Wednesday, February 27, 2013

VFX protest

VFX ProtestMaking visual effects for a movie is surprisingly similar to making a videogame: the workflow maps very closely, both need graphics engineers, modelers, animators, technical artists, producers, more or less the same process. Historically there has also been a fairly consistent exchange of professionals between the two in the last ten years. I've always looked very closely at the VFX industry to gauge what might happen to the Game Industry, for this reason the news of the VFX protest struck me pretty hard: it's about time there's a protest!

To cut a long story short, many of the visual-effects makers of Life of Pi, who made the creative vision of the award winning movie possible, were let go without compensation for them or their families.
These people are not cheap, they bring with themselves years of technical and artistic expertise that is extremely hard to build up, they work hard, long hours, weekends after weekends with the promise of a bonus after the project is done; a bonus that very rarely materialize. More often than not they are trimmed at the end, by a very competitive industry that is not sustainable in the long term.

Rings a bell? Yes, the same happens in the Game Industry.

Like the VFX industry, the Game Industry is very badly organized, with lousy project management demanding crunch time after crunch time even when all evidence accumulated in a hundred year of research on the matter suggest that it is counterproductive. And like in the VFX industry, workers are let go easily at the end of the project.

People working in the VFX industry and in the Game Industry need to draw a line in the sand, organize themselves and demand sustainable business that rewards who give life to the next Life of Pi or the next LA Noir.

How? Give me some feedback.

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