Rhythm & Hues Chapter 11?

Lots of chatter of artists being called by Rhythm . Will post more as the news rolls in but multiple sources have been confirming. Rhythm  told employees that payroll was delayed. Incredibly bad news for those affected.

Confirmation: 2/10 11:30pm

Variety’s David S. Cohen has confirmed the news. The Prime Focus deal has fallen through and the company will file Chapter 11:

DEVELOPING – Rhythm & Hues Studios will file Chapter 11 Monday morning. Prime Focus deal fell through.

I tweeted my skepticism about Prime Focus being able to make an acquisition. If I’m reading their financials correctly, they only have $US 800,000 in cash.

Deadline reports: 11:45pm

Workers are being asked not to show up to the El Segundo facility. What about the other facilities? Update: Deadline is incorrect. Some are being called not to come in to work.


David S. Cohen Reports On Rhythm & Hues Chapter 11 : 11:50pm

“Several buyers reported interested in acquiring the company out of bankruptcy.”


VFX Law posts: 2:15am

Lots of good info on the legal ramifications.


Soldier On.


238 Responses to Rhythm & Hues Chapter 11?

  1. ColdWater says:

    A very, very, very sad day for the entire industry. Will the studios come to see that they are their own worst enemy, or will they just blame R&H for bad business practices?

    • Polyphemus says:

      A lot of friends got burned tonight.

      Many folks with lots of PTO banked up has lost that money. Is there any way for employees to get added as a creditor during the bankruptcy proceedings for back pay and unpaid benefits?

      • The Broke Scarlet Pumpernickel says:

        Perhaps we should bug @vfxlaw about a hand post on how this all works…

      • ColdWater says:

        Technically, yes. Practically speaking, I doubt they’ll get much if anything but it depends entirely on what R&H’s debts look like, what the buyout, if any, looks like, etc.. Knowing a thing or two about all this due to the DD bankruptcy, it’s impossible to say much until a bankruptcy administrator has been set up and legal proceedings begun. It was possible to follow all these kinds of details during the DD bankruptcy at the following website which listed every court document: http://www.kccllc.net/Docket/SearchResults.asp?T=3376

        Until there’s a similar setup for R&H’s proceedings, who knows.

        One big difference between this and the DD situation is that DD already had their stalking horse buyer (opening bidder) in place before announcing Chapter 11. A guaranteed buyer is what allowed the bridge loan to happen, which is what kept the LA and Vancouver offices open. My understanding is that there is no committed first bidder for R&H at this time. I have to wonder if the supposed $20 million from the studios has actually happened yet, or ever will.

      • You shouldn’t need to do anything extra, if you’re owed money, you should be listed as a creditor. Everyone at DDMG was listed as creditors during their fiasco.

      • ColdWater says:

        Right, getting listed ain’t the problem. But getting a dime of anything besides straight unpaid labor is probably going to be very tough, and at best would likely take a very long time to happen. (n.b.: I Am Not Anything Even Remotely Resembling A Lawyer)

      • Ashi says:

        Please tell me where to search for listing documents and fillings for the company (Rhythm & hues ) , if u can give links it will be very nice and helpful

  2. Jen says:

    I have no words. Thinking about the R&H artists right now.

  3. The Broke Scarlet Pumpernickel says:

    All I can say right now is… Fuck those cookies.

  4. bobafett says:

    Hoping people land on their feet, but knowing this industry, that could take a while.

    • ColdWater says:

      Well depending on how extensive the layoffs are, and the current situation with studio funding, this will likely be the single worst closure (or restructuring at least) in the history of the industry. Between this and the Dreamworks layoffs, this could be an unprecedented flood of people into the job pool.

      Maybe, just maybe, it won’t be that bad. I but there’s little reason not to assume the worst right now.

  5. Location check? says:

    Any word from the Van office? Is it just LA?

    • Twain says:

      When it comes to payroll, I’m assuming both would be effected.

