Postmortem: (Rhythm & Hues Bankrupcy): What happened...

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Old 03 March 2013   #31
Originally Posted by redbellpeppers: What is it called when people do the same thing the same way over and over and expect different results?


...Insanity
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Old 03 March 2013   #32
Originally Posted by Tama: It is 96K a year in a year that has only 48 weeks...


Wait, what math did I do in my head? I think I averaged 8k a month times 12...whatever, its been a long day haha Eh, lets call it average take home

Last edited by pipdixel : 03 March 2013 at 08:22 PM.
 
Old 03 March 2013   #33
Originally Posted by redbellpeppers: In reading of these topics I still cannot shake the thought that an industry that has been around for 30+ years still hasn't nailed down the the whole proper billing thing.
Only now, after changing facebook profile pics to green swatches and walking down Hollywood and Highlands during the Academies does anyone think 'change' is in order (and that this is the way to do it?)
Socialism?



What is it called when people do the same thing the same way over and over and expect different results?

Socialism?
 
Old 03 March 2013   #34
Originally Posted by Tama: Socialism?


No, actually PerryDS nailed it: insanity.
 
Old 03 March 2013   #35
I was pleased to see the article focused on a detailed insiders breakdown behind VFX house failures, instead of focusing on the offshoring/subsidies issues. Offshoring and foreign subsidies are massive issues that have affected all kinds of American industries beyond VFX. It makes a pretty convincing case that addressing the perverse incentives and lack of accountability in the VFX business is more attainable than lobbying the government for support and/or protection.

Edit: Also, it does a great job of dispelling the knee-jerk accusations of financial mismanagement, especially by explaining how unbalanced the financial risk of delays and scope changes falls on VFX houses and not studios.

Last edited by psyop63b : 03 March 2013 at 12:55 PM.
 
Old 04 April 2013   #36
Originally Posted by psyop63b: Edit: Also, it does a great job of dispelling the knee-jerk accusations of financial mismanagement, especially by explaining how unbalanced the financial risk of delays and scope changes falls on VFX houses and not studios.

I disagree, it was financial mismanagement. For example, financial markets are built on the pricing, buying and selling of risks. Risk is a real cost. Sometimes you can formulate how much it will likely cost and sometimes it's a best guestestimate, but you should be building that into your budget.

Also, is there not some insurance the VFX company could of bought in the event of a delay to cover the additional cost?

Studios would know this and are happy that the VFX company didn't seem to care about the delay clauses in the contract. It's up to the VFX company to point this out in the contract and come back with a cost in the likely event of delays. The studios may then realise the game is up, and compromise on the clauses.

Jules
 
Old 04 April 2013   #37
Originally Posted by Jules123: Risk is a real cost. Sometimes you can formulate how much it will likely cost and sometimes it's a best guestestimate, but you should be building that into your budget.

It's up to the VFX company to point this out in the contract and come back with a cost in the likely event of delays. The studios may then realise the game is up, and compromise on the clauses.

I don't believe R&H could anticipate the delays described in the article: "From March of 2012 until April of 2013, R&H experienced devastating six-month delays on two major in-house shows. Add to that four-month delays on two other very large shows."

I'm certain R&H and many other bankrupt VFX houses pushed for delay clauses every time. It's common business sense. The reality is the leverage isn't there to force those terms. Studios can always find another VFX willing to drop it.
 
Old 04 April 2013   #38
I've been comparing this to other industries, and I think the bigger problem with troubled VFX shops and workers and the general situation is really getting the press and the average person aware of the issues and on-side.
As an example, when there is an over supply of services in say house builders (as there is now in my country since 2008) and not enough work for them all, nobody really cares unless one of their own family is working for a builder and directly affected by no work available.

In comparison to the building trade and all the affected linked trades like plumbing, electrical, builders providers etc., the direct and knock on effects of troubled VFX shops isn't generally seen "on the street" by the average person. I'm not even sure what the public can do about it, but the press can certainly help. If they care in the first place that is.
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Old 04 April 2013   #39
You should probably compare it to something else before drawing conclusions, something more appropriate and similar.

Think of an intellectual/artistic job of absolutely no civic consequence practiced by just a few thousand skilled, generally well earning (at some point) individuals. If you can find one that still exists, and people have revolted and made a difference for.

Insofar we've had more press than ever in our history, things haven't got the least bit better. It's had no consequences at all in fact, on either end.
Comparing problem and solutions to local construction workers makes absolutely no sense. Points for trying though
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Old 04 April 2013   #40
Originally Posted by ThE_JacO: .......Think of an intellectual/artistic job of absolutely no civic consequence practiced by just a few thousand skilled, generally well earning (at some point) individuals.........


Good point. The average person most likely doesn't know anyone like that. They probably never even met a VFX worker or bumped into one in their social circles. That makes it hard for Joe public to identify with or have much sympathy for the plight of VFX workers.
Everyone knows about Nike workers in sweat shops in China, and how badly paid Walmart workers are. They can easily identify with those workers, but VFX workers are alien species to most people not working in the industry.
 
