WSJ: Oscar nominee (Beasts) had 85 of its 120 VFX shots created with free labor

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Old 02 February 2013   #46
Originally Posted by leigh: This.

I'm sick of seeing people being exploited like this. This IS exploitation - these students were USED and were not compensated for their work. This bullshit of "it's experience" has got to bloody stop.

Agree, but on the irony side, those students actually learn this lesson _in_ university...
 
Old 02 February 2013   #47
Originally Posted by fablefox: I don't know if this has been answered before... what legalities was to use the educational software for commercial purpose?

Can someone answer me on the software side?


Good question. I'm guessing if anyone was to be held accountable for using educational software for commercial use, it would be the school. The film studio would be in the clear with all the money, and the school would be the ones with red faces.
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Old 02 February 2013   #48
You guys should know better, unless it is agreed upon before hand, don't expect to get a lil extra because the project is successful. It's a rare sight otherwise...

Ultimately, yes, I agree we should receive something now since the film is so successful, but I'm certainly not expecting to.

Beasts is by far the highest profile project I have ever worked on for only screen credit and experience. But without it, I would have had a much tougher time securing the job I have now.

It's funny how no-one is discussing how this film was shopped at various vfx houses, before eventually landing at AAU 2 years ago.

Last edited by narenn : 02 February 2013 at 08:49 PM.
 
Old 02 February 2013   #49
Originally Posted by narenn: without it, I would have had a much tougher time securing the job I have now.

It's funny how no-one is discussing how this film was shopped at various vfx houses, before eventually landing at AAU 2 years ago.


Then I would say it was worth your time and sacrifice.

People also forget, production artists will always be a pawn in the game of business unless they actually bring a book of business to the table or have the ability to generate clients and convince those with money to spend it. Otherwise, as I was once told, "you're just another body getting off the boat looking for work". VFX artists can act like they are important, but in reality, they are very expendable and replaceable (especially with colleges cranking out technicians like a play doh factory), hence the low value. The real value is with the story tellers and producers (those that have the relationships to actually get funding and distribution) and risk takers that actually put up the money. I'm sure my opinion will piss off most of you, but until you accept reality and figure out how to deal with it, move on and/or move forward, this will be a bitter pill to be taken on a regular basis.

Its common knowledge that if you do what 80%-90% of the people do, then you will end up where 80%-90% of those people end up. Everything in life evolves, and not always how you expect or desire. If you don't adapt and evolve, you become extinct.

Last edited by XLNT-3d : 02 February 2013 at 10:24 PM.
 
Old 02 February 2013   #50
Originally Posted by leigh: Have you ever heard of students studying culinary courses being offered and taking the opportunity to get "real life hands on experience" of a month of free shifts at McDonald's? Of course you haven't, because that would be absurd.

So why is it okay to do it to CG students?


First of all, nothing was done to the students. It was an elective course that they chose to attend.

And I'll point out the obvious fact that having credit for VFX work on an acclaimed movie returns a lot more value to a VFX beginner than dipping frys at McD's would have on the resume of a culinary student. Seems like an absurd comparison to me.
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Old 02 February 2013   #51
Originally Posted by wurger: First of all, nothing was done to the students. It was an elective course that they chose to attend.

And I'll point out the obvious fact that having credit for VFX work on an acclaimed movie returns a lot more value to a VFX beginner than dipping frys at McD's would have on the resume of a culinary student. Seems like an absurd comparison to me.


Having a credit on a project, having a month of experience at a large chain eatery on your résumé... same thing, at the end of the day, in principle. The fact that the students "chose" this makes it all the more obscene; those same kids will then graduate, and offer themselves to work for free to studios (because hey, they did it before and got the gig), thus distorting entry level wages, devaluing their craft and ultimately harming their own personal wage ladders.

But hey, if you're cool with people being exploited then I'm obviously not going to change your mind here.
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Old 02 February 2013   #52
Originally Posted by leigh: Having a credit on a project, having a month of experience at a large chain eatery on your résumé... same thing, at the end of the day, in principle.

A large chain restaurant that gets nominated as one of the 9 best in the world that year?
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Old 02 February 2013   #53
Originally Posted by wurger: And I'll point out the obvious fact that having credit for VFX work on an acclaimed movie returns a lot more value to a VFX beginner than dipping frys at McD's would have on the resume of a culinary student. Seems like an absurd comparison to me.


You're right. One of them got paid.

This the debate though . . . *does* it "return value"? Yes it might get you your first job (immediate value). Your first job in an industry that is underpaid, hours are long and where you will be first out the door if someone can do your job cheaper (ie, for free) (err, value is now diminishing).

The problem, as I see it, is that every individual thinks that doing this kind of thing is getting their foot in the door so it's okay, but it essentially sets the baseline for the entire industry where working for free, or paying to work, is seen as an acceptable way to start.

That might be fine when you are 18. What happens when you are 28 and need to pay the bills and you are still working for peanuts or worse, an 18 year takes over your job because it offers them a great opportunity to get into the industry so they work for free?

It might give the individual a valuable *immediate* return, but overall, it will sink the industry. That's why people won't unionise. By gum they just want to do 2D/3D sooooooo bad that they will do anything for the opportunity. If that means breaking ranks to go work on a cool project for less than minimum wage they will do it because it's their dream job. There is a glut of people wanting to do this job so if you kick up a fuss there is 10 other people willing to do the work. Sure there are a few very highly skilled individuals but don't go around thinking that for the most part, someone else can't do your job.

