THR:Reflections On Siggraph: 'The Only Ones Making Money Are For-Profit Universities'

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Old 07 July 2013   #1
THR:Reflections On Siggraph: 'The Only Ones Making Money Are For-Profit Universities'

Quote:
"
During a session on the state of the industry VFX supervisor Scott Squires lamented that he had talented colleagues who are planning to leave the business. “One problem is we love what we do, and accept a lot of things that ‘normal’ people would not—like working 80 hours a week and [sometimes] not be paid for it.”

Said panelist and VFX artist Dave Rand: “If I could ask for one thing to change first, it would be that not-paying-artists would end. It’s happening. It just happened in India.”

A big component of Siggraph is education, and some worried professionals from Hollywood questioned the career potential for the attending students after their graduation.

“The only people making money are for-profit universities, from tuition,” said one industry vet. “Students are graduating and want to work in movies … but jobs are scarce, and they are [often] graduating with student debt.

“For [veterans], they are competing with new graduates who will work for pizza and beer. What does that do?”

"

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/be...oney-are-594123
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Old 07 July 2013   #2
Utterly agree. I am earning less than I did 10 years ago. And 20% more hours. It is not a fun life any more.

This has genuinely become the worst industry to be in. Bosses push and push and don't give a crap. Clients want pixar for South Park money. Idiots run the big companies and are filling desks with 2k computers interns and 'grads' from online training sites.

I am packing up the computer when I have finished the project I am outta the VFX game.

Last edited by strangerthings : 07 July 2013 at 10:19 AM.
 
Old 07 July 2013   #3
Originally Posted by RobertoOrtiz: “For [veterans], they are competing with new graduates who will work for pizza and beer. What does that do?”
"


This might sound cruel, but if someone is an experienced veteran, and can be easily replaced by a new graduate, perhaps they have not learned much over the years.
 
Old 07 July 2013   #4
Actually...

Originally Posted by lo: This might sound cruel, but if someone is an experienced veteran, and can be easily replaced by a new graduate, perhaps they have not learned much over the years.


...when someone is replaced in that manner, it is much more likely that the 'management' making such decisions is one that lacks the ability to discern and knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.
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Old 07 July 2013   #5
Originally Posted by lo: This might sound cruel, but if someone is an experienced veteran, and can be easily replaced by a new graduate, perhaps they have not learned much over the years.


lol, it's not a cruel, I also don't get how [veteran] can be compared to graduate.
(Look's like another panic thread)
 
Old 07 July 2013   #6
Originally Posted by lo: This might sound cruel, but if someone is an experienced veteran, and can be easily replaced by a new graduate, perhaps they have not learned much over the years.

I agree. In every area you look at there's though competition, be it civil engineering, architecture, software development, medicine, cloth store, you name it. In every area you have to learn constantly, invest in your skills and try to be the best you can in your area. You'll eventually find your spot in the industry, be that industry local or global.
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Old 07 July 2013   #7
The need for entertainment will continue to exist and computer graphics are still an essential means of visualizing the components of said entertainment. What's broken today is both the business and production model in which computer graphics generation is utilized. Hampered by the traditional distribution mechanism and consumer expectations, the system will be exploited until it completely collapses. But even then, that still doesn't negate the consumers' drive for more entertainment. Thus out of the ashes, something new must and will emerge.

Today we're seeing new production models focused around democratization of technologies that are actually pretty effective. The traditional distribution model is being challenged by alternative delivery mechanisms, but that's still fairly fledgling. Its the business model that remains the most elusive...but also holds the potential for the biggest reward. (And is always the last one to change.)

As you can imagine, the traditional powers are aware of the situation and find a lot of it troubling. They're motivated to change, but not necessarily with the best intentions for those further down the food chain. Thus its necessary for those not wishing to be in that food chain to find ways to meet that creative drive, while taking a risk both with our potential niche markets and the people we creatively collaborate with. This may mean spreading the creative ownership and risk out against a larger collection of owners. Whatever the new business model is...I'm sure they've all been suggested before. But not necessarily in the current state of conditions.

I for one am willing to explore the options.

The last issue I would address is the artists' desire to be a part of something bigger and potentially career enhancing. We may need to redefine what it means to be successful.
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Last edited by Vizfizz : 07 July 2013 at 05:31 PM.
 
Old 07 July 2013   #8
Originally Posted by G3D: ...when someone is replaced in that manner, it is much more likely that the 'management' making such decisions is one that lacks the ability to discern and knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.


