Meteor studios shuts down and doesn't pay it's employees their remaining wages.


#1

Best of luck to the former employees finding new jobs. Reading these type of stories is always sad.

On the 21st of November, Meteor Studios shut down…

All the artists that worked like crazy, on JCE 3d, and Pierre DeLespinois project “Lincoln” did not get paid…apparently JCE client paid Meteor and sent a wonderfull thank you letter to the crew…But our owners, Pierre DeLespinois(evergreen films llc) of Pacific Palisades, California and or John Honeycutt boardmember of the Discovery Channel in Virginia have decided to not pay us and are not returning calls or emails.
Employees are now filling law suits true the Quebec Labor Commission. and trying to get exposure about the case…

They owe employees over 400K dollards…

Help us bring the noise…

sincerly,

Meteor Studios Employees…

There is a lenghty discussion where it’s originally posted:

http://www.vfxheaven.com/phpbb/viewtopic.php?p=92


#2

It’s like a full on warzone in the forums, I feel sorry for the artists and I see that alot of people are blaming Aaron and Bret but they don’t really know who’s fault it is. Bret has decided to help out, you can see his reply in page 9 and I hope that everything will work out.


#3

Its extreamly shitty to hear and read about this . I knew a few people over there, and my best wishes go out to them, and everyone who just got screwed :frowning:

Here’s hoping the higher ups behind Meteor do the right thing,… or get their asses sued off :wink:


#4

this is really sad…its sad that the people that did all the work are the first ones to be screwed…really sad.


#5

Ouch! :eek:

Man, that sux bigtime! I hope everyone at least gets paid and is able to find more stable employment elsewhere (although that’s stretching reality a bit).


#6

I’m surprised it took this long.

I hope the poor sods that got shafted will somehow manage to get out of this with something in their hands.


#7

First thing I would do is obtain facts and if denied my pay I would get legal advice. I’ll let some things go but not my damn pay check!


#8

Sorry to hear this, its a shame when things like this happen, i wish everyone whos owned money and is out of work the best of luck.

its also nice to see a thread like this not get closed


#9

Don’t they have labor laws to protect against something like that?

Pull that stunt in Australia you would probably end up in prison.


#10

just goes to show what i have said manytimes on these forums, job security is a relative thing, at least in this industry. (usually i bring this up in discussions about freelancing but its relevant here for sure…)

the only thing at all unusual about this story is people maybe not getting paid their last check, studios close all the time though, and even if they dont close, movie fx shops downsizing after big shows i.e. layoffs is so common it goes without comment most of the time.


#11

No you wouldn’t.
I’m not sure I can’t mention who it was and how it happened, but it happened already in Australia, and people haven’t got anything out of it a year later, nor ever will.
Oz is one of the least unionized and riskier countries for freelancing I’ve ever worked in (I was lucky the company I was working for, RSP, is incredible at taking care of their employees in all regards, but the kind of crap you can get away with on a contract in Oz is a lot worse then the UK or Cali).

Montreal, or Quebec in general, also seems to be a place where people can get away with this crap a lot. I’ve heard similar stories about a solid half the studios in quebec, and some of those names popped up repeatedly in that thread too.
When it comes to Quebec though, I have no idea if it’s because they managed to scare the freelance/employee pool into submission, and it’s a case of ignored rights, or if the local system is inherently flawed and allows dirty tricks like nesting companies and deresponsabilization.


#12

I was speaking in the context of full time employment…

Where these guys contractors or full timers?


#13

A large part of the posts seem to be from freelance, but I saw a few “I worked there for N years” too.
I have, however, no idea of employement categories and eventual loopholes (every country has some that usually get exploited by cg shops) in quebec.


#14

See, this is why I don’t believe in owning weapons, because with my short temper and someone owning me money for my hard work, it could turn ugly. Very ugly for those bastards.

I would absolutely gaurentee that if something like that happened to me, it would not have a good outcome for them.

I am actually pissed right now for those people, and it doesn’t even directly affect me.

:banghead:


#15

really sorry to hear this.

all the work done but no paid? too much.


#16

I would actually send Stewie Griffin to sort the bastards out…


#17

I know what its like to be in the shoes they are in. Worst thing in the world to not get whats comming to you from supposedly a “stable” stdio job. best of luck to the former employees and hopefully they will get something out of it, if nothing else a new job but hopefully paid what they are owed.


#18

From the perspective as an employed artist, I feel for you guys and hope you get paid!

I am also very interested in understanding the big picture of what REALLY happened. Reading through the linked forum I was able to begin to see pieces of the puzzle revealed, however I wonder if it was an intentional flip of the finger to the hard working employees or was it some other unfortunate chain of events that made such an ending inevitable.

This is all my own conjecture here–Im not a part of this situation in any way–but I have been thinking generally about how such a business remains sustainable. I may be talking out my a@@ here.

Could it ultimately have been the television network client low balling the studio (was it an american network with its low-valued dollar trying to outsource to a country with a better economy?) and the trickle down from that placing the studio into an impossible situation to maintain? Perhaps the studio was in such a position where it needed to take any work it could in order to keep the cash flow going and maintain its overhead which of course includes employee paychecks, despite the numbers being low and demands being high?

I’ve sort of been in similar situations–worked for a tanking studio several years ago. At the time we were pissed and just saw it as me and my colleagues being screwed over. Years later I can look at things more objectively and see where there was no other choice for the business owners and can even say that on some levels some of the staff itself may have contributed to the downfall. We weren’t withheld pay in this situation so its hardly comparable.

Putting my feet in the other sides shoes, I can only imagine how challenging it must be to run such a studio, getting bigger all the time as bigger budget jobs start materializing. Then in order to keep things moving the small “mom and pop” shop must begin making that tough transition into a more corporate business model, with all the beauracracy and overhead that comes with it–and before you know it you have a run away train that needs a constant fix of large quantities of coal.

Or perhaps it was just a black and white sort of thing where the studio execs were just downright slime balls–end of story.

Sad indeed–Im sure its a nightmare for all involved.


#19

What is it about artists that they will continue working on mere promises that they will get paid… “eventually”. I’ve done it too.

This is where unions are valuable things. Animators at studios that are union organized don’t get stiffed like that.


#20

Not really a surprise , theres lots of other studios out there who sail very close to the wind …