DAVID S. COHEN you rock!
"During my interviews for Tuesday’s article on compressed post-production schedules and the crush to finish visual effects on studio tentpoles, something got stuck in my head and I can’t get it out.
I was talking to Warner’s Chris de Faria about whether the whole system is broken. The visual effects community is raising the alarm that it is, and dangerously so. That’s part of the impetus behind the push to unionize vfx artists.
But de Faria told me, “I don’t see a problem with the system.” He noted that since he came on at Warner Bros., visual effects studios aren’t going out of business on Warner’s movies. When the studio is late turning over shots, it pays the agreed-upon late fees. The films are getting made on time, and audiences are happy with the effects.
I countered by noting that artists complain bitterly of terrible personal strains, including broken relationships and marriages, due to the long hours on a job and the nomadic lifestyle. Entire visual effects companies have closed or given up working on features due to low margins and quality-of-life issues. Experienced, talented artists regularly leave the business for the same reason.
De Faria wondered why he is responsible for that. After all, he noted, it’s the vfx shops and their management that impose those long hours, not Warner Bros. And in a strict sense, he’s absolutely right.
But listening to him, I flashed on something outside the entertainment industry: the Walmart Effect. For a supplier, getting a contract to sell to Walmart can be both the best thing to happen to a company and the worst. I think the relationship between the studios and the visual effects companies is moving in the same direction."