Old 04 April 2013   #41
This project delay issue is becoming a much more common issue, at least with what I have seen and experienced. In my case, it's more about making the right decision, and being able to weather the shifting winds and adjusting accordingly. A fairly large employer like Rhythm an Hues very likely go caught with their pants down, low profit margins and delays are an instant killer. No capacity to bank roll the transition as millions slide out the door as artists sit and wait for projects to get rolling, and the monetary stream rights itself.

The real only choice I could see that the company may have had would have been to enact massive layoffs ... trim down dramatically to allow themselves to recollect and rise again. This maybe the process they are currently undergoing ... to some extent.
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Old 04 April 2013   #42
Originally Posted by psyop63b: I don't believe R&H could anticipate the delays described in the article: "From March of 2012 until April of 2013, R&H experienced devastating six-month delays on two major in-house shows. Add to that four-month delays on two other very large shows."

Yeah, I don't think we should be defending bad practises by VFX company owners. It only needs e.g. a writers' strike for things to be delayed across the board.

Maybe the answer is to have VFX companies come together to discuss common good business practises, starting with industry wide recommended clauses in contracts that shifts the risks from delays back to the studios.

The problem is, you can be a massive company, but if you have no cashflow (to pay staff, rent etc). then you're f*cked. So unless something is sorted there will be more doom and busts in the VFX industry.

Jules
 
Old 04 April 2013   #43
Originally Posted by wildjj: Good point. The average person most likely doesn't know anyone like that. They probably never even met a VFX worker or bumped into one in their social circles. That makes it hard for Joe public to identify with or have much sympathy for the plight of VFX workers.
Everyone knows about Nike workers in sweat shops in China, and how badly paid Walmart workers are. They can easily identify with those workers, but VFX workers are alien species to most people not working in the industry.


So now we are comparing ourselves to sweatshop workers in China...?


Why would and why should the average Joe care that much about the "plight" of the average vfx artists. People are losing their jobs left right and centre in every industry, all around the world. Yes, we work hard, very hard. Long hours, etc...i get it. But, in case you hadn't noticed, so is every one else. Our jobs are easy and well paid compared to most. Freelance work might have dried up a tiny bit in London but we are still charging 300/day last time i looked.

You got laid off from R&H or other vfx houses? I'm very sorry to hear that, but you can easily pick up again. Learn new skills fairly quickly and go freelance, branch out into TV/commercial work or join smaller houses...all RELATIVELY easy compared to the shit that some people have to deal with in their lives after being laid off. try being fired after working your whole life at a company, being middle aged and having so special skills that anyone needs.

Oh you wont get to work in the big films for a while?? Oh, you had to work overtime in your comfy chair for a few months during crunch time? Sorry to hear that: yes you are right, this is exactly like the Nike workers in the sweatshops and the poor underpaid Wallmart worker



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Old 04 April 2013   #44
Originally Posted by wildjj: Good point. The average person most likely doesn't know anyone like that. They probably never even met a VFX worker or bumped into one in their social circles. That makes it hard for Joe public to identify with or have much sympathy for the plight of VFX workers.
Everyone knows about Nike workers in sweat shops in China, and how badly paid Walmart workers are. They can easily identify with those workers, but VFX workers are alien species to most people not working in the industry.

The point wasn't that people don't know our category, it's that even if they did they wouldn't care that much.

One thing is asking people to sympathize with underage children stitching footballs for less than minimum pay in an area undergoing deforestation, another, completely different thing is to ask them to muster the same sympathy for a bunch of young, underqualified, overskilld professionals living in the top 10 cities in the world with wages starting from 50k for junior positions and easily making it near or past six figures in their late 20s to early 30s.

We are NOT a large chunk of the population part of an oppressed working class on minimum wage struggling to keep their family alive. We're a recent, on average very young set of roaming professionals with no clear category and perceived to live a high life.

Popular and press support can hold for a few horror stories here and there, but they DO NOT describe our average, and will not work were we to be covered to a larger extent.
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Old 04 April 2013   #45
Originally Posted by ThE_JacO: Yeah, right, because the engineering and construction firms know none of those prolems, and are comparable, completely unregulated, entirely intellectual, easily remoted endeavours with a geographically restricted pool made of 6 clients in its entirety


OK... I didn't have a lot of time to think about the industry limits. Certainly having only 6 clients who are big and can call anyone around the world is a wrench. But in an earlier topic, it was mentioned the VFX houses themselves have never thought of forming an association. That certainly made the ride to the bottom a lot easier.

The time for a proper association probably is past the time it could have been easier, because now you'd need to get all the India, China, Japan, etc. shops in to really make impact.

My suggestion of making the model more Engineering/Construction spec was just in the interest of sustainability.

I have heard stories about how even the overseas shops out of the U.S. are having problems with these Big 6... but they don't seem to make the media rounds like when R&H fails.

So maybe there can still be impetus for an Association.

But that is the way forward (rather than unions). The Big 6 (or any client) have to be made accountable. That's basically what it boils down to. And if you succeed you will end up with something that resembles the transaction type for Engineering/Design/Construction projects.

In business schools, this is called "Reducing the Denominator"... you can, also, improve the Numerator. Shops like Centro in Hong Kong do a lot of work that isn't film related or even art related in the least, and other shops dabble in pornography.

But that is another story.
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