Gnomon School of Visual Effects Unveils Gnomon Studios


[left][b]Studio to Offer Hands-on Digital Entertainment Production Training for Gnomon Students, First Project Is Academy-Award Nominee Shane Acker’s New Short, “Plus Minus”

LOS ANGELES–22-06-2010[/b]–Gnomon School of Visual Effects, the industry leader in professional training for artists in the entertainment and design field, today revealed that it has established Gnomon Studios, where advanced Gnomon students prepare for professional careers by working on short films in a studio environment under the guidance and mentorship of production professionals. Gnomon Studios is currently working on Academy Award-nominated Director Shane Acker’s new short film, “Plus Minus.”

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“Short films, such as Acker’s “Plus Minus,” will be the core production focus of Gnomon Studios. Alvarez also expects Gnomon Studios to contribute to the occasional feature project when opportunities arise, as was the case with the facility’s recent contributions to the 2011 film “Green Lantern” and the popular TV series, “Fringe.””

Please tell me that the students working on these commercial projects are getting paid or are at least getting a rebate on some of their massive tuition. Otherwise Gnomon has just about the best racket around, employees that pay to do work. I’m sure Gnomon didn’t do Green Lantern and Fringe pro-bono.


Initially my response was the same as this but I think it all depends how it’s handled. After all, doing production work is the best experience money can buy, it usually cannot be bought.

At the end of the day if the Students are supervised through their role entirely by professional staff (as one would expect is the case here) then Gnomon is absorbing all the risk and cost associated with having students do the work.

I teach students at a tertiary and they aren’t reliable and need to be helped through. During holidays when making shorts or if we need extra hands for funded productions I offer some of them work. I usually try to get the production to buy them lunch or something but basically it’s a case of Work for Training. And to be honest, I feel they get the better deal most of the time. It takes most of them (comparatively) so long to get through the work and if you give them the utterly boring stuff most of them don’t do it, instead going back to self-taught principles which are so pervasive in the industry. If it was up to me I’d pay them something more for their time … although then I’d take less of them and demand more.

But I understand the sentiment.

Sometimes I wonder at the state of modern training. I guess I feel like VFX/CG is better suited to a classic apprenticeship model. Although the ‘Atelier’ model is also fitting … which is what this is I guess?


I’m sure I’ve read that there are laws regarding schools undertaking in private enterprise? Although google is failing me at the moment, so I can’t find anything specific to refer to and I’m not clued up enough about competition law to know off-hand.


To intern at a company usually doesn’t pay in £€$, nowadays it’s often even part of an scholastically curriculum to absolve an internship in a production environment, at least here in Germany. I would not say that Gnomon does anything wrong with that, even if their students doesn’t get paid for, I think it’s a privileg for Gnomon’s students to work on professionell projects and that’s groovy, imo.


I think what Gnomon is doing is a good thing for the students, but I also believe in the adage “an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay”. Other distributors and studios would be making money off the short films and feature projects the students work on, so it is logical the student should be paid for their time and effort.


It is true that internships are important, and sometimes even required, but I don’t agree with the premise that all internships are non-paid. I firmly believe that if a company has an intern working on a paying job, that intern should be paid something. Even if it is minimum wage, or $10 an hour. Of course they aren’t as quick or efficient as an artist you would hire, but that’s why they don’t make $25+ an hour… just $10 or so.

If Gnomon is actually having these students to pay for the right to work on VFX for Fringe I think that is criminal.


I didn’t say all are non-paid, but it’s actually not the standard as far as I know (maybe bonus that nobody needs to know). Just imagine running a studio and dealing with 5 interns each $10 per hour, you probably would need to hire a new secretary as well.


interships are usually non pay but if its a 3 month internship the studio should at least pay minimum wage or at the very least cover the public transit monthly pass. Students are broke as it is usually and have a debt big enough to buy a new mercedez with. That said, everyone pays their dues to get in. Its not an easy industry and if people cared about getting minimum wage more than working as an artist, they should’ve taken up something like accounting.


as long as they’re not actually competing for work against other studios, it seems like a pretty cool deal.


