David Stripinis on the Troubles of the VFX Industry
David Stripinis has a new blog post up entitled “Fixing it in Post” that is part history of the VFX industry, part “How did things get so bad for VFX artists”, and a personal angle on how to fix things.
Magazines like Time and Newsweek noticed, and touted ‘Computer Artist’ as one of the top ten careers young people could go into. Studios and governments also noticed. Studios, seeing the rapid rise in the costs to produce films with VFX audiences were ‘demanding’, looked for any way to lower those costs. Politicians, always eager to claim they created high paying jobs for their constituencies, began offering tax incentives for doing VFX in their states, provinces or countries.
And so the race to the bottom was on.
Facilities began to go under. Warner Digital. Dream Quest ( which had been purchased by Disney and renamed The Secret Lab ). BOSS Film. Large facilities advantage over the midsize facilities was being able to offer VFX never seen before. But the pressure was on from government subsidized overseas facilities like Weta Digital and the London houses like Double Negative, Framestore and The Moving Picture Company who could offer the same groundbreaking VFX at a lower cost due to that wonderful government lobbied for by the studios. ( For full disclosure, I currently work for Double Negative in London ).
He makes some interesting observations towards the end, I like his discussion of how Europe’s VFX department is currently just beginning what hit here in the US a few years back. I’m not so sure if a VFX union belongs under the Teamsters, but it seems some type of organization is needed.