Variety:F/x biz in throes of the Walmart effect:(The Studios talk about their side)

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Old 02 February 2013   #16
Originally Posted by Celshader: I'm curious. How much of London's VFX artists work on British projects (ex: BBC's Doctor Who), and how many work on Los Angeles productions (ex: Captain America, Iron Man, RoboCop)?

If Hollywood stopped making big-budget VFX features, would the London VFX industry notice?


Well that's a bit of a silly question. It's like saying if the far east stopped making trainers would americans go barefeet. Of course the UK industry would notice as I'm sure you already know. Unfortunately depending how you look at it, it is now a global market and of course the studios will take advantage of that, like every other business in the world.

On a serious note if you are interested, my company which I run when Im not lucky enough to work on a hollywood feature, just finished a bunch of vfx shots an a british film production. So yes they do happen.
 
Old 02 February 2013   #17
Originally Posted by Celshader: If Hollywood stopped making big-budget VFX features, would the London VFX industry notice?


In my time in the industry I've only worked in London, and the vast majority of my work has been on US features. I've worked on a couple of British films too but still worldwide releases. London would be hurting bad if they only worked on British TV and film productions.
 
Old 02 February 2013   #18
Originally Posted by Celshader: I'm curious. How much of London's VFX artists work on British projects (ex: BBC's Doctor Who), and how many work on Los Angeles productions (ex: Captain America, Iron Man, RoboCop)?

If Hollywood stopped making big-budget VFX features, would the London VFX industry notice?


I think you and I both know the answer to your question, so why don't you just come out and say what your point is? Because my point wasn't about the projects, but about the people who work on them, and drawing national lines here would be unfair. This is a global industry and there are people all over the world, from all different nationalities, who rely on international VFX work, many of whom are being affected by the current upheavals.

This increasingly pervasive, insidious notion that only American artists count, and that only American artists should get to work on Hollywood films (and I've seen people using these exact words, even on this site) is frankly rather insulting to the thousands of people from other nationalities who work in this global industry, who have done incredible work over the years on so many Hollywood features.
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Old 02 February 2013   #19
Quote: This isn't a call to panic but the current trajectory of our industry is clear. Less pay, less or no benefits, no staff positions, migrant worker status, and much less stability. This is not an environment conducive to raising a family.


Honestly I think this is happening in all industries. Due to economic troubles in the world it is an Employers market. They can pay less and expect more because people need a job. When the
economy flips I think things will change. Part of this is all economy related.

Quote: Yeah but in all fairness, most of the issues you're mentioning are very US-centric, and this is an international industry. It's a little frustrating the way so much coverage of issues in this field focus on Americans only, when Canada, the UK, Australia, Singapore and India are also significant players in the field.


Yeah I have read about other areas growing and flourishing vs US market. But often when things break in the US it begins to effect the world in a positive or negative aspect. You have some winners and some losers. Failure as an example in Singapore's movie market would effect only Singapore. Most folks globally would not feel the effects. Failure of the movie market in the US and folks everywhere feel it.

At the end of the day though I don't think things are even VFx related as to things getting worse in US for this market. I think it is that "Wal-Mart" effect plus bad global economy. All industries are being hit, VFx included.

Quote: This increasingly pervasive, insidious notion that only American artists count, and that only American artists should get to work on Hollywood films (and I've seen people using these exact words, even on this site) is frankly rather insulting to the thousands of people from other nationalities who work in this global industry, who have done incredible work over the years on so many Hollywood features.


Agreed
 
Old 02 February 2013   #20
Originally Posted by leigh: This increasingly pervasive, insidious notion that only American artists count, and that only American artists should get to work on Hollywood films (and I've seen people using these exact words, even on this site) is frankly rather insulting to the thousands of people from other nationalities who work in this global industry, who have done incredible work over the years on so many Hollywood features.


I agree. If all nations were to take that stance and apply it, oil from the middle east would be sold only there, iron ore from Sweden would only be sold to local friendly nations, and Guinness made in Ireland would be kept here for us and the rest of you would have to make do with locally cloned ratpiss.
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Old 02 February 2013   #21
Originally Posted by leigh: Yeah but in all fairness, most of the issues you're mentioning are very US-centric, and this is an international industry. It's a little frustrating the way so much coverage of issues in this field focus on Americans only, when Canada, the UK, Australia, Singapore and India are also significant players in the field.


Well, I think the issues related to the financial sustainability of the industry are universal internationally. Are there VFX studios in other countries making profits hand over fist? It's unlikely as there have been many studio closures in various locales worldwide. Whether your company is located in London, Los Angeles, Singapore, Vancouver or Mumbai the goal of the major movie studios is to steer the bidding process, taking into account all relative labor costs, government subsidies, taxes, etc towards an acceptable level of work with little to no profit margin for the VFX studio doing the work. The cost of labor may vary greatly, the government subsidies may differ, but the profits are the same.