    • Pauliedweasel says:

      From a close friend I have who used to work there they told me that some friends of theirs who work at VC don’t think that this current debacle will effect them. For now it just looks like it will be just LA. Inspite of the shaky financial dealings that I’ve heard they’ve done in the past I’m wondering if this is in part because of the crazy ass new taxes that the State of California has just introduced this year?

  6. Twain says:

    Ironic, and terrible. How is it that a VFX studio which is arguably the best in the game at this point, can be having such trouble. We’re with you R&H, stay strong.

    • coastuc says:

      R+H as we know it is gone. After the bankruptcy sale not much of the original will remain.

      • csw says:

        This is chapter 11, not chapter 7. There will be no bankruptcy sale, there will be a reorganization R&H will continue as before.

        I can’t fathom why people can’t figure this out.

  7. louis says:

    We need a VFX Strike as writer strike

    • Twain says:

      Indeed, maybe it’s time to actually talk about something like this. Let’s face it, they WILL miss us if (or when) we’re gone.

    • ColdWater says:

      No, we need the management of all of the large and mid-tier VFX houses to band together as a group and refuse to be bullied by the studios anymore.

      • Band-of-brothers says:

        That will never happen, they make so much money on every deal that they don’t give a shit about the artist. We are nothing more then gogs in the many wheels they think anyone can fill. The only way anything will change is if we the artist change and group together and demand it.

      • Twain says:

        Will that work though Cold? The VFX houses currently answer to the studios, not the artists. They houses look to the studios to decide how to structure their business, not to the artists they hire who actually do the work. Maybe we need to make them all realize we’re here, we’re aware of the problems, and we’re ready to do something about it.

      • InsideVFX says:

        Band… that’s not true of R&H. R&H has a long history of taking care of its employees.

      • Jen says:

        “Had.” :^(

      • InsideVFX says:

        Jen… they’re not dead yet. Bankruptcy is a restructuring period. There is a possibility that they will come through this. All we can do is wait and see (and hope).

      • ColdWater says:

        I think a strike might be helpful if the entire industry was contained within one country. But I don’t think we as workers will ever be able to overcome the legal and emotional hurdles to creating an international, worldwide union. But in *one day* the ownership/management of the vfx houses could, by mutual agreement, band together and take a hard line on certain studio practices. If the studios couldn’t pull work and place it somewhere else because all the houses were in it together, there would be instant leverage. I guess the only hurdle would be the potential for anti-trust complaints/lawsuits by the studios. But I’m willing to bet there are ways around that and to keep the collaboration totally legal.

      • ColdWater says:

        I guess there’s also the problem that two of the major houses (Imageworks and ILM) are owned by the studios.

      • Ymir says:

        And of course, #saveBCfilm is just dying to snag more work from the states. Where’s their incentive to join in an organizing effort?

      • Twain says:

        #saveBCfilm will figure it out eventually, evacuate their bubble and become #saveVFX or they’ll just disappear.

      • John S says:

        “And of course, #saveBCfilm is just dying to snag more work from the states.”

        No they aren’t. #saveBCfilm has NOTHING to do with the States, and is all about work that has been leaving BC for Ontario and Quebec over the past year.

        If you were to ever talk to the organizers of #saveBCfilm, none of them will have ever heard of Rhythm and Hues, let alone care about it.

      • Ymir says:

        John S., where is your work coming from? Home grown Canadian?

    • Mike says:

      yes, a strike will bring this situation to visibility….unite workers…gain press exposure in the general press… and, hopefully, bring some stability to this industry and it’s workers….

      • Twain says:

        One thing we know, if you want a big budget movie done well, you need folks who are trained and honed in their craft. As much and as long as they’ve scared artists with the idea we can easily be replaced by folks from overseas or students who will work for nothing, it simply isn’t true. Our leverage is our talent…as artists we’re not great at being tough in business. But together, knowing we’re the most valuable asset for both the VFX houses and the studios, we have a lot of clout. Maybe we should start talking about using it.

