Prime Focus Exploiting Indian Workers?

Prime Focus Employee Contract Requiring A “Security Deposit”

I received a few emails from VFX workers about a troubling situation at Prime Focus in India. According to them the company requires some employees to pay an expensive “security deposit” to prevent them from leaving the company for 2 years.

I’ve posted a copy of the requirement above which essentially states that a new employee must pay a “security deposit” of 30,0000 rupees ($535 USD ) as a roto artist or 50,000 rupees ($891 USD) as a paint artist. The worker must complete 2 years of labor at a monthly salary of 7,500 rupees ($134 USD) to get the money back.

Prime Focus forces the employee to forfeit the deposit in the event they leave or are terminated from the company during the 2 year period unless it occurs during a 3 month probationary period in which they will receive 20% of the deposit back.

Also according to the workers, Prime Focus would routinely terminate employees shortly after a completed project leading them to not only lose their jobs, but also their deposits.

To put the above situation in perspective, the average per capita income of an Indian worker is about $3,700 a year compared to a US average of  $48,000. If we normalized the scheme above to US standards, it would be the equivalent of asking a VFX worker to agree to work for $21,000 a year with the requirement of paying a deposit of $7,000 to $12,000 that you forfeit if you are terminated or quit within the first 2 years. No overtime, no extra pay on weekends.

While on a project, Prime Focus workers were expected to endure extremely long hours with claims of 16-20 hour days and 7-day work weeks with no overtime.

This information comes at a time when Prime Focus has recently been in the news. It came to settle a patent infringement lawsuit by Digital Domain and is looking to raise $150 million dollars with an initial public offering in the US to “use the money to fund expansion of its U.S. operations.”

Some would claim that this kind of exploitation exists in the VFX industry because of low margins however Prime Focus is publicly traded in India and it’s finances are quite sound.

Soldier On.

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303 Responses to Prime Focus Exploiting Indian Workers?

  1. rfk says:

    This is not unique to Prime Focus. There are no personal service contracts in India; this is the “alternative” they use instead.

    • Craig says:

      Right. I think this is the key.

      I don’t want to defend Prime Focus, per se, because I don’t know all the details or much about the company in general, but somebody needs to sneak in a little bit of sanity into the conversation.

      One thing we know is that people do things for real reasons.

      If Prime Focus has a contract like this, I would have to assume it is because they have a problem with people leaving their company before the end of their contracts. That kind of thing is fairly rare in the West. I know a few people that have broken service contracts, but it is not something that is common.

      The general perception is that Indian artists jump around quite a bit in order to better their salary and their careers. This is fantastic, and to be expected, but they really should not be breaking contracts. This is a big problem and it rests on the shoulders of the Indian workplace culture.

      Judging by the jobs that they do, it appears as though PF takes on quite a few inexperienced people and is required to train them in order to be productive. This is a significant investment. If you were a business owner, how would you handle the issue of people jumping ship for better opportunities before you have recouped your investment in training them? I’d like some real answers to this one, please.

      A contract like this is not the only way to handle it, but it is one way and given the situation, seems appropriate.

      You know, I’ve actually been subjected to this kind of arrangement. I bet most of you have, too. If you rent an apartment (at least in the US) you often need to give first month’s rent, last month’s rent, and one month’s rent security deposit in order to sign a lease. This can up to a few thousand dollars and may not be too easy to come by when you are just starting out.

      So, what is going on here? If I signed a lease, why did my landlord take thousands of additional dollars from me? Obviously, it is because of the reality on the ground. Ideally landlords would not have to require that much money up front. After all, three months rent may deter potential tenants from being interested in the apartment. The more people interested, the higher rent price a landlord can ask. Real-world experience tells landlords, however, that a high number of renters will leave an apartment without paying last months rent if not paid in advance. They also may leave the property damaged before they leave.

      What they are doing here is simply adjusting their stipulations based on the real world. Same goes for Indian companies that do this. If Indian workers honored the term contracts they signed, then there is no way Prime Focus would do something like this.

      Why would they? If anything, this severely decreases their potential applicant pool and makes it harder for them to hire the best workers.

      Now, if Prime Focus is lying, misleading, or defrauding the workers in any way, then we should all be outraged and take that company down. If they fire people without just cause and take their money, then they should be dealt with severely.

      However, the existence of a contract like this seems entirely appropriate given the situation and does not bother me in the least.

      • Jack says:

        @ craig
        “However, the existence of a contract like this seems entirely appropriate given the situation and does not bother me in the least.”

        what a useless conclusion. how about a ball and chain to the desk. make sure those workers don’t run away. you use a rational argument to justify an unjust contract. congratulations! future leadership material here.

      • Peter says:

        If I hit you over the head from behind with a piece of rebar before I take your wallet and car keys, you may assume it’s because I have encountered a significant problem with others like you running away before I can take them by force. It’s not the only way I could handle it, but given the situation, it seems appropriate.

        Still waiting for you to sneak in some sanity.

      • Dave says:

        Your example of a lease is rubbish, as you are renting from someone and putting a deposit to protect their property. Not paying someone before they will pay you.
        You example would hold better if PF gave a signing bonus that would be repaid if the contract was terminated. A-la many US companies where signing bonuses and relocation is treated as such.

      • artist says:

        craig r u ready to work in contract?
        say yes i will give 100$ per month i hope its realy good sallary and r u ready to 15 hours work daily?.
        i hope u say yes to this then ill ready for a contract for u

    • Chris says:

      PF has a choice it can make. It can punish it’s employees and guarantee they are unhappy in their job, or it can reward them and make them want to stay and contribute to the future of the company. If they offered bonuses and incentives every quarter, or every 6 months of $50 or $100 for staying, my guess is they would be able to pick and choose which trainees they could hang on to. Creating a positive work environment takes the same amount of effort as a negative one. Studios that choose PF over other facilities need to be made aware of their practices and encouraged to choose other facilities.

  2. I have heard recently unconfirmed reports that they even have Indian artists working in Vancouver and London on an Indian salary, with a “living away from home” allowance.

    How much do you want to bet that allowance is pretty meager?

    I haven’t been able to confirm that, but it’s crappy too.

    • Woah says:

      This is sad news indeed. Hopefully, someday, prime focus realises that its art and not a brutal job.

      On the other hand :

      Brian, I just looked you up on google and it says you are the 2D supervisor in Rhythm and Hues. Splendid company. But have you forgotten that the same practise is happening with that company as well? Aren’t the Indian artist being paid really low compared to the american head office? I don’t need to confirm that. Google it yourself or ask one of your colleagues back in India for how much they are being paid (including the roto artist). Apart from that, Isn’t R&H sending people from India to the States and paying them a “living away from home” allowance as well?

      Visual Effects is a business, one of the reason why projects are going overseas to other countries.

      I have nothing against you or R&H nor prime focus. I am just simply stating the fact. You can do the maths yourself.

      • Woah says:

        Oh and lets not forget Digital Domain! Correct me if I am wrong but they signed a deal with Reliance Mediaworks (pocketing good amount of money) and sent a good chunk of work to the india office. Someone recently mentioned, to make it more cheaper they sent it to china. Here, I might be wrong. But the unjust, shitty practises are being undertaken but nearly all studios. I dont even want to mention Framestore who sends it to india as well. Not to forget Cinesite.

        I can easily shout out to MPC and DNeg for opening in India and Singapore. Ask the Artists as to how much they are getting paid – the difference wont be very vast.

        Just saying. Its not just one company to pin point at. PF has 5k + employees. Who knows what’s behind the curtain.

        Lets face it, VFX is a business and most importantly a competition of the survival of the fittest.

      • Mal says:

        This has less to do with the actual topic, but let me point out that the above is not true for double neg or lucasfilm in singapore. The artists there do get paid a decent wage with all relevant benefits.

      • Webster says:

        “Aren’t the Indian artist being paid really low compared to the american head office?” Yes, because they live in India. There is a difference in wages between people living in London and Glasgow for the same reason.

      • VFX artist says:

        In response to the comment that Framestore sends work to India I can say with certainty that Framestore does not have any presence in India whatsoever. They may have outsourced work there in the past but this is not standard practice.

      • I’m very aware of wage discrepancies between countries.

        However I know we do not require a deposit for X years of work, nor does our allowance for people working in the LA office require employees to dip into their savings to survive, as I’ve been told about PF’s Vancouver office (and I’ve heard worse rumors than that.)

        We try to keep our employees through quality of treatment, not indentured servitude. Sometimes that *does* lead to people jumping ship to other places, but I’d rather have that then office slaves. This to me falls into the same category as getting free labor from students.

        Since it’s just “survival of the fittest” to you, are these practices OK with you?

      • Craig says:

        @Brian Tatosky:

        No, we have nothing like that in the US, but we do not have an industry where workers break their contracts regularly like they do in India.

        How does a company get people to honor their agreed upon contracts in India, then?

      • Jack says:

        @ craig
        “How does a company get people to honor their agreed upon contracts in India, then?”

        The very strong legal system is the main reason contracts are honored in the west. A prime example is China/ Hong Kong. All serious business with China is setup in Hong Kong as the legal system is very much stronger there.

      • lusifer says:

        In pf the worst part is fucking management.frm management person think they are d owner of d company.also some fucking hr they are also nt completed ther pg (mba)they are nt able to talk in english like chandan ,gyan nd most eligble person kunjan patil salute pf…….

      • went up the hill says:

        @ lusifer
        agreed. its funny if you look at whats in an mba course. all it is is stats, finance etc. you dont need any real-world experience.

        mba courses aren’t bad but they shouldn’t give anyone great authority.

      • Gill Frank says:

        Funny know that I read this and Brian is one of them who has no job now! since it closed down few weeks ago.

      • anam says:

        900 increment after 1.7year when i was talk about that those snetch my id and warn me u never show in this (prime focus mumbai ) premises . and no information about mine 30000 security deposit …i feel fucked………..
        what i do ?
        no one here to help me …
        I was/am (confuse)working with u . starting of feb one day NIXON call me in private room and tell me you never show in this premises.when i asked about that he kicked my chair where i sit on chair he treat me as a slave .when i try to say this matter with DELENA mam he stratley said to me it happen with workload.from those i call many times hr ritesh&awadhoot but he didn’t receive my call . on 25 feb when go premises ritesh told me i have no ans for you and he told me wait in cafeteria i will tell you. after some time he said to me go 5th floor and Devdatta kelkar should handle you . result still same to same .here some change he force me to remove my id card when i asked for decision he threat me we will take decision .who are you to ask like that question .then i said when i was joining i got joining letter now at least give me termination letter he denied and told to me can you give me id or i will call security guard bur didn’t give me proper reply when i try to talk about my security deposit 30000 they walkout and no respond as like before .

        so i have no way to discuss with all of you that’s i sending mail to you please shootout my problem .at least something speak to me what i do .

      • mns007 says:

        SHIVSENA announces they r giving full support of Indian VFX industry and studio artist ..shivsena giving baking all visual effect industry artist those r suffering badly from some of the post production and vfx company behavior about employment,bo
        nd sign policy and strategies..guys don’t be scared about this bad capitalist industrial behavior of this companies,feel free to complaint against this companies to directly SHIVSENA Ajay Vhanole – 9619955123 Bala Lokare – 9870110177

    • Dave Rand says:

      I googled Woah and some stuff on the lone ranger came up. Do you know him and can he help?

    • John Crane says:

      This is definitely happening at prime focus London. Hiring them in India then shipping them off to London.

      Same wages as in India, i believe they live in some prime focus housing together as well

    • lostinth4fog says:

      Confirmed! i know many artist from the mumbai royal palms office that were sent to london to work on projects that were shared between both facuilities.

      they did not get a major rate increase, however they were not meant to repalce local workers.

      this was more for crossover.

    • rahul says:

      Whats your problem if the iniand artist is happy with that and comeon its an oppurtunity for him to work with the worlds best. All this view is fine sitting in developed countries but situation is entirely different for major part of the world .

  3. skaplan839 says:

    In my experience, Prime Focus cares little about their employees well-being and has a history of deceit and obfuscation when artists attempt to seek better conditions for their employment:

    PF Anti-Union letter #1

    PF Anti-Union rhetoric #2

    In both instances, PF management uses fear mongering to attempt to sway artists from considering researching unionization and signing representation cards. In both instances, PF management lied about union intentions and the organization process to achieve their result. In the end, PF Los Angeles lost their stereo conversion teams and some of the artists were moved to India.

    I wonder if those artists had to sign the above mentioned contract?

    • Eddie says:

      HAH! What’s hilariously bizarre is that the second letter essentially says “Only we can give you health insurance, paid holidays, vacation time and sick leave – and we have no intention of doing so, whether you forma union or not.”

      • Craig says:

        @Eddie:

        I don’t see where PF is saying they have no intention of giving benefits here. Can you quote that excerpt?

    • Thorps tee says:

      Go to their website and read their mission statement. They make no bones about it; they want to win the work at ANY cost. Morally, legally, monetarily. Do they still have the secret standing 5% underbid? Is that legal? Doubtful, but at least one major studio went for it.

      Here’s the deal: their being in the market has been screwing up things for everybody else as well. You don’t have to work for PF yourself to not get a raise because the company you work for had to bid against them.

    • Craig says:

      @skaplan839:

      Can you show us exactly where PF lied in these letters? Please use direct quotes. Thanks, Steve.

  4. James says:

    If this is true, its utterly sickening…

  5. Ankit says:

    I know a friend who applied there. And i can say this is very much true.

  6. Scott Squires says:

    When I bring up issues like working conditions at the VES or my blog many people wonder what I’m talking about. After all, the high end companies they’re working for treat their artists reasonably well. This is a global industry so not all workers are treated fairly throughout the world. This would have also been an issue if artists had a real bill of rights that companies were requested to sign. Artists could quickly access which companies signed on to a basic working condition list and which had not. Likely to be an eye opener. Studios would also be able to see the list so they couldn’t claim ignorance. (As I laid out in my Global workers post awhile ago)

    Funny when workers are worried about union dues and all the benefits they would receive compared to the option of paying thousands of dollars to the company just to work.

