June 21, 2010

VFX Sweatshops + Spec Work

Talk about troubles in the VFX industry has continued since FX industry troubles: Lee Stranahan, Scott Ross + editing. Motionographer posted a rundown on the flurry of activity since then in VFX Townhall Recap and Links, and there's a bit more in AEP's VFX TownHall leftovers.

Scott Squires has been tracking the issue and recently noted the article on Hollywood's VFX sweatshops in Time
magazine and offers advice for directors and producers in Visual effects service - The Big Picture and Getting the most out of your VFX budget. His latest note is on The Tragic Plight of Hollywood VFX Sweatshops at the blog Sinisthesia.

Also of note is The Indian Exodus by Steve Wright (who helps with outsourcing), from an interview by Stranahan at VFX Filmmaker. Here's an excerpt:

'There is much concern in the VFX industry about our jobs being outsourced to India, and even China [which bans unapproved reincarnation]. Indeed, India is rapidly booting up a visual effects industry and has a vast pool of low cost artists to staff it with. Since I have been to India five times to conduct VFX training (the most recent being a two-month visit to two different facilities) I am often asked about the “lay of the land” there. While India has much potential, they do have some systemic problems to overcome.
So what does all this mean to the worried domestic VFX artist? If I were a junior artist with only roto or paint skill I would be worried. The lower the skill and artistic requirements for a job the more vulnerable it will be to taking the exodus to India. To keep our well-paying domestic jobs we will need to continually upgrade our technical and artistic skills. Don’t just be a compositor. Be a lighter-compositor. Be the “shot finisher” with superb color correction skills. Get into stereo. Take some art classes and have an artistic hobby to show a potential employer. Bottom line - the higher up the VFX food chain you are the more secure your job is.'

Update: Grayscale Gorilla has some things to say in his post and video, Why the NO SPEC Movement Isn’t Working. And, Why That’s so Awesome!

Why the NOSPEC Movement isn't Working from Nick Campbell on Vimeo.

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