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View Full Version : The Orphanage closing down?


Lone Deranger
02-05-2009, 04:34 AM
Just saw this (http://prolost.blogspot.com/).

Sad day indeed!

AdrianLazar
02-05-2009, 04:44 AM
Financial problems I guess?
Sad.

boomji
02-05-2009, 05:50 AM
... :sad:


b

Helgi
02-05-2009, 06:50 AM
I was just reading that post. A very sad day indeed.

Steve Green
02-05-2009, 08:04 AM
:(

Best wishes to those Orphans - they've produced some stunning work over the years.

- Steve

DoubleSupercool
02-05-2009, 08:08 AM
Wow, bummer. All the best to Stu and the guys. I have learned a lot from his book and blog posts.

On a similar note, it's becoming more apparent to me everyday that our industry is fatally flawed and barely sustainable in its current form. Frankly I am surprised at the number of studios that are still open.

mr Bob
02-05-2009, 08:31 AM
Not sure why its becoming apparent just now .Its been an open secret for years.

DoubleSupercool
02-05-2009, 08:55 AM
Let's just say it has been apparent for quite a while but the depressing reality of it is finally sinking in . . . :(

stop619
02-05-2009, 09:23 AM
Wow, bummer. All the best to Stu and the guys. I have learned a lot from his book and blog posts.

On a similar note, it's becoming more apparent to me everyday that our industry is fatally flawed and barely sustainable in its current form. Frankly I am surprised at the number of studios that are still open.

Could you expound on the fatal flaws? Being a relative new comer (and outsider) to the broad scope of 'CG' this insight would be very beneficial.

TIA

Marc

P_T
02-05-2009, 09:45 AM
Could you expound on the fatal flaws? Being a relative new comer (and outsider) to the broad scope of 'CG' this insight would be very beneficial.

TIA

MarcProbably something to do with the way post production houses trying to outbid the competition by doing more for less.

DoubleSupercool
02-05-2009, 09:49 AM
http://www.thejuniorcompositor.com/2009/01/25/industry-the-state-of-the-visual-effects-industry/

A quick post I did with some links. One was for CGTalk:

(http://forums.cgsociety.org/showthread.php?f=2&t=652434&highlight=meteor+studio)http://forums.cgsociety.org/showthread.php?f=2&t=652434&highlight=meteor+studio (http://forums.cgsociety.org/)

jlelievre
02-05-2009, 10:02 AM
Wow I am honestly shocked and saddened by this news as The Orphanage was sort of my starting grounds back in 2003. They are a bunch of great people and it's a great loss as they were responsible for some stellar work over the past few years. My best wishes to all the Orphans...

FreakWizz
02-05-2009, 11:21 AM
Yes, this is sad news... They really have achieved a lot, and there work speaks for itself, it's just sad to see that a company capable of so much great work, is not able to make financial success.

anobrin
02-05-2009, 12:05 PM
If you really look into these "Sudden" Collapses somewhere in the the chain
you inevitably will find that some Vital link that was subsisting off of the imaginary
phoney "money" called "bank credit".:wise:
Just look at the rest of the world economy

it really is that simple and yet complex at the same time.

Billabong
02-05-2009, 12:06 PM
I wish all the orphans the best of luck. Very sad news

constantine1
02-05-2009, 12:09 PM
Not sure why its becoming apparent just now .Its been an open secret for years.

subdue the ego. It's never considered a reality until it's reality, then eventually it goes public. To say it's been an "open secret" for years is just plain self-indulgent here.


Rise Orphans!!!

JohnnyRandom
02-05-2009, 04:16 PM
Bummer, sad news :(

JackZhang
02-05-2009, 04:23 PM
always feel sadder when sad news happen to good people...

leigh
02-05-2009, 04:25 PM
Sad and shocking news.

Shaderhacker
02-05-2009, 04:25 PM
I'm really sorry to hear this news. This economy is really taking it's toll. I am fearful everyday for my job and that's not the way to live.. :(

Boone
02-05-2009, 04:32 PM
Thank you to the Orphanage for providing fantastic visuals over the last decade. Its a shame its come to this and I hope all its staff are quick to find new employment.

Obraxis
02-05-2009, 05:20 PM
Wow, this is a bit of a shock :(

Anyone know why exactly, or if it was just because of the credit crunch?

Good luck to all the Orphans, who now bear a rather ironic name.

kees
02-05-2009, 06:05 PM
Sucks!

they had some good guys working there.

FloydBishop
02-05-2009, 06:38 PM
This was a bit of a shock, but I totally understand. When the money goes, it goes, and you've got no other choice. Best of luck to everyone involved.

