Digital Domain Master thread(losses continue. In the first 6 months lost $23M)

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Old 07 July 2012   #61
Originally Posted by trevanian:

RED PLANET was one of those movies where everything went wrong, with the director -- who had a great history with commercials that were done with DD, though no features -- not able to deal with the stars, one of whom had a restraining order taken out against the other, which played havoc with two-shots, since they'd have to filmed separately, and then the director made them miss their release date massively, taking months and months to deliver any cut of the film. I heard that the editor, Uriosite, was the real hero of the picture, since he totally recut it in order to get it into the marginal shape it was for eventual release.


Damn.. and I was just telling someone that I wanted to try directing TV ads to "prepare myself for live action".... Your story means it won't help.

Red Planet was surprisingly OK (for me). I had no clue the production was dysfunctional.
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Old 07 July 2012   #62
I really don't care about patents this time... movies are better in 2D anyway. I'm more worried about DD. Being public like that opens them up to a shareholder-induced management shakeup... or a hostile takeover... Something bad is inevitable considering all of the information about the challenges stacked up against DD that has already been presented in this thread.

The tax payer thing sucks too. What a scam.
 
Old 07 July 2012   #63
Originally Posted by CGIPadawan: Damn.. and I was just telling someone that I wanted to try directing TV ads to "prepare myself for live action".... Your story means it won't help.

Red Planet was surprisingly OK (for me). I had no clue the production was dysfunctional.


This guy's main success was a spot featuring Clydesdale horses (half of which may very well have been CG), so I'm guessing he lacked, as Rick Springfield might say, 'the human touch.'

Plus you're talking about a movie with Val Kilmer AND Tom Sizemore, so it ain't just hilarity that ensues when you have guys like that crossing one another.

I wound up writing VFX-related articles about all the mars movies from that year (MY FAVORITE MARTIAN (which I still haven't seen), RED PLANET (saw it on cable, not anywhere near as awful as expected) and MISSION TO MARS (saw it in the theater, and it made me think WING COMMANDER and WILD WILD WEST weren't as bad as first thought, just by comparison ... yeah, the late 90s, outside of a few gems, had a lot of fx-heavy clunkers.) M2M really stunk. I'd read earlier drafts that were all more interesting, so my expectations were higher. And I got to see the huge miniatures used for the film, and this yoke/cradle rig for articulating it .... was the work of DreamQuest, and those guys really had it going on back then, before they got absorbed and destroyed by Disney.

As for your own prep ... Maybe just film a short -- adapt a short story, or try shooting something to match a particularly memorable dream -- to get yourself ready for live-action. Geez, shooting Super8 and 16mm movies (outside of cost) used to be a helluva lot of fun for me, once you understood that on reversal stock the exposure had to be perfect or you were screwed. I imagine shooting a little something with friends on digital would be less painful, just on account of lesser expenses.
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Old 07 July 2012   #64
Originally Posted by trevanian: And I got to see the huge miniatures used for the film, and this yoke/cradle rig for articulating it .... was the work of DreamQuest, and those guys really had it going on back then, before they got absorbed and destroyed by Disney.

.


If you want to see the miniature NOW, they reside on the queue line for Mission space at EPCOT center. They have substantial amount of miniatures, and props from the film.

-R
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Old 07 July 2012   #65
Digital Domain Media Group Announces Shareholder Call to Discuss Improvements in Labor Utilization and Developments in Patent Litigation and Licensing
Quote:
"
Digital Domain Media Group, Inc. (DDMG), a leading digital production company focused on visual effects, original content animation and major studio co-productions, will host an investor conference call with John Textor, chairman and CEO, on Wednesday, July 18, at 11:00 a.m. EDT to discuss the following topics:
  • Improvements to the labor utilization rate – The company will provide an update on improved labor utilization rates across both its domestic and international facilities.
  • Favorable amendments to third-party outsourcing agreements – The company will discuss amendments to its agreements with RelianceMediaWorks Limited that eliminate on going liabilities and improve collaboration on marketing efforts between Digital Domain Media Group and RelianceMediaWorks Limited’s facilities in the UK and Mumbai.
  • Digital Domain Media Group’s patent protection and monetization – The company will provide an update to its ongoing patent protection initiatives, including an update on filed litigation, settlement discussions and resulting licenses of the company’s 3D conversion technology.
  • Virtual Performer – The company will review recent developments in its Virtual Performer business, including a discussion of reallocation of resources to meet demand from owners of high-impact intellectual property.
  • China and Abu Dhabi capacity expansion – The company will provide an update on plans to expand the company’s studios in China and Abu Dhabi to meet demand.
  • Strategic initiatives – The company will provide an update on strategic discussions aimed at increasing shareholder value.

The conference call will begin at 11:00 a.m. EDT and will be broadcast live over the Internet and can be accessed through the Investor Relations section of the company’s website at ddmg.co or directly at DDMG Investor Call. The call can also be accessed via telephone by calling 866-730-5770 (U.S.) or 857-350-1594 (International) and using the passcode 35604289. A replay will be available for seven days by dialing 888-286-8010 or 617-801-6888 (International) and using the passcode 53655621.

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/digit...-171800861.html

“We are making significant progress in improving our gross profit margin by both building revenue and reducing unutilized labor costs,” said John Textor, CEO of Digital Domain Media Group. “The recent developments outlined above have accelerated the rate of improvement not only by adding to revenue but also by enabling us to use our labor resources much more effectively.”