    I would suggest Steve you post here or on the vfxunion site a rebuttal to the letters you posted so when this comes up the points are already countered and clarified.

  7. vfxcynic says:

    In other news, John Textor announces new DDMG revenue opportunity…….

  8. El Zappo says:

    Sometimes the only way to win the game is not to play it.

    Or to unionize. …I hope! :)

  9. Jane Doe says:

    I worked at PF, both in LA and in India for a few months. All of the things mentioned both in this article and in the comments are true.

    The lies and deceit that came out of both the LA office and the Indian office still seem unreal to me, but it was unfortunately. Even tho most of the LA workers have left, there are still thousands of workers in India that are being treated this way.

    The crappy part about it, is that PF gets all the workers they need no matter what kind of contracts they make people sign, because PF is considered by most of the population of India to be a good opportunity/career. The workers seemed proud that they worked for PF even though that company took away what most of the free world would consider basic human rights and exploited those same workers for cheap labor.

    Unfortunately the underlying problem isn’t the VFX industry, it’s that there are countries where the standard of living is so low that bad situations seem like good opportunities. Yes – it is bad that industries such as the VFX industry take advantage of these situations, but it’s even worse that people don’t see what the real issues are. Desperate people do desperate things.

    • edwardh says:

      But more importantly in my opinion – desperate people will do desperate things if they are asked to. One should always consider the one in power. The one who has nothing to lose and only to gain.

      Of course desperate people will act desperately. As an old saying goes “beggars can’t be choosers”. That’s why certain options should simply not be offered. Because there will always be someone who takes them. I am just reminded of “Hobo with A Shotgun”. It seems like a very, very twisted tale that could never become true. But I don’t want to know what’s already going on in poor countries. Or rather – I wish I wouldn’t.
      And considering how the income inequality continues to increase sharply in rich countries… but I digress.

  10. Ymir says:

    Why aren’t these letters in Variety or The Hollywood Reporter? Prime Focus needs to be “Chik-Fil-A’d”. Let the studios know there will be a boycott campaign of any movie Prime Focus works on. Hollywood prides itself for being concerned about people working in sweat shops (a la Kathy Lee Gifford). Hollywood should do all it can not to support such treatment of the people that work on it’s films lest they be hypocrites all for a buck.

    • Yes! This is a serious issue. Those employees are making 83 cents an hour. How many other studios are paying their employees that poorly? These are things that should be brought to the media’s attention, especially since so many companies are expanding shops to India and Asia.

    • Ashes says:

      Because the houses are following the laws in the countries they are working in. While it would be great for the entire industry for such practices to stop, until the Indians themselves demand revisions in the labor laws of their country, not much is going to change.

      The same thing happens across many different industries and in many different countries. The biggest one, manufacturing. The Kathy Lee Gifford got a ton of bad press because it involve child labor not adult.

      • Ymir says:

        A sweatshop is a sweatshop, whether it’s children being exploited or adults. Maybe we’ll hear next that Prime Focus is hiring children. It really would not surprise me if such a revelation were made. Regardless, this is exploitation of workers and Hollywood should not support it by sending any work to Prime Focus. That includes the major studios and work subcontracted by effects facilities.

      • Ashes says:

        “A sweatshop is a sweatshop, whether it’s children being exploited or adults.”

        Not in the eyes of various laws and the perceptions of various populations. There’s a massive difference between a child, who doesn’t have the capacity to make a decision or have the free of choice, and an adult who willing works under less than optimal conditions.

      • “There’s a massive difference between a child, who doesn’t have the capacity to make a decision or have the free of choice, and an adult who willing works under less than optimal conditions.”

        I think we need to be careful though that simply because someone chooses between evils that we don’t assign them freedom of choice.

        If my options are skewered like a wild boar or occasionally hit with a stick I will “choose” the stick. But that’s choosing between two undesirable options.

        If your options are which sweatshop to work at (or death), not whether you work at a sweatshop then child and adult alike have no freedom of choice.

      • Ashes says:

        Oh, I agree working at a sweatshop is bad, but there is a difference, socially as well as legally between children and adults working at them.

        If people are going to have a serious discussion about these issues we can’t just lump everything together and overstate the situations. Once we start doing that, it’s easy for the money grubbers to merely point at us and claim we are making nonfactual and wild allegations.

      • Ymir says:

        @Ashes – so what they are doing may be legal, in that country. it doesn’t mean we have to support it. In some cultures, it’s legal to treat women like animals. To us, it’s abhorrent. Does that mean we sit back and let it happen because it’s their culture? Hollywood loves to wear it’s PC on it’s sleeve. When studios and effects facilities send work to facilities like Prime Focus just to save a buck, they are making themselves hypocrites. They need to stop awarding work to facilities that engage in these types of practices until those facilities either go broke, or change their ways.

      • Ymir says:

        And these are not non-factual and wild allegations. Please see photos of Prime Focus contract above.

      • Ashes says:

        @Ymir, please carefully reread what I wrote. First, I never said that I was fine with the working conditions, just that it was legal. So, I’m not sure why you are responding in the manner that you are. Your response seems like one step away from a caplock rant.
        Second, about the non-factual comment, I was saying that if we rant and rave and claim things, like unpaid internships and the employment practices in various countries, are illegal when they are in fact legal, we are just giving the opposition fuel to dismiss us. Someone people on this blog go off about things and don’t even know if the action is legal or not. I was referring to things in general.
        Causes are generally served better with level headed, nonknee-jerk reactions. So, fling accusations at people without even knowing what they believe isn’t going to help or change things.

      • Ymir says:

        @Ashes – I never said their practices were illegal. Please reread my comments as well. Only that by American standards, they are unethical and that we should not tolerate them. I also offered up actions to take to try to bring change to the situation. What is your solution? So far you have offered up nothing, other than a ‘we must see things through their eyes’ attitude. Obviously we don’t like what’s going on. From the Indians who have posted here it sounds like they don’t like what’s going on. What do you suggest? And look at that, I typed all that without the caps lock on.

      • Ashes says:

        @Ymir, again reread what I wrote. I never said YOU claimed thing were illegal, but that other people have and we need to be careful of this. I have stated what I thought would solve the problem, the Indian people protesting and asking for labor laws to be changed and enforced. I also have never made any stated about empathizing with PF, just their legal standing. About the caps lock comment, I said your tone sound very close to one much like this new comment. So, please stop attacking me with false accusations.

        I am not Indian. I cannot vote to change their laws. I would be willing to vote for and support my government if they wanted to boycott trade with India until they raised their labor standards.

        Other than that, I don’t see a feasible way of influencing change in the policies of another country. There are some others options, like boycotting films PF worked on, but I don’t think they would work and they wouldn’t be a permanent solution. Until Indians demand their government to change the laws, then there will always be a chance of these practices to continuing.

      • Ymir says:

        Ashes, there are a lot of angry feelings and comments on this topic, I don’t see mine as any more than anyone else here. But you tossed out the first snarky caps lock comment, so when you do, be prepared to receive like in kind.
        I have reread all your comments. You don’t need to keep reminding me. We can go round and round with I never said that your never said that I never said . . . ad infinitum. My proposal is to bring light to the situation. To throw that light on to those that enable Prime Focus to treat it’s workers this way. And if PF doesn’t change, we need to let others outside this thread know that pictures PF worked on, were produced using unethical, unfair employment practices, and audiences should not patronize those movies. No, it won’t solve the entire India workforce problem, or change any laws. But maybe it’s just that spark to draw more people’s attention to the problem. What’s more visible than Hollywood?

      • Ashes says:

        @Ymir, I replied to you because you were addressing me. Several times you have asked me questions in an aggressive manner that I have already answered. The caps lock comment was a subtle way of telling you that you are starting to do the typing equivalent of raising you voice at me. I do apologize if you found the comment insulting, I meant it to be light hearted not insulting. My bad.

        I have already stated that I think a boycott won’t work and wouldn’t solve the problem. People aren’t going to get outraged when PF is follow a relatively standard business practice in India. People are really not going to care when in many other countries unemployment is high. If the vfx industry was at the same visibility level of Apple, then yes, getting the word out of the working conditions would work. Unfortunately, we are not. The problem is much bigger than our small industry and it’s going to take a labor movement to change it.

      • Ymir says:

        Ashes, if you scroll all the way to the top of this conversation, you’ll find my post was an original post to the group. I was not addressing you specifically. If my tone sounded like it was raising my voice, it was not meant to be, yet I can’t be responsible for how you perceive it. Interesting that it seems only you seem to have interpreted it that way and nobody else felt the need to jump inl. I was writing from a position of passion about an industry I have given a quarter of a century to. We may disagree about points of debate, but please don’t belittle how I express myself. You don’t know me and you can’t know what voice was in my head while typing, raised or not.

        Most of the people on this blog are passionate about this industry we work in. Practices like these are disturbing. Obviously it was disturbing enough to Soldier to bring the whole sordid thing to light. I feel it shouldn’t stop here. Maybe more people will feel as we do. Maybe it will upset them enough to want to act. My suggestion is to boycott PF and if that doesn’t work, boycott those who finance PF: their clients. You disagree. But if we don’t bring up ideas for discussion, what is the purpose of blogs such as this?

      • Ashes says:

        Ymir says:
        July 26, 2012 at 1:10 pm

        @Ashes – so what they are doing ……..

        Ashes says:
        July 26, 2012 at 2:42 pm

        @Ymir,…..seems like one step away from a caplock rant.

      • Ymir says:

        Ymir says:
        July 25, 2012 at 12:56 pm

        Why aren’t these letters in Variety or The Hollywood Reporter? Prime . . .

        Ashes says:
        July 25, 2012 at 5:08 pm

        Because the houses are following the laws in the countries they are . . .

    • jon doh says:

      The studios don’t care about that, It is mainly their fault. All they want is cheap price for the vfx of their film. VFX studios have even huge penalies to pay for every day late of the deadline. Don’t point on VFX companies, even if some are also abusing on their side. The ‘evil’wood studios are a big part in that problem !!!!

    • Mike says:

      I wouldn’t personally compare this to “the Chick-Fil-A issue” at all, but boycotting is certainly an option IF people will go for it.

      The real problem IMO is that most people don’t really care about exploited workers unless it’s them. Shipping graphics work overseas makes most of “us” cringe, but most movie goers simply don’t care. Until America is fed up with Companies like Walmart, Chrysler (Honda & Toyota are more American now than American cars!), GM, Ford, Apple, etc. sending work overseas, us marginalized graphics folks really don’t have a winning argument.

  11. vfxguy says:

    Having had a little bit of experience of the Indian market I can see where this has come from, but any way you swing it this type of behaviour is disgraceful.

  12. edwardh says:

    What a big surprise. Ever since I heard that Prime Focus had an office in India, it went on my black list.
    I mean seriously people – what the hell do you think big companies do in poor countries? Do you ever read the news?! Or watch a documentary here and there?

    A thought that occurred to me today because of this is that – not only do we exploit quite a few of those countries in regards to their resources. Not only do we have them produce clothes and food so cheap that it leads to nice things like child labor and mass suicide. No, we even have to exploit them for fucking cultural products!

    But – it also reminded me of my own contract at a big studio. That had at least one illegal clause in them. Namely that there is no overtime compensation whatsoever. Maybe that’s legal in the USA (I would assume so) but it’s not in the country where I currently reside. So one could even sue the company if they actually make use of that clause. But I suppose depending on your plans for the future, both not signing the contract AND suing them later on may be big mistakes…

    And then there’s also this thing that I was confronted with a couple of times (back to the subject at hand) and that I found very questionable: people complaining about the quality of work that was outsourced to such countries.
    Whenever somebody bitches about poor work done by some guy who probably earns a couple of percent of what he earns, I’d like to slap him silly. Because doing nothing but roto or match move shit all the time for way too little pay just has to be a great motivator.

    • Woah says:

      edwardh: Black list? So I guess Dreamworks, Technicolor, MPC, Rhythm and Hues and soon a couple of more company joining in are in your blacklist as well?

      Let me tell you, if you ever get a chance to work in uk, europe, asia then you can kiss your overtime pay goodbye. People work on weekends in these countries and NOT get paid. Yes, they get a day off (possibly) but from my knowledge, only the States, NZ, Can and Aus give overtime. Soon, maybe, perhaps oneday : that would stop as well. Then what?

      • edwardh says:

        Of course they are. I don’t plan on supporting despicable companies with my skills. Unless I really have to. But as long as there are companies that engage in decent business practices, there is another way.

        UK is contained in Europe, you know? And I’ve experienced and heard about people not getting overtime pay in Canada too. As far as at least I can see, there seems to be little difference of the practices in such rich countries. And what I’ve read about many years ago still seems to be true: Most large and small studios are very exploitative. The best chance one has when it comes to decent work environment seems to be at well-established, medium-sized studios.

      • edwardh says:

        Oh and don’t forget D-Neg, ILM and Pixomondo.

      • CorporateMinion says:

        let us not forget Framestore and MPC London either. In fact, any London studio.

  13. Ymir says:

    Clauses F.) and G.) essentially say “Sign your life over to the company.”

  14. karthik says:

    a shocking and sad inceident. I grieve for the plight of thew employees. God help them.

  15. Dave Rand says:

    Not surprised at all this is exactly what happens when labor laws are weak, unions are scarce, and balance is tipped completely in one direction, away from labor. The law of the jungle. Think about that next time you criticize getting as organized as those that capitalize off your labor. These companies do not succeed by loose arrangements, it comes from unity and focus. It’s built brick by brick. It’s also taken down brick by brick when your not paying attention or not caring enough to pay attention, or too distracted by fear to pay attention.

    • Craig says:

      @Dave Rand:

      This is what happens when people don’t honor contracts, not when labor laws are weak.

      Why does my landlord require $7K in security deposit and last month’s rent from me? Because housing laws are weak? No, it’s because in this particular area of commerce, there is a very high rate of people not honoring their contracts (leases). It is that simple, Dave.

