Film Works LA Interviews Rhythm & Hues

If you read one article on the VFX industry this year then you might want to check out Film Works LA interview with VFX facility Rhythm & Hues. In my opinion it’s the article of the year because it reveals so much inside information about the business:

More interesting yet, Berger said Rhythm & Hues could often match a bid from Vancouver for the same money even using his California artists.  “But what has happened in recent years with many studios,” Berger said, “it’s easier to understand the tax credits than it is to understand a discounted price.”

Think about that. No matter how efficient or competitive your VFX facility is, you are at the complete mercy of a government offering a subsidy. Even with a huge 35% subsidy in Vancouver, California VFX can still be competitive which is something I’ve said for a long time. I’ve seen people lose their homes, their families, and their careers over something so absurd.

Simply put this is why subsidies violate many trade agreements. They are a form of protectionism that create a barrier to market economics.

You can read more at Scott Squires blog.

Soldier On.


12 Responses to Film Works LA Interviews Rhythm & Hues

  1. The very next day R&H lays off more people at their LA building. Congrats!

    • FormerR&H says:

      I was surprised nobody said this earlier. R&H put itself in a much better light then they actually should. They’ve laid off tons of people and are shipping people off to Vancouver.

      • Three Blind Mice says:

        “R&H put itself in a much better light ”

        standard business practice really- positive coverage to cover up reality.

      • vfxmafia says:

        Have to say…when I did my tour of duty at R&H. (this was back during marina del ray). The wharehouse (which it was literally)….One room had basically just seats in a giant room…..giant dusty black cloth was hung from the ceiling to separate people. I wouldn’t know what to do if i had allergies and had to work in that room. The other rooms weren’t much better. Often working in rooms so small that if you backed up your chair…you would hit the person behind you. Off coarse there were no windows….

        The older veterans got basically sheet rocked cubical walls…that i thought was giant rat maze. To make it better because of the darkness…and lack of air….people decorated everything with christmas lights and Mcfarlane toys….

        The worst of it was something called the “Stink Box”.

        Yes, They literally had a room called the “Stink” box. It was a closet of a room that was an off shoot next to the Men’s lavatories. Literally after lunch….(I don’t know who was worse comp or FX) would come in and lay bombs. The ventilation was so unbearable…..after lunch….your eyes would water.

        I was walking by and saw a young talented Z-brush guy that I knew sitting in the stink box. Next to him was 5 pound box of Arm and Hammer Baking Soda….with the words “Stink Box” written in black magic marker.

        I immediately told him he should be asked to be moved. No one should be stuck next to a vent next to a public bathroom…no matter if they didn’t have room. He said he was afraid of “Causing Trouble”.

        I told him that he could develop a respiratory illness from inhaling fecal matter. He shrugged it off and kept grinding OT in the stinkbox……..”for fear of being a trouble maker”. (like asking for a change of seat was being some sort of trouble maker)…..(apparantly it was at R&H)

        I saw alot of weird shit like this at R&H…..especailly back when they were in that asbestos wharehouse in Marina Delray. I swear to god some of those crazy rat cubicles they called offices were bugged. R&H had a huge beuacratic way of doing things and harbored a strange disfunctional cult like culture….the whole place seemed like it was out of the movie “Brazil”. Can’t say i was surprised that it went under. (I can’ really say anymore than that)

        I marched on the academy awards when Life of Pie hit……but privately i was NOT shocked about the bankruptcy after watching so much waste and bids that just were fucking botched. And everyone who walked by the “Stink Box” secretly knew it too, whether they wanted to admit it or not…..

    • Clicking Bandit says:

      Was about to ask if anyone had heard about that as well. So much for Perma-lancers…

      Hope things improve soon…

    • Rikochan says:

      Note how Berger reaches all the way back to 1999 to demonstrate how California jobs have grown. This is deceptive, as this most likely predates the merger with VIFX (also in 1999), much less the opening up of facilities in Malaysia, Canada, Taiwan and India. How about a comparison between today and 2006 when the outsourcing (and California staff layoffs) started to really take effect? Or some indication how many of these “employees” are temporary project hires? Even the staff photo at the top of the article is a work of fiction that has obviously been digitally patched together.

  2. Van says:

    Your posts are always so california slanted, they hardly represent the industry as a whole. “I’ve seen people lose their homes, their families, and their careers” in Vancouver too when work leaves the city. We’ve traveled the world following the work, we’d like to work in our home city as much as LA does.

    • FormerR&H says:

      Well they’re California slanted because the studios producing movies are California based. And the VFX houses opening up in Vancouver are California based too. And a great many VFX artists are coming up from California too (VFX artists from across the world who have settled here)

      The only the thing Canadian about it are the Tax incentives being paid out the the Studios.

    • vfxmafia says:


      I get what you mean…..though. Now that i have relocated from LA to Van….i still keep my suitcase packed by the door. I know it won’t last up here longer than 3 years…….

  3. […] after last week’s post on Rhythm and Hues, rumors went around on Friday that around 200 non-staff VFX professionals were let go or asked to […]

  4. […] VFX Soldier – Film Works LA Interviews Rhythm & Hues […]

  5. […] that offers unlimited amounts of corporate welfare. Rhythm & Hues admitted that it could bid VFX projects with unsubsidized talent in California, yet producers are so fixated on getting a rebate that they are forced to do the work in […]

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