"
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Old 07 July 2012   #66
for the full transcript of the
July 18th Investor call with John Textor go here:

http://phx.corporate-ir.net/phoenix...l-presentations
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Old 07 July 2012   #67
Originally Posted by trevanian:
As for your own prep ... Maybe just film a short -- adapt a short story, or try shooting something to match a particularly memorable dream -- to get yourself ready for live-action. Geez, shooting Super8 and 16mm movies (outside of cost) used to be a helluva lot of fun for me, once you understood that on reversal stock the exposure had to be perfect or you were screwed. I imagine shooting a little something with friends on digital would be less painful, just on account of lesser expenses.


I understand what you are saying.. But I'm sort of making up for lost time.

Why do you think my first short longer than 5 minutes features multiple guns, explosions, shattering glass, and a musical score written in Germany? :P

You are right though about the Human Touch question. It's frightening how sometimes many talents can be pushed head long into something they should know they're not yet ready for.

You kind of trust Producers or Talent Representatives to know what they're doing. But I guess the lesson of Red Planet is you have to know yourself if you're ready.

ON-TOPIC: Publicly broadcast conf-call? Really starting to look like desperate times at DD, eh?
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Last edited by CGIPadawan : 07 July 2012 at 06:07 AM.
 
Old 07 July 2012   #68
Originally Posted by CGIPadawan: ..Publicly listing in a business like CG and FX that, at times, is hard enough to explain to your own family members (let alone the stock-trading Public) is not a smart move if you ask me.

P.S.: Wondering if DD went public based on the frequent notion that doing an IPO raises a lot of "free extra capital". If so, the posters above who opined DD may be in real trouble probably are on to something.... But I like DD's work... So I'm hoping that's not the case.

Agreed, explaining the CG or FX to family members, let alone the general public is no small feat.

There's an exacting process to go public and a company has to prove to the SEC that its business is a sound investment. Given the cut throat business of the FX industry, Digital Domain must have painted some creative business model presentations to get the investment bank(s) to back to buy into them to get the IPO started. With that said, it would seem that the SEC and the investment bank failed to perform "due diligence" in researching like businesses.
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Last edited by richcz3 : 07 July 2012 at 04:13 PM.
 
Old 07 July 2012   #69
Originally Posted by RobertoOrtiz: “We are making significant progress in improving our gross profit margin by both building revenue and reducing unutilized labor costs,” said John Textor, CEO of Digital Domain Media Group. “The recent developments outlined above have accelerated the rate of improvement not only by adding to revenue but also by enabling us to use our labor resources much more effectively.”

This sounds a lot like they plan to fire lots of people and offload the workload on everyone who remains.
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Old 07 July 2012   #70
Originally Posted by noouch: This sounds a lot like they plan to fire lots of people and offload the workload on everyone who remains.

Also sounds like they are going to outsource everything.
Originally Posted by RobertoOrtiz:
  • China and Abu Dhabi capacity expansion – The company will provide an update on plans to expand the company’s studios in China and Abu Dhabi to meet demand.
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Old 07 July 2012   #71
in the transcript john textor mentioned that DDMG is in talks with "industry" investors and have plans to sell some parts of DDMG (mainly the vfx branch)

Quote: We definitely want to stay close to the visual effects business. We want to continue running it, but we answer to our shareholders, and we've got to drive shareholder value. And so, we have to be really open-minded to everything.

Quote: If you can't raise money efficiently at the parent company to grow your business, because a bunch of shorts get together and decide, hey, what the heck, let's go after this company, that's fine. We can raise capital as we need it, and it's not always about capital; it's really about strategic partnership. We can sell minority interest in our subsidiaries. We can sell the entirety of subsidiaries. We can create publicly traded spinoffs of existing businesses.

Quote: So, maybe we need to look at the visual effects business and evaluate the public spinoff, the private spinoff. This business could either sell entirely, sell a significant minority interest, sell a minority interest in its subsidiary, or elected to split itself into two or three different companies -- a combination of two public and maybe one private.
So, I'm not telegraphing a specific idea, other than to say that the inbound interest in this Company has stepped up significantly since we hinted about the last two companies. We have had meetings with these folks, and we've now decided we have no choice but to pursue strategic alternatives to maximize value.
 
Old 07 July 2012   #72
John Textor has always been nothing more than a Venture Capitalist. His acqusition of DD, the formation of DDMG, the IPO, all this new talk .. all seems to me like he's polishing up the company for sale. In pieces or as a whole, that's what he wants. He's never been interested in the visual effects business. He's never had an interest in the artists or the product.

He just wants to make money.
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Old 07 July 2012   #73
It sounds so soulless.
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Old 07 July 2012   #74
Originally Posted by darthviper107: It sounds so soulless.


That's one of the biggest problems vfx artists are facing. Everyone has to realize that this is a business, and a massive one by scale. John Textor shouldn't be vilified for what he's done. He's done it a few times before DD, and probably will do so again after its been sold.

In my opinion, vfx artists need to start acting more like business people, and stop believing the business is run by artisans.
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Last edited by SteveKaplan : 07 July 2012 at 12:03 AM.
 
Old 07 July 2012   #75
Originally Posted by richcz3: Agreed, explaining the CG or FX to family members, let alone the general public is no small feat.

There's an exacting process to go public and a company has to prove to the SEC that its business is a sound investment. Given the cut throat business of the FX industry, Digital Domain must have painted some creative business model presentations to get the investment bank(s) to back to buy into them to get the IPO started. With that said, it would seem that the SEC and the investment bank failed to perform "due diligence" in researching like businesses.


... And were hence surprised... when... perhaps...it came to light that Digital Domain was only allowed to keep a very small slice of what was initially presented as a "Gigantic Billion Dollar Business".

I've seen this done in Pro-Sports. Many teams use the numbers of the ENTIRE TV telecast, to justify putting money on just themselves.
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