      • Scott says:

        Not sure the feasibility of a strike, but considering we are in crunch mode for summer tent poles, it would bring Hollywood to a screeching halt.

        A big vfx film has to miss it’s delivery for any real change to occur. A lot of these films are at the point where you just can’t send work to another studio in order to make the release date.

    • Ivan DeWolf says:

      savebcfilm is an effort to increase tax incentives for production work in BC; it has nothing to do with postproduction. The reason it’s being discussed here is because it has started a discussion in BC about tax incentives; tax incentives affect VFX. However, VFX does not affect savebcfilm. they are not aware of what is going on in postproduction.

      • Actually, Ivan, if the plan being pushed by the Save BC Film movement were to happen, it would actually hurt the VFX people in BC by making their credit rate lower. Food for thought.

  8. Crock says:

    It’s become a terrible business to be in. Gotta do somethin else with your time fellas and make more $$$’s

  9. Terminated, effective immediately (El Segundo). I am owed 3.5 weeks (18 working days) pay. Health insurance will be covered through the end of the month. No PTO banked as I was full-time freelance (but somehow exempt?) Sad day in the dVFX community, very difficult day and weeks ahead for the former employees of R&H.

  10. Mike says:

    maybe it’s time to organize a group to get out in front of these facilities and start picketing….thoughts?

    • Twain says:

      Hmmm, do we need to picket? Just don’t show up. Dailies would be pretty interesting without anyone to give feedback to, don’t ya think? 😉

  11. Mike says:

    or maybe, picketing in front of the studios….. we have to create a visible force…. maybe a letter writing campaign in the media….these immediate huge layoffs are outrageous….

  12. Mike says:

    this is a critical time to organize the layed-off workers….imo…

  13. InsideVFX says:

    Quick correction: *Some* employees are being told not to come in tomorrow. Others continue to work as scheduled.

    • shidarin says:

      And others have gotten no call at all..

      • Ymir says:

        So those that were called, are you all on the same show? How close was that show to delivering? It ‘feels’ like maybe that work was pulled by a nervous studio?

    • ColdWater says:

      But how many will work if they don’t even know if they’ll get paid for that work? If the supposed $20 million from the studios never came through then it doesn’t seem like anyone can get paid. And there will be no bridge loan until there’s a guaranteed opening buyer. So, chicken and egg. If all the employees don’t show up and basically start looking for news jobs until there’s a buyer, then who’s going to buy it if there are no guaranteed employees with institutional knowledge?

      That’s why all of this should have happened months ago, while there was still time to bridge things to the new buyer.

      Yes, my comments are rife with speculation. But I know that I wouldn’t come into work if there was no guarantee that I’d get paid for it, especially considering that there are already weeks previous to now that everyone is owed for right this second.

      The only thing that will save R&H is an immediate announcement that they can pay the people still remaining on the payroll as of monday morning.

      • InsideVFX says:

        R&H is largely the sort of company the employees believe in. It’s not like a John Textor led DD.

        John Hughes is the sort of person who cares deeply for this company and its employees. My feeling is that the fact that R&H is in this position truly hurts him deeply. I really believe that he is going to try to take care of everyone to the best of his ability.

        R&H is not a ‘slave-driving, you’re just a replaceable cog’ sort of company. They actually pay their Indian/Asian employees a higher than average wage compared to other VFX houses in the same region.

        The result of this is that many of the employees are dedicated to Rhythm & Hues and trying to help it pull through this hardship. If that means working for a period of time with some uncertainty, so be it.

        This doesn’t mean people aren’t looking for the next gig, but they’re also not jumping like a bunch of rats off a listing ship (it hasn’t sunk yet!)

        I really believe that R&H will pull through and that this whole episode is going to be a HUGE smack in the face that will wake up the industry as a whole… The VFX house who won the Oscar for their groundbreaking work on Pi declared bankruptcy?!? That’s definitely a wake up call.

      • ColdWater says:

        Inside: I feel for R&H deeply, I really do. And I have no doubt that John Hughes is as respected as people say. I want R&H to stay open as badly as anyone working there.