... says the veteran
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Old 07 July 2013   #9
The idea of veterans being "replaced" by people fresh out of school is not limited to VFX. Younger = cheaper and easier to manipulate.

The idea of counter varying tariffs is interesting for physical products, but how exactly would that translate to film, tv and games? $100+ to see a film or a few hundred bucks or more to buy a game because cg work was done in a country with unfair subsidies?
 
Old 07 July 2013   #10
Originally Posted by Zarathustra: The idea of veterans being "replaced" by people fresh out of school is not limited to VFX. Younger = cheaper and easier to manipulate.

And where does it stop?
"Gee-Bob-you've been with us what like a year now? We think its time for you to retire. Seems like only yesterday you joined us. So good luck with your retirement!"
 
Old 07 July 2013   #11
Originally Posted by circusboy: And where does it stop?
"Gee-Bob-you've been with us what like a year now? We think its time for you to retire. Seems like only yesterday you joined us. So good luck with your retirement!"


It does not stop. A major London studio every year hires the next batch of juniors and then after seeing them in action culls the chaff and hires the next batch. Making sure they have a stream of cheap low wage talent.
 
Old 07 July 2013   #12
Originally Posted by mr Bob: It does not stop. A major London studio every year hires the next batch of juniors and then after seeing them in action culls the chaff and hires the next batch. Making sure they have a stream of cheap low wage talent.


Same thing is happening in newspapers. The one my Dad works in has nine journalists, but five of them are newbies working for free on the slave labour scheme in the hope they will get a job after six months. Not a single one of the five will get a job, they will be kicked out in a few months and replaced with new slaves.
It apparently causes problems. The paper has been sued twice already for printing inaccurate stories done by the newbies, which were not properly checked by editors.

It would probably have worked out cheaper to hold on to the veterans than have to pay out big money to people who have been libelled.
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Old 07 July 2013   #13
Quote: The only people making money are for-profit universities, from tuition,” said one industry vet. “Students are graduating and want to work in movies … but jobs are scarce, and they are [often] graduating with student debt.





This again. That's an easy drum to bang, and many of these schools are doing a legitimate disservice to their students, but it's also starting to become a scapegoat for other, bigger issues. The fact is (and I'm speaking for the U.S. only here), that the cost of education (regardless of what type of institution you attend) has gone way way up in recent years while the average salary has not increased in proportion (or actually gone down in some cases). Scream about "for profits" all you want, but there are multiple schools which are supposedly "non-profit" graduating kids with 100k+ in loans. Several of these schools are actually even frequently recommended by experienced users on this board (without these members really looking into them) which just further illustrates some of the issues .

It's really a problem with education as a whole right now. The same thing is happening in multiple industries outside of this one and it feels irresponsible to narrow the focus so much while avoiding the wider issues such as even needing a degree for this field in the first place or the fact that you will frequently be dealing with the type of management that really would replace a highly skilled veteran with a wet behind the ears grad without spending a lot of time on the actual cost of that action ...

Edited for ease of reading

Last edited by Crotalis : 07 July 2013 at 09:03 PM.
 
Old 07 July 2013   #14
Yeah, I think you're right Crotalis. As much as I'd like to gloat for ultimately not getting into film... it seems like companies in every industry does this sort of thing now in one form or another. And of course, school isn't cheap for anyone these days.

There's going to be an even larger number of 30-40 somethings working for minimum wage as time progresses. Its not because they were lazy. They went to school. They had multiple internships. They might have even landed an entry level job in their chosen industry... and then they were cycled out for the next batch.

That is my single-worst-fear. That this sort of thing will spread and become acceptable, that I will be next, and that my career will be over.

The kids who go to the really expensive schools on loans have it even worse for sure... unless they are already rich they will be screwed.
 
Old 07 July 2013   #15
That's where career management comes into play. (And quite frankly is sorely overlooked in the CG industry) There's nothing wrong with 40 somethings working on the box till the end of their careers (and are perfectly content), but one has to really examine the industry for what it is.

As one progresses in his/her career, you realize that there IS a cycle of attrition. Careers have multiple peaks and valleys and jumping from peak to peak isn't really realistic. Young replaces old. New talent emerges. New technologies force relearning. Veterans who succeed are those who are capable of dealing with change and have a willingness to adapt. The process of adapting may require some risk.

Essentially if you want to keep your career, you work to position yourself into areas that are changing...in that process you not only advance because of your experience, but you remain in need by potential clients. Sometimes it means taking a detour on what you thought was your "life's work". But if you have a plan, any detour just means an opportunity to expand your capabilities.
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