I know companys offering 1 year internships without paying the interns any cent while the interns do work on professionell projects during the hole year. It sounds more like in internal internship, what is actually pretty unique and awesome. I just bought “The Making of White Swan” DVD from Gnomon and they tell you that the studends of Gnomon also worked part time on this project. I don’t know if they get paid for for it, but I heard they had a lot fun to be part of the project. :wink:


Yes… I’m sure Fringe would have removed the visual effects for the episode(s) if Gnomon didn’t have students working on it.


Ha ha, exactly. It’s funny how people here get so up in arms about outsourcing to China, India etc. but don’t seem to have a problem with this. At least the foreign companies don’t charge their employees for the privilege of working on big name productions.
Of course, maybe Gnomon is compensating their students/employees and aren’t undercutting other bids using their negative salary costs as leverage…but I kind of doubt it.


my fun consists of being able to pay my bills and having enough money to put some in savings. being broke isnt very fun lol. At least they worked part time. I cant see myself putting in 40 to 80 hours of work for the sake of experience for 1 year.


Being a school of sorts I wonder if they use educational or commercial licences for their professional projects.


Good point, though I’m confident that’s crossed their mind. Certainly the ‘studio’ has an independent set of licenses.

About the ‘paid’ thing. Sure experience is worth something, however, labor is labor…period. If the project itself is not for profit, fine, but otherwise it’s merely giving your money away to work for free.

Also, if they’re not actually paying these people (emphasis on ‘if’, as I’ve not seen any definitive evidence that this is the case), what are they saying about their own school? Are you going to tell me, that an advanced student in the $65k program still needs a bit of free interning to be worthy of a real job? By outward appearances it doesn’t exactly inspire confidence in their program if that’s the case.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t dislike gnomon, but it might be in their best interest to be very careful with how they handle this thing…b/c they’re walking a very thin line.


The school I went to 15 years ago did this type of thing, it is nothing new. Unpaid or low paid work with students have been around since the beginning of time (used to be called an apprenticeship). It’s not a bad thing. Student’s are not that productive, especially when you have lots of them. You get to a point where the paid employees spend more time training and fixing student work then actually getting any work done themselves. You loose money with too much green labor.

Essentially Someone is doing Gnomon a favor by giving them a few shots here or there, I highly doubt they are getting rich or putting a company out of business on something like this.

As long as students are not being abused(which I highly doubt) I chalk this up to paying your dues.


So it’s basically like the block 3 classes at DAVE School.


Gnomon School of Visual Effects recently announced that they are starting a division called Gnomon Studios. Students will get to work on feature films in the hopes that the experience will give them a competitive edge in finding a job.

  It sounds like a noble idea at first, but then you hear stories about  the students like [this]([b]

I talked to the intern who works here. He is no longer a student and did work on X for about 10 weeks. He said the students didn’t like it because they had to PAY to work on the show.

  I told him that there might be a case for them to get paid but he was  hesitant because he doesn’t want to burn bridges. He said it would be  awesome to get paid for the work he did. He thinks it would be alot of  money. 


 Continue reading article for more at [](
 This kind of thing is very troubling to me and a lot of other people I know.  There has been the problem of people working for cheap or free to grab experience...but now they got students PAYING to work on projects that they themselves should be getting paid for.  This is just a whole 'nother level of WTF?!
 This type of thing not only hurts the students who are paying to work on a project...but the artists/studios who are displaced by the free labor.


Not sure how I feel about this. Part of me says yeah, they’re taking advantage of naive students. The other part says, it is a great learning experience for them. Also, there is a big difference between the work a professional can do, and the work a student does. Not paying students is not the same as not paying a professional who has been in the industry for years.

Kinda reminds me of the college athlete debate. College football/basketball brings in tens of MILLIONS of dollars for the school and coach staff. Yet the student athletes, who are largely responsible for all that income, are not paid a single penny.