        But what you’re saying is irresponsible and foolish. Either R&H secures bridge money to pay people now or *maybe* within a week or two, or it’s done. The only possible outcome of going down the road you suggest is tragedy. As noble as the dream is it would never work out, and if you can’t see why then I’m not going to bother listing all of reasons. Topping the list: no client will keep their work there under those circumstances. Second on the list: the workplace would rapidly start resembling Lord Of The Flies in more ways than one. No amount of kindness and respect can overcome the tendencies of human nature when peoples’ livelihoods are on the line.

      • Jen says:

        Topping the list: no client will keep their work there under those circumstances.

        With R&H’s proprietary pipeline, do the clients have a choice? Any client who tried to take the work away from R&H at this point would have to pay another studio to start from scratch.

      • that’s what we are all trying to figure out….

      • ColdWater says:

        “With R&H’s proprietary pipeline, do the clients have a choice? Any client who tried to take the work away from R&H at this point would have to pay another studio to start from scratch.”

        It’s all just risk management. If they thought they could save the most money by just floating the company then they’d just do it. That’s what all articles this week indicated they *would* do. But something seems to have gone awry … or maybe that funding (or at least some of it) will still come through.

        If not then they call it a day, push release dates on those films or maybe try to 911 for a cost equal or even more to the theoretical bailout cost (but without the risk), and maybe pursue insurance money from the bond company.

        I think it’s a fallacy that *no* data could be recovered. As long as you can get models, textures, and approved finals and quicktimes of IP animation and approved looks, you’d be surprised how quickly other studios can rig things up and match the look. I’m not saying it’s cheap, but I’ve seen that happen with pulled work *many* times in the ~20 years I’ve been doing this.

      • Band-of-brothers says:

        Are you kidding me? This love for a company over fellow artist is getting stupid. This VFX attitude of “well I’m still working, I’m not affected, I’m not helping those that lost their job” is the same bullshit that keeps shutting down VFX houses and making it harder and hard for anything to be done. I heard this when DD was having issues, I heard it when Cafe,The orphanage, Asylem, and “insert name here” was closing. It’s the same anti union crap I heard when I started. It will always be you vs them, we need to make it US vs them.

        All it would take is one maybe two days, worst case a week, of all VFX artist to skip out of work to change things.

  14. Steve says:

    Jesus. They just won the British Academy Award for Pi.. last night.


    I hope, if they win the Oscar, that their speech include some mention of the current situation in VFX.

  15. tom says:

    When the people finally wake up and stop this madness? The Tax return outside USA is killing the full Post Production industry.
    The Studios don’t worry yet but you are the next ones.

    Government have to put IMPORT TAX to protect hard working Americans or in next 5 years Hollywood is History.

    • Steve says:

      My 2 cents: You can’t actually pin this on overseas tax breaks. R&H were getting plenty of high-profile work from what I read.

      Even if you argue the tax breaks are taking *some* jobs from LA, that in itself doesn’t cause bankruptcy. Down-sizing, yes, layoffs yes, but bankruptcy?

      • PolarisSoup says:

        The simple fact of the matter is that VFX shops bid less than the actual FX work will cost to produce. This has been happening for years with VFX shops making up the difference by paying less, reducing benefits, not paying overtime, ditching free meals etc. The problem in a lot of cases is that the VFX workforce is 98% contract, VFX shops have a gun to the heads of these staff as the unwritten rule is if you don’t tow the line (work the evening/ weekend for free etc) we will not hire you next time. No unions, no trade body and a ready supply of wet behind the ears collage noobs, all to eager to agree to anything just add to the problems. VFX is rapidly turning into an elite sport where you retire at 26 (unless you are one of the few lucky enough to make it as a coach / manager.

      • If tax incentives are forcing vfx facilities away from where the most readily-available talent/experience pools are, then the tax incentives are not the core cause of the problem, and their removal will not be the solution.