      • Scott Squires says:

        First is it established fact that most people in India break contracts? And is this in fact common for all the other vfx companies there to have the same type of contracts (with pre-paid monies)?

        I’ve seen one of the largest vfx companies here in the US break contracts with some workers. And any company has much deeper pockets than an individual so it’s much easier for a company to break a contract in terms of having someone mount a full legal challenge.

        The differences to a rental property – Your security deposit is to cover any actual physical damage you do and that have a specific cost to the company. First and last month serves to make it cleaner and easier to deal with the move out when the leave is over and also to prevent the renter from skipping out on what truly is owed. Many apartment buildings have hundreds or more occupants that may be coming or leaving all the time. With the security deposit this tends to minimize discussions about about damage.

        With an apartment you’re only legal and money connection with the company is renting the apartment fro them. They have no other control of you or you of them.

        But when you’re employed by a company and they charge you fees for working there then that’s a different arrangement. I’m sure there are plenty of legal differences as well.In this case they’re asking for money up front that they in fact hold on to while they pay you to work.

        They could certainly deal with this in other ways.
        Contracts – If it’s a clean contract then they have legal recourse and I doubt they have hundreds of people abandoning them.

        School – They could simply setup a school and charge to teach people how to roto. This is independent of employment. That way the training phase and the actual work phase are split and separate from whether you work there and for how long. You’re not stuck there for 2 years and you don’t owe them anything more.

        They could hire people who are already trained and experienced for the most part rather than building a full business model on hiring super cheap labor and charging to train them.

        They could treat employees well and pay them reasonably. That tends to help avoid employees leaving.

        ILM trained a lot of people with a lot of different classes. Without contracts. Some level of training is common at a lot of companies and is expected as part of the cost of doing business. If people are leaving in droves then they have a different problem and training costs are not it.

        And from the sounds of it PF isn’t committed to provide you 2 years of employment so it’s not a balanced contract. And from what I gather it’s also not prorated. So some people may be laid off shortly before their 2 year term expires and the company keeps all the money. All the power to abuse the system lies in the hands of the company and the worker have to absorb any abuses. Could the company reduce wages or lay people off from periods of time? Is the time based on calendar year or how much you’ve worked.

      • Craig says:

        @Scott Squires:

        I think it is common, but who cares if most of India breaks contracts or not. If employees are breaking contracts with PF, then that’s an issue that PF needs to deal with. Why on earth would they do this to their employees if they did not have a problem with them skipping out? Arbitrarily adding this requirement for no reason would seriously hurt their potential to attract competent employees. Companies want there to be a lot of applicants. This makes it more difficult for people to apply. Do you really think all employers are just evil? Seems so.

        Who cares if you’ve seen a big company here once break a contract with some workers. That would be a rare exception, not the standard. I’m not sure what your point is about companies vs. employees breaking contracts. Both parties need to honor their side. Besides, it may be “easier” for a big company to break a contract because they have “deeper pockets”, but they also have much more to lose because they have deeper pockets.

        I can’t believe you are trying to nitpick difference to my rental property analogy. You are really going to explain to me that first and last months rent are to “make it easier to deal with the move out”. The reason for security deposit it to protect the landlord from tenants that may be tempted to leave without paying last months rent or paying for damages. It’s not that complicated. I’m not sure what you are on about by complicating the talk with this “coming and leaving” stuff and “minimizing discussions”.

        You have a weak argument here. *Of course* there are subtle differences between paying security last months rent in advance and paying a security deposit to your employer. They are different applications. One is a job, the other is a flat.

        But the fundamental principle is exactly the same. Despite signing a legal agreement, one party retains a security deposit in advance to protect them in the event the other party does not live up to the contract.

        “In this case they’re asking for money up front that they in fact hold on to while they pay you to work”

        Yes, this is true and…. in the case of a rental property, they’re asking for money up front that they in fact hold on to while you live in their flat.

        What is your actual point here? In both cases one party is holding money as collateral until the end of the agreement to ensure they other party does not defraud them. No need to point out the differences between a job and a rental property.

        “They could certainly deal with this in other ways.
        Contracts – If it’s a clean contract then they have legal recourse and I doubt they have hundreds of people abandoning them.”

        The purpose of the security deposit is *because* the contracts don’t work on their own. So your solution to solve a problem with workers not honoring their contracts is to have them sign another contract? What?

        “School – They could simply setup a school and charge to teach people how to roto. ”

        This is hilarious. So, now you want the company to charge these people? Right now, the company gives the money back, but you think they should essentially just keep it?

        So, they are training employees while paying them (hey, that’s a good thing, right?), but in order for this to work, the company must be able to retain them for a certain amount of time to make sure the investment in training will pay off. They can’t very well train these people for free only to have them immediately go work for someone else. Many of these employees skip out and take better offers after they get the experience, so the company requires a deposit, which will be returned upon completion of services. Now, you are saying a better solution is to have employees actually pay outright for the training? So, it would be better if they did not get paid to train, but instead they paid the company, huh?

        I’ll tell you what. There may be some people that go for that, but I’d guess most people would prefer to be paid to train instead. I’m assuming there are actually schools over there that one may dump money into if they want to go that route.

        “They could hire people who are already trained and experienced for the most part rather than building a full business model on hiring super cheap labor and charging to train them.”

        You are absolutely right. They could change their business model and hire people that are already trained. But what is wrong with giving entry-level opportunities to people that want it? Obviously, people like this idea if they accept jobs there. Perhaps some people need to earn money and cannot afford to pay for a school. This is a great way to learn and get paid.

        “They could treat employees well and pay them reasonably. That tends to help avoid employees leaving.”

        Absolutely. It is always good to treat employees well. But who is to say that people are leaving because of that? From what I gather, people leave because they they can get other higher-paying jobs after the experience at PF. After being trained and working for a year, they are much more marketable to other companies that would love to poach them. This is all good, except that the employees should honor the contract and wait until the completion of term.

        Yes, we all know training is common. I still train. If I move to a new company, I expect to train on their pipeline for a bit. There is lots to learn. This does not change the fact that the company believe they will reap returns on the investment of hiring and paying me. In this case, the company clearly is losing its investment by having people leave before then end of their contract.

        If PF does indeed abuse and mislead its workers, then they do deserve a hell storm for it. This contract on its own, though is perfectly valid.

      • Jack says:

        @craig.

        you hold the contract as sacrosanct, unchangeable. that is 100% wrong. contracts can always be negotiated and changed. you can break contracts and there are always remedies/punishments for both parties when that happens.

      • Kunal says:

        @Craig:

        If you think the contract is ‘perfectly valid’ will you sign it? If you think that there is nothing wrong that PF is asking for, you should probably try working there.

        You say it is ‘valid’. But do you think it is a ‘fair’ contract?
        It says, they can lay you off without notice and without qouting a reason in writing as to why? Also, you forfeit your deposit in that case. Surely all the power to misuse the contract lies with the employer.

        You ask if the employers are evil. Can you guarantee they are not? That guarantee comes only if the contract is fair!

        If your landlord made such an agreement with you, would you still go ahead and make the deal? YOU WOULD NOT !
        You say Scott’s idea about a school is ‘hilarious’.
        And you compare an employment contract to a rental contract! That is so ridiculous :))

        Also, you have asked a lot of people for a certain proof or ‘direct quotes’ for the things that they have mentioned. You say, “Many of these employees skip out and take better offers after they get the experience, so the company requires a deposit, which will be returned upon completion of services.”
        – How many? Who told you? Are you stating facts?

      • Craig says:

        @Jack:

        Actually, Jack, you are wrong. The practice of voluntary exchange and the establishment of contract are the essence of a free society. They are indeed ‘sacrosanct’ in the within the context of living in a free and just society.

        Simply put, contracts are promises that both parties agree to voluntarily for mutual benefit. It is not good to break promises, Jack.

        Societies are built on contracts. That sounds a bit cold until you just realize that it just means that there is an expectation that people should keep their word. Almost everything in your life is governed by a contract. Your job, your house. Marriage is even a contract.

        I don’t particularly recall when I said contracts were unable to negotiated. Neither do I recall saying that they are not broken. Obviously, they are sometimes broken, which is the whole point behind this discussion.

        India is well known for being one of the most corrupt places on the planet. If you are Indian, it is telling that you do not have as much respect for a contract as we do in the west.

        I know that if I break my contract with my employer right now, they will not peruse legal action. But fear of legal action is not why I honor the contract. It is about acting in good faith. As long as they hold their end of the bargain, I will uphold mine. I am a man of my word. It is important to me and I know that the more individuals in society that share my convictions, the better off we will be.

        If you have more to say about the nature of a contract, please elaborate. If you really think it unimportant, then please say what you think is important.

      • Jack says:

        @craig
        I disagree with your argument. you dont seem to have much legal experience. contracts are not sacrosanct, they are points to agree and disagree on. im arguing form my experience with lawyers/attorneys. you?

      • Jack says:

        @ craig
        please read about ‘restructuring contracts’ to learn how a contract is not sacrosanct.

      • Jordan says:

        Hi Craig,
        What the hell you are speaking about? You are spoiling Indian artist career by saying such things.
        Do You ever think,why the artists are leaving one company and joining other company?
        Its not just about money, its about the shit rules and regulation which decreases the artists performance.Not just rule and regulation. Partiality and Politics of senior artist are also involved in leaving one company. If company is hiring you for 9.30 to 6.30 for moday to friday saying in cotracts and making you to work all 30 days with day n night shift without any overtime money ,what you will do in such cases?

        We always think about our company but our company never think about us. company will just think about their growth and their leaders or H.O.D who directly delivers work to them. They never worried about the artist who works n how they works under their lead.

        So please stop raising fingers against any Indian artist and stop spoiling our Indian name in the international market.

        We do what we feel correct. Lets company do what they feel.
        Even we artist do have rights to have freedom and to enjoy the happy life with family.

        Waiting for the company who not only fulfill their dreams but also fulfill the artist dreams.

        Cheers…

      • Kareena Jones says:

        Okay Craig…?? Listen. & Listen very carefully. 1st of all, we are talking about “VFX”. Not housing. Okay?? & What do you even know about how Indian Artists treat their contracts / employers? They dont just go ahead breaking their contracts and jumping around companies like you think. It happens only when these VFX houses exploit the artists. I mean you obviously are not an Indian, never worked there, never been there. & still you talk about things that you do not understand. So, my suggestion is?? Don’t comment……. Please For The Love of God…….

    • Jack says:

      @ Dave
      culture very important. laws are not always only solution. not every person only looks at laws in the way they act. maybe owner/manager are of ‘higher’ caste in PF india and dont think of workers as good as them.

  16. True Indie Project says:

    There’s an undercover documentary here…

  17. Dave Darkovski says:

    Prime Focus is one of those companies you best avoid working for.

  18. Dave Darkovski says:

    All these big firms are worth nothing without “the talent” and that’s us the very same people being kicked around by companies. I am frankley sick of it. The sooner we get organized and start to act as one coherent force the better.

  19. rajted says:

    First one is broken link :)

  20. jovfx says:

    As an outsider to the vfx world looking in, this is an absolute disgrace on behalf of PF mumbai.
    All sorts of capitalistic/moralistic/ethical issues spring to mind when seeing something like this. After signing the contract does the employee have to bend over? because they’re blatantly getting screwed!!

    Does anyone know what kind of training investment they’re referring to in the letter. It had better be something good for such a large deposit. Kinda sounds like the DD model I read here a while ago where they want kids to pay for tuition and then work on real jobs!!

    As a side, do UK and US employers even bother hiring roto artists anymore when they can employ people for such low rates?

    • Ashes says:

      As an outsider, then you must have looked up that other businesses are doing the same thing over in India. Unfortunately, it’s perfectly legal. As I’ve stated before, the people of India will have to demand more labor laws to protect themselves, much like many other countries have had to do in the past. Until then, this is going to continue.

      The DD model is just like every other internship that any other college offers. Go to any college or universities website and search for internship. The students are paying tuition at FSU for a BA and will have the option to do a professional intership or they can pay a much lower tuition and get a lesser degree at DDI. That’s completely different from having to put a deposit down so you can’t quit your job.

      Many companies are still hiring roto artist, since you mentioned them, DD actual has quite a few in their North American offices.

      • Thorps tee says:

        FSU, AI and other diploma mulls are exploiting the fact that creative industries generally don’t require “real” accredited degrees. Sick. If only our community colleges could get that money instead.

    • Ashes says:

      There are a ton of jobs that don’t require degrees to get the jobs, but it does help. I would definitely look more carefully at a resume and demo reel with a BFA or BA in Art when looking at entry level people. Most students are going to 4 year schools want a degree and are not just going for job training. They might want to go into vfx, but may also want a business degree or something else as a back up. They might also be unsure if that’s what they really want to do. If you just want job training, go to a trade school or sign on as an apprentice.

      I’m not sure what your experience has been or the area you live in, but there’s a massive difference in the quality of education between some community colleges and accredited 4 year schools.

  21. jovfx says:

    http://www.primefocusgroup.com/recruitment/india

    Looks like the position is still open!

    This was taken from their website;
    “The facility’s success can be pinpointed to the skill and talent of its operators, its solid infrastructure and the strength of its relationships with the top commercials directors working in India today”.

    whilst I don’t doubt the talent, surely the facilities success can mostly be attributed to the fact that they pay stupid money to the staff…

  22. jonavark says:

    I have been told many times here on this blog that labor costs have nothing to do with the exodus of work from the US. It’s all about the subsidies.

    • Ashes says:

      That’s pretty much been my experience. The studios will actually tell the vfx houses what countries they have to do the work in so they can get their tax incentives.

  23. reonimation says:

    Figured I would point out that Prime Focus is an indian owned company, and the CEO is an Indian. Kind of makes it all the more disgusting of a story. The fact that the man making those decisions, is holding the iron fist down on his own countrymen/women.

  24. jrandom says:

    What needs to happen is a reputable company needs to open up shop there and start paying it employees real wages commensurate of the region or better and watch the fire storm begin.

