Craigslist $8/HR VFX Job Post

Hat tip to Paul Zadie on Twitter for finding this gem. Apparently someone was looking for a Roto Artist in Florida and offering $8 an hour. Why go to India when you can go to Florida right? No wonder Digital Domain is opening a facility in Florida. The response to the ad is gold:

Original post and response:

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39 Responses to Craigslist $8/HR VFX Job Post

  1. anonymous says:

    Funny. Call it an “internship” and save the $8.

  2. sc says:

    I suppose this is marginally better than an unpaid internship, but not by much.

    Still ridiculous. VFX, no matter what the department is not a min wage job. ($8/hr is min wage in BC, and I don’t know what the min wage is in Florida, but I’m guess it’s close.)

  3. anon says:

    Well, those movies of the week aren’t going to make themselves!

  4. Shootsy says:

    I “donated” my time for $10/hour working as roto/paint/track/3d (afx/combustion/Nuke/Maya) to a small vfx shop in Venice, CA that I thought was gonna turn into at least $20/hour after 3 months. They generously offered $15/h. I left and was told that it was ok because they would easily find someone to do the same job for less. And they found one.

    Why I accepted it at such low rate first? Well I needed to work and the projects and people involved seemed interesting. But I just couldn’t see myself making so little for the work I was doing.

    Can’t be blamed all the way can I?!

  5. Tom says:

    My first job was 28/hour in this industry, stop selling yourself short. Even a student. For 8.0/hour you can flip burgers in california.

    7.25/hour in florida…

    http://www.dol.gov/whd/minwage/america.htm#California

  6. Paul_G. says:

    How did you manage 28/hour starting on your first job? Was in the 90′s? Maybe early 2000-2001?

    Being relatively new to the industry, I know first hand how hard it is trying to get any work. (4 months now without a single call) I’ve had some experience working for a couple shops but even that isn’t enough to maintain a stable career. Companies only want senior artists, so if you’re new and passionate about what you want to do, the only chance you have to gain experience is to work for cheap at $8-10/hr.

    It takes years to learn the ropes, gather experience to become a strong Sr. level artist, build networks and maintain a steady job flow. So what else are you supposed to do? It’s nearly impossible trying to gain experience in this collapsing industry and a shitty economy. Maybe we are going about this career the wrong way, but nobody is going to help us so we have to do what we can.

    • Tom says:

      Paul, I started applying for jobs 2 years before I finished art school. A big company takes anywhere from 1 month to 6 months or more to get you in. Its a big slow moving bus. My best advice is if you have another trade keep learning it. You never know when you will be out of a job.

      As for 28/hour, without giving away my identity. I will say this, it was about 2003 ish when I started working in the Film Industry.

      And my only 10/hour job was a paper boy when I was 14. And I got tips! So really I made a lot more. And that was before 2000, so yeah, you are just making it easy for us Sr. Artists to loose our jobs when you take pay lower than even 20/hour.

      As for this industry, might as well move on to something better before you get sucked in. Yes we love making movies. But you are competing with people that have 20+ years experience. And students that will work for nothing. So yeah, I can see why you cant find a job.

      You are probably better to move to another country. I here China has a new fighter jet. Pretty soon America is going to be purchased out-right by China anyways. Might as learn Mandarin and become a business man.

      And here is a novel idea. Maybe start your own company? It does not need to be in LA to be a good company. Its hard I know. But with the right people you can make your own working environment rather than complaining about the big fat cats not giving jobs out :)

      In all seriousness. Its a hard industry. Some Artists in this industry have a masters in computer science or even a doctoral in computer science. As well as an art degree. I myself have a few degrees under my belt and plan to get my 4th degree once I save up enough to pay down my current dept.

      I personally love learning and working in this industry. Maybe I will start teaching again in the near future. Just depends on how horribly wrong this industry goes. Who knows, maybe I will learn Mandarin :)

      • cole says:

        Hey yo mister senior!! why the fuck you guys are so insecure of newbies. And do yourself a favor and stop lying to yourself. ain’t nobody gonna believe you getting paid $28/hour as an entry level artist. the truth of the matter is that you guys started off just like us newbies with $8/hr and probably even less… who knows…. and I guess that makes you guys so insecure that you guys keep suggesting the newbies out of college to change their career paths!!!! And who the hell are you suggesting people what to choose as a path for their careers????

  7. Alex O says:

    I say lets see the work. You get what you paid for!

  8. Craig@in.net says:

    $10 is the minimum wage here in Toronto. But the average firm pays $15 to vfx students who choose to be generalist. You get worked to the bone for the first 2-3 years at that wage, and a lot of time, firms don’t want to increase wages at all to move people in the pay grade. Usually they will just lay you off right after the project wraps and your back to Unemployment..When the next project rolls around, it’s the same wage. Terrible.