        The core problem is that vfx houses (and by extension, the artists) have steadily allowed our work to be de-valued over the years, and we are now paying the price. We love what we do, to the extent that we don’t care so much about the money per se (beyond the basic necessities).

        This dedication and sense of vocation has allowed us to be exploited by those who are all about the money…

        A familiar story. History repeats itself…

      • VFX Soldier says:

        If subsidies provide facilities in vancouver to underbid a project by 60% then yes it is THE PROBLEM.

      • Ymir says:

        The tax incentives (i.e., subsidies) create a false economic environment where vfx companies always have to bid lower than companies that are getting bidding aid through governmental kickbacks. This drives the companies without subsidized aid to bid below the cost of the work, and thus create the situation R&H finds itself in now. End the subsidies, everyone bids on a level playing field.

      • Ivan DeWolf says:

        the incentives do not go to the VFX facilities, they go to the client. Vancouver facilities bid the same amounts as the LA facilities; the incentives are then sent to the client after the work is done. te VFX facilities almost never see a dime of it, it’s not reflected in the bid price.

        to be clear: I am not defending this practice, nor am I condemning it. I am merely explaining it.

        as to what I believe, I think jackadullboy is pretty much on it.

      • VFX Soldier says:

        Lets be clear, from a studio perspective, the facility in van can provide a bid that is 60% lower than the one in CA dues to the subsidies.

        That’s us providing a huge amount of price distortion.

      • Ivan DeWolf says:

        kind of, yes. Don’t forget, R&H were taking full advantage of this incentive with it’s Vancouver staff.

      • Ymir says:

        The only way for R&H to take advantage of that was to build a facility in Vancouver in the first place, so there is that expense added.

  16. Dude says:

    Is this only affected in California?

  17. tom says:

    Steve “tax breaks” not only taking some jobs they are destroying full industry in America. Is not only about Post Production. Check big budget productions. Many of them are done outside America and have a HOLLYWOOD “stamp” on it. How this can be? People have here no work and no one cares.

    Dear Mr Obama is time to look into it…

  18. Moplo says:

    I hope they dont deliver RIPD and The rest of their films in the pipeline. Let the studios feel the pain. F&&¥ing assholes they are.

    • sad day says:

      Lets not turn this into a BC or tax break pissing contest right now. There are many factors at work here including RandH paying artists to work for over a year without producing a single shot. Go ask around as this was happening during the early production on Pi and RIPD. This was a facility too afraid to stand up to the sudios and who can blame them as the studios are cut throat and are proving so already with many facilities already picking up the work on Percy 2, Dark Skies and Seventh Son.

      Lets stand together and look at the biggest issue and that is the STUDIOS.

    • coastuc says:

      apparently a couple of shows WERE pulled, which triggered the precipitous nature of the announcement and action

  19. rnh_artist says:

    I just want to point out that every email sent at work regarding the matter has been about how great this company was to work for. This was truly one of the shining beacons in VFX and Mr. Hughes should be proud of that.

    • Polyphemus says:

      Except for the whole not having company meetings for a few months, and leaving employees hanging while the media was blasting news about a 20 million dollar bailout and sale to another firm with no comment.

      Plus getting a phone call in the middle of the night.

      Yeah, R+H is the paragon of employer/employee communication.

  20. Scathie says:

    The second R&H set up East Grand Films, the writing was on the wall. Just like when DD set up Digital Domain Films, everyone should have slapped their forehead and run away from the company as fast as possible.

    Why successful VFX studios take their capital and use it to try to become film production companies is a complete and total mystery to me.

    • Ashes says:

      They do it because money can be made with IP. VFX houses have razor thin profit margins if any at all.

    • Scott Ross says:

      lets get together for a cup of coffee and we can discuss why!

    • Thoroughbred says:

      As a Taiwan citizen, I am very interested to know why R&H took Taiwan government’s US 21 million to set up East Grand Films, just few months before bankruptcy.

      • ash says:

        I don’t believe RnH took $21 mil from Taiwanese government yet..
        The money comes is phases as a film fund provided by the Taiwanese govt on certain terms.. It will take time before that happens and that money can’t be used for many things.. Just for its purpose..

