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

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Old 02 February 2013   #61
Quote:
Originally Posted by leigh
Prestige doesn't pay the bills, nor does a credit in a film.

But the prestige and credit does (and did) help these students get jobs that DO pay the bills now.

I understand your point, but there's a line that must be drawn between what professional (paying) work is, and what isn't. What if these students weren't able to produce professional quality VFX work until they took this class, got guidance from their instructor all along the way, and now that's the reason they're able to compete in the job market?
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Last edited by RockinAkin : 02 February 2013 at 12:53 AM.
 
Old 02 February 2013   #62
Quote:
Originally Posted by RockinAkin
But the prestige and credit does (and did) help these students get jobs that DO pay the bills now.

I understand your point, but there's a line that must be drawn between what professional (paying) work is, and what isn't. What if these students weren't able to produce professional quality VFX work until they took this class, got guidance from their instructor all along the way, and now that's the reason they're able to compete in the job market?


Surely it's the school's job to be teaching them and preparing them for the job market? Otherwise what's the point in investing in an education? The way I see it, not only were those students exploited by this film project, they even paid for the "opportunity", literally.

I don't like the "what if that film credit helped them get the job?" argument, because it can't be proven either way.
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Old 02 February 2013   #63
Quote:
Originally Posted by RockinAkin
But the prestige and credit does (and did) help these students get jobs that DO pay the bills now.

I understand your point, but there's a line that must be drawn between what professional (paying) work is, and what isn't. What if these students weren't able to produce professional quality VFX work until they took this class, got guidance from their instructor all along the way, and now that's the reason they're able to compete in the job market?

So how much to these students PAY to the school to learn a job that will pay the bills for a VERY SHORT time? This job market is ever decreasing a great deal in part BECAUSE of practices like this. After the VFX house closes that these students got a job in - because of the "prestige" of working on a film - how much money will they still owe the banks for their student loans?
 
Old 02 February 2013   #64
Quote:
Originally Posted by DSW
And really... WHAT would that "prestige" get anyone?

A job at a VFX house that went bankrupt?


THIS is the question we need to be asking.

Everyone is conned into working for 'a foot in the door' or 'prestige' or pick your synonym, but all of this only has a tentative point if they can actually get a job one day. By not only working for free but technically paying for the privilege, students are undermining their own ability to get paid for work because they are directly sapping demand out of the market for entry-level work.

Also, it's very convenient for people to be laissez-faire until the floor has been knocked out from under them as well.

Last edited by badsearcher : 02 February 2013 at 01:40 AM.
 
Old 02 February 2013   #65
I'm going to go a step further. This problem of not paying for work is not relegated to art.

After the major blizzard that was on the United States East Coast, I was going for a walk and I saw someone who had called the cops on the owner of a house because that houseowner had hired that man to clear up the driveway and roof of snow. I could overhear them arguing and she was saying that he hadn't done everything she had hired him to do so she wasn't going to pay him at all.

What is this?! This is some kind of sickness.

When did human labor become an optional expense?
 
Old 02 February 2013   #66
Quote:
Originally Posted by RockinAkin
But the prestige and credit does (and did) help these students get jobs that DO pay the bills now.


Possibly, but no more than a good student reel would have.
This is still exploitation. Whether the students agree or not is a moot point, because they likely don't know better.
Back home in India, I'd see people work their buts of for no money because of the prestige. It gets them nowhere but further down a tunnel of debt.
Their own sense of value gets so distorted that they'll never work their way up even if they have the chance.


Yes, they can say they worked on an Oscar film, but they're still not production ready, they will work for a far cheaper rate than they would have otherwise, and they'll continue to do work for cheaper and cheaper than they would have.

End result:
The school wins: It gets money from the students for sure, who know what their commision deal is with the studios. Has anyone clarified that?
The studio wins: They get a ridiculously cheap movie with quality 'magically' outside its budget
The film maker wins: He gets a boatload of money, he gets the fame etc.

The students get what? A couple shots on a film that doesn't have any "blow your mind" vfx scenes, they now have their loan debts, they've also lost out on the theoretical money they would have made over those months. They now have a much lower self-value.






Not to mention the legality of the educational licenses which is a big point.

Then there's the repurcussions to people not even involved. Let's say a roto artist is working for a little above minimum wage, doing his work in regular hours and doing a good job. Along comes one of these students, who will work for cheaper and will work crazy hours but only does 50% as good work.
To the people running financials, their sense of what quality work is doesn't exist at the same level. But all they see is "cheaper, more flexible" and hire the lower quality worker.

Boom, you have a good artist out of a job who now has to find a job. Except, hey, all these students have displaced those artists. All the average wages have gone down.






