart as you think you are. mismanagement is the number one reason for a business to fail, and its the number one reason for someone to whine about their income.
That is true..

-M

Dirtystimpy
12-30-2004, 06:50 PM
As soon as you move 50 some odd miles outside of these cities, your $600,000 home becomes a $250,000 home. You chose where you want to live.
that $600,000 home in San Rafael is $500,000 50 miles north!

I made the drive to ILM from a small town called petaluma, 20 miles or so north from ILM, and it took me nearly an hour an a half to get to dailies.

I have some friends looking at house, and the max they can pay is $400K, and they told me they found 4...... 4 houses in all of Marin county that were 400k.


now I'm not saying 80K is not enough, cause thats good money, I just know I'll never own a house in northern cali.

jbradley
12-30-2004, 07:17 PM
and in regards to this post I call bullsh!t . I don't care who you are or what studio you're at, the statement about not requiring graduate school is utter crap. There ARE no masters programs for the really truly advanced concepts of 3D. (Not counting berkley and some other research minded programs) Unless the student is exceptional, coming out of a bachelors program, there is no way they're getting a job that first or second year out.

Been in the industry long? I think you are being a 'bit' shortsighted to the facts of life.

I come from a schooling background in physics/optics. I am a self-taught 3d artist and animator. Here's what I think are the facts. Those that are seasoned and well established professionals may disagree, and I welcome that. It's the only way to learn.

Going to graduate school does not mean you will ever become an exceptional artist or modeler or animator, ever. It means you have the tools and the base from which to build on. Whether you can or cannot build on that base remains to be seen. Many people will never excel, in comparision to some in the field. Many will.

These studios are going to hire talent. They recognize those that learn quickly and can adapt to a new methodology or workflow. They also hire talent that, in short, excels at what they do regardless of the tool they use. In general, there are more people that come out of a schooling program than those that are self-taught. Does it matter which group you are part of? In the end, the answer is no. If you excel in your field, studios could careless where you came from or what school you went to. That's the fact.

In any case, if you choose to spend 2 hours a day in commute, thats your life. For me I'll take those two hours a day (3 years over a 40 year career), and become your boss, because thats a lot of time that can be spent becoming a better artist. Life's too short.

Theoretically, you could have 20 extra hours in the day and still never get close to being as good an artist as the person standing right next to you. The crazy thing is, that person next to you may only work 4 hours a day and have no degree.

Even crazier, that person might be your boss.

jbradley
12-30-2004, 07:42 PM
that $600,000 home in San Rafael is $500,000 50 miles north!

I made the drive to ILM from a small town called petaluma, 20 miles or so north from ILM, and it took me nearly an hour an a half to get to dailies.

I have some friends looking at house, and the max they can pay is $400K, and they told me they found 4...... 4 houses in all of Marin county that were 400k.

now I'm not saying 80K is not enough, cause thats good money, I just know I'll never own a house in northern cali.

Yea, real estate there is pretty wacked out. It's one reason why I wouldn't move to the area. In some places, 500k will get you 800 sq. ft. That's a bit of a heartache if you ask me.

I don't want anyone to get the wrong impression from my comments. I'm not belittling the situation you all have to deal with over there - with high real estate prices, etc. It's rough, but there are options.

Dirtystimpy
12-30-2004, 07:52 PM
That's a bit of a heartache if you ask me.hehehe, i moved from phoenix to here, and you get get a 3 bedroom house w/ a den for $130K! now thats a heartache! but... I love it here, so i'll put up w/ the high cost of living.. for now.

Shaderhacker
12-30-2004, 08:14 PM
Unless the student is exceptional, coming out of a bachelors program, there is no way they're getting a job that first or second year out.
Untrue. I'm a living witness actually. While it is hard for me to land a job with my skillset at the bigger companies that think having a M.S. is required to even think about interviewing (i.e. Pixar, Sony, R&H and some others), I've managed to luck out on some of the companies taking a chance and interviewing me regardless and being able to get the job.:)

It all depends on the industry at the time you apply for the job. They could be desperate for that position and will be leniant or they could have 100 or so applicants applying for the same job and can become picky...

-M

Shaderhacker
12-30-2004, 08:18 PM
These studios are going to hire talent. They recognize those that learn quickly and can adapt to a new methodology or workflow. They also hire talent that, in short, excels at what they do regardless of the tool they use. In general, there are more people that come out of a schooling program than those that are self-taught. Does it matter which group you are part of? In the end, the answer is no. If you excel in your field, studios could careless where you came from or what school you went to. That's the fact.Actually in practice this is not as common. People *knowing* other people and getting in the back door is more common. This scenario only applies to those people who are fresh out of college and the company happens to be looking for those kinds of people. Otherwise, they'll take experience first because that shows you already have the talent since you was picked up by another studio and learned some kind of pipeline/workflow to making a feature film.

-M

CGTalk Moderation
01-20-2006, 04:00 AM
This thread has been automatically closed as it remained inactive for 12 months. If you wish to continue the discussion, please create a new thread in the appropriate forum.