    • Jim says:

      Sorry, the above was meant to be a reply to Scathie.

    • whatever says:

      not “uh oh”,
      Actually, targetting a smaller market first, and not relying on “ONE BIG PROJECT” is actually the smarter and less risky way to setup and publish your own and other peoples ip. Mixing this with external ressources in the first stages is also a good move.
      Ok, money influx might be less in the beginning, but its far less risky than pushing all ressources on one big project.

  21. gauta says:

    Here’s a new communal facebook thing. Anything to raise awareness. Facebook seems to be good at that.

  22. Vfx Artist says:

    Signs of Uniting….its high time now.


  23. nobody says:

    maybe vfx houses should create their own movies to be successfull in this biz?

    • Thad Beier says:


      The problem is that you need very specific talent to create your own movies; talent that probably doesn’t exist at R&H. You can’t presume that your VFX producers can be movie producers, and that your VFX supervisors can be directors — they can’t.

      It’s really hard to imagine taking on a task *way* outside of your area of expertise is going to be profitable. You might as well say that they should make music, or sell paintings, or do live theater — those are all as far from making movies as doing visual effects.

    • Skyline says:

      Like that one?

  24. […] right now, because it’s obviously not sustainable. Good sources of news and information are VFX Soldier, VFX Law, Scott Squires. There’s a new Facebook page this morning, which may end up being a […]

  25. P-Fi says:

    R&H Vancouver has a Canadian holiday today, so they won’t know whats going on up there until tomorrow. I don’t see how this could affect LA and not Vancouver, it’s the same company.

    DD Florida and DD Venice/Van where two different companies.

    • Corey says:

      Not really, they were the same. DDMG was the parent company. With a traditional VFX department listed as DD, stereo and Animation in 1 building. Actually Venice would have closed if Florida had not given money to them that was given to the Florida studio by The state itself from what was in the rumor mill.

  26. baffled says:

    Is everybody that’s reporting “Prime Focus will Save Us!” and “A Deal with Prime Focus still on the Table” completely amnesiastic as to how Prime Focus has treated their own people, made the industry shudder at their emails and leaks, and the reputation that they’ve generated over the last year or so? I don’t really picture them as a White Knight in this situation…

  27. John Wayne says:

    “In a meeting with employees Monday, Rhythm & Hues executives singled out the difficulty of competing with tax subsidies offered in the UK and Canada, and indicated about 200 people would lose their jobs.”


  28. FUCK OFF VFX says:

    I went skimmed through every comment and yep, just what I thought. NO one brings up the fact that RH has been known for being the most laid back, the “oh I’ll just go to RH because I want a break from working” company. EVERYONE still blames the studios. These guys had SO much work. Hired slews of students, hired slews of people that have been out of the industry for years, but put them in higher up positions just because they might of worked on Jurassic Park. STUPID DECISIONS, and a lot of them! MEETINGS. THis place is notorious for meetings about meetings. So much that artists and sups joke about it.

    I worked there for 2 years. I have never seen a more sad bunch of behind the times group of artists/sups. Sups that have been working there since day one, snub as shit. Thought their shit doesn’t stink. THought what a great idea to spend months and months on the most miniscule tasks just to prove their status and ego.

    This was so unbelievable to me. These guys really thought that they were on top of the world with their saturated departments full of 80 percent scad students turning into ego centric premature supervisors. NO work gets done. I can’t stress that enough. NO work gets done. I’ve worked at every studio and RH takes the cake on burning money and making horrible decisions. Software? why would we buy software when we have all these programmers that don’t want to help you do anything. ICY? have you heard of it? no…that’s right. Because it’s a 20 yr old comp package. Maya? yeah we got it..but we can’t use it for anything, but modeling. Wait what?

    how many people got laid off? Guarantee it will run EXACTLY the same. The fat needed to be trimmed big time.

