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Monthly Archives: March 2013

It’s very interesting to see how mainstream the visual effects crisis has become. It seems like everybody’s talking about it. Below are just a few of the stories that caught my eye over the last week.

 

Visual effects firms face talent shortage and struggle despite recent success
The Star Online
“I went to a conference recently and a lot of the American visual effects supervisors were excited to talk about their collaboration with Malaysian partners as well as the quality of work we can deliver,” he said here yesterday, adding that it was also 

Ang Lee: VFX biz ‘very hard to make money’
Variety
Lee, who incurred the ire of vfx artists by not mentioning the Oscar-winning vfx on the pic during his acceptance speech, had an opportunity to expand on his opinions of the vfx biz but didn’t bite. He didn’t have a lot to say about the travails of the 

Is the Visual Effects Industry Dying?
PolicyMic
What was more intriguing than the Oscars or my self-pedicure was not happening inside the Kodak, or I mean, Dolby Theatre, it was actually occurring a few miles east on Hollywood and Vine: a protest arranged by members of the visual effectscommunity.


PolicyMic
Even as visual effects proliferate, the industry finds itself in crisis
Globe and Mail
It’s the most important U.S. military mission in recent memory and a key sequence in the year’s most controversial film. It had to be done exactly right: no hint of sentimentality, and certainly no hint of the visual effects that were integral to Zero 

Michael Dambold: Oscars shine light on visual effects industry’s troubles
Tulsa World
At the Oscars, “Life of Pi” won multiple awards including one for visual effects. The effects for the movie were created by the studio Rhythm & Hues, whose credits also include “Django Unchained,” “The Hunger Games,” “Snow White and the Huntsman,” 

Why visual effects artists are ‘going green’
Toronto Star
Eric Roth, executive president of the Los Angeles-based Visual Effects Society (VES) — which has members in 30 countries — said the industry in California is in particular danger, shedding jobs as film studios seek to lower their costs by finding 


Toronto Star
Visual effects artists struggle in demanding world of cinema
Daily Nebraskan
As “Life of Pi” raked in four major Academy Awards last Sunday, the company primarily responsible for the film’s success was sitting in Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Rhythm & Hues, the largest visualeffects and CG animation studio in Los Angeles, has won 

Could Protesting Visual Effects Artists Use Cyber Attacks To Get Back At Studios?
Cinema Blend
The war of words being waged between visual effects houses (and visual effectstechnicians) and the major Hollywood studios likely is going to get worse before things start improving. Case in point: A major trade reports on “concerns” that tech-savvy 


Cinema Blend
WATCH: What TV’s most popular shows would look like without their visual effects
The Week Magazine
t Sunday’s Oscar ceremony, the visual effects team behind the stunningly beautiful Life of Pi were ushered offstage before group spokesman Bill Westenhofer could explain the central irony of their Oscar win: As they collected the award, their company, 


The Week Magazine
Tech Support: Visual Effects Society issues a ‘call to action’
HitFix (blog)
If you’ve paid any attention to the film industry the last few weeks, or maybe at least noticed green icons all over Facebook and Twitter, you’re well aware of the on-going state of frustration within the visual effects community. HitFix’s Drew McWeeny 

The Economics of Visual Effects
New York Times (blog)
Audiences got a taste of it on Sunday, when Bill Westenhofer, a visual effects winner for “Life of Pi,” was played off the Oscar stage with the “Jaws” music, just as he was talking about the bankruptcy of the film’s effects house, Rhythm & Hues. In a 


New York Times (blog)
Visual-effects protest spreads to Twitter, Facebook
Yahoo! News (blog)
LOS ANGELES (TheWrap.com) – Visual-effects workers have already taken to the streets outside the Oscars to protest the layoffs and bankruptcies roiling their industry. Now they’re taking the message to Facebook and Twitter in a series of coordinated 

Visual Effects Society Calls For New California Tax Incentives
Hollywood Reporter
The Visual Effects Society — a global honorary society of the VFX industry — sent an open letter to its membership on Tuesday in which it asked the state of California to create new tax incentives and called for a “VFX Congress” to explore other 


Hollywood Reporter
After Rhythm and Hues: Hollywood’s visual effects studios struggle for new 
89.3 KPCC
The visual effects company which did much of the work on the film “Life of Pi” filed for bankruptcy just weeks before winning an Oscar for work on the film. (A publicity still from Ang Lee’s “Life of Pi.”) 


89.3 KPCC
More Than 400 ‘Life of Pi’ Visual Effects Artists Protested The Oscars
Business Insider
“It’s ironic that when visual effects are dominating the box office, visual effects are struggling,” said Westenhofer. “We’re artists, and if we don’t fix the business model we may lose something.” Earlier in the day, while the primary focus during the 


Business Insider
Visual Effects Society to Organize ‘VFX Congress’
Studio Daily
In an open letter released today, the head of the Visual Effects Society (VES), an honorary group of more than 2500 visual effects artists from 29 countries, launched a campaign urging California lawmakers to expand the state’s tax-incentive program 

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Last week I talked about how the biggest Visual Effects Facilities were missing a trick by not recognising the clout they could wield with the studios by forming alliances or some sort of a trade association.

I happen to have worked with a few of the top people at some of the biggest facilities, so I thought I’d forward them the link to my article to hear their thoughts.

It wasn’t that encouraging. They didn’t seem to think it was possible or necessary. At least that was my impression. Maybe they were just playing their cards close to their chests, but I got the feeling that not a lot has changed in their perception of what’s developing in the Visual Effects world. However, let me tell you… things are moving fast, people’s perception and involvement are changing and all parties need to be proactive to stay in the game.

So let me throw this out there to the top people at the top facilities:

What if you woke up tomorrow and found the majority of vfx artists were unionised? What plan do you have for dealing with this very real possibility?

There’s a sobering thought. It might not happen overnight, but The landscape can change surprisingly fast once these things gain momentum. Maybe the facilities need to plan for this?

I personally see the facilities and the artists as allies in this but if the facilities remain on their current course and artists go ahead and unionise, they might find themselves at odds with each other. This would be a bad thing. The lack of a Visual Effects trade association amongst the major facilities would definitely put them at a disadvantage.

Worth considering?

In the meantime, here’s a letter that’s started floating around Facebook, allegedly written by Scott Ross, but I can’t confirm the source. Anyway, I agree with it whoever wrote it.

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