If I was an employer (ie, a business person), why wouldn't I take 100% advantage of that way of thinking?

The job of film studios and game studios isn't to make films and games. It's to make money. If you don't make money, you aren't making films and games unless you are working on self-funded indie projects or getting government grants.

To sum up, I think it's great that anyone on this project used it to go on to bigger and better things. I just hope there will be an industry there in 5 years time for others to do they same.
 
Old 02 February 2013   #54
Originally Posted by RockinAkin: A large chain restaurant that gets nominated as one of the 9 best in the world that year?


You're avoiding the point; it's not about the "prestige", it's about the constant use of free labour for VFX work. And you know it, so why are you obfuscating the point here? If the film cost $1.2m to make, then it means some of the crew were paid - so why weren't the VFX crew paid? And don't say "because they're students", because if their work was good enough for the film, then they were good enough to get paid.
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Old 02 February 2013   #55
I do have one question....(this is what happens when you hang out with lawyers all the time)

Was the software used by the school to do this project, bought under an educational license agreement?
If so, does anyone see a problem with this picture?
So correct me if I am wrong but the school used Nuke or After Effects to do the composite work, and I don't think that these companies would be happy campers if educational licenses of their software were used for a commercial production.


EDIT Hey Akin!
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Last edited by RobertoOrtiz : 02 February 2013 at 11:52 PM.
 
Old 02 February 2013   #56
Originally Posted by narenn: It's funny how no-one is discussing how this film was shopped at various vfx houses, before eventually landing at AAU 2 years ago.


Do tell. Why did it end up at AAU? If it only ended up at AAU because the producers couldn't afford anywhere else then they should have A) changed their plans by redesigning the shots or reducing the shot count, B) asked the financiers for more money, C) omitted the shots or D) found a place that would have done it for less money.

Schools shouldn't be competing with industry. Assuming educational licenses were used to complete this work, it'd be interesting to see if Autodesk, Foundry, Adobe, etc do anything about it - I doubt they will, 'Beasts' seems to have too much positive press behind it for a software developer to pick on it for potential misuse of software licenses.

I'm sorry, however great this is for you as an individual, it's sucks for the industry as a whole - your school completely screwed someone out of a fairly decent vfx contract.

It's completely complexing how apathetic this industry is towards one another.

The vfx studios that would have worked on a film like this - Asylum, Matte World Digital, Cafe FX, The Orphanage and many more - have all closed down. Small companies like these (which are normally great places to work and if your a junior a great way to start your career) won't exist in the future if schools like AAU take on more projects like 'Beasts'. Even some larger vfx studios use these little projects to fill out gaps between big projects and keep people on-board.
 
Old 02 February 2013   #57
Originally Posted by earlyworm: Do tell. Why did it end up at AAU? If it only ended up at AAU because the producers couldn't afford anywhere else then they should have A) changed their plans by redesigning the shots or reducing the shot count, B) asked the financiers for more money, C) omitted the shots or D) found a place that would have done it for less money.

Schools shouldn't be competing with industry. Assuming educational licenses were used to complete this work, it'd be interesting to see if Autodesk, Foundry, Adobe, etc do anything about it - I doubt they will, 'Beasts' seems to have too much positive press behind it for a software developer to pick on it for potential misuse of software licenses.

I'm sorry, however great this is for you as an individual, it's sucks for the industry as a whole - your school completely screwed someone out of a fairly decent vfx contract.

It's completely complexing how apathetic this industry is towards one another.

The vfx studios that would have worked on a film like this - Asylum, Matte World Digital, Cafe FX, The Orphanage and many more - have all closed down. Small companies like these (which are normally great places to work and if your a junior a great way to start your career) won't exist in the future if schools like AAU take on more projects like 'Beasts'. Even some larger vfx studios use these little projects to fill out gaps between big projects and keep people on-board.


+1

Exactly.
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Old 02 February 2013   #58
Originally Posted by leigh: You're avoiding the point; it's not about the "prestige", it's about the constant use of free labour for VFX work. And you know it, so why are you obfuscating the point here? If the film cost $1.2m to make, then it means some of the crew were paid - so why weren't the VFX crew paid? And don't say "because they're students", because if their work was good enough for the film, then they were good enough to get paid.

No, i'm not avoiding the point - I'm just showing how your restuarant analogy is flawed, as I'm sure many culinary students would do whatever to get experience from a prestigious restaurant. But I agree, the weak analogies are diluting the points being made in this thread.

Yes, I believe the students deserve compensation for their work in this case.
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Old 02 February 2013   #59
Originally Posted by RockinAkin: No, i'm not avoiding the point - I'm just showing how your restuarant analogy is flawed, as I'm sure many culinary students would do whatever to get experience from a prestigious restaurant. But I agree, the weak analogies are diluting the points being made in this thread.


As I said, it's not about the prestige, but the simple principle of people doing unpaid work for profiting enterprises. Because at the end of the day, that's exactly what it comes down to.

Sadly, the "prestige" argument is how people are conned into working for free in the first place. Prestige doesn't pay the bills, nor does a credit in a film.
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Old 02 February 2013   #60
Originally Posted by leigh: Sadly, the "prestige" argument is how people are conned into working for free in the first place. Prestige doesn't pay the bills, nor does a credit in a film.

And really... WHAT would that "prestige" get anyone?

A job at a VFX house that went bankrupt?
 
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