Friday, November 18, 2011

Who let the air out of the balloon???

In May, DD's IPO was seeking $115 Million. three days ago it was $55 Million. This morning $42 Million. And, with an opening price of $8.50 per share the general public's reaction was "it ain't worth it....." So the price sank to a little over $7 bucks.

Clearly, this business sucks. And the prospects for profitability are bleak.

Last night I was thinking about the WGA Basic Agreement. When a writer is hired, the studio gets a story outline and one revised story. When the teleplay is delivered, the studio can make two requests for revisions. Thereafter, the studio must pay for additional changes!!!

It's time the VFX community adopts a similar approach. When the director makes change after change after change, the facility needs to charge the customer. and can't ask the workers to work for free because they wouldn't want to alienate the customer. It works for the WGA.

I've never said that the facilities are rolling in money. But, clearly there is a demand for high-quality vfx. And, the people who create those deserve better treatment. Abuse is indefensible; in college footbal, and in visual effects. It's time we stood up, spoke up, and made ourselves heard.



  1. Newsflash, vfx houses tried to charge for change orders. Know what happened? The studios took their work else where. When the houses tried that in the 90s, the studios would finish that film with them and then not bring future work to the house.

    Seriously, have you talked to anyone in the industry that is not a freelancer? Talk to any sups at the big vfx houses? I know you did go to the Venice area at one point and guess what, 99% of the people at DD didn't know you had gone down there!

  2. No one is working by the bid on the set. That is why there is so much focus and resulting efficiency there. We are now the set, we are now where the movie is made and we are production. What will one day be realized by all is the savings to the studios that can be had using that same focus where the decision maker is made to be present in the same breathing space as the vfx artists, something that can't happen over a wire or satellite. Yes, at times it may be boring, so is the movie set, but watching paint dry is better that watching money burn. Sitting pool side waiting for the black box to spoon feed you your vfx dailies will be laughed upon as the old way. To make this enlightenment occur the first step will be to stop the failure of this model from falling on the shops (their IPO's) and ultimately the artists and their paychecks. The threat to outsource it all has an inevitable component that will happen anyway. The threat to outsource all of it is not a working model, it would be like trying to direct your movie with a ham radio and a bunch of amateurs.

  3. Yes, David, but unfortunately the studios could careless that ultimately they need to physically be with the artist. All they see is the supposive saving they get by outsourcing. They might figure this out, much like some companies have with phone support, but it'll take years. By then a ton of artists will have already lost jobs, money, and careers.