Deluxe Entertainment “Currently Vulnerable To Default”

September 10, 2014

If you work at Stereo D, Method Studios, Encore Hollywood, or Iloura (list updated per comments below) you may have been aware about some recent news concerning parent company Deluxe Entertainment’s credit rating being downgraded by Standard & Poors:

The $605 million of loans to Deluxe Entertainment Services Group Inc., which Perelman controls through his MacAndrews & Forbes Holdings Inc., were quoted at 88 cents on the dollar Aug. 26, according to Markit. That compared with an average of about 98.3 cents for the broader market. Last week, Standard & Poor’s took the rare step of cutting Deluxe’s credit rating three steps, to a level that implies the production company is “currently vulnerable” to default.

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LA Siggraph Panel: State Of The VFX Industry

September 3, 2014

Sept-2014-lg

This sunday I’ll be at the VFX BBQ by the VFX Progress Group. Later in the week on Tuesday I’ll be at OTIS college to attend a LA Siggraph panel on the state of the VFX Industry:

When: Tuesday September 9th 2014 7:30-10pm
Location: Otis College of Art and Design: Ahmanson Hall
Address: 9045 Lincoln Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90045

Schedule:

6:45-7:30 Social Hour
6:45-7:00 Members only
7:00-7:30 Members and guests
7:30-7:40 Introductions
7:40-9:30 Panel
9:30-10:00 Questions and Answers

Registration:

All will be admitted free of charge. Non-members of LA ACM SIGGRAPH are admitted for free. New LA ACM SIGGRAPH members who sign up on-site can pay the $40 annual membership fee. The chapter accepts checks, cash, or credit cards (Mastercard or Visa only) for all dues or fees.

Soldier On.


As CA Film Subsidy Passes, MPAA Prepares To Raise Stakes

September 2, 2014

mpaa

If you read through the posts on this blog about film subsidies one trend should be abundantly clear:

Hollywood studios will take one government’s offer and game it against others in the hopes of increasing and maximizing the total amount of free taxpayer money available. So no sooner than a few days after film and VFX workers celebrated the passage of CA film subsidy bill AB1839, the MPAA will be looking to meet with other states to increase the stakes:

Well, that’s certainly looks like a kick in the teeth to the home of Hollywood. Just days after the state Senate voted overwhelming to increase and expand California’s $100 million Film and TV Tax Credit Program to $330 million for the next five years, the MPAA has announced it is hosting a shindig in the nation’s capitol to help other states compete.

You’d think the state of Louisiana which offers a 30% film subsidy would be on solid ground but even they lose out as studios will take their offer and game them against international governments agreeing to give even more free money. Can you see how this is a race to the bottom? In order to win you have to be willing to be the biggest loser and even then, it’s expected that you keep raising the stakes. It’s also not cheap as the LA Times questions the cost effectiveness of these programs.

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VFX BBQ

August 27, 2014

The VFX Progress Group will be having a BBQ that anyone is invited to attend. I will be there to answer any questions and help lobby for support of ADAPT’s legal effort:

Veterans Memorial Park
4117 Overland Ave
Culver City, CA 90230
Sunday, September 7, 2014
from 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM (PDT)
Register here to attend

There is also a list of items that we should all chip in to bring:
To have access to the list you’ll need to email vfxprogress@outlook.com

We had a BBQ before the March in March and it was quite fun just to catch up with people face to face. Hope to see you there.

Soldier On.


Trade Provision Supporting ADAPT Legal Effort In AB1839

August 26, 2014

Big news came last week as CA bill AB1839 was amended:

An amendment to proposed legislation to expand California’s film and TV tax credit urges trade action as a response to countries that have lured visual effects firms away with the promise of generous subsidies.

Huge thanks to everyone who helped and Assemblymember Mike Gatto for standing up to the studios and writing a provision into a bill he co-authored supporting out effort. While it’s a huge step in the right direction, I obviously have issues with the subsidies in the bill and was hoping that the trade provision had more teeth to it.

When our law firm helped the shrimping industry get trade relief from injurious subsidies, the government of Louisiana actually helped fund the legal effort. Since our legal effort costs a fraction of what the hundreds of millions of dollars in subsidies needed, we felt it would’ve been a small cost that could lead to a more effective outcome.

Soldier On.


Sin Equity 2

August 25, 2014

So much news about Prime Focus, so little time! I have yet to post my thoughts on the Double Negative purchase which I hope to do at some point. Last year I posted about Digital Domain investing about $18 million for an equity stake in Enders Game which opened with $27M and ended with $61M domestically.

I also signaled a potential sequel where Prime Focus would invest about $19M for a stake in Sin City 2 and the result doesn’t look good. ‘Sin City 2’ Distributor: ‘It’s Like The Ice Bucket Challenge Without The Good Cause’:

Sin City 2 didn’t even crack the top five at the box office over the weekend. The film opened in the number eight slot with $6.4 million. Other new releases that opened with it included the football drama When the Game Stands Tall and the Chloe Grace Moretz feature If I Stay. Those films opened respectively at number five with $9 million and number three with $16.8 million.

Of course this has continued to be the story for most VFX facilities that try to take an equity stake (Rhythm: Yogi Bear, Dneg: Rush) in a film. I doubt studios would offer a VFX facility an equity stake if they were confident the film was going to do gangbusters but that’s just me

Soldier On.

 

 


John Textor Demands Apology From VFX Soldier

August 18, 2014

After my last post I received two emails from former Digital Domain 2.0 CEO John Textor. The contents of both emails were the same and posted below. The only difference between the two emails was the first one was sent with the subject “Blog” and the second was sent 15 minutes later with the subject “Private and Confidential”. I never agreed to any personal confidentiality with John Textor and given the abrasive nature of the contents I felt a response was merited on my blog:

Daniel…I understand that you are blogging about me again. Wow.

Last time around, while I was borrowing against my home to make your payroll, you did everything you could to attack me and the Florida business that was desperately trying to support the losses of Venice and your way of life. You can thank me anytime by the way.

You created a great deal of discomfort for me and many of your co-workers…and you were stupid enough to actually think you were righting a wrong, understanding nothing about the economics of the company that fed you and the people that risked everything to keep you comfortable. Let me guess, you are one of the geniuses that actually believes the California office of DD was thriving and covering its own payroll while Florida was siphoning off the profits.

Back then, I offered the unidentified Soldier an interview to help you understand the finer points of our business that you clearly did not understand…still do not understand…and you turned me down. You said it was your policy not to conduct interviews…after I was later surprised to learn that you were one of my employees, I realized that your Policy was to hide in the cubicle that I paid for, hope no one would notice and keep taking money from me for as long as you could while you stood strong in protest…anonymously of course. A fine employee you were indeed.

You are a coward Daniel. You didn’t have the courage to speak with your own voice until it felt really safe to do so. You didn’t even have the courage to raise your hand and question our programs during employee meetings…or send me an email as your CEO suggesting your shame in taking a paycheck from such an immoral company. If you had a righteous bone in your body, you would have walked out.

Seriously Daniel, I am looking for that thank you…and my wife and kids would like an apology. If not, maybe just return the money I paid you while you sold your loyalty for the celebrity of an anonymous blog.

One last thing…your recent blog continues to mischaracterize early emails, resulting in materially false and misleading statements. You have also now challenged the integrity of the Pulse team that has accurately portrayed the experience of its artists on the Pulse website. Be careful. Now that you are an accomplished and known publisher, I look forward to holding you responsible for truth and accuracy.
 
Feel free to call me at anytime if you think I am wrong about you…John Textor
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