|sent from: Esher, Surrey, UK. destination: Long Beach, California, USA|
A vision for the VFX future
Let’s assume the future is in fewer big vfx tentpole films and more in other areas – TV, YouTube, Netflix, mid/low budget movies, short films; digital distribution. The upheaval that has decimated the music and newspaper industry may not have hit the big movie studios yet but it’s coming. A lot of people will leave. We may need (those who remain) to lower our rates to meet what this new market can bear. And then, what?
A VFX union, yes, one that operates more flexibly than the traditional union structure. Companies setting realistic prices for their work – cutting edge production management technology to track EXACTLY how long people spend on task, matched up with what was BID, so that you can bid accurately on work and identify waste. Producers with the balls/ovaries to say NO to clients. Managers who are trained to manage – career people, not just lead artists who fail upwards in search of a position at the company that doesn’t kill them.THEN – in-house IP development – pour every extra penny back into this: characters, games, books, screenplays, short movies, art, technology, tools. Pitch to other industries – fashion, forensics, military, medicine, insurance; ANYTHING where visually literate people are needed. And for these projects, a kick-ass sharing and task allocation site where employees can choose to spend some %age of their day (or extra time) or idle hours (waiting for plates, renders, all the sitting around time) towards helping push some part of the IP down the road. Because of new distribution models, some piece of that IP will generate cash flow that will paper over the gaps when the service work is slow. And from that – profit sharing amongst the employees, which will help bring people’s take home pay up a little bit.
This is a little like VFX from the late 90s, with one difference – exploit the in-house IP as much as possible.