Wiro
02-05-2009, 06:53 PM
F..k!
San Francisco's CG industry just shrank a little more. First Giant Killer Robots, then this...
Sad days.
Good luck, Orphans

Wiro

MrPositive
02-05-2009, 08:02 PM
Wow, that's terrible news. I'm not sure how much connection it has, but I'm sure The Spirit bombing didn't help. Still, to lose a studio that worked on Pirates of the Caribbean, Sin City, Hero, Harry Potter, and especially Ironman!, is a crushing blow to the industry.

vfx
02-05-2009, 08:07 PM
Yes definitely a shame.. Stu's book is still sitting on my bedside table waiting to be read. Something I'd like to know, and perhaps an Orphan can jump in here.. but no one seems to be asking exactly why the Orphanage has gone under? With such an amazing lineup of recent films, how do you not make enough money? Did the Orphanage really undersell in order to win the gigs? Has it become that bad in the industry?

One things for sure, I'm certainly gonna find it harder to find work with ?,000 more unemployed experienced artists looking for work too :(

XminusOne
02-05-2009, 08:23 PM
Sad news....I hope they all find new homes soon!!!

Artbot
02-05-2009, 08:25 PM
Sad news, indeed. Best wishes to all those who are now out there looking for work.

I don't think you're going to find anyone who will reveal "the real reason" they are closing down. The truth is that most fx houses are typically just an inch away from insolvency nearly all the time (it's no business to get in if you want to make any money). Yes, the undercutting price wars have a lot to do with that. But tight margins were more the rule than the exception, even in the "old" days of the 80s and 90s, and it just got worse. With margins so close and expenses so high, any disruption in the flow of work can become devastating in a very short time.

soulburn3d
02-05-2009, 08:37 PM
but no one seems to be asking exactly why the Orphanage has gone under?

You're not gonna find anyone willing to go on record about stuff like that. I've only seen that happen a few times, like the time the president of Big Idea wrote his opinion on why his company folded.

If you want the real story, or at least the real story from the perspective of someone who was there, best to ask someone in person, maybe at siggraph after a few beers, and you'll hear some good stories about all the political intrigue in the visual effects industry.

- Neil

richcz3
02-05-2009, 08:47 PM
Probably something to do with the way post production houses trying to outbid the competition by doing more for less.That's a key reason right there and seemingly hasn't adjusted well to the current financial climate.

arctor
02-05-2009, 09:04 PM
Sad news, indeed. Best wishes to all those who are now out there looking for work.

I don't think you're going to find anyone who will reveal "the real reason" they are closing down. The truth is that most fx houses are typically just an inch away from insolvency nearly all the time (it's no business to get in if you want to make any money). Yes, the undercutting price wars have a lot to do with that. But tight margins were more the rule than the exception, even in the "old" days of the 80s and 90s, and it just got worse. With margins so close and expenses so high, any disruption in the flow of work can become devastating in a very short time.

add the SAG mess to this and you have tight margins with no actual work, just lots of projects that are 'waiting' to happen...

JDex
02-05-2009, 09:30 PM
This is a shame. I hope all the Orphans can land on their feet.

<tongue-in-cheek>I hope that all the letters to Congress against the Orphan Works didn't contribute to this.</tongue-in-cheek>

Sorry, sometimes it's important to find the humor in sad news.

SalvadorRuizJr
02-05-2009, 11:13 PM
I work here and even I don't know all the circumstances that led to the studio being shut down.

DuttyFoot
02-06-2009, 12:09 AM
you guys at the orphanage did phenomenal work, its so sad to see you close down. i'm sure you all will be up and running somewhere else in no time.

vfx
02-06-2009, 12:32 AM
Neil, I fear you make a valid statement - I hate the way this industry works sometimes. I wonder what the film producers who squeeze these guys to lower their rates think they'll do when a good majority of studios shut?

SalvadorRuizJr - :( - Did you guys not get any pre-warning? Nice breakdowns on your site :) You'll do fine.

RockinAkin
02-06-2009, 01:32 AM
I'm shocked - this is TERRIBLE news.
The Orphanage was a great SF studio with tons of talented people.

Best of luck to everyone affected by this horrible news.
If any Orphans want a drink on the house, just yell.

Ilive
02-06-2009, 02:09 AM
Sorry to hear this. It's a bad economy right now and honestly I think it's time for VFX houses to load up the truck and move out of Beverly, Hills that is.

It's way expensive to live there and produce there. The average house in LA is 400,000 USD
The average house in Arizona, Texas, etc can run you 200,000 and you get 3xs the space.

I am in Texas and keep seeing a ton of California's moving to Texas.

Plus you are now competing with folks in other countries who are getting alot better. INdia, Korea, China all moving up in the game quality wise.

It's a global market and in tough times. I understand how it is to be without a job. I don't have one right now, myself.

I hope everyone finds work. The economy is hitting even the best of the best.
Poor Imagi is having a tough time and they have some cool movies coming out.

FloydBishop
02-06-2009, 04:00 AM
Does anyone know what this means for Genndy Tartakovsky? I remember reading he was working with them as the Creative Director. Was he still up there, or is he back down in LA now?

I'm anxious to learn more about the Samurai Jack feature that was talked about a while back. Also, what about the Dark Crystal film? Is that now dead?