    And all those people bitching about how you are treated poorly? Fuck you. You little shits. Because you sat there for the last couple years bitching about how stupid the place is ran. Grow up, make yourself useful. You ARE THE PROBLEM. And you 10+, 20yr supevisors? FUCK OFF. It’s not the 90’s anymore. You’re tanking companies. The fact that you can say you worked on Titanic or Jurassic Park? THAT’S A PROBLEM. COMPLETELY DIFFERENT PLAYING FIELD OUT THERE ASSHOLES. It’s not 100 percent the studios fault. It’s 90 percent the vfx studios fault. They didn’t have to hire 1000 people all year round.

    • JP says:

      I agree on this. Have had many times the chance to talk to R&H people at Siggraph when I was looking for a job, they were the most snub and egocentric visual-effects related people I ever had the nightmare to talk to. They all act like ‘oh we’re so cool oh we’re so awesome who the fuck are you to come here and waking us up with your resume while we’re living the dream of being Hollywood superstars’.
      That’s the impression I got from them. Well I am kind of glad they never hired me, as of now I am a happy full time staff while they are… karma. Not that I am happy for it tho.

      • Yogi Bear says:

        Did you both grab a t-shirt on your way out?

      • Paul says:

        I got the same vibe by just looking at their website, 5 years or even 20 years ago when I got interested in VFX.

        Wanted to get work done cheaper oversees? Well there you had it! It’s now biting your asses back.

        Karma’s bitch bitches!

    • Caleb says:

      This is a classic example of the bitterness and overall general attitude of the “new” workforce in our industry. You had a bad experience for one reason or another, blame it on someone else. So much about working at a facility is “fitting” in. Yes, it is lame, but it is an unfortunate reality of the persistent fraternity mentality at these places. DD had it big time in the late 90s early 00’s. I fell victim to this at several large studios. I could tell you a story about how I suffered financially because of DD’s frat boy mentality. I was later vindicated, but I regret not suing at the time. I got over it, and worked there once again. I got pissed many times, but I also realized that, in part, I was responsible as well. I had expectations of others that were unreasonable, so I was disappointing a lot. I learned that I just don’t belong in those kind of environments, just not for me.
      After 05 or so we starting seeing more and more young students coming in to the field. With a few exceptions, most thought their shit didn’t stink already, and they’ve done NOTHING to date. The complete lack of social skill, or understand what it was like to work with others was and is so apparent. In part, this new work force, flooded by private animation schools, has been responsible for the decline of wages, the overall agism issues etc. You should be flattered and be like a sponge if you are lucky enough to work with someone who helped make Jurassic Park, or Sphere for god sake. We where there at the prime of this field, we were the people that laid the ground work for little schmucks like you. Have some fucking respect.

      That in a nut shell is the status of our work force. We have NO respect for each other, no respect of our history, thus the slow death.

      I can’t tell you how many times I wanted to bitch slap some little 20 something year old kid who knew nothing about life outside a fucking computer screen.

      Here’s a news flash smart boy, It’s all fucking pixels, there has been nothing new in the field since hair and water!! It’s all the same shit, just more buttons to push. No one cares about how many scripts, or programs, or sub surface bullshit. It’s about the movie, it’s about the image! It’s been old hat for a LONG TIME.

    • InsideVFX says:

      Maybe you should have that discussion with Dennis Muren or John Knoll up at ILM. I hear they may have had something to do with Jurassic Park and have been around for 20+ years too.

      Obviously R&H doesn’t know what they’re doing since the majority of people think Richard Parker was a real tiger and the hyena, zebra, orangoutang, and the ocean… etc. Obviously they’re winning all sorts of vfx awards because they don’t know what they’re doing…

      My guess is you’re angry and bitter because yiu couldn’t hack it and don’t play well with others as evidenced by your post.

  29. qualityVSquantity says:

    A couple of things to note since quite a few ppl on here seem to go on and on about how great a company R&H is…

    Didn’t they have the foresight to see that they couldn’t make payroll? I mean seriously laying off ppl with 3.5 weeks of work owed is pretty significant (2 weeks of back pay + last week + plus weekend days). Not to mention this whole time they were still approving OT hours all the while knowing that they don’t have $$$!!!

