John Textor Has A Blog

August 16, 2014

Looks like the saga of John Textor continues. When Digital Domain went down and took Florida taxpayers for a $100 million bath I speculated that it would become an election issue. Well current Governor Rick Scott will be taking on the previous Governor Charlie Crist who presided over the Digital Domain deal. It seems the Scott administration would like to utilize an investigation on the Digital Domain bankruptcy to potentially target Crist:

The script had the makings of a big-budget Hollywood blockbuster: greed, corruption, special effects, and a star-struck audience willing to suspend belief. In the real world, there was no Hollywood happy ending. The hero did not save the day. The villain was not defeated. Instead, the story ended with Florida taxpayers being cheated out of over $80 million dollars.

John Textor has since moved on to help start a new VFX company called Pulse (which shouldn’t be confused with the UK firm Pulse VFX of course). There was a bit of controversy in social media circles as Pulse seemed to take credit for work the company did not do like Avatar, X-Men, Tron, and others but who cares these days right?

Well now John Textor has a blog to set the record straight:

John Textor and his team were able to rebuild the reputation of the studio and expand its profits. The ultimately revitalized Digital Domain received the industry’s highest honor, the “Best Visual Effects” Oscar for “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” in 2009. It was during this period that the idea of expanding beyond just being a “gun for hire studio” and moving into the “Pixar” model of being the creative team/studio behind the films emerged.

As I pointed out on my blog years ago, John Textor privately warned of a “train wreck” pertaining to the Florida deal.

“At this point, I am fairly certain that a train wreck is coming,” Textor wrote in an email to Stork on Feb. 9, 2010. “I have no choice but to deal with it because of the promises I have made to the state of Florida. I HAVE to deliver jobs.”

But who cares! Forget about those pesky facts. Remember it’s all about the love for the VFX industry!

Soldier On.



Anti-poaching Inquiry

August 15, 2014

I haven’t had a chance to post about the recent news concerning collusion but I have been speaking with counsel about the matter. One firm has been trying to get more information about the issue and I asked them if they could provide me with some info to pass along to readers:


Did you work at a visual effects or animation studio between 2004 and 2010? You may have been underpaid. We’re looking for people who worked at any of the following studios:

  • DreamWorks
  • Digital Domain
  • Walt Disney Animation Studios
  • DisneyToons
  • Sony Picture Imageworks
  • Blue Sky Studios
  • ImageMovers
  • Laika
  • Pixar (non-salaried employees only)
  • Lucasfilm (non-salaried employees only)

If you’re interested in participating in a lawsuit against DreamWorks and other studios for conspiring to suppress the wages of animators and visual effects artists, or if you have information about that conspiracy, please contact attorney Jeff Dubner at 202-589-2285 or

Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC, 1100 New York Ave NW, Suite 500, Washington, DC 20005.


Soldier On.

Vancouver Stories

August 15, 2014

I flew to Siggraph in Vancouver to attend an ADAPT Q&A with Scott Ross. While I didn’t count the exact number of people there about half of the 100-seat room was filled. I gave an overview of the anti-subsidy duty legal effort we were pursuing and then we answered everyone’s questions.

Throughout the trip and at the meeting, I had a chance to meet all kinds of people across the spectrum of visual effects. Given how critical I have been of Vancouver’s VFX subsidies, I was a bit surprised to see how receptive people were to what we were trying to do. I also had a chance to people’s stories which you might be interested in reading about.

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Former LookFX Employees Tell Their Side

August 14, 2014

One of the big pieces of news that came out of Siggraph was David Cohen’s piece in Variety that LookFX was folding:

Look officially ceased operations doors Monday and its staff is already at work at Mass Market. LookFX partners Henrik Fett and Mark Driscoll will be co-managing directors of Mass Market’s feature division. They will report to Jay Lichtman, managing director of MassMarket.

I was sent an email from a group of former LookFX artists who wanted to share their side of the story which is posted below:

Read the rest of this entry »

ADAPT In The News

August 13, 2014

bloombergdailynewsIn the last week ADAPT has received considerable media attention.

Bloomberg Businessweek did a piece about our legal effort to place anti-subsidy duties on VFX productions that utilize distortive subsidies:

The Fight to Save California’s Visual Effects Industry

The local LA Daily News:

Visual effects group fights back against film subsidies

The BBC will air a piece in which I did an interview for. It will be on on BBC Radio 4 Thursday at 4pm UK time and then Sunday at 10pm. Download will be here after:

I’ll be at Siggraph today in Vancouver today at 3:30pm for the ADAPT Q&A. Hope to meet all of you.

Soldier On.

ADAPT Q&A At Siggraph Aug. 13 3:30pm

August 10, 2014

ADAPT will be having a Q&A panel about the organization and our legal effort on subsidies:

3:30 PM – 5:30 PM
Vancouver Convention Centre
East Building, Room 2

Scott Ross and I will be there. I’ll begin with giving some background about the issue and then we’ll open it up to everyone with any questions or comments. We welcome anyone to attend regardless of whether you are for or against the effort to end subsidies in the VFX industry.

A few issues: Siggraph won’t have any AV support for us so if someone is willing to record the event contact me: vfxsoldier at gmail dot com.

I’ve been trying to get Siggraph to open the panel up to allow anyone to attend for free. Right now the official word is that only people with exhibits plus, select conference, or full conference badge can attend.

According to many people who attended last year, they changed the restriction and allowed everyone to attend. I will update this when it’s official but I really hope everyone can come by. This will be my first time in Vancouver. I fly out in the next morning.
More info at Studio Daily: Anti-Subsidy Org ADAPT Readies Fundraiser, Plans SIGGRAPH Q&A Movement Started by ‘VFX Soldier’ Daniel Lay Aims to Levy Customs Duties Against VFX Work Imported by Hollywood
Soldier On.

CA Legislative Support For ADAPT Legal Efforts

August 7, 2014

When the blog is quiet it usually means I’m busy working with people on the legal effort. There was some remarkable news that broke this week in Variety:

To take the fight to the government, in this case, U.S. trade authorities, Daniel Lay — author of the popular VFX Soldier blog —  and others have formed the Assn. of Digital Artists, Professionals and Technicians (Adapt). Their plight has drawn the attention of Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Calif.), who aims to add language to pending tax-incentives legislation. The wording would urge the federal government to impose sanctions, including tariffs, as a way to combat “unfair and illegal competition” from other countries that have hijacked visual effects, music scoring and other post-production work.

Read the rest of this entry »


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