    • Sidhant Shah says:

      R&H is doing the exact same thing in India. If you convert the Indian Salary into $$ it will obviously feel like very low wages, but if you consider the Indian standard of living, R&H has a decent pay.
      I cant say the same thing for Prime Focus. Prime Focus has a bad reputation atleast in India as a sweatshop exploiting young artists. People who work there have surely tried at all the places possible and only then take up the job at PF.

  25. Craig says:

    It is amazing to read the strong opinions of so many people that have absolutely no clue about economics or how the world works. There is nothing more annoying than people who apply what they know about their own situation to others and insomuch feel they can make crucial life decisions for them.

    I don’t know Prime Focus at all and it doesn’t sound like they are a all that great of company to work for, but claiming they ‘exploit’ their workers sounds like an overreaction.

    I wish I could type more today, but I actually have to work. I’ll try to get back here and dismantle a few arguments in the next few days if I can get the time.

    • Anonymous says:

      …and worked like a madman he did, exhausted after completing 22 fx edits, he laid down and closed his eyes and thought back to the days when he was a runner and tried to get a visa to work in the USA. At least they paid overtime there, he wondered why they did not in the UK. It was so difficult he was angry about it but so exhausted …and he drifted off to sleep.

      *******************************

      He was awakened suddenly to the sound of the strange chatter of a thousand voices with a loud mix of wild chirping, whistling,….screams. The sounds of commotion and throngs of people fighting to get down the street. It was so hot he was dripping in sweat. It felt like he’d only slept for a few minutes!…true actually….this old woman was shaking him awake..”Time to go to work! Git Up! GIT Up boy!!

      “Wa…What? Who are you ! Where am I ? he said dazed, his head pounding, he felt he had a fever….

      “The studio sent a message that you are late and will be fired for sure if you don’t get there immediately! Two hours of sleep is all you are allotted this day, it’s Sunday ..YOU KNOW THAT!!” Do you know how hard I had to work to get you the deposit for this job boy, do you know how many floors I cleaned and days without food we sacrificed for you?, NOW MOVE IT!”

      Craig scrambled to a broken window cutting his hand. The pain shot up his arm and the hot blood rolled down his arm…and looked out over the throngs of people and poverty, waves of heat rising up like ribbons of nausea. The old woman dashed him his clothes as seven young children looked at him with large eyes. Their skin was ashen, the were so skinny…starving and crying.

      “Who are these kids? Who are you?? Where the hell am I?”

      One of the kids handed him a small package wrapped in newsprint. “I gave you my bread for today” the boy choked in a raspy voice.

      “…please don’t be late you are supposed to get paid for the first time today!” The old woman screamed at him.

      Then he looked down at the newsprint on the wrapping paper for the bread….

      it said… “THE TIMES OF iNDIA special edition Hollywood’s VFX Soldier speaks out for abused workers of India”

      “What the fuck is happening to me!”

      “NEVER MIND!” screamed the woman and shoved him out the door. A boy walked up from the Vaishyas Caste, he was very well dressed with a thick gold chain around his neck and a large Rolex having been born into riches. He handed Craig a note, it said

      “Dear Mr Craig,

      “Please be informed you have been fired from your position at Prime Focus. Give your ID badge to the man delivering this note. You are also informed per your agreement with this company that your deposit has been forfeited and your paycheck due to you today will be kept for placing this company at a loss due to today’s tardiness.”

      He never returned and finished his days in India where he eventually he began to understand the differences in economics and lost causes.

    • Anonymizer says:

      Are you an expert economist, Craig? Are you an expert in feature film visual effects business? Are you a feature film visual effects professional?

      I have a job prospect for you, Craig, if you like to take up my offer. Since I think you’re a genius no one can match. I’ll pay you $3000/month if you can finish this task to my satisfaction within 3 months. However, in order that I know you won’t bail on me and thus screw me and my scheduling, you’ll have to provide me a guarantee. Since I don’t know anything about your moral character and ethics, an upfront security deposit of $7500 will best guarantee — so that if you indeed bail on me, I can pay some damages to my client. The stipulation such that if I am not satisfied with your work, or if you quit prior to your contractual end date, or the termination of your employment due to your inability to deliver at the said time frame, you shall forfeit all such security deposit including that month’s salary. If all contractual obligations are met to my satisfaction, you shall receive your security deposit in full. If you’re unable to guarantee a security upfront, I am unable to hire you for this job. Interested, Craig?

    • Kareena Jones says:

      Okay, Craig?? Once again… If you do not know about the company and what they do and what it means to others, why even bother typing all these comments you have made? Your comments are not based on the facts. So, please, I request you to get your facts straight…. & Then comment….Please…

  26. Scott Squires says:

    All of this may be ‘legal’. It may even be common in a given area but that doesn’t make it right. There was a time when there were slaves (I’m sure there are places where there still are), where workers were indentured and where workers were whipped.

    At this point in time, yes, forcing workers to pay to work and requiring them to work for a given time before any funds are returned is an exploitation by most sane standards. That’s why Apple and other high tech companies were getting knocked for Foxconn. Yes, those working conditions may not be that unusual for China but it is abhorrent to anyone with a sense of decency. Companies who outsource to these types of places are indirectly exploiting these workers and doing things they could not do in their own countries. And no, they can’t just shrug their shoulders as if they know nothing about it because they’re not the direct employers.

    It’s clear there are different costs of living and different pay depending on where you live, but basic treatment of human beings needs to be upheld. These issues should be brought to light. The companies that outsource to these types of companies and the people who get products or services from these companies should be made aware of it.

    For those of us who work in visual effects what happens when you’re requested to go work for a company in India? What happens when you see this type of stuff first hand or when it’s directed at you? As long as companies can lower costs by these types of tactics and get large sums of money by other companies to do so it will continue. And as these types of areas start sucking more and more jobs from other areas it’s more likely the other workers in the industry will either be pulled into this spiral of destruction or simply be left to rot on the side.

    If you told people in the industry 20 years ago what would happen by today they would have laughed and had a hard time to even grasp it. Now project out another 20 years given how things have gone. That’s your future. You can either ignore things and hope for the best or we can try to raise all boats.

    • eoffermann says:

      This is spot on.

      Economics and cultural relativism do not make near-slavery conditions acceptable. The only way that *I* personally feel like I can fight it is to be committed to never work for a company that would do this. I’m constantly busy and very respected for what I do: there is no way I would accept work knowingly from a company like this, nor would I tolerate a company I work for outsourcing to a company like this. It is possible to save money by doing work where it is efficient to do so – but when the typical local working conditions are beneath human decency, I will say no. If everyone did, they might learn a lesson.

      • Craig says:

        Good luck.

      • lauderdale says:

        @eoffermann: and where were the sneakers you’re wearing made? What were the working conditions like for the Chinese labourers who screwed your computer together? How much overtime did the Mexicans in the maquiladoras get for assembling your “American” automobile? Get off your high horse: you’re as much painted with filth as the rest of us.

    • Craig says:

      Scott,

      I would love to rebut to your post right now, but I don’t have time. Hopefully soon. It is good to care about people, no doubt. But comparing things like this to slavery is naive if not dishonest.

      • eoffermann says:

        Your little “good luck” is silly in response to my comment. I’m sure we don’t know each other or work in the same places – so maybe in your world, it’s not possible to make ethical choices about where you work and what you do. I’m not a kid – I’m 43 – it’s not naïveté motivating my comment. You can be successful AND do the right thing. It’s worth looking into.

      • Craig says:

        Hey. I actually commend you for your efforts if you really do follow through with what you say. I was not trying to be particularly sarcastic or irreverent to you.

        I am about as old as you are and regard myself as having extremely high morals. I just happen to see situations like this quite a bit differently.

        Like I said before, I don’t know much at all about Prime Focus, but the dramatizations here such as are absolutely over the top. Slavery? Come on, people. I just don’t particularly want to let people get away with that.

        I keep getting sucked into typing here today when I really should not. Lots to do. I plan to come back, though in a day or two’s time and actual make my case for looking at things like this differently. And by case, I mean more than pure sentiment.

      • Anonymous says:

        Nevermind, they wore him down to a nub on the last topic. He’s tapped. Hopefully he regains and regroups cause every time he puts fingers to key he helps thousands, however inadvertently .

      • Scott Squires says:

        A few people here have pointed out some of these issues are perfectly legal and ‘normal’ or at least expected there. My point being that at one time many other worker situations were considered legal and normal, not that they rivaled the level of actual slavery. I understand each area has their customs and ways of doing things but as I say if workers are treated very poorly and if something is happening that’s illegal in most other areas, then it might be worth considering how our companies interact with these situations.

        It was mentioned elsewhere this practice is to avoid poaching from training people. I would suggest there are better alternatives and contracts for dealign with this than forcing workers pay to work. At that point they might as well make a school and simply charge for that and then hire finished students.

      • Craig wrote “But comparing things like this to slavery is naive if not dishonest.”. Ah, no. Actually, debt bondage is widely considered to be a form of slavery, see the United Nations 1956 Supplementary Convention on the Abolition of Slavery.

      • Kunal says:

        Hi Craig,
        Most of the people discussing about this topic here are genuinely concerned about the immoral behaviour and the unethical practices. Like Scott mentioned, although it may be ‘legal’ (it is not) or commonplace for a given area, it still does not make it right.
        You seem to be a busy artist (and a great economist). You don’t have to be involved in this at all. You’re life seems perfect, so don’t ‘dismantle’ these conversations. :)
        Cheers,
        Kunal.

      • Craig says:

        @Kunal:

        Yes, I realize this. I, too, am concerned.

        I find it fascinating that you think I am some kind of fly in the ointment here because I don’t jump on the bandwagon. What I try to do is actually bring about reasoned discussion as opposed to emotional rhetoric.

    • Craig says:

      @Scott Squires:

      Please provide your solution to how an Indian company can deal with employees that break their contracts and jump ship before they return the value the employer invested in training them.

      Thanks.

      • Jack says:

        @ craig.

        consider it the fault of the company to employ untrained staff. there are lots of trained staff around that the company can hire.

      • Craig says:

        @Jack:

        So, it’s a fault of the company for giving jobs to unskilled people? That’s a new one.

      • Jack says:

        @ craig
        a company makes investments in computer, staff, software etc. make the wrong choice and live with the consequences. why is that new? a company management must deal with the indiviual choices it makes. that has been your argument of freedom. live with the consequences you[owner/manager] makes. hasn’t it?

      • Jack says:

        @ craig
        a company doesn’t ‘give’ you a job. its an offer of a wages in return for hiring your labor/skills based on the agreement in contract. look up contract law if you need.

      • Craig says:

        @jack:

        Are you really attacking me for saying that a company ‘gives’ a job to somebody?

        That is a pretty standard phrase. I’m not sure what kind of points you are trying to gain here, but you seem desperate to pick apart anything to seem superior.

      • Jack says:

        @ craig
        am i the fly in the ointment in your arguments?

      • Jack says:

        @ craig
        all your arguments revolve around specific points, there IS a large difference between ‘giving’ a job and having an agreement. if your are not aware the nuances of language i suggest that ,as you have read about ecconmics, you also read about law to understand that every word has a specific meaning.

      • Jordan says:

        Run Honest company with the honest rule n regulation which benefits both,company as well as you employees. Be open with your artist and colleagues. Just don’t let your company on others shoulder who is taking your company’s name in d wrong direction. wishes.

        So be wise to the artist and workers who are working for you…
        Make provisions for the artist also to grow. Because everyone wants to grow in this world.

        Just don’t step on the others dead body to rise up.

      • Kareena Jones says:

        Okay… What do you think a studio has to invest in a new employee?? huh?? computers? NO… they already have it. Softwares? NO… they are licensed and fixed. Chairs? Tables?Coffee?Food?WHAT??? The only thing they “invest” is the time given by a senior artist to train these newbies. For which, the seniors are not even paid. So, please, do not talk about the Studio investment. & An Artist is not stupid to just keep what you said, “jump ship”. This happens only when he / she is not paid the way they deserve. Did you even read the details properly? They work for 16-20 hours at a stretch. Also on weekends, public holidays. These artists have to co-ordinate with their US, Canada & London counterparts according to their contry’s standard time. not Indian standard time.For that, they have to stay in office till the end. There used to be bunkers inside a small 10×12 room where thy used to sleep for just a couple of hours. water shortage in washrooms, no company transportation, no overtime, no holidays, no salary increase in the name of recession for complete three years. I mean, if you consider these facts, you will understand what they have to go through. & all of this has got nothing to do with the country’s economy or laws or social situation. Mumbai is nothing like what you saw in Slumdog movie… Okay? Mumbai is one of the richest cities in the world. And the financial capital of the entire country. So, again…….!!!!!! I would suggest you better go there, live and work there for some time. and then write your comments. You said it yourself, you don’t know about the company. Then why do you write your assumptions and your “opinion” or suggestions or solution or anything????
        PLEASE…. first get your facts straight… Please….

      • Jim says:

        “Please provide your solution to how an Indian company can deal with employees that break their contracts and jump ship before they return the value the employer invested in training them.”

        Aside from the hearsay that someone once heard that that kind of thing happens, what actual evidence do you have for that kind of thing actually happening, especially to the point where it necessitates rent seeking from potential employees? Don’t employers ask for references in India?

        Also, what on earth do you mean by “the value the employer invested in training them”? Do these new employees completely do their own thing for the first two years, or do they produce content which the company financially benefits from?

        Here’s an outrageous notion: treat your staff well, pay them a decent wage, and they’ll generally stick around. Problem solved.

        “So, it’s a fault of the company for giving jobs to unskilled people?”

        Yes. Absolutely. They don’t have to recruit them. Nobody’s bending their arm.

  27. joel says:

    The only way to make an appreciable difference is to amass a larger audience, & make the message as applicable as possible to said audience.

  28. John says:

    for me (i’ve not been working in the field of vfx professionally before and will never ever plan of working in this field) I am just so shocked by bad conditions in this industry, and I’ve not been following it really much.

  29. Michael says:

    The manufacturing industries have various “Ethical Codes of Conduct” that govern working conditions when they deal with sub-contractors. VFX does not seem to have this. On the Prime Focus website they are proudly displaying their 3d conversion work on Star Wars: Episode 1. ILM and other studios that send work there should be abiding by similar standards on workplace conditions.

