Rising Sun Pictures Dawns Upon LA

I doubt the LA Times will want to report this but Variety reports Rising Sun Pictures will be opening shop in Los Angeles:

It’s a new dawn in Los Angeles for Rising Sun Pictures.The Oz-based visual effects house has tapped Marc Sadeghi, a former key executive at the Orphanage, as exec VP and head of business development and marketing.

Sadeghi will be based in Los Angeles, where he will be Rising Sun’s first permanent presence in Hollywood.

To the chagrin of some, it seems that Rising Sun Pictures didn’t get the memo: VFX is supposed to die a blood curdling death in California and go to China and India. I’m sorry to report we are still alive and kicking. It’ll all go to another country at some point right?

But seriously my analysis is that I’m not surprised by the move if you consider that the Australian dollar is at a record high making it more expensive for US producers to do work there. Even with Australian subsidies, the Variety article reports:

Even with tax incentives driving work to Australia, company execs told Variety last year that they were eyeing expansion to stay competitive.

However, as I posted on my blog last November, even with film subsidies, runaway production was running away from Austrailia:

When sequels of The Matrix had Sydneysiders tripping over Keanu Reeves in restaurants and coffee shops, the dollar was roughly US53¢. As it hovers around $US1, filming is now twice as expensive for US producers.

I’d also point out that I’ve seen VFX job postings and re-postings by Rising Sun Pictures that have gone unfilled for over 3 months. It’s a bit hard to convince a VFX artist to make the move all the way to South Australia unless you are a high caliber VFX shop like Weta or Double Negative.

But if you take a step back, it’s pretty remarkable when you consider that every other VFX market depends on subsidies and while California has been bruised, it still manages to find a way. Perhaps talent and quality are as important as price?

Soldier On.


34 Responses to Rising Sun Pictures Dawns Upon LA

  1. Dark Energy says:

    As with other non-US companies, RSP prolly planted a presence in L.A. just to get more work from Hollywood, not necessarily a full-fledged vfx facility.

    Perhaps if indeed the cost of doing business rises too high in Oz, the L.A. office could grow into an office with vfx artists.

    I wish I kept an article from around 2006 when vfx outsourcing was becoming more and more apparent. The author predicted that eventually the costs of going overseas would rise and make it less attractive although many felt that was the beginning of the demise of vfx in the US forever.

    How things have changed.

  2. anon says:

    The work comes from California (because hollywood has money to burn)
    The work goes to where it’s cheapest to do (subsidies)
    VFX facilities (and their artists) will continue to get screwed while there’s pressure from cheaper places.
    Don’t kid yourselves that Californian artists are more talented than anywhere else. Any advantage they may have had will disappear as the world gets flatter – just ask Bill Gates.
    Who needs VFX facilities? There is a better way – work in the cloud.

    • VFX Soldier says:

      I didn’t say they were more talented, I said that talent and quality are factors, not just price.

      It would seem that cheap places like China and India got screwed in this case. Why didn’t Rising Sun Pictures open up shop there instead?

      Work in the cloud… good luck with that.

    • anon says:

      It’s been established that the work comes from hollywood. Other countries have better things to do with their money than funding Michael Bay to make toy commercials with the military. Since Rising sun has only positioned an agent in LA to attract work rather than setup a facility, there would be no advantage to going to India to do the same. There’s way more to gain for them having a flagship 2D23D processing site in LA that they can show prospective clients through. If it attracts enough footage THEN they can just outsource like other hollywood businesses. (Is 2D/3D conversion VFX? Yawn.) Even if Rising Sun subsidise their VFX work with their oscar™©® winning skype subscription service, they still hire and fire at the drop of a hat when the work dries up – so what’s the point moving down their to sit in a cubicle for a few months?
      Not the weather.
      Maybe you ARE right, ten years from now when the $US is worth half of what is is today, and India and China have their own hollywoods keeping them busy, local CA artists will probably have tonnes of work airbrushing Megan Fox. Meanwhile the only race to the bottom is the one happening in America

    • vfxPeon says:

      haters gonna hate.

      other countries have better things to do than make popcorn movies? except they all wish they had their own hollywoods and are constantly consuming our entertainment and trying to emulate us.

      don’t be jealous just because you can’t get a green card!

      • sigh says:

        and yet, vfxpeon, that’s the attitude that lost you all the work.

        Don’t be shitty because you don’t want to move from the states!