There really isn't much room for nationalism when discussing this problem. Whether or not artists based in countries can compete with Americans isn't even up for debate as we have seen world class work being done all over the globe for the better part of a decade now. So yeah, it's a global industry and it's globally unsustainable as well. The profits (or lack thereof) are unsustainable, the government subsidies are unsustainable, the forced migration of labor is unsustainable. If you think these issues will be contained only in the American VFX industry I think you may be mistaken.
 
Old 02 February 2013   #22
Originally Posted by Maliot: So... as newbie in this industry, am i in wrong time wanting to enter into this industry?
This threads really make me sad about it.


Yes. This is the worst time to get into film vfx unless you're living in India or China. Find another sector or something different entirely.
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Old 02 February 2013   #23
Red face I had no idea...I thought London was more self-sufficient.

Originally Posted by leigh: I think you and I both know the answer to your question, so why don't you just come out and say what your point is? Because my point wasn't about the projects, but about the people who work on them, and drawing national lines here would be unfair. This is a global industry and there are people all over the world, from all different nationalities, who rely on international VFX work, many of whom are being affected by the current upheavals.

This increasingly pervasive, insidious notion that only American artists count, and that only American artists should get to work on Hollywood films (and I've seen people using these exact words, even on this site) is frankly rather insulting to the thousands of people from other nationalities who work in this global industry, who have done incredible work over the years on so many Hollywood features.


No, I honestly did not know the answer to my question until other artists on here answered it. I live in Los Angeles, not London, so I did not know the state of the London VFX industry. I enjoy watching British productions like Doctor Who, Red Dwarf, Sarah Jane Adventures, Primeval and the legendary Walking with Dinosaurs. All of those shows have a ton of VFX in them, so for all I knew that's what provided work for most of the British VFX industry.

However, you suggest that Hollywood provides most of the work for London VFX artists. I did not know that. I thought London's VFX industry was self-sufficient.

In that case, you should pay attention to how Hollywood treats Los Angeles VFX artists. Just because your working conditions are wonderful now does not guarantee that they will remain wonderful. As mingbling pointed out upthread, Los Angeles VFX working conditions used to be as good or better than London VFX working conditions, and now they are worse.

Ask yourself what will protect London VFX artists from sharing the same fate as Los Angeles VFX artists.
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Old 02 February 2013   #24
De Faria might not have been the ideal choice for that article. He's actually one of the easier and more understanding of the process big honchos between the various heads of the big six hydra.

It's a bit like doing an article on dictatorships and interviewing the only real enlightened dictator of the last 200 years, and conclude that Stalin, Hitler, Pinochet and everybody wlese were, therefore, not a problem

It's true that WB has been, in my experience, one of the better studios managing a VFX project, and most of what I heard about De Faria, for someone that swims in a shark tank for a living, were definitely above par. This doesn't, however, represent people's experience with some other studios, heads and EPs that will remain unnamed.

Just saying.
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Old 02 February 2013   #25
Originally Posted by Celshader: In that case, you should pay attention to how Hollywood treats Los Angeles VFX artists. Just because your working conditions are wonderful now does not guarantee that they will remain wonderful. As mingbling pointed out upthread, Los Angeles VFX working conditions used to be as good or better than London VFX working conditions, and now they are worse.

This was my point precisely.

For the people who don't care OR think that it will ultimately affect them... think again. If/when all of the major VFX shops close up here in the states, then Canada and the UK will end up with more work. And that will be great, for a time - but the movie studios will not stop continuing to SQUEEZE these VFX houses just like they've squeezed out the US VFX houses. More and more work will go to India and China and the UK and other places will see their working conditions deteriorate. It's inevitable as long as the big studios want more for less.

The tipping point will only come when audiences stop going to see big blockbusters because the VFX are just not up to it. When you keep slashing the budgets for FX to line the pockets of the studios, something will end up suffering - that's usually the VFX artist from what I've seen.

To paraphrase an old story... "They came for the VFX artists in that country, and I did nothing because it did not affect me.... then they came for the VFX artists in another country, and I did nothing because it did not affect me.... and then they came for the VFX artists in my country.... I should have stood up for the VFX artists to begin with, because it ultimately affected us all."
 
Old 02 February 2013   #26
Originally Posted by Celshader: No, I honestly did not know the answer to my question until other artists on here answered it. I live in Los Angeles, not London, so I did not know the state of the London VFX industry. I enjoy watching British productions like Doctor Who, Red Dwarf, Sarah Jane Adventures, Primeval and the legendary Walking with Dinosaurs. All of those shows have a ton of VFX in them, so for all I knew that's what provided work for most of the British VFX industry.

However, you suggest that Hollywood provides most of the work for London VFX artists. I did not know that. I thought London's VFX industry was self-sufficient.

In that case, you should pay attention to how Hollywood treats Los Angeles VFX artists. Just because your working conditions are wonderful now does not guarantee that they will remain wonderful. As mingbling pointed out upthread, Los Angeles VFX working conditions used to be as good or better than London VFX working conditions, and now they are worse.