  30. reonimation says:

    Having a little insider info on how all this goes… Ill add this, to explain the security deposit. Apparently they have a huge problem with scalping over there.. They’d train their artists, and another new studio would jump on those trained artists. So I believe the main purpose of this was to ward off an artists desire to jump ship. Its understandable, but that doesn’t make it right.

    • edwardh says:

      Isn’t it kind of like that everywhere though? Almost no studios want to hire people long-term and quite a few of them don’t pay overtime. So of course you’re going to collect some experience at whatever studio and then as soon as you can, you’ll try to get a more stable, well-paid position at a decent company.

      • Craig says:

        No, this is not like everywhere. People generally don’t break contracts in the West. But when they do, like skipping payment on the last month of a rental apartment, we use these same exact techniques.

        It is totally natural to get a stable and well-paid position at a different company. Workers should be encouraged to always look around for better opportunities. The difference is that Indian workers tend not to honor their contracts, so a company like this can loose money by hiring them.

      • Jim says:

        ” But when they do, like skipping payment on the last month of a rental apartment, we use these same exact techniques.”

        A completely bogus equivalence. When you rent an apartment you’re paying for a roof over your head which the landlord supplies. When you work for someone you’re selling them your labour which you supply to your employer. If the employer can’t compete the free market applies, just as much to the labour market as it does to the commodities market. If the employer isn’t willing to compete that’s their call.

    • Craig says:

      @reonimation:

      Please offer your solution to this problem, then. What would you do if you owned this company?

      • Kunal says:

        @Craig:
        If I owned the company, I would make a fair contract and not exploit my employees.
        I would not take an undue advantage of the fact that “People will still line up for a job here regardless of what we do! We are a rich company in the country of poor people. We have the right to control how they live. Let’s maximize our profits and fill our pockets and give them less than they deserve. They can’t do anything about it, so why not take advantage of that?”

      • Kunal says:

        Morality and Ethics. These are the points most people are trying to address. Not, “How do we change the business model of Prime Focus?”.

      • Craig says:

        @Kunal:

        Way to not answer the question at all. It was my understanding that this security deposit requirement was put in place because emoyees were breaking their contracts.

        What would you do if your employees were getting trained by you, but they did not stay long enough to bring in a return on that investment, despite signing contracts saying they will?

      • Jack says:

        @ craig
        its not very complex. in the west, if a company invests training in someone, and that person leaves, the company may sue that person/ stop them from working another place for some time.

        the point kunal is making is its not the job of people here to decribe how they would run the company. they want to be treated fairly and this contract is pretty unusual for the vfx industry. no?

      • Kunal says:

        @Craig:
        And what is the reason of the employees not staying too long at my company? I would address that (to an extent that seems reasonable.)

  31. reonimation says:

    I, also, have to get this off my chest. Each week we are all up in arms over some posts here on vfx soldier. This is an amazing site! We (well most of us) are all appalled by the way our industry is driving itself into the ground. I just don’t get why we aren’t really acting on it. I mean, things are moving, but almost snail like.

    People want a revolution man!

    But in all seriousness, what are we going to do? I’d love to say that being selective with our employers would change things. In reality, though, thats really not going be the solution.

  32. Scott Squires says:

    “The manufacturing industries have various “Ethical Codes of Conduct” that govern working conditions when they deal with sub-contractors. ”

    It had been my hope that something like this could be implemented. http://effectscorner.blogspot.com/2011/03/global-vfx-workers.html

    Later the VES created a bill of rights, but without any implementation it’s merely a goal.

    The only way to change things is to organize. A single person deciding not to work with a given company will not change the future. A number of people have more people when working together for the same goal.

    • vfxguy says:

      When is this organization going to happen and who is going to do it? “we need to organize!” is something that gets written in at least one comment on every post on this blog.

      • 839spi says:

        We are doing what we can from inside Imageworks on the organizing. We need everyone else’s help too.

      • Scott Squires says:

        Unfortunately this is a big one. First off it doesn’t even seem like the majority of vfx workers are even aware of these things. Among your co-workers how many even read vfxsoldier or the other info out there? Most focus on their work and go home, simply to repeat the same process the next day.

        The first task is to realize there is a problem so that requires those interested to get the word out to their co-workers and others. This is something everyone on this board can do on their own.

        As SPIUnion notes the IA Union is trying to get a vfxunion going in the US. If you’re a vfx working in the US then seriously get more info on the union and consider signing a rep card. You’ve been handed an opportunity to do something. The union is an existing organization so that gives a huge advantage than to start an entire new thing from scratch.

        Sometimes it seems like the story of the Little Red Hen who asked who will help harvest the wheat, who will help …. No one volunteers to do anything until the cake is finished and then they volunteer to eat the cake. It takes many people to put in time and effort to make any of this happen. Many on the side lines ask what’s taking so long. “Why aren’t others fixing this”, they ask.

        As the note about which companies offer what- wouldn’t it be nice if there were a company directory where you could easily check some of their basic arrangements? Which companies provide nay compensation for OT? Which ones pay OT as a higher per hour cost? Which companies provide certain benefits? That would certainly make it easier for workers to prioritize places to work and to know what to expect at various vfx companies.

  33. Anonymous says:

    Not only indian artists are abused at PF.
    Unpaid overtime is happening in PF london’s facilities as well.
    Constantly very long working hours and weekends, most of the time 7 days per week.

    • London-phobic says:

      you’re describing ALL London vfx studios.

      • Eddie says:

        There are a number of studios in Los Angeles that are especially eager to hire on “staff” artists – and for whom they offer only salary (no paid overtime), most likely against California law. They offer comp time, typically, which artists are pressured not to take – but even though comp time is permitted in California, it must be given within the pay period. Typically, if comp time is actually taken at all, it will be much, much later.

      • Eddie says:

        I will add, though, that there are *excellent* options to pick from of studios that do *not* participate in that practice, where salaried staff fit the appropriate legal model and for whom comp time is *promptly* offered. I’m happily at one now – but these places do seem few and far between.

      • Pookyjuice says:

        Eddie’s right – this kind of thing is a common practice (Congrats on the new gig, BTW! ). A company directory of the studios’ different labor practices would certainly be useful to everybody in the industry, no matter how controversial it may become. It’s just going to take some of us being brave enough speak up about our direct experiences and collecting them in a collaborative format where we don’t have to read in between the lines to figure out which company we are referring to (Throws rock from inside of glass house).

  34. NWang says:

    On the topic of ‘unusual’ contracts, I’ve also seen some rather
    odd (to my eyes) contracts coming out of the larger animation
    studios in California.

    A few years ago i was offered a contract which stipulated i would
    would work for company X for a period of 5 years, and if i left
    earlier i wouldn’t be able to work in the industry until that
    period had ended.

    Needless to say i laughed and turned down the offer. After asking
    around i found that actually it wasn’t uncommon on the west coast.

    OK there was no suggestion i was paying them a ‘bond’, but it had
    similarities to the PF approach.

    • Eddie says:

      That’s a very common clause in staff contracts in many places I’ve worked (in vfx and other industries as well) – it’s a noncompete agreement and they’re generally only enforceable if you take competitive intelligence to the other company (ie., you are involved in bidding on a show at Studio A then depart for Studio B to bid on that show, or take clients with you that were developed by Studio A but with whom you’ve developed a personal relationship)

      I agree that they are used manipulatively though – in that some naive artists are under the impression that they can’t really leave or will have to take another job covertly.

    • Scott Squires says:

      Cross out any non-compete in any contract in this industry. Check the NDA portion and also check for the part where they claim that everything you know or think about is their’s. Write an addendum listing key areas that you already know. I cover some of this http://effectscorner.blogspot.com/2011/03/vfx-deal-memo.html

      You can not take specific proprietary knowledge gained at one place to another. If you truly are in the higher level of management they don’t want you to go to another company with lists of clients and their deals and they’d rather you not start poaching their key people that you’ve ID as being good.

      But this business is too much project to project freelance for them to put onerous restrictions on being hired. It’s not like when you’re hired as a key executive at Apple and then get hired by a competitor. An executive can find work at many companies because they don’t have specific skills. But a vfx worker has very limited options beyond other vfx companies.

  35. WIC ADMIN says:

    I’ve always known I hated Prime Focus, but I’ve never been sure why until now.

    • Ashes says:

      You know, after reading all of what PF is doing over there in India, I’m less annoyed with DD suing them for violating the In3 patents they hold. Weird.

  36. Prime ke Majdoor....... says:

    this information is 100% true .
    I am also work this company .
    I am not able to left the company because i dont want to lose my security deposite 30,000.
    I will resign if my deposite in my hand.

  37. Prime ke Majdoor....... says:

    This information is 100% true.
    I am also work with prime focus.
    I am not able to left the company because i dont want to lose my 30,000.

  38. jay says:

    i wana add something here. salary incriment 400 rupee only who successfully completed one year really those r too lucky to take those increment coz maximum worker are termineted without get those security deposit back …get shoked when we know after 10 month we are not elegible with work.threw us performence improvement programme..and after that pf threw many artist out of company with bleming artist ur work is not good.its fair u know ur workers is not elegible after 10 month and also says ur secirity scese ..no artist wana work with pf.. I am one of them.

  39. akash nag says:

    PRIME FOCUS is exploiting their employs by making them work for more than 30 hrs and the poor employs are not even payed any over time and neither they provide food to them and once the work gets over.The employs are thrown out of company,t…he company not even gives money back which was payed as security to the company due to this 1 of their employ attempted suicide.Prime focus is just making money by this and now the fresh batch will also suffer through all this

  40. Rahul says:

    Man, Its Highly Unacceptable with artists who are also ill-treated by the fellow manager’s, The have forgotten the Law, Love people – Use money. The situation in Prime Focus is perfectly opposite, Love Money — Use People!!!!!!!!!!!
    There are many artists who come from the extreme villages in India. The are very talented and always have a zeal to deliver. But Im sure U know how Prime functions. May God forgive them for what They Do………..Let the manager’s not forget that the food the get on their and their families plates come from the artists who toil & they are paid because of them working.

  41. Pete Draper says:

    This “holding fee” is very common here in India, not just in (some) Vfx companies, but also in the majority of other industries. It is commonplace. Ask anyone in the IT industry over here and you will find the same; it’s based on fear that employees will jump ship quickly for whatever reason without giving notice, which happens. We (Makuta) don’t do that however – its based on trust on both sides.

  42. Ex-Prime says:

    Been ex-emp there in PF and having friends out there who r working there, all i can say is whtever is written above is 110% true. They pay less, long working hrs, no facilities, last not the least management treats u like $hit!

  43. suren says:

    PRIME FOCUS is exploiting their employs by making them work for more than 30 hrs and the poor employs are not even payed any over time and neither they provide food to them and once the work gets over.The employs are thrown out of company,t…he company not even gives money back which was payed as security to the company due to this 1 of their employ attempted suicide.Prime focus is just making money by this and now the fresh batch will also suffer through all this.

  44. suren says:

    मुंबई
    प्रोडक्शन हॉउस प्राइम फोकस में इन दिनों युवा कर्मचारियों की हालत बेहद ख़राब है . इन युवा कर्मचारियों का कहना है की पहले तो यहाँ उनसे गधे की तरह काम लिया जाता है वही काम ख़त्म होते हीं प्रोजेक्ट ना होने का बहाना बना कर उन्हें बाहर का रास्ता दिखा दिया जाता है . पिछले कुछ दिनों में यहाँ से कई कर्मचारियों को निकाला गया है . . वही इन युवा कर्मचारियों का कहना है की नौकरी ज्वाइन करते समय उनसे एक बांड साइन करवाया गया था . इस बांड के मुताबिक उनसे ३० हज़ार की डिपाजिट राशि ली गई थी . कहा गया था की यदि कर्मचारी यदि दो साल से पहले कम्पनी छोड़ते है तो उन्हें डिपाजिट की रकम वापस नहीं की जाएगी . लेकिन अब जब कम्पनी खुद कर्मचारियों को बाहर निकाल रही है उसके बाद भी डिपाजिट की रकम वापस नहीं की जा रही है . प्रबंधन के इस मनमाने रवैये से यहाँ के कर्मचारी काफी परेशान हैं . उन्हें समझ में नही आ रहा है की वे अपनी फरियाद लेकर कहाँ जाएँ .

  45. suren says:

    PRIME FOCUS is cheating their employs by not returning their security money of 30,000/- for Roto Artist & 50,000/- for Paint Artist. They also made them work for more than 30 hrs without any food allowance or late night allownces. And now they had thrown these employees out of company, before completing their 2 years term. As if the said employees complete their 2 years term than Prime Focus had to return their security amount back to them.
    Now Prime Focus is taking test of new people and going to recruit new people and again they will take security amount from them also and repeat the whole story again after some 6-7 months.
    This is really a scam by Prime Focus.
    Due to this 1 of their employee, Dinesh Shelar (cell no. 9689053389) was thinking of suicide, as he had taken a loan for the security amount which Prime Focus Management are refusing to pay back. Their HR dept is not picking any ones calls.

    Prime focus is just making money by fooling new kids who are just going to start their career.

    • anonymous says:

      Can you please clarify the “30 hours”:

      is that in one shift? non-stop? in a week?

      thank you

      • Anonymous says:

        Its continuously 1 day after the other, this is nothing I have worked for 5 days/night continuously a week, I have used eye drops to keep my eyes open. Some I know have even worked for month.

        It goes like this, since the management cannot say directly to employees the production coordinator who are just matriculate pressurize on employees threat and use foul language.

        Yes, Slave labour exists at PF, the culprit and master mind of the 30K Plan from roto artist is Hussain Campwala in Chandigarh, and the HR manager, Rohit who has 2 year experience of Spice telelcom.

        The problem is with the management in Mumbai too from which HImanshu who is HR uses foul language and ill treat employees.

