Variety: Small Vfx Shops Rewrite Rules

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  06 June 2013
Variety: Small Vfx Shops Rewrite Rules

Quote:
"
While the visual-effects industry has been jolted by two high-profile bankruptcies and infighting over unionization, some houses have been steadily sending in shots and making a living at the same time.

These are the boutique operations often micro-setups that maintain a permanent staff of about five to 10 people and then staff up to as many as 25 to 30 people when demand dictates. They also eschew fancy digs for more affordable facilities, and resist the temptation to grow too big too fast.

"

http://variety.com/2013/tv/awards/s...les-1200498849/
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  06 June 2013
As someone who has worked in both, the key difference in that article lies mainly in semantics regarding freelance.

First their freelancers aren't contract employees in most cases but simply freelancers that invoice no benefits to the employee, no vacation time and in many cases the freelance isn't hourly either so OT and the likes do not apply. Don't see them addressing how poorly the artists are being treated though.

Second, when a company can go from 5 to 30 when the demand to get a project done is there, they tout it as an advantage, but when the project is done, they cut back down to 5. So while the studio is doing fine, they still let 25 people go. That's a worse layoff percentage than R&H LA or R&H Vancouver post bankruptcy, but people aren't looking at the percentage they look at it as 25 which doesn't see so bad. If all studios were the same sort of operating boutiques it would be just as bad if not worse.

Freelancing for boutiques gets you:
-No benefits
-No vacation pay
-Often day Weekly or even flat rates, so no OT compensation
-Shorter contracts, mine were typically around 6 weeks on commercials and two features.
-Often, since your not an employee your compensated in full and one has to learn the discipline of saving to pay taxes off at the end of the tax year.

Aren't these the common complaints from various artists that were a part of the layoffs that now want to unionize?

Both situations have the pros and cons, but really you need both systems and neither is superior, but one has to be smart and realize that while 25 seems a lot less than 600 as in R&H LA, if we replaced the big studio with enough effective boutiques to match the caliber of work, you'd be seeing the same amount of layoffs in total, just spread over more companies so it won't hit the news.
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Kai Pedersen
 
  06 June 2013
Hi Kei,
Good one.Couldn't put it across any better.With the one sided view being presented in this article, it looks like everything went from bad to good.The way things look, this gets crazy that work has now got to be co ordinated across several small shops.Then there is the option of only using only off the shelf software because all of them will have to work on the same software and also the same version.
People?? who cares about them anyway.Most people think that CGI is done by computers.
I hope people don't take this article seriously.
Cheers.
 
  07 July 2013
Originally Posted by LucentDreams: As someone who has worked in both, the key difference in that article lies mainly in semantics regarding freelance.

First their freelancers aren't contract employees in most cases but simply freelancers that invoice no benefits to the employee, no vacation time and in many cases the freelance isn't hourly either so OT and the likes do not apply. Don't see them addressing how poorly the artists are being treated though.

Second, when a company can go from 5 to 30 when the demand to get a project done is there, they tout it as an advantage, but when the project is done, they cut back down to 5. So while the studio is doing fine, they still let 25 people go. That's a worse layoff percentage than R&H LA or R&H Vancouver post bankruptcy, but people aren't looking at the percentage they look at it as 25 which doesn't see so bad. If all studios were the same sort of operating boutiques it would be just as bad if not worse.

Freelancing for boutiques gets you:
-No benefits
-No vacation pay
-Often day Weekly or even flat rates, so no OT compensation
-Shorter contracts, mine were typically around 6 weeks on commercials and two features.
-Often, since your not an employee your compensated in full and one has to learn the discipline of saving to pay taxes off at the end of the tax year.

Aren't these the common complaints from various artists that were a part of the layoffs that now want to unionize?



I totally agree. Also, in my own experience, small studios tend to pay less and you also tend to work far more hours, and with regards to the latter, there's also a higher incidence of emotional blackmailing to put those in longer hours.

I'm sure there are many studios where this isn't the case, but I've yet to find them.
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  07 July 2013
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