        Haters gonna hate.

        Both of these comments are stupid and self destructive.

      • anon says:

        I don’t hate america I just hate the predominant american attitude that they have a (“god given”) right to subjugate the world (and vfxPeons)
        There’s other countries that make popcorn fair, look at Bollywood, but no other country can compete with the amount america spends on their propaganda. That’s exactly the problem, corporate america knows that junk food is addictive, it doesn’t mean it’s any good for you.
        The last place on earth I would want to move to is america. It’s like walking into a baby boomer retirement party after it’s finished, everyone has hangovers and no one knows what to do next.

      • VFX Soldier says:

        Are you even a Vfx artist?

      • cloudboy says:

        I made heaps before VFX was industrialized and I retired after ‘War of the worlds’. Now I just consult with studios to help design projects so they can be more easily outsourced

      • vfxPeon says:


        how exactly am i being shitty?

        because i don’t want to leave my home?

        i already left my original home and made a new one in LA. i am established here. i have friends here. i like it here. and i like working here.

        i’m not a big popcorn entertainment guy myself, but its annoying to hear people complain about americans as if they are all corporate assholes out to screw everyone else. that’s a pretty naive opinion.

        this guy Anon posts on here all the time shit talking America and LA in particular. guess what. i have no problem defending them.

        you like working in other countries? awesome. i enjoy a lot of foreign movies, music videos and tv shows.

        but don’t act like a whiny little baby because you are jealous of america and LA. it’s fucking embarassing.

      • vfxPeon says:



        lost me what work? i work consistently. i get offers to work outside of LA and i generally turn them down.

        i am not completely against traveling for work. but its really gotta be worth it for me, or else what’s the point? i don’t have any problem getting work where i already live.

      • cloudboy says:

        Of course you have no problem defending it while you benefit. That’s totally predictable. It’s what has built america into the shinning light of (corporate) freedom it is today. What’s embarrassing is americans “acting like whiny little babies” because they think they deserve jobs in america just because the companies that (used to) employ them are american.
        Thank god(?) google is american, er wait a minute…

  3. sigh says:

    Please read the article you posted, again.

    Having a presence there is not “opening up shop.”

    Your whole story is based on a misinterpretation of the variety article.

    This happens a lot of the time with many different shops (animal logic has had someone there for years.) It has nothing to do with India or China. This is one person there as a contact.

    Do you really work in VFX? I’m surprised you don’t already know how these things work.

    • sigh says:

      as for this comment

      “I’d also point out that I’ve seen VFX job postings and re-postings by Rising Sun Pictures that have gone unfilled for over 3 months. It’s a bit hard to convince a VFX artist to make the move all the way to South Australia unless you are a high caliber VFX shop like Weta or Double Negative.”

      Weta pays a lot. People go there for that.
      Double negative is in Singapore.
      South Australia is a small place. The work is good, actually excellent but you don’t go all the way down there to visit SA, people want to go to Sydney.

      • cloudboy says:

        If cinesync is so good, and RSP gets it for free, why do people have to go anywhere to work for them?

      • cloudboy says:

        Oh- VFX Mercenary already asked that question…
        In other news,
        Offshoring: Running with Gazelles, Eating with Lions: “… It doesn’t
        matter whether you are a lion or a gazelle. When the sun comes up, you better start
        running.” Ever since the Chinese joined the WTO, both they and the rest of the world
        have had to run faster and faster. This is because China’s joining the WTO gave a huge
        boost to another form of collaboration – offshoring. Offshoring, which has been around
        for decades, is different from outsourcing. Outsourcing means taking some specific, but
        limited, function that your company was doing in-house – such as research, call centers,
        or accounts receivable – and having another company perform that exact function for you
        and then reintegrating their work back into your overall operation. Offshoring, by
        contrast, is when a company takes one of its factories that it is operating in Canton, Ohio,
        and moves the whole factory offshore to Canton, China. There, it produces the very same
        product in the very same way, only with cheaper labor, lower taxes, subsidized energy,
        and lower health-care costs. Just as Y2K took India and the world to a whole new level
        of outsourcing, China’s joining the WTO took Beijing and the world to a whole new level
        of offshoring.

  4. PeteD says:

    “It’s a bit hard to convince a VFX artist to make the move all the way to South Australia unless you are a high caliber VFX shop like Weta or Double Negative.”