    • blade says:

      please declare in indian media so that It will come in lime light and also in face book let the indian jurisdiction decide it and thing will get sorted ………

  46. Leak says:

    100% true

  47. id says:

    Its really true and we all have to do something about this at least to save our artist from this slavery……..

  48. Scott Ross says:

    Someone needs to contact Namit and hear what he has to say….

    • mj says:

      Shame !! I see this as a missed opportunity.
      It was capable and could have made real difference to indian and perhaps global vfx industry.

      Alas ! Its going to become what founders of it always feared of “INSIGNIFICANT”.

  49. filipnit mike says:

    i also heard about this funking things people have understand
    This kind of things …

  50. Merzin says:

    Namit knows everything , he is criminal who lies of jaw dropping conversions

  51. Vishal says:

    ya this article and all comments are 100% true. Artists are treated like sh#t in Prime Focus. They shud know Humanity is more important than making money. Hollywood shud stop giving projects to this company.

  52. rahul says:

    ya this is true news some serious action should be taken against company .

  53. niki says:

    artist work day night in prime focus and the salary paid 7500 and even no comp offs are given. my frds work there as now some deadline project is going on he comes home only on sundays . he works all the week from monday to satarday day to night with only 2 -3 hrs of sleep early in morning and again the work goes on this shit should be stopped.

  54. veteran says:

    if people call call out apple for their operation in china, its high time that this news hit the trades and main papers for abusive labour practises.

    wake up people, there are many ways to put pressure on Prime Focus

  55. Prime Focus sucks says:

    If you PF guys save your reputation! then stop this slavery system
    as soon as possible.
    I saw that Facebook link…..OMG! that’s really painful.
    I just want to appeal to each and every single artist either is working in PF or other studio in Mumbai please put daily comment here.
    This article should alive.
    Last but not least Thank you VFX Soldier and Facebook guy

  56. crunchfx says:

    prime focus india…

    ..l..
    sucks…
    roto paint lol…………..

    what the hell……..
    artist treated like labor ….

  57. This info is nothing new its happening in India from very long time,not only in vfx but also in top software, designing and media companies.

    Will elaborate few companies i worked and experienced and heard from friends who works in the below companies :

    Pixion in South India – projects lined up are many but the salary you never get intime….Artists with commitments are doomed.

    Primefocus Mumbai – Max number of indian movies of all languages are done with high resources so called Vfx artists, feels really sorry to the artists the way they slog day and night and Appraisals is a joke.
    No clue why such a big company calld PF can’t take care of the employees and CEO seriously shame on you.

    R & H Mumbai – One of the best companies to work as  vfx artist, mainly vfx artist is treated as an artist not a machine and yes salary and appraisals are low but the learning for an individual is great.

    Sony Imageworks Chennai- They are like ghost in India, no one knows they exists but came across they are very similar to R & H in work, has best team and best in treating employees.

    MPC Blr- Need foreign management to take over from recruiting and understanding the needs of artists.

    Huge team with zero knowledge Producers, Co-ordinators, supervisors and leads.

    Personal experience sooo weird, talent never plays a role and need to be bad in work then sustaining is very easy with leads and supervisor

  58. Blimey – is it REALLY getting to the stage where VFX companies are going to be viewed practically the same as farmers and supermarkets?

    “Free-range or battery artists, madam? No, no – I can assure you that our artists are allowed to roam freely..”

    Glad to have got out the industry when I did.

  59. Ashes says:

    Is there any kind of labor movement in India which is fighting this? It seems that it’s not just the vfx industry doing this and it’s legal over there. I find it hard be to believe that there isn’t any kind of organization that is attempting to change the law. Maybe there’s some way to give them more visibility so they can help change things. Maybe interviews with Variety and Hollywood Reporter about what’s going on? If some of the celebrities could speak out about it and maybe us their influence, ie. refuse to work on a film that is planning on using this type of labor things might change.

    I don’t know, unless it’s a massive industry like steel or aerospace, most western governments don’t seem to care. :(

  60. Paul says:

    Ok this is gonna sound harsh but I want to say it, I do not give a fuck about what’s going on in India or anyhwhere else ok!? I’m in Los Angeles and that’s where I’d like to see things improve. Sorry for you guys in the southern hemisphere but I cannot fight 2 wars. And no it’s not because things could improve over there that they would improve here. Amazing that I would have to care more about shit 10k miles from here than around the corner.

    • Ashes says:

      If you want a reason that’s more towards a benefit for you, then here it is:

      If PF and other companies have to pay their workers more, treat them better, and have higher workplace standards, then the cost of doing business over there with curb some of the outsourcing. Then everyone will win.

      • Paul says:

        I worked at PF in LA and was paid just fine thousands of $$ per week. OT & DT with zero problem. And many of you here did the same thing at PF and were perfectly happy with the paycheck.

      • vfxguy says:

        How do you think PF LA were able to afford to pay you thousands of $$ per week?

        Ashes, in what way would facilities being forced to pay a higher price for work they currently outsource “benefit everyone”?

      • Ashes says:

        @Paul, I was talking about you benefiting by more work being done in LA. If you are getting paid enough, then why do you have a problem with people concerned with the plight on Indian workers? If everything if fine for you then what did you mean by saying you’d like for things to improve in LA. I assumed you we talking out all the outsourcing that’s hurting LA.

        @vfxguy, simple, the Indians would get better treatment and it would not be as cost effective to send as much work over there so LA would benefit. Right now, there’s enough work for everyone. I don’t think by treating the Indian artists better is going to result in them losing their jobs. It’ll just force the studios to pay for the actual cost of the work.

  61. Paul says:

    But I understand it’s a PF India centric thread.

  62. maxy says:

    prime focus is very dangerous place, plz… don’t go

  63. Paul says:

    “How do you think PF LA were able to afford to pay you thousands of $$ per week?”

    I’m not sure I understand the sarcasm…ok so maybe because if they were to hire people for $10/h they would be told to fuck off? And to go back to India additionally…

    These southern nouveaux riches douche bags who have made fortune on poor’s back – or oil – and come up north to show us the way with their golden cars and asset spending spree will have a severe hang over when the world starts rotating counter clockwise as it’s about to.

    Frantic Films wasn’t born out of these asses.

  64. Jeff Heusser says:

    An open exchange of information about the problems vfx artists face globally can only help everyone. As a group we have power, as individuals we are weak. Talk about the issues, get educated, share information, organize, evangelize… give a damn.

  65. Anonymous says:

    Sad but true, their is no hope for VFX artist in India. PF does have some kind of control over the news media, and no one would dare to mess with these butchers.

    Another problem is India is a very poor country and the most of em vfx artist who are workin in PF and other studio as roto artist(or low labor jobs), for a low pay(with only source of income) to serve the family and if they leave job finding a new job is tough, so for those pennies Indian vfx artist wont ever be united and would rather be mean with each other. The Truth is we are a diverse country with no unity at all.

    Due to these reason PF {Management: CEO, COO, HR} take advantage of poor artist.

    unionization is not possible among artist in India,

    Now since news media cannot help and not even legal law by government(who is already in trouble) can help a revolution wont ever show up here.

    I am glad that I left PF long ago, I did it since they were threatening me to blacklist me but before they can take any action I resigned and joined another company, lucky me I got paid higher than what PF was paying, and that too from a small company.

    And today I have blacklisted not to ever work with PF in future, I dont even suggest to others those asking me go their ultimately they will come back and question me why I suggested them to go to PF.

    to some I have suggested not to enter this field(3d Animationand VFX), these ArenaMultimedia, MAAC, Frameboxx or Picaso are all fraud Institutions and way of making money.

    To reveal another secret PF doesnt even give salary slips to artist all they get is Salary voucher, even prasadvfx has a better slalary slip.

    I have much to write but sticking to the topic this post on VFX soldier is just another chapter that will be closed soon.

    Good luck if anyone makes an effort I hope you get success

  66. NIKHIL says:

    You do overtime shift in PF, you get nothing. You take a day leave & the management people gets hard over you as if he got to know you were with his wife last night. After all those humiliating stuff you even loose your salary of that particular day that i.e around 150-200/- rupees ($3-4 USD)
    Glad am out of PF. Its Sucks big time. I won’y recommend anyone to join there

  67. Moses says:

    One good piece of advice for the young talented people who want to get in the vfx business, do not join PRIMEFOCUS they’ll take your money and pay you peanuts, secondly they’ll make you slog so hard with no food and no overtime that you’ll start to hate this industry and you’ll want leave.

  68. sharkeye says:

    i know a artist wich was a working in a prime focus from last 2 years on salary of rs 5000
    he was a lead and nominatade for a trainer to train fresher artist in department of sterioscopy (roto)
    but in the slack periode of prime focus they terminate that artist by giveing a resone that he is non perfomer…
    Can any one told me that If that artist was not perfomer then how would tthey pramote him as a trainer…???
    N they dont understand this thing from last 2 year????

  69. Anonymous says:

    This is a damn shit business and nothing else and
    Agreed with Anonymous says-“Now since news media cannot help and not even legal law by government(who is already in trouble) can help a revolution wont ever show up here.”

    Prime Focus now these days become Crime Focus in India.

    but who cares??….in India every single senior artist knows very well about Prime Focus. They are exploiting artist very brutally and that’s 100% true.

    May be someone bring them court soon!……..cross the finger.

    That’s not warning for Prime Focus India, that’s a advise for them.
    keep clean themselves as soon as possible………
    if not then next meeting in court very soon…..Jai Maharashtra!Jai Bharat!

  70. Timmyg says:

    Hi, well this is depressing, but there is ways to fight I guess. I just submitted the news to all the outlets I know, and if you care enough, just show more of this news and expose Prime Focus for what they are.

    Now the fight is to have the VFX industry boycott Prime Focus for work and try to ask the schools to inform their students about Prime Focus.

    I will try to,

    I think the VFX industry should unite and say “they do not deserve to get away with doing shit things”,

    So on another note; Yea, I like your blog and will keep reading. Keep up the good work!

    • Anon says:

      Just reading the comments and giving an opinion is very easy guys.
      I work at PF and i have a few things to add.
      Firstly though the working hours and the amount of work i agree is very high, but that’s how the company has survived through recession and tough times where other studios either had mass lay offs or were shutdown. What good is a company who can’t stay afloat? What happens to the artist then?

      Secondly, as stated by someone above, the reason behind this contractual deposit has been to ward off the company jumping tactics of freshers. They get trained here and jump to the next company, which company should tolerate this and why should they?
      Also as a company i have personaly seen PF to be quite rewarding and supporting (may be not always financialy) but if you give the company (any company) loyaliyu and dedication, the company will give it back and PF is not excluded from this.

      About non performers being let go, give me a company name who drags the dead weight knowingly.
      The tremondous advertisements by the so called “Vfx Training Facilities” has given the industry (especiaially India) a flow of dim witted artists who have been trained under the mindset that if you complete the course from our XYZ institute your job and future is gurrenteed in VFX industry!! This has led to an easy availablity artists to choose from. The scenerio is pretty much simillar to a farmer’s market where you pick up a produce and check if its good enough and chuck it back if you even feel like its not. Though there might be a chance that the produce was actually good.

      So in all what I am trying to say is its not fair to blame any 1 company since this situation is the byproduct of many different variables colliding.
      And if any body feels otherwise please by all means no one is forcing you to join any such companies and good luck finding that “perfect job”.

      • Swapnil Kulkarni says:

        out of 155 comments only one to support prime focus.

        your anger to others telling truth about pf is in the link on your name..

      • Anonymous says:

        Defend yourself huh!
        let me one thing clear if you have no problem!

        Why other companies not following “Prime Focus Employee Contract”????

        Second thing there are lots of production houses in India like Red chilly,Prana,Creast,R&H,Dreamworks SKG,MPC,Sony Image-works,Makuta etc and these companies never be ever signing any deposit system before joining either experience guy or fresher ……..Why only Prime Focus??

        This is my simple question to you(Anon) and rest of guys who supporting Prime Focus Employee Contract system.

        Hope you have answer of my questions!!!!! :/

      • Anon says:

        One line answer: PrimeFocus almost never has layoffs based on the Projects the company has.
        So tell me this, job security based on your performance is better or insecurity for your job on the basis of your company being able to pull in projects?

        How about that for an answer to your question?

        And as far as the policy is concerned my last sentence was that no one is forcing artists to join, its thier decision. And if they are going for a job in vfx industry then they better be prepared for this big bad world.

      • Jay says:

        Hey Anon,

        I dont think your reason of contractual deposit is justified. Every company around the globe has this problem of people jumping companies to get quick raise in their salaries.There is no way you can stop them. And maybe the company would have treated you well and in this case you are one off scenario but there are huge number of people who are displeased with this and have suffered due it.

        Plus you mention about a company who is sustaining in bad times. Yes they have sustained and I am sure there are huge number of projects then why such a meager salary to start with. Atleast give them something that an artist can sustain himself.

      • Jack says:

        @ Anon
        “So tell me this, job security based on your performance is better or insecurity for your job on the basis of your company being able to pull in projects?”

        the company exploits its staff to gain an advantage over the competition, therefore the company is more stable because of exploitation. so cool man. a winning formula for sure. sign me up

      • Arjun says:

        @Anon- but is it fare that u get to know after 1 Year that the artist is not performing well. I think PF decided probational period for 3 months and not 1 Year. You fire artist after completing ur projects.
        Now coming to increment. PF knows the artist paid a amount for deposit so they will not leave company so force them to work for as much as u want. Even after completing 1 Year or more,artist don’t get a good salary. The mistakes of Artists was they signed that contract and paid a deposit to them.
        Legally no one can do anything to them but everyone is praying to God to fu*k the management ppl as hard as he can !!
        Go and meet a Prime Focus artist and ask them how they enjoy their life with their huge salary

      • captain america says:

        i can understand the company’s policy but comp-any is only thinking about excessive profits. And u r talking about facilities, drinking water is delivred in a bad plastic bottles, carpet is teared from all round the corner, water is not available in the loos most of the times. Artist jumped to the other company bcoz very soon he comes to know that a big thunder is coming in front off them so better to run. A big Assssssssssss company.