RockinAkin
02-06-2009, 04:07 AM
Does anyone know what this means for Genndy Tartakovsky? I remember reading he was working with them as the Creative Director. Was he still up there, or is he back down in LA now?

I'm anxious to learn more about the Samurai Jack feature that was talked about a while back. Also, what about the Dark Crystal film? Is that now dead?
According to Stu Maschwitz's blog, Orphanage Animation Studios in LA is staying open and still working.

http://prolost.blogspot.com/

FloydBishop
02-06-2009, 04:13 AM
That IS good news.

soulburn3d
02-06-2009, 05:23 AM
I wonder what the film producers who squeeze these guys to lower their rates think they'll do when a good majority of studios shut?

I doubt that will ever happen, for each studio that closes, at least 1 or 2 opens up (usually formed from some of the key people of a recently closed studio). The cycle of life, it's just a shame it has to be so painful.

- Neil

SanjayChand
02-06-2009, 06:13 AM
Wow I am honestly shocked and saddened by this news as The Orphanage was sort of my starting grounds back in 2003. They are a bunch of great people and it's a great loss as they were responsible for some stellar work over the past few years. My best wishes to all the Orphans...

My first job was at The Orphanage last year. Great place and great people. Its sad to see them go.

luxwork
02-06-2009, 01:28 PM
another reality of the cycle of life is in a massive technology investment where the value to cost curve that is started by the moment you buy or lease a large amount of capital drops as the tech goes obsolete, but your cost remains the same. Consider a competitor who buys their own investment a year later, their gear is now sometimes half the price and almost 2x faster. Now you have to keep up, so more investment, blah blah. (obviously the competitor has to keep up the cycle themselves, and therein lies the vicious cycle)

Look at what happend when the vfx world went from $45,000 sgi indigo2s with $40,000 cuts of Alias, to dual proc $3000 pentuim2s running $10,000 sw. Often thos studios were still paying off those indigos and the new startups were sitting pretty. Time to dissolve the corp, unfortunately.

Best of luck to those involved, I look forward to see whats sprouts from this.

MD

I doubt that will ever happen, for each studio that closes, at least 1 or 2 opens up (usually formed from some of the key people of a recently closed studio). The cycle of life, it's just a shame it has to be so painful.

- Neil

Artbot
02-06-2009, 05:04 PM
.....I think it's time for VFX houses to load up the truck and move out of Beverly, Hills that is.

It's way expensive to live there and produce there. The average house in LA is 400,000 USD.....

Orphanage was in San Francisco, not L.A. But agreed - California is much too expensive these days. I lived & worked there for 43 years, and I saw it really go down the crapper. When you're there, there's a heavy amount of self delusion you need to make it bearable. When you leave, you wonder why it took you so long. Granted, there's not much good fx work outside California, so it's a real catch-22 for those folks.

Smartypants
02-06-2009, 06:41 PM
I'm very sad to hear about the Orphanage. It's bad for the whole industry, and my regrets go out to all of the folks involved.

Three of the six companies I've worked for have closed. That's a 50% failure rate. Either I'm a typhoid mary, or there's something wrong with the business.

It just seems like it's pretty darned hard to make even a modest profit from the visual effects business, unless a vfx company has an alternative source of income to support itself in slow times. How can our industry survive if the market won't pay what it realistically costs to make visual effects?

Maybe the answer is that the work will go to less expensive markets, I don't know. It makes me sad to think that it's not feasible to run a visual effects studio in the U.S.

One last point: yes, LA and SF are very expensive places to do business. I'd love to see this industry exist somewhere with a lower cost of living. But because of the unstable nature of this work, there needs to be at least three or four companies in the same location that can provide enough work to support a local community of talent.

ShotgunFungus
02-06-2009, 07:51 PM
Move to Raleigh, NC. It's cheaper, we have good colleges, infrastructure... oh yeah, the gaming industry is already setting up shop here for the same reasons.

:buttrock:

CHRiTTeR
02-08-2009, 09:25 PM
Probably something to do with the way post production houses trying to outbid the competition by doing more for less.

so true, that sh*t has to stop, its doing no one any good in this industry

Larry_g1s
02-09-2009, 06:20 PM
Orphanage was in San Francisco, not L.A. But agreed - California is much too expensive these days. I lived & worked there for 43 years, and I saw it really go down the crapper. When you're there, there's a heavy amount of self delusion you need to make it bearable. When you leave, you wonder why it took you so long. Granted, there's not much good fx work outside California, so it's a real catch-22 for those folks.Not all of California, I just think those two areas in particular. There still a lot of nice places in California that are relatively close in proximity to L.A. and the bay area.

richcz3
02-09-2009, 09:21 PM
California is huge but the further up in Northern California (NorCal) the living and running a biz is considerably more expensive to maintain. More so than here in SoCal.
There's more boutique sized operations (2-3 men garage type ops) running Santa Monica/Venice area that manage to squeeze by. I think once you cross an "x" number of employees - you are subject to being under bid on a project.

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