Ask yourself what will protect London VFX artists from sharing the same fate as Los Angeles VFX artists.


Apologies, I misinterpreted your tone, and funnily enough, you've misinterpreted my post too - I'm by no means saying that the industry is great outside the US; on the contrary, I'm saying that the problems faced by US artists are increasingly being faced by those of us abroad too, which is why the constant focus on US artists only is so frustrating. Studios are facing an increasingly bleak outlook here in London, for example, with loads of artists currently out of work because problems faced by the big VFX vendors in LA are being faced here too.

My earlier posts about certain things that I felt we exaggerated weren't meant to paint a rosy picture, but just about keeping things in perspective as we all try to move forward.
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Old 02 February 2013   #27
Originally Posted by Celshader: I'm curious. How much of London's VFX artists work on British projects (ex: BBC's Doctor Who), and how many work on Los Angeles productions (ex: Captain America, Iron Man, RoboCop)?

If Hollywood stopped making big-budget VFX features, would the London VFX industry notice?


I've worked in both L.A. and London.
In London I worked on a Nike/Big 5 Commercial.
Big 5 is a U.S. Western regional sports store. The ad was shot in L.A. with U.S. actors. The agency was out of New York, all post production was done in London with a crew of
3 Frenchman, 1 Italian and 1 Bulgarian and 1 very confused American.

I've also recently worked in L.A. in a studio where they sent a U.S. supervisor to London to over see shooting on shots for Dr.Who that were going to be done in Vancouver so the production company could take advantage the tax breaks.
Don't ask me how that works though.

For UK TV shows most of the work still seems to be done in London though.
Keep in mind a UK TV series is usually only 13 episodes. So smaller shops can still handle most of the work load.

If the Studios stopped making major VFX movies the big 4 London studios, MPC, Double Negative, Cinesite, Frame store, would have a major problem. There already seems to be a slow down happening in London but you'll have to ask the locals how bad.
 
Old 02 February 2013   #28
Originally Posted by zzacmann: Um, when a studio won't give you inventory for months despite the fact you hired 50 artists for this contract and then all of a sudden dumps 800 shots in your lap 5 months before release forcing your entire team to work 12's 7 days a week through the rest of the show, how the hell is that the fault of the VFX shop's management?


Why cant penalties work both ways? why wasnt there a more robust contract? Theres plenty of talk about how the vfx house will incur penalties for every day late they are on delivering, but why doesnt it work both ways, with the studio being penalised for not getting the shots to the vfx house in a timely manner, and having to pay extra if the shots need to be rushed.

I expect the answer is that they dont want to lose the work and that the studio wont sign it, but so long as theyre willing to put themselves in a position where they have to ask their staff to work unreasonable hours, they have to take responsibility.

This sort of behaviour is the reason I stopped working at one particular studio a few years back; the boss would agree to produce work to impossible deadlines, then pass it onto us expecting silly work hours just because he didnt have the balls to stand up for himself or us during negotiations.
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Old 02 February 2013   #29
Originally Posted by imashination: Why cant penalties work both ways? why wasnt there a more robust contract? Theres plenty of talk about how the vfx house will incur penalties for every day late they are on delivering, but why doesnt it work both ways, with the studio being penalised for not getting the shots to the vfx house in a timely manner, and having to pay extra if the shots need to be rushed..


Studios / Producers have the vfx vendors by the balls so to speak. I can name plenty of occasions where vfx vendors have been forced to rebid on work and have increased costs due to the changes. The vfx vendor then asks for more money and gets told well if you cannot do it for the same amount of money we will take the job elsewhere. Right now an interesting trend is for the large vfx vendors to bid for the entire job, they then farm out the low profit shots to mid sized firms. Who fall over themselves to win 50 shot packages from the likes of Sony and ILM .


b
 
Old 02 February 2013   #30
Originally Posted by Celshader: No, I honestly did not know the answer to my question until other artists on here answered it. I live in Los Angeles, not London, so I did not know the state of the London VFX industry

Ask yourself what will protect London VFX artists from sharing the same fate as Los Angeles VFX artists.


If you honestly didn't know then my apologise too, although it is strange as the hot topic for a long while has been how the UK are 'taking' the work because of sudsidies.

Regardless, yes the same effect will most likely happen here (UK), as the confidence in more high level work happens further East. When and if it does, the wages for staff there will increase, companies will want more profit and it won't be as cost effective. The same is happening for manufacturing in China. The GDP has gone up so much that companies are now looking at other countries, even there own for manufacturing. So with VFX, the work for US based studios will start moving back West, where it is more convinient (language barriers, time difference etc..)

it's also not as simple as if its cheaper then thats where it will go. I worked in Asia for three years, and there are so many issues above cost that do start to outweigh the benefit of saving some cash.

Out of interest, I do frequently see jobs posted for LA, Luma Pictures seem to post on the jobs board here, so I presume there still is some industry there?
 
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