    • .... says:

      I found the only way to bump my wage, was to lie about how much I was getting paid at the last place. Or saying I had another job offer on the table for “this much”. (Which was sometimes not a lie).
      My first job was $750/wk and I told my 2nd work place I was making $800/wk, so they offered $850/wk.
      I’ve been doing that since.

      Basically, I figure if I’m going to be categorized as a high tech professional, and not paid proper overtime (I have a day rate based on an 8-10 hr day, so 2 hours free OT basically), or be denied full meal time breaks, I may as well lie for a bit more money.

      • Tom says:

        I would have to agree that this may work in some cases. However, when companies are talking to each others HR dept’s they know how much you made at any given company. Especially if you worked at these companies:
        ILM, Pixar/Disney, Digital Domain, R&H, Sony, Tippett.

        Many of the HR personal have worked at one or more of these companies and each of them have huge connections to each other.
        Smaller companies have less visibility to this “price fixing” we are seeing by companies.

        But the big companies should be ashamed that they would even consider this. They certainly wont admit it. But I know for a fact its happening when I get the same or very close to the same offer from 3 separate companies.

  9. Shootsy says:

    While you struggle to get or keep health insurance, they struggle to decide whether it’s Mammoth or Aspen for winter holidays…1st class ticket is a no brainer.

    And don’t tell me the whole thing is about market, vfxpro postings average 300 views per job which is nothing as far as demand compare to the -10′s of- thousands of people applying for low end jobs.

  10. thisgirlwillinformyou says:

    Tom,
    Companies should not be able to share that kind of info with other companies. It says right on my contract that my wage is between the company and me. CONFIDENTIAL.
    If they’re swapping notes, I think that’s grounds for some legal action.

    • cole says:

      Well, then try this: I got paid $8/hr for my first job out of school at a studio in Toronto( big studio and has been around for at least ten years) … and I had the exact same bullshit about wage on my contract ” CONFIDENTIAL”. Little did I know that the owner of the studio was discussing my wage with the guys with a little more experience than me( I guess that made him feel like a fucking champion to take full advantage of somebody’s lack of experience) and even poke jokes about it in the open all the time !!! Hypocrisy to MAX

  11. Deke Kincaid says:

    Personally I see nothing wrong with $8 an hour in Florida for an entry level job. This is not Los Angeles. The cost of living there is extremely low. You can get a nice 2 bedroom for $450-$600 a month there.

    • fatcastle says:

      uhhh, no. I live near longwood, FL. $600 a month will get you a one bedroom in a really dumpy apt complex. $8/hour is highway robbery.

  12. trebor says:

    @Deke, you may be able to get a decent place, but that is not the point. If you can get 7.50-8.00 starting out slinging burgers, you shouldn’t even be close to that for a skilled, college trained, artist position. For all the debt one tends to incur educating oneself for employment to then be paid the same as something that takes 15 minutes of “this is how you work the grill,” that is down right sickening.

    When I got into film I already had two kids and was in no position to work for free/burger wages. It was hard but I got in and at a good wage. But I also had to pass on some come work a show for free and we will see if we like you garbage. It can take awhile but stick to your principles, examine your reel, keep working on developing your skills, don’t sit idle.

    The problem is that as people are so desperate to work in movies, they will come in for nothing thinking that then they will move up on the next one. It’s the same mentality that the small shops that try to land big shows… they will majorly underbid the big studios to get the first show then they can increase their rates. The Movie studios then move on to find other upstarts to exploit. Big VFX houses are no different. And with all these kids willing to work for nothing it is killing the industry for everyone.

    This is why people start Unions.

    The biggest thing is people trying to break in don’t think about/realize, this is just a job. As cool as it may seem to work on a movie, it’s not worth doing for free, to see your 2-3 seconds of footage roll by and possible see your name. Your mom and dad will clap for you, maybe a friend or two… then that’s it. Was is worth not having a life for 4-6 months and not even get paid for it! Or barely! People, come on. Value yourself more than that. It’s just a job, it’s just a movie. You aren’t going to be famous, you are going to even get rich. There are just as fulfilling roles out there in similar industries using the same skill sets.

    Bottom line, respect and value your life. Don’t be a slave to any company to “get your foot in.” What you do for a living is not your life… its what you do with yourself outside your employment, family, service to society that makes you who you are. [end soap box]

  13. Deke Kincaid says:

    Skilled college? It’s roto, not rocket science. Most students are arogant and think they are above roto.

    You have to pay your dues. Just because you paid $$$ for art school doesn’t mean you deserve getting paid big bucks or know enough to deserve it. I don’t like this arrogant student attitude which is out there. You get the ball rolling and jump wages as you get more experience. Within a year your making above $20. Unless of course your in that top 5% of highly gifted students.