    After viewing their website and from what i know of Adelaide i’d say anyone who wants to work in VFX and have a reasonably good quality of life would be mad not to apply to such a studio. Sure its on the other side of the world and its not ILM or Double Negative, but if you want to have a pleasant life outside of work it looks to be an appealing option to me. I agree with your statement Soldier, and it reminds me of how blinkered we can be. Chasing the faint glow of big Hollywood studios isn’t always what its cracked up to be. My advice is to be open minded and realize sooner rather than later that life isn’t just about work.

    • Shootsy says:

      Yeah right, if you’re a [young] wealthy nomad that works but for the vast majority this is one heck of a move. Just thinking of how long it takes to fly down there is enough of a deterrent for me.

      The only reason it’s worth moving [temporarily] like that is precisely for the work involved, who wants to move for doing car commercials ad nauseam in yet another vfx boutique. After that there’s always moving for good but that’s another choice entirely. You’ll move either because it will improve your “life” or/and because you have no choice. The rest is exotic diaporama.

    • mananama says:

      “My advice is to be open minded and realize sooner rather than later that life isn’t just about work.”

      PeteD, best comment on this site, period.

  5. VFX Soldier says:

    I actually think Australia is a great place to live but look vfx is a project-to-project industry and to move down for a project in Australia where there aren’t many other facilities to get your next job is tough… and it’s tough to find talent in that kind of market.

    But if we want talk about haters want to hate:
    Tony Clark, of Adelaide effects company Rising Sun Pictures, said the industry was in a “downward spiral” and by the time the Government acts it would be too late for some companies.


    • blah says:

      Oh dear. You’ll grab any story and try to twist it into some union thing or something to do with subsidies.

      The variety article you link to, which this blog post is based on, is about a company putting a contact into LA permanently. It saves the company flying someone to LA all of the time. This, in turn, provides more money to keep jobs for the artists, or if you’re cynical to feed the fat pockets of the company directors. I’ve worked there so I know what one is correct.

      The artists at RSP do great work and you’re shitting on the artists working there by trying to place two and two together. Lets just leave it huh?

      • VFX Soldier says:

        Where did I say this had to do with unions… Read my last comment and you’ll see the CEO of RSP voiced his unhappiness with govt subsidies in AUS.

        Many foreign companies like pixomondo, mpc, scanline, prime focus started off with an office and expanded to hiring talent in Los Angeles.

        Are you not encouraged by that?
        Geez you post some good news and they still come after you.

      • anon says:

        Come on, we’re talking about a company that practically invented film quality video conferencing and you still maintain that the work has to be done in LA? The only reason foreign companies open shop in LA is for easier access to hollywood work. MPC and Prime Focus are owned by third world investors and they have put in a lot or work developing pipelines that allow them to progressively copy the ideas of first world workers so they can move the work to where it can be done cheapest. It’s all going to the cloud and the sooner James Cameron can convince those dumb theater goers they should be playing with avatars online the better.

      • VFX Soldier says:

        I understand what you are saying, but MPC, Prime Focus hire artists in LA. Again why? Is your cloud thingey broken or something? Have you bothered sending them the links you spam my blog with?

      • anon says:

        Time well tell if it’s broken but Google, Apple, IBM, Oracle, RSP (Oscar!), Prime Focus, HP, Dreamworks, ILM, MPC, Pixar, R&H etc. are working hard to make sure it works…


      • VFX Soldier says:

        Ok but until then since you post regularly about clouds I get to call you cloudboy.

  6. cloudboy says:

    Illegal aliens are stealing our jobs!

  7. Chris says:

    What I would love to see is the foreign film subsidies actually subsidize foreign films. It’s amazing that all of this effort is being made to lure American feature production to other countries rather than develop their own film industries with their own unique identities.
    Peter Jackson, Guy Ritchie, Danny Boyle, and a handfull of others are creating a film industry that doesn’t serve Hollywood, they compete with Hollywood, and that is something that everyone can respect.

    If you have to pay someone a 40% kickback to get a job, You aren’t building a relationship with them that will endure project after project. You aren’t getting the work because you are the best company doing the best work, and they love what innovations you have contributed to the advancement of film and VFX technology…you paid them to let you work on their project.

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  10. Marco Bitran says:

    Thanks for finally talking about >Rising Sun Pictures Dawns Upon LA | VFX Soldier <Loved it!

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