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Old February 25th, 2013, 10:51 PM   #1
Darrell Lawrence
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QUESTION Is VFX a failing industry?


I dunno how to put this so it makes sense, so please bare with me.

A damn fine VFX house, Rythm and Hues, recently filed bankruptcy. They had to let go of many VFX artists and weren't able to pay them.

A movie they worked on, Life of Pi, made over half a billion dollars. Yet the company went broke.

Then to add insult to injury, the movie won an Academy Award for VFX. The presenters, all actors from The Avengers, whose own movie would have failed without VFX, tried to skip over talking about VFX's importance. Two of the actors went off script and went ahead and mentioned it. When the awardies were speaking, just as they started to talk about the state of VFX artists and the company, the Academy cut them off, first with music from "Jaws", then by turning off the mic.

During the Oscars, many VFX artists gathered for a demonstration outside of the building the show was held in.

VFX artists, and aspiring VFX artists, which happen to be you and me, may be seeing a huge change on the horizon in regards to VFX and "Hollywood".

Here are some links to read -

http://thebigsocialpicture.blogspot....idnt-know.html

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/new...s-blast-424304

http://blog.sfgate.com/thebigevent/2...-vfx-industry/

http://www.hitfix.com/motion-capture...nd-on-air-snub
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Old February 26th, 2013, 12:57 AM   #2
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Default Re: Is VFX a failing industry?

The days of major post production work (And probably production.)...in the the US and the UK are most likely numbered. Cheap studios will open up in Eastern Europe for shooting and post production and FX are already farmed out to animation and visual FX companies in Asia. This doesn't look good. I have many friends that are (were) computer programmers and their jobs have disappeared in the last ten years in the UK because of an influx of cheaper programmers from Eastern Europe in the late 90's.

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Old February 26th, 2013, 08:26 AM   #3
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Default Re: Is VFX a failing industry?

It sounds like somebody had a crappy contract. If they went into the red after doing a big movie like that, they should have charged more. I know, it's a cutthroat business and they likely try to undercut the competition when they quote prices, but you're not supposed to undercut the competition so much that you can't even pay your bills. Do you think general contractors do that? Of course they don't. (at least, not the legitimate ones)

As for actors not acknowledging stuff like that, what else is new? Especially when you consider that the group included Robert Downey, Jr., who tends to come off looking like he firmly believes that he's the center of the universe. Some actors (like him) tend to act like what they do in a movie matters and nothing else does. Though, I have to admit, that's a classless move by the Academy Awards. Their whole spiel was scripted, which means someone intentionally did that, which is bad when you consider that the whole point of giving out awards in as many categories as they do, including behind the scenes work, is to acknowledge those peoples' contributions to the films. Though, I honestly didn't notice that they did that because, at that point, I was just happy any time that Seth MacFarlane wasn't on stage.
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Old February 26th, 2013, 10:01 AM   #4
Darrell Lawrence
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Default Re: Is VFX a failing industry?

Downey Jr is the first of the two to go off script and acknowledge them. Ruffalo was the other. Jackson was the one that was suppose to have mentioned it, but didn't say anything. He just stood there. Ruffalo gave him a WTF look and then Downey said something finally.

As for being able to pay the bills, if they charged higher, the contract would have gone to someone else. Then it'd be someone else's company name we'd be posting about instead.
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Old February 26th, 2013, 11:28 AM   #5
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Default Re: Is VFX a failing industry?

OK, I stand corrected about Downey, Jr. He's not a very easy guy to get a read on. Sometimes, some of the comments he makes seem like it's all about him. But, maybe I've read him incorrectly. (I've heard other people comment on that too) Chris Evans should be throwing some love to the effects people. Without them, he'd have never been able to play the pre-Captain America Steve Rogers in Captain America: The First Avenger. They did a lot of work and came up with groundbreaking techniques to turn him into "Skinny Steve."

If taking a contract means you have to cut your price so much that you can't cover costs, you let the contract go to someone else. You don't take it and then not be able to make ends meet. My dad works for an engineering company and they never bid so low that they'll go into the red, and that means they occasionally don't get contracts. As far as I know, effects companies get a fee, they don't get a percentage of the movie's gross income. That's why films can cost so much to make when they're effects heavy. If they don't get a job because the movies' producers want to go cheap, they need to bid on some other jobs.

Though, I've seen the clips from that film and the effects are stunning. The tiger alone blows my mind. Since they wouldn't have a film without said effects, the producers should help out the effects company. The fact that they're letting a company whose effects made their film what it is go bankrupt says a lot about the character of the people making that film. (usually, the producers decide things like this) But, one can only hope that their Oscar will throw some work their way.
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Old February 26th, 2013, 10:37 PM   #6
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Default Re: Is VFX a failing industry?

Been hearing Youtube and other vid places keep taking down the Oscars/VFX video

So... http://www.3dgladiators.net/darrell/index.html (Only there for a couple of days)
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Old February 27th, 2013, 07:33 AM   #7
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Default Re: Is VFX a failing industry?

Yeah, YouTube will take down anything that any copyright holders complain about to avoid lawsuits.

Seeing it again, I think the thing with Mark Ruffalo, Robert Downey, Jr. and Samuel L. Jackson was a comedy bit they wrote in there. I think that's what I thought to begin with, which is why I didn't know what you were talking about. Whether or not it was funny depends on the person watching, I guess. Of course, I could be wrong and maybe it wasn't a comedy bit, but that's what it looks like to me.

Sam Jackson: "Let's thank them by giving them the damn award." That right there sounds to me like he was trying to be funny. Though, of course, funniness is in the eye of the beholder.

As for starting the music, they started it while he was thanking people, about 15 to 20 seconds before he mentioned the financial trouble. Though, have you ever noticed how not all acceptance speeches get the same amount of time? I've noticed this a lot over the years, both at the Academy Awards and other awards shows. Less known people like VFX people, writers, SFX people, etc. seem to get the music a lot more quickly than big names like actors and directors when giving their speeches. I guess it all comes down to star power, which is sad. For example, that guy didn't seem to be taking any longer than Anne Hathaway did giving her speech, yet he got the music and she didn't. A few years ago, I saw Robin Williams give about a 5 minute acceptance speech at the Golden Globes without getting the music while less known people taking over a minute got it.
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Old March 21st, 2013, 11:29 AM   #8
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Default Re: Is VFX a failing industry?

I wouldn't say that VFX is a failing industry; it's becoming integral to all film more and more every year.

What is failing is the current business model for providing that service.
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