VFX/Animation Industry to protest the Oscars
Life of Pi (Fox) and Snow White and the Huntsman (Universal) together grossed almost a billion dollars worldwide. Rhythm & Hues Studios, the company that brought Richard Parker to life and created the bulk of the visual effects for these two Oscar nominated films, has just declared bankruptcy. Many of the artists who worked nights and weekends to create those effects are out of work and unpaid for weeks of work (including nights and weekends) on new tent-pole films for the same studios, Fox and Universal. It’s time for change!
(via Cartoon Brew)
I always found it amusing when I hear that “VFX Artists are treated like shit in Hollywood”. Being a 3D major, we are often compared to film majors. There is a lot in common between us, but it comes down to this. While we are fully capable of making a short visual effects film on our own, a film major cannot do the same. If they have an idea that requires VFX, they are completely reliant on someone else to do the job for them or they’re fucked.
I’m constantly hearing these days that a movie was crappy but the visual effects were good. People pay money to see the VFX, not the story. It’s been mentioned that one solution to the collapse of the VFX industry is to have houses produce their own films. And why not?
Hydraulx did it with Skyline and while it wasn’t a masterpiece, it was certainly a success in terms of the amount of money it made compared to the amount of money went into making it (roughly $10mil budget, made around $70mil). District 9 is another example of feature film being produced and distributed outside the norms of Hollywood.
Employees for studios like Pixar don’t feel the weight of this as much because they are unionized with a goal to invest in their artists as opposed to burning through them. And they make their own films.
Blur is now in the process of pre-production for their Goon film, (check out the Kickstarter project here), possibly breaking open the gates to a new genre of animated films (aka feature animated films made specifically for adults). And without the money of Hollywood but the support of everyday viewers and fans.
The argument can be made that the vision and the ideas come from the directors, but let me redirect you back to examples like Pixar, Weta, ILM, and Blur. They are their own vfx house. They are their own creative house. And they’re doing just fine. I’ve been around enough smaller houses to know that we are ripe with creative genius. With talented people that are just waiting for their chance to direct that can at the same time execute their vision.
So from my standpoint, it isn’t the VFX artists that need Hollywood, but the other way around. I mean ideally we’d want for this to be a collaborative environment. I don’t want to take away from the amount of work that directors and producers put into making a film, but I feel like a certain level of respect should come with that. And certainly I am still young and naive to the inner workings of Hollywood politics/finance, but its the Intranet and here’s my 2cents.
Further discussion to fuel your thoughts.