The fact is, this mentality of students having different rights is bull. They're people learning the ways and trust their teachers , but their teachers are leading them astray.
 
Old 02 February 2013   #67
students doing a collaborative project= free
students doing work for an outside party = paid

The line needs to be drawn.
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Old 02 February 2013   #68
I suppose my two cents for this topic would be coming from the students perspective. I am attending AAU and got to talk to the instructor coordinating industry connections like this project when I first started school. Just starting out or while still in school solely having the opportunity to get our "feet wet" in a legitimate work environment is something most of my peers would dive on in a heartbeat regardless of how much they made or didn't.

Personally if they offered me a project I would certainly at least ask about benefits to doing the project aside from content for my reel. My gut instinct is ideally they should of had a deal with the school to take a bite out of the students tuition for the work they did, they may have or may work something out in hindsight as I am not too informed on the production. I know it's easy to point the finger and accuse wrongdoing, my optimistic perspective takes it as an indie production looking for help and a school working with them for mutual benefit. I doubt either thought anything this big would happen out of it and that lack of preparation has drawn out issues discussed in this thread.
 
Old 02 February 2013   #69
So for a school to morally do this, should they have to follow these guidelines?:

1 - Have a lab with commercial licences of the software they use.
2 - Pay the students minimum wage for the time they work - or displace their tuition accordingly.
3 - Have contracts in place to give extra compensation according to the success of the project.
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Modeler / Generalist TD
CGGallery.com
 
Old 02 February 2013   #70
Quote:
Originally Posted by RockinAkin
So for a school to morally do this, should they have to follow these guidelines?:

1 - Have a lab with commercial licences of the software they use.
2 - Pay the students minimum wage for the time they work - or displace their tuition accordingly.
3 - Have contracts in place to give extra compensation according to the success of the project.


Yes, students have been paid for getting involved in research and many others.

Students was also paid for Google Summer of Code.

In short, students must be paid if they do commercial work.
 
Old 02 February 2013   #71
Quote:
Originally Posted by RockinAkin
So for a school to morally do this, should they have to follow these guidelines?:

1 - Have a lab with commercial licences of the software they use.
2 - Pay the students minimum wage for the time they work - or displace their tuition accordingly.
3 - Have contracts in place to give extra compensation according to the success of the project.

No.

Why?

Because they would STILL be contributing to the downward spiral of the very industry they are trying to prepare their students for. In a very real sense it's like an arms dealer selling weapons to both sides - they profit off of both parties. The school profits from the students who want to work in VFX - even though there won't be any jobs available- and they take money from the studios. The studios don't have to pay anywhere near what the work would cost and devalue the very work the students are working on.

They cannot be morally right no matter how you slice it.

Why is this even being entertained as OK?
 
Old 02 February 2013   #72
I wonder about the licenses used because the in-lab stations at school are all student licenses that mark files as being produced on a student system, I suppose it doesn't watermark renders though.
 
Old 02 February 2013   #73
I am Currently a student at AAU and a current student in the Studio 400A colab class. First and foremost this class is an incredible experience. We would never get this opportunity to work in a real production environment like this, short of having a job in the industry. I chose to be in this class. To work along side my peers whom are some of the most talented people i have the pleasure of working with. We all problem solve, communicate and hone our skills to be effective in this competitive field. I see the argument on both sides, however i just wanted to add my voice to this topic as i am involved in the class. Our instructor and fearless leader Catherine is fantastic, she loves what shes doing and appreciates all of us and our efforts. We get to work in a real pipeline with students leading all of it and learning from all of them is priceless. There is no doubt we have deadlines, things need to get done and we have a responsibility to do what we say we can take on. Being "late" on your homework for this class could effect someone else waiting for your model, or texture etc. Student animators/matte painters/fx artists and compositors work side by side. We learn comunication organization and the real jist of how things are done in the real world. I wouldn't trade this opportunity for a second. Even if the school got paid (they are not) i could really care quite honestly, this opportunity and environment is my favorite part of school im here to learn. I LOVE what i do im good at it I live and breath it and everyone around me shares that kind of an attitude. This opportunity is unique and great for our portfolios, our work ethic, responsibility and i am honored to be a part of it!

Brandon
 
Old 02 February 2013   #74
Quote:
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.


Why is it funny ? .Clearly no professional outfit would do their work for the unrealistic budget. Instead 2 yrs later they got a load of students which is frankly pathetic. So now you have the situation of a precedent that has been set.

b
 
Old 02 February 2013   #75
Quote:
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. 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.


I didn't. Neither did any of my peers since we first started on Beasts 2 years ago. We do our homework, we know what we are worth. Don't insult us assuming we have no passion for vfx nor capable of nothing else but poor decision making.
 
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