  71. Siddarth says:

    We work at Prasad VFX , its a very small studio and stands no-where in comparison to PF, and here, environment is very good, we get salary on time and never had a feeling that vfx is a bad world..I am surprised you guys at PF think that VFX is a big bad world. shocking…

  72. Hello artists,
    Me Delna Doodhwala am really hurt to see so many artists blame the HR team at PF. let me make it clear that it is Stephen Makaalaudaa that is the main person who is very evil man and criminal mastermind man behind all this and this fatso is only interested in his name becoming big where so many times we tell him think about artists and not only cheat them

    • Kunal says:

      Dear VFX Soldier,
      Kindly advise you to remove this comment as it has a lot of derogatory language. And please stop posting comments like this. People are trying to be constructive and discuss an important issue here. If you want to rant there are other places. Please don’t voice your frustrations here, especially not in this language!

      • Anonymous says:

        Dear whatever!(we don’t care)
        First: Just stay away from this issue if you have problem with this particular article then don’t read it simple!
        don’t blame to VFX Soldier.
        This article is 100% true.
        So no need of your precious comment here!!

        Second: Why you people(PF) have so much problem with this article huh!! because of your reputation in India and rest of the World going very-very bad HAHAHA :D
        How defend your self?? Keep your ass safe guys ;)

    • anonymous says:

      Completely right said by kunal. These things should not be posted. I agree that stephen has cheated artists and told them lies but that’s his true color so what can anyone do or say

      • Anonymous says:

        Dear whatever!(we don’t care)
        First: Just stay away from this issue if you have problem with this particular article then don’t read it simple!
        don’t blame to VFX Soldier.
        This article is 100% true.
        So no need of your precious comment here!!

        Second: Why you people(PF) have so much problem with this article huh!! because of your reputation in India and rest of the World going very-very bad HAHAHA :D
        How defend your self?? Keep your ass safe guys ;)

  73. Rod says:

    This is shame for Prime Focus India. Its really hurt me a lot!!

  74. reupal's bra says:

    Prime Focus is lovely , we give you cake on your birthday.

    • Delna Doodhwala says:

      yes we give very nice cakes and i make sure that they are healthy as am a teeth doctor

      • Kunal says:

        I can’t believe that you guys are derailing the discussion. I assume all of you (Delna/Merzin/Hussain/anonymous) are the ones who are directly affected by Prime Focus in some way. But please do not derail this discussion. People here are only trying to help you guys.
        Please stop creating these fake IDs and posting irrelevant stuff. On the other hand if you have something to share then you better post that instead of ranting about random stuff.

  75. Merzin's wig says:

    Yes we give you cake what more do you want ? What are these VFX things you speak of anyway?

  76. Hussain Campwalla says:

    I have good news, So i have restored peace momentarily at Chandigarh, now no more firing of roto artist. I mean vfx artist.

  77. anonimous says:

    Fuck u Prime Focus Management !!
    Im an ex-employee of ur company.
    We were treated like goons.
    No overtime, no respect, no job security.
    U all fuck to d core motherfuckers !
    Stephen is son of a bitch. Bloody asshole.

  78. [...] earlier this year they will expand a 13,000 sq ft facility (No word yet if they will be charging employees a deposit to work there.) London based MPC announced it will open a 13,000 sq ft facility also last [...]

  79. Monica Philip says:

    Don’t forget me

  80. Mediaguru says:

    I see this happening in almost in all the animation and VFX companies in India. Even as a vendor we face the same problem. I have given up working in these field and started business where Ie can fulfill my requirement of earning daily bread and butter.

  81. EVILARMA says:

    ABSOLUTELY TRUE!!!!!!

  82. savio_chutiya_jalela_tost says:

    prime fuckos

  83. savio_chutiya_jalela_tost says:

    Me Savio from coal dipo……made by coal.truely gandu…chatu,jhantu…well i am motherfucker also.

  84. savio_gandu says:

    welli want to tell you about prme top 10 motherfcuker. yeh woh gande log hain ..jinko agar prime se door kar de..to sayad wahan kuch achcha kaam bhi hone lage……or junior bhi izzat se kaam kar sake….!!!

    1- Stephen is son of a bitch. Bloody asshole.yeh janwar gandi naali ka woh kida hai jahan bhi jaega sirf gandgi hi failaega.isko prime se to kya….samaj se bahar nikal dena chahiye..har gaali kam hai is rendi ki oulad ke liye…bhosdi ke…mooh main le le mera..ma ka loda.

    2- rupal chirkut, unofficially mal of marzin.pahle nikal diya tha isko…kisi or ne rakha nahi…to wapas aa gayi…ghanta nahi aata isko kuch.sibaye chillane ke…or sabse chatwane ke.

    3- Stephen again because he is relay maderchod

    4- me savio,chatne main sabse aage main sabka choos leta huin…depend karta hai..ki us samay power main koun hai

    5- raghu…how can we forget this gandu.i cant understand prime main uska kya kaam hai…aata to kuch nahi hai usko..binoy english bolkar chat to leta hai….isko to woh bhi nahi aati…bhaiya sala.

    6- swapnil chodu.,, i am talking about shelar gandu.juniors ke paise per zinda rahne wala bhikhari…london main bhi jakar bheek hi managa hoga..lekin bheja koun is chutiye ko…kya yaar chat chat kar aaj log london tak ghoom sakte hain..

    7- monica is realy fast..with shortcut.thanks jimmi.

    8- binoy….humko kuch nahi aata hai…but i can talk english and god sushil think i am a very good artist…hehehehehehe.thanks juniors to do all my shots ….hehehehehhehe.

    9- Avdhesh maderchod…..raghu ka lolipop chooskar bada hua jangli suer…..ab usi ko gaali deta hai..dogla.

    10- last but not the least…… Stephan teri ma ka….maderchod..bhag gandu…teri ma ki choot teri…bolne ka tameez nahi sikhaya iski maa ne isko…..bhosdi ka…..sabse badi gandgi prime ki yahi hai…iski wajh se log bahan mar mar kar mazdooro ke jaise kaam karte hain…iski gaand main danda dalkar mooh se nikalna chaiye…..bhosdi ka.

  85. Rahul Aggarwal says:

    Is it true that Savio used to sell vada-paw outside prime focus in royal palms-mastermind?

    It is true if you want to rise up all u need to do is to lick balls thats it even a janitor can become a VFX supervisor or a Manager…

    About benoy yes he know nothing , Even when he was working at Khar he used to sleep at night and other artist used to work ? you are right about the names you mentioned but you took too much on Football Stephan he is not a family guy just lies to people by putting pictures of his family inside his office.

  86. anjum says:

    talking to a friend on the phone right now who works at prime focus and he has directed me to this site.. its all fucking true….

  87. primeguest says:

    @ savio_gandu All above comments are true but how can you forget Nixon FemLODO ye takle chut pagal ke dimag se he ye sab scheme aayi hai before he join’s the pf everything was ok not everything but atleast first 2 – 3 increment was decent

    • true says:

      U cant blame on that guy only,when system is wrong.Nixon has no right to do an kind of increments.even sebi also can’t make any decision.namit,marzin,delna and Stephen are responsible for this kind of Cheep increments.

  88. primeguest says:

    @ Rahul Aggarwal

    Hey budy what you heard about savio profession is not true. savio and Riyaz LUNDpurwala was a administrator. in old days of pf they use to look after water supply , plumbing , carpentering etc like office boy stuff….

    But main thing we missing here is what we can do against this fuckers……..

  89. Ben Cowell says:

    Hello Guys,
    I am not sure if all you mentioned is true or not but Namit has hired me to work at Prime Focus as VFX supervisor.
    Have look at my Showreel: http://vimeo.com/40992584#at=95

    Under my name is the link to the surprise if you don’t know catch me on august 24 at the Fine Arts Centre, Chembur, Mumbai.

  90. Kunal says:

    Hi Ben,

    Congratulations on your new job!! (No sarcasm intended here; everyone knows it takes a lot of experience and skill to become a VFX Supe). Saw the videos at the link that you shared. Some nice work there indeed!
    However, my question to you is going to about this issue we’re talking about. Its fair that you don’t want to form an opinion about PF or Namit by reading what people have said here. You are going to work at this place very soon though. So, if you find out that the things people are saying here are infact real, what will you do? Everyone will be looking up to you as the captain of the ship. In the words of uncle Ben (what a coincidence!), “With great power, comes great responsibility”. I urge you to step up and make the change that will make a lot of miserable lives happy. Will you??

    Regards,
    Kunal

  91. Three Blind Mice says:

    Hi y’all,

    More power to Ben but its a dichotomy that people complain on VfxSoldier that jobs are going overseas if they then congratulate people on getting jobs overseas. Help me. what am I missing?

  92. Pf Knight says:

    hello guys…
    working with pf…endured a lot…cant really say I support them.
    2 things…

    1: its not your dads company…so either take it, or leave it, Because change it takes a lot of time and strength.

    2: no point in picking on ben…I personally feel he’s a good guy who’s doing his job. Top level people surely are aware of the rates outside, the rates “inside”, and the profit that they are routing in their pockets, and the situation artists are in. If anybody is to blame for this/mend this situation, its them.

  93. vjj1 says:

    don’t worry guys, i will personally meet and send a later to home minister of Maharashtra mr.r r patil and shivsena aditya thakre and MNS raj thakre, i already talk with concern persons so they will take a strong action against with related people of company those who make this law and against taking charge of company and management..we r with u ..fight for justice we r with u..jai hind jai Maharashtra !!

  94. mns007 says:

    don’t worry guys, i will personally meet and send a later to home minister of Maharashtra mr.r r patil and shivsena aditya thakre and MNS raj thakre, i already talk with concern persons so they will take a strong action against with related people of company those who make this law and against taking charge of company and management..we r with u ..fight for justice we r with u..jai hind jai Maharashtra !!

  95. the great Lighter says:

    hi all,
    I had work 4 years at PF but it use to be good place to work all good lead such as Sandesh Pai, Akask, Sachine SIR, ya they doen’t give overTIme and also food facility if you stay back at night. it use to be as if i am spending my own money to work for this company. but if you keep aside all this it was a very fun place to work we every body use to work together. Ya Marzin doesn’t give any importance to CG Artist. Thing all change when al these HI level management people came. such Delna stephen and all, I never give respect to those people who change there profession such Delna. She was doctor then why she came here. Because of here one usefull admission seet in collage got waste. it could have been give to other talented person. who would have become good doctor.
    Now it is stephen earlier it was sandy in HR department even he was same guy. wat to say about this thing every company is same exploiting people.

  96. the great Lighter says:

    one guy form EFX department got very serious illness, he cant even set for more then 10 min he just ask 1 month medical leave by showing all his medical bill and medical case paper!! even though by seeing all dis? and great Delna so call her self doctor at that time she was only a HR she refuse to grant him leave. as a reasult he had to leave his job.

    But one thing Delna was a very sexy babe and got very good figure!!!

  97. the great Lighter says:

    it is not that good HR people havent come there? they had come there to work, they had bring all good ideas to improve the life of artist and good facility for the employee but all thing not got approve by the higher people and eventually all those Good HR management people have to leave the company!! during my days not even single HR use to stay in the company for more than 5 month. thats how it isssss

  98. dharmesh says:

    This company consider us labours not artists n creative people. They don’t want to give proper salary, just to take work 24 hours from us. When they get big projects, they hire 1000 -2000 people.When project finished, they just do fire. These type of companies have made our industry worst to work.

  99. primeguest says:

    Hi guys i just had word with my friends who still working with prime from last two year’s. literally they are treated as a labour.They are not even getting proper drinking water. they are also restricted to take a tea break or smoke break ……….

  100. guys don’t complain about petty issues and get back to roto…

  101. [...] movements in Vancouver and the UK. I’ve written posts on workers being mistreated in India at Prime Focus. I’ve written posts on work-for-free programs in Florida by Digital Domain. I’ve [...]

  102. Thanks for sharing this information because students in India who want to make their career in VFX field should be aware of this cruelty which they would face in future even in well renowned company like Prime Focus. This is not the case with Prime Focus only, in India artists are very low paid(10% of that of U.S. Citizens) and don’t get any facilities as people in other fields like Engineering etc would get.

  103. Pranav says:

    Hey people,I dont really know about the above contract.But,i have plenty of friends working in PF and trust me there life is miserable as the pay is really low with no extra benefits like overtime or anything.Roto or Paint artists are hired in salary as low as 4500 Rs(around 82 US$) which is not enough for the food and shelter.
    There is a famous saying for PF,”In PF even the office boys(the runner) or the gaurds can rotoscope.” And talking about ending the contract in between,they dont have any other options.You have to leave if you get a better job.4500 rs a month is not a salary.
    We indians really cant do anything about it coz we dont have any other options but to take the jobs as there are hardly any vacancies.

  104. Jess Brown says:

    the link to book [img]http://newsletter.primefocusworld.com/admin/temp/newsletters/381/advocbook590.jpg[/img]

  105. Really, really sad. So incredibly sorry to those having to struggle financially in a business that at it’s soul is supposed to bring light, entertainment and happiness to the world.

  106. Ravi says:

    Yeah it’s Right Frndz,
    Prime Focus would routinely terminate employees shortly after a completed project leading them to not only lose their jobs, but also their deposits.

  107. tejas says:

    And the company started harassing artist because of the increment which is there in October. and they started showing their colours, because the project deadline is 2013 but the version 2 movie has not released yet why they are in hurry for version 3. and the artist are suffering for that reason. they are planing mastermind coz they know after increment no 1 is going to wait 1more year in this company, so they are thinking to complete half of the project before that. our company is bad because of the management is wrong.

  108. tejas says:

    but dont worry guyz every dog ha a day. and the countdown has been started. till now PF is not having any of the Hollywood project, there are only Indian project and that to remake movies at the cheapest rate :D

  109. I can understand the agony of a VFX Artist in India. But as far as i can say we shouldn’t hire such post production companies to work for us.

