Why is the VFX business failing? ARTICLE

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  02 February 2013
On that note...

This is understandably ironic

  02 February 2013
Although Hollywood was created by immigrants it used to have more of a US citizen-based foundation and at the same time it would finance or distribute content by other countries into the US and Canada more readily that it does today.
In the old days they might dub a foreign movie and show it in North America.
Now they seem to remake it immediately.

In the old days European films would hire lesser known American actors (like Eastwood) and might include some American connection in the story now and then but these days its more common for a European company to focus on Americans or set the story in the US (the resurrected Hammer studios does this)not so much to make it appeal to North America but because they want to it to appeal to international audiences which only want a Hollywood-style movie.

The big 6 is bad for international film because they desire to control content in all countries and while they may hire internationals, it amounts to thinning out the talent pool and narrowing the variety in film in those other countries as well as at home.
But perhaps those audiences dont care as is the case in Canada which has been dominated by Hollywood from the beginning.
  02 February 2013
Originally Posted by PhilipeaNguyen: I'm not wanting to be argumentative, but this is what I found on the word poaching:
"to encroach upon especially for the purpose of taking something"

I still think this is an accurate term to use for this scenario. Countries subsidize expansion of an alien corporation specifically to lure it away from wherever it is and they are aggressive about it. I don't understand the point about companies not being American. International companies buy into American business by investing heavily in or buying these companies, but that doesn't change that they are American companies.

I preferred the definition of poaching = boiling, like you were making some hyperbolic metaphor about countries sitting in the kitchen, boiling corporations over a stove, until they become tasteless starch-monster blobs.

I liked the image. I even drew a quick sketch.
  02 February 2013
I find it really sad how everyone is getting caught up in this discussion about subsidies and poaching. I also find it sad how many of you guys seem to have the attitude that, "Well, I guess this is the end. Get over it."

I think the real solution that was talked about in the article is an "International" trade association that could aid in fighting against the major hollywood production studios. That way, it supports the industry internationally. Not just for Americans. And really, VFX studios should be getting a percentage of the take home. It's only fair. And that is really the worst part about all of this. R&H just helped Hollywood make a huge amount of money off of Life of Pi but receive not a dime of it. Instead their reward is going out of business? Can you imagine if R&H gets an academy Award and arn't even in business anymore to receive it? Actually, maybe that would be good. Might get people talking about it more. Personally, I think it's time we start talking about joining together as an industry and helping each other out. I think we are currently in a very sad and hopeless state.
Galen Beals
CG Animation
  02 February 2013
I have worked at several print shops, dot com companies and ad agencies over the years and am now in VFX. I do notice a difference between the VFX crowd and the others - you guys notice when stuff happens.

As a former ad agency/marketing guru - I can tell you that VFX companies on the whole probably are going to have a rough time for a while. I don't thinks it's subsidies, or off shoring that is killing the trade. More likely it is the model of the business. Granted the subsidies etc aren't really helping and are dragging out the death - it's the business model. Take a look at how the studios actually make their money - a lot of it isn't just Box office revenue. It's royalties and licensing (DVD, Online, Network TV, toys, games, music). Actors and writers can and do get a piece of that pie so why not VFX production houses? I know how much money those commercials, ads and other media cost (for client and ad houses) as well as the licensing for all of the toys etc that go in with a movie; the amounts are tremendous. The studios make a ton of cash outside of the actual movie itself and I think that is where the missing gap is for VFX. Perhaps moving more towards a model that incorporates garnering royalties from movies and media (negotiating getting a lower initial rate for work in trade for points and partaking in the long-term reward of royalties) instead of off-shoring the work or trying to garner tax payer subsidies just might give the production houses a fighting chance. Of course the problem with this idea is that the VFX houses would be taking on risk in order to get some of the reward. But it's better than being squeezed out of existence.

There's also the noticeable difference between VFX houses and other companies in that they are not as savy in the social media game and the community has no physical media that the consumer notices. It's almost ephemeral the work that we do. It exists but only on film or in the video. There's nothing other than the film/video itself as the end product. I think that Andrew Kramer (Video CoPilot) has the right idea in selling items that are meant for production and motion graphics (a product that has more than just a few limited venues). More and more people are going to want to use these tools and I can only see the availability of software becoming easier and the skill level of the average user getting better - there is a market for this but it's just beginning (Photoshop has the largest user base of any professional program and those users are probably the best market for this). It's a possibility and could perhaps help the bottom line.

Personally I do VFX because I love it, it's a challenge and I can't imagine doing anything else. Even if the entire industry went belly-up I'd still do this work (off hours at home etc) and I think that is why a lot of us are still here.
I push pixels!
  02 February 2013
Originally Posted by Celshader: Ah, gotcha.

I've worked in VFX since 1999. Here's my take on the industry right now:

First, please consider any other industry that will treat you better (video games, visualization, illustration, previz, apps, teaching, Local 839 jobs in Los Angeles).

If you still want to work for VFX studios, remember that they do not own what they create. Weta does not get royalties from The Hobbit, and Digital Domain doesn't get a dime off of sales of Tron Legacy. When projects wrap, idle shops do not have the money to keep their artists, so artists get let go when a shop runs out of work. You will work from project to project and from studio to studio. Towards that end...
headed, so they left.

Peter Jackson gets royalties from "The Hobbit" and he's co-owner of Weta. His payout for Lord of the Rings was over $100 Million. Where you think he invests some of that money into? The Weta Workshop!
  02 February 2013
Originally Posted by suztv: Take a look at how the studios actually make their money - a lot of it isn't just Box office revenue. It's royalties and licensing (DVD, Online, Network TV, toys, games, music).

I have to disagree with you here. The DVD market has been in a downward spiral for several years now, substituted by digital distribution like Netflix and similar, streaming, and digital downloads. While studios will make money on each and every DVD sold, the digital distribution market is a lot more complex, and I can tell you it does NOT make as much money as you think. Merchandise on the other hand CAN make money, but not all movies lend themselves well to merchandise.

  02 February 2013
Originally Posted by AtahanZugul: Seems to me like VFX houses need to start cutting out the middle man and making their own movies

Spot on.
Currently they are sub-contractors to someone else's creative vision.
This does not appear to be a sustainable business model!
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  02 February 2013
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