    I have spent lots of time in my life babysitting green people in roto and spending late nights redoing their work. $10-15 an hour is pretty standard for entry level, green fresh out of school roto in LA.

  14. Deke Kincaid says:

    BTW, it is pretty standard in most skilled fields to work for very little to pay your dues in the beginning. Medical Interns, Legal/Law school intern, political intern, etc… It pays off in the long run though because they well beyond make up for it in the end.

  15. Deke Kincaid says:

    No of course not. Art school does not equal paying your dues. Most students come out of school knowing very little when it comes to doing practical work and have horrible time management skills on delivering anything on time. Depending the student it can take 6 mo to 2 years before they be counted on for really getting shots done. This is why positions like pa, roto, ta, render wrangler, etc… exist.

    btw, Medical student has already gone to school for 5-7 years before they are required by law to do a 1 yr unpaid internship and only after that can you get a residency position which usually only pays $25-30 an hour.

    • VFX Soldier says:

      being paid $25-$30 for a medical residency is a big difference than being paid an $8 minimum wage for vfx work.

      I’m a bit confused by this policy of “paying your dues” in the industry. Who determines what the dues are? It seems alot of facilities use that policy.

      Need OT? Pay your dues.
      Need health insurance? Pay your dues.
      Need to work less hours? Pay your dues.

      I think many of use confuse “paying your dues” with paying homage and respect to veterans in the industry who went through similar abusive practices. That’s not respect, that’s hazing.

      I don’t think for a minute that just because I went through some abusive practices in this industry that someone else should have to go through it also as some rite of passage.

      Want to pay respect for the crap many of us in the industry go through? Sign a rep card and help form a union. That seems to me a better way to “pay your dues.”

      • Deke Kincaid says:

        You didn’t read anything I said and brought the conversation 180 degrees to your own agenda. You might as well get it over with and just call me Hitler by jumping to the extreme of the situation because it is a slippery slope as we all know. Just like our political environment, your with us or against us. Bring up any practicality to the conversation and I guess Im against us.

        Good luck with the crusade.

  16. VFX Soldier says:

    @deke Sorry if you felt I was calling you Hitler. Don’t know where that notion came across in my response.

    This post was just about a funny craigslist post. If any agenda was presented it was about “paying your dues” which is something I hear often.

    The slippery slope is arguing that because someone else worked under questionable circumstances that you should have to do it too.

  17. Chad says:

    I’m with Deke on this one… It’s a job posting looking for someone completely unskilled. They will train. Whoever takes this job will learn something and get some feel for what VFX work is like. It’s basically a paid internship (but without the educational requirements). They will make the same money they would flipping burgers, but so what? They’ll have something on their potential résumé, and won’t have to wear a dorky uniform.

  18. cytham says:

    I just wonder from neutral point of view who would post job ads like that? definitely not poeple from vfx or cg, I mean come on, even HR ppl in this industry know how to provide proper info, this ad is more like close to scam offers

  19. Steven says:

    Hi everybody !
    Very interesting post )), after reading it i understud
    a starting salary for beginners, but very interesting what is the average salary for senior artist(good exp) in US ?

  20. sgsag says:

    This is how the world is going. And this is just the starting point. But lets be serious: In the past the payment was extra high for vfx, now its is going down to a real level. Why should any vfx artist earn much more than a nurse ? More responsibility than care for humans ? I don´t like this because I would like to earn more money, too. But there are many not so creative jobs in vfx industrie (rotoscoping, tracking, even TD) which are not so much different than other office jobs. And I guess in the near future the most of the jobs will go to india or china, they are VERY happy with 8 Dollar an hour. So our industry falls apart and no one can stop it. Sad but true.

  21. [...] Read the original VFX Soldier blog post here (The original ad doesn’t seem to be on Craigslist any more) [...]

  22. [...] few months ago I posted about a roto job on craigslist that paid $8 an hour. Well Paul Zadie tweeted another fine improvement to the scheme. Not only does this job pay $8 an [...]

  23. vishal baikar says:

    hi . I am ready to this job as roto artist

  24. vishalbaikar@gmail.com says:

    hi

  25. Johnathan Doe says:

    I was hired directly out of school, I had my interview a few weeks before graduation and was hired a day or two before graduation. I stated off as a Roto Artist, moved from Florida to LA. Started off making 17.50 an hour. After 6 month’s I got a nice raise after an artist evaluation which bumped me up significantly. I’ve been with the same studio for a year now. I’m so grateful to even be doing what I’m doing, and that a studio took a risk on someone with no professional experience in the industry. 8 dollars a hour is shit, the company this ad is from is MG Studios I think. They tried to round up me and some friends at school for this same crap pay, doing roto in mocha. Always know what your worth, but don’t be afraid to take a small bump. If you work hard and prove yourself a valuable artist the company will take notice and reward that hard work. If not, maybe your working for the wrong company.

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