    Secondly, This is for all those who ‘re facing same kind of situation. They treat you like this just because you let them too.. Too much fear could always lead to Trouble’s and miserable condition’s. You guys better unite and protest against such malpractices. Manpower does’nt come’s cheap and they should understand that where ever they ‘re today they ‘re because of you people.

  110. Normally I don’t read post on blogs, but I would like to say that this article very pressured me to take a look at and I could not stop myself by writing comment over here. Your article has been amazed me. Thank you.

  111. Feel Great Inc. says:

    Good morning gents..

    Been reading this blog from head to toe. Craig, you’re not the villain, but you sure don’t understand the problem man..

    A summarized breakdown of the problems in pf would be:

    1: UPPER MANAGEMENT: This had to be the first point. As employees in pf would agree, we have a shitload of managers and production people, with BPO and not STUDIO background.And all have been hired to do what? manage excel sheets? sleep in the night shifts? The fact is, these are the people who prepare the delivery schedule. And guess what, their fine planning has led to the continuous deadlines for the last four projects. And they are not brave enough to even admit it! If the deadline is missed, all the heat falls on the artist, you can even hear strange conversations..i’ll
    quote it so please pardon the language..[I dont give a fuck if edgework is left on the 1400 frames shot..I need it in the next 2 hours or I'lll jab someone in the face...and sack him] If you just shoot a 1400 frames shot to render, it will atleast take 2 hours to render, leave aside the technical aspect that is pending on it.

    And by deadline, I mean DEADLINE! You have finished working on your shot, wait for dailies review, it does not get approved, you can leave, nobody gives a shit if you’re hungry or you’ve been working for 12 hours straight. Once it gets approved at India level, you’ll have to wait for La review. They are not in the studio on Saturdays, but we are. Hell, we even have declared Saturday offs getting cancelled(that’s the latest drama going on).

    {Special note to Craig: With your permission, I would love to attend one of your economics classes, with you working beside e on one of these deadlines. I’m sure that would clear out the fog. And I’m not being melodramatic.}

    2: DEPOSIT MONEY: If its real estate, it is understandable. Tenants skip last months rent, avoid damages done the apartment. But this is a day job that we’re talking about. Moreover, the cost that the company is claiming, has been spent behind its own infrastructure development. They dont need to claim back any money, no damage has been done to them, its just their way of getting back at the concerned employee.

    3: TRUST: If an employee decides to leave a company, there might be a few reasons behind it.

    Problems:
    a: He/she might have got a better paying offer else where.
    b: He/she might not like the work standards of his current job.
    c: He/she might have some important personal work for a certain duration of time.

    Now whatever that reason might be,if there is trust and goodwill between the employee and the employer, these are petty issues, and the solution to the above problems might be as follows:

    Solutions
    a: Talk about it, if you cant pay, let the artist go, they also have a career to build. If you have been good enough, they will surely come back to you.

    b: Well, if the company has good work standards and ethics, then this point is totally avoided.

    c:Same as point A

    And this trust has to be expected from the company. They have deeper pockets. Besides, there maybe one artist with a bad mentality, but there are 10 others with a good mentality. If the company can imbibe the sense of trust, its the company that will benefit. They will retain back 10 good artist, and help them grow further.

    Personally, I feel that in my specific department, there are a few supervisors and leads that make the place bearable and maybe worth coming. Senior leads like Manu, Dutta,Dhiraj help in motivating the artists, they interact with the artists very closely, and I feel that there should be more people like them.

    This is a private company, but not the only one thats there. Other successful companies like TATA, they are successful, and their mantra is client and employee satisfaction.
    Think about it for a second. If an artist has a sense of belonging for his company, he will always be commited.

    That said, the bottomline would be, it’s never too late to mend your ways. I feel India is a very competent powerhouse when it comes to artistic talent. They might be equal, if not better than some of their fellow artists in other countries. So why not work together in harmony, foster a sense of belonging, not by words but by action, and create wonderful things that people truly enjoy.

  112. specially for all Indian employees working at prime focus in India

    know whats a vfx studio like

    and you will realize who has been robing you all the time you wasted working at prime focus..

  113. PFSOLDER says:

    This same thing happen in PRIME FOCUS TECHNILOGIES also, they hired people on- 3000 and 500 rs and put them on 10 days traing period after that aisi gaand marte hai ki ghar bhi jaane ko nahi milta…the main mothe fucker over their is-Mr. MANOJ MORJE the VP of operations..Us Saale ki to gaand maar leni chahiye….

  114. NEHA says:

    Thanks for sharing this information because students in India who want to make their career in Prime Focus Technologies should be aware of this cruelty which they would face in future even in well renowned company like Prime Focus. This is not the case with Prime Focus only, in India artists are very low paid(10% of that of U.S. Citizens) and don’t get any facilities as people in other fields like Engineering etc would get.

  115. maddy says:

    Having had a little bit of experience of the Indian market I can see where this has come from, but any way you swing it this type of behavior is disgraceful.

  116. fcp says:

    y u guys not inform NAMIT regarding this..?

  117. follow_ says:

    don’t anyone think that as long as the artists are ready to do a job 4 an amount equivalent to a watchman’s salary, this industry will never grow in india.production houses r making big money but in return wat r they givin? i think artists are losing their importance n self esteem.they r ready to work for 6k, 5k, 3k or even for free.production houses r taking undue advantage of this n they r sacking experience artist n hire 2-3 freshers in place of that & they make them work as a donkey..its a serious matter i think n 1 should think of making “animators union”..what say?

  118. River says:

    I have heard that PF is already under investigation in UK for tax dodging. Anchul Doshi is very worried about it. He spent his last birthday drinking all day in a London pub just alone, not even with his wife.

  119. rj says:

    hemant bhenchod vfx me lead ho gaya to
    apne aap ko kya shana samaj raha he kya madarchod ………

    bhosdike teri aukaad nai he madarchod lead baanne ki chutiye ……..

    amol ka chat chat ke apna naam kr raha he chutiye wo amol to chutiya he or tu maha chutiya he bhosdiwalo….

    tum domo ko randi bajar me bhej kr dhanda krna chahiye chutoiyo

    kabhi aakr mil t
    eri gaand marta hu

  120. Sandeep says:

    Merzin Tiwaria has habit of threatening emplyees that he will blacklist if he/ she dared to go against PF, who would ever dare than, better not go for start with PF..

  121. eye roller says:

    Nothing about employee count and salaries huh?

    For as long as I can remember everyone has always said “how does RH keep doing it?” on the better half of the year , you are housing about 600-900 employees at LAX by itself. Never doing an assessment of who’s actually working or producing content. Your motto is , 1 artist to every shot it seems like for every department. You have supervisors and programmers that have been there since day one no less, with bloated salaries burning money on R&D months prior to even getting a turnover for the said project, or creating a new proprietary package that will be obsolete by the time it actually comes out. You insist on getting all these supervisors together in a room for sometimes 3/4 of the day for pointless meetings. Meetings about meetings is a very real thing for you. You have an array of scad students that are promoted to supervisors/leads (some rightfully so) after 1 year creating a disconnect in leadership and artists.

    Like I said you can bring this up to anyone, and everyone knows. Management? their answer? “oh well, it’s RH.” I am not at all surprised this is happening. I’m actually surprised it hasn’t happened sooner. It’s actually impressive. I don’t think RH will disappear, but I think a lot of people need to from RH in order for it to maintain. It’s time……sony did it, you can too, cut the fat.

  122. [...] true. What’s sad about that is Rhythm generally treated it’s Indian workers well, while Prime Focus has an indentured-servitude-like program which was identified on this blog after a number of Indian VFX artists emailed [...]

  123. Raghavan N says:

    This is really shocking.Pay 50,000 as deposit and get abused for 2 years for a pittance of a salary?Even a bank clerk gets a minimum of 15,000 a month for starters.
    I have studied VFX and Animation and been looking for a job since a year.I got a call recently from Maya Studios,Mumbai and they offered a pay of 8000 to 10000.How would one survive in a city like Mumbai on that salary?Most of the tiny studios offer a filthy amount of 4 to 5K.Mid-sized ones 7 to 12K for a fresher.With a year’s experience you get 15K.There are some studios which say they give a training cum job,but we have to pay them a certain amount of 25-30K and not be paid salary.I have done freelancing online for a few projects for a fixed price of 50$ to 100$ and those were just 2 to 4 day jobs.Unless VFX artists have some self-respect and do not wish to be treated like labor things ain’t gonna change in this industry.

  124. This isnt anything new. Most of the CG/VFX companies have started this atleast in and around Mumbai.

    A lot of companies dont even pay salaries for about 6 months and expect animators to work like slaves. Then there are companies that hire professionals for a 3 month contract period and then keep renewing the contract on a monthly basis so that they dont have to worry about talking about a raise with the artist. You can only imagine the amount of a stress an artist goes through at the end of every month.

    The state of the Indian animation industry is gettin worse by the day. All the big companies are severely exploiting their artists. People dont even get enough sleep for their pittance of a salary.

    The animators/artists in the CG/VFX industry need a union or something to monitor all these age old big time companies from exploiting their workers, which these companies are doing openly without any regard for humanity.

    I’ve been a professional in the Cg/VFX industry for 10 years. I quit my full time job after years of frustration and now I work as a freelance professional because the indian animation industry is at its worst right now and nobody cares about their employees.

    Please feel free to talk to or have a look at any CG/VFX artist’s contract.

  125. [...] sobre las condiciones de trabajo en la compañía india que, según documentos recogidos por VFX Soldier, obliga a sus empleados a depositar una cantidad de dinero en concepto de “garantía” a [...]

  126. Sandaastina says:

    Did anyone forget SANDAASTINA???? The Menstrual Slut of VFX??? Yes u got it; that HR Bitch. No knowledge of HR but she survived in the company cause she licked Delna’s shit and also licked Merzin’s shit and also licked Tony’s shit and also licked Michael’s shit and also licked Kanya producer’s shit. Yes guys, that was her success story. Sebastina a.k.a Sandaastina was a lesbo partner of Delna Doodhwala. She use to milk her n bj Merzin. Bitch had no knowledge of HR. She did not know how to work on excelsheet, couldn’t work on T&D, PMS, Employee Relations, use to rely on good recruiters for recruitment…absolutely ZERO!!! Because of her many HR people in VFX resigned. They even complained about her but nothing happened cause she had delna’s support. Still she got amazing hike cause she LICKED EVERYONE’S SHIT!

    • Phantom says:

      Hi Folks let me introduce you to one of the same kind of bitch in Chandigarh Centre who loves licking ass of stephen motu and nixon gandu and wud do anything which will help her no losing her job

      • Phantom says:

        She luvs licking and thats her pasion Excel ka E nahin aat use but licking she is perfect and whom do we have have to support her our HR bitch Rinnki singh who is another jugad and a spy in chd centre and gives al twisted information from her point of view to people in mumbai and they react on perceptions made

        Stephen lulu is to kaya kahoon naam hi jab lullu hai to kam samajh jao jo kise ne keh diya man liya chutoya hai sala ek nambar ka . Aisa admi dhoodne si nahin milega

        Or yeh to smajh se bahar hai ki in this organisation ,…..A DR. Delna is HR head, A chutiya Commentator or bawarch is VP ,operations that is stephen lulu and someone who was quality TL that is Nixon Gandu in call centre handles there daily operations ….Bhaiya is industry ke log nahin milte inhe . Recruitment ho nahin rahi log aana nahin chahte bcoz of work culture which existss and the moto is ” Chato or Chato or bas chate jao we love it )

  127. Akshay yelve says:

    Hi Sir,
    Myself Akshay m freelance event coordinator v provide manpower. Sir currently i got 1 event from one of the event company they require 20 female dancers for 3month in bangkok. That event company is in mumbai and they are ready to make contract. But as sir m going to send girls so i want to know what thing shud i add in contract so dat they can not use my girls for wrong purpose. Thing which they told me * Girls need to work for 3 month. (90 days) * time- 9pm to 3am they need to dance in hotel. Please guide me. What thing to add in contract for the safety of girls.

  128. [...] is a vendor in India you’ve utilized for doing visual effects. Last year I wrote about an indentured servitude-like program they conduct after I received emails from Indian workers [...]

  129. […] year I posted about exploitation of workers at Prime Focus in India. Well now things are starting to snowball with demonstrations and a Facebook page dedicated to […]

  130. health insurance is essential because health care is very extravagant.
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  131. Surya says:

    The salary of Marathi guys working in that company keep on increasing at an alarming rate. But the salary of guys of other states who are not marathi are little increased. The other states guys do overtime, they also do the job(tough shots) of Marati guys like slaves. So Marathi enjoys in that company and the others are expoited.

  132. Surya says:

    The salary of Marathi guys working in that company keep on increasing at an alarming rate. But the salary of guys of other states who are not marathi are little increased. The other states guys do overtime, they also do the job(tough shots) of Marati guys like slaves. So Marathi enjoys in that company and the others are expoited. There should be some provision to to know who has done paint or roto of a particular shot(scene).

  133. midsummer says:

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    It’s the little changes that make the greatest changes. Thanks for sharing!

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  137. your best to be grateful. Although everything can seem meaningless after a large disappointment, cultivating gratitude for what you have will help to relieve the pain of your loss. Thanks

  138. iram1317 says:

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  139. […] VFX was being wronged: An artist in Singapore terminated for tending to pregnant wife. Artists in India experiencing exploitation. Pixomondo artists going unpaid. Dave Rand who has also been accused of the same things I have been […]

  140. la bla says:

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  141. hitesh says:

    Hi this is hitesh.. i been working in prime focus for last 3 and Half yr… by thinking now I have wasted this valuable yrs. in your organization … because when we entered in your organization u all explained that u will get good life in prime focus… but after this 3 yrs I figured nothing but its all pain and tears from all artist… because of u all management method … TMS.. Binding.. what all they.. if u don’t want to give any increment and benefits then u should have announced clearly.. as there will be no increment from this yr… by giving 30 rs and 69 rs… what will do with this amount… can we tell to our family this is the increment we have got… so please madam…. Our humble request please do some thing and save us.. from not to became as a beggar

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