    The executives that make these decisions, they’re the ones that make the most profit because they take the most risk yet the artists are the ones who seem to be paying the price nowadays.

    I won’t say that tax incentives don’t have a role with the current state of vfx but management’s continuing position to bend over to studios is a major problem.

  30. sad day says:

    It is true for the better part of a year they burnt through money on pi and other shows without finaling a single shot. I know subsidies have a role to play but I think there are bigger problems at play at RandH.

    Often the best places to work are because of the lack of corporate structure and business sense. But at the end of the day being this happy go lucky company you end up going broke.

    Of course the management are going to jump on blaming canada and the uk but you have to ask yourself why a company with offices in asia, canada and the US have hemaraged so much money. My guess is bad management and strategic decisions have alot more to play in this than solely the subsidy issue. Again this is not a post in support of subsidies but I fear even with subsidies gone R and H would be in a similar psition on how they have chosen to create wonderful images.

  31. FUCK OFF VFX says:

    InsideVFX, come on…everyone knows that shit is fixed. You really thought golden compass should of won over transformers? Ofcourse they do a great job, but so did all these other places. Hugo last year? really? all of that is fixed before the movie is finished filming. They were banking on the oscar even before the first shot got finaled. And yeah, I would love to talk to those guys from ILM and how they undercut everyone so much that they take a loss, just to get a whole movie. Everyone in this industry “feels” too much. Get your check and move on. Because this stuff has never been stable. I was treated the best I’ve ever been treated at RH. It’s a daycare. THe best vacation I’ve ever had. They paid my salary for 2 yrs to do nothing. It was fantastic.Everyone can bitch about how they’re treated poorly at all these companies on this blog all they want. No one will do anything about it. If you haven’t learned that yet, then just move on and make me my coffee at starbucks already. Maybe I’ll see you there in 3 yrs. But when you’re running your company like nothing has happened to vfx in the last 8 yrs in CA. Your answer is to open up a facility in every tax incentive country instead of maybe hiring a manager to clean up shop? To maybe ask..”hey..netflix? are you actually working on anything?” you’re asking for it. Maybe i don’t play nice with others? this is the part where I want to say who I am, but what for? Moving on. One more down because of the “tax incentives” There. I’ll hop on board. Damn those tax incentives!

  32. FUCK OFF VFX says:

    and if you’re saying “couldn’t hack it at RH?” If you really think there was anything to hack or some revolutionary cg magic was going on there, then either you’ve never been there, you’re an animator, or you’re a student who’s angry about his or hers 100k student loan. Step into my office, because you’re fired.

  33. Dave Rand says:

    Wow after reading these laser sharp post I’m convinced now more than ever that winning every VFX award this year must be some kind of freakish accident.

    ..someone should do a study…

    .also, equally as freakish, is how they are one of the last standing VFX vendors in Los Angles, surviving all these years when 12 major shops have failed. What’s different?

    They let artists bring their dogs to work, that’s what !

    …someone should do a study..a K9 creative link, it may be in the fur or the drool maybe, cause these hillbillies are feeding offa somethin and it ain’t brains.

    Ha! …and go figure the studios like them so much they want to help them? Now who’s kidding who? Man, the nerve! Not fooling me! Not one bit buddy !

    I’ve seen this John Hughes character parking his car with the troops on the back lot, having a tiny office, opening the books every Friday afternoon for everyone at the company meeting, who’s he fooling? Yeah not you guys…your too sharp for that charade, you and those guys by the tracks drinking rot gut..they laugh at us as we walk past to.

    What do they know that we don’t? They are onto something, and I’m gonna find the fuck out, and Tonight, cause I’ve had just about enough of this day dream.

    Your right those students. Snot nose punks all eager to please, all full of energy and hope. Little fuckers, they’ll get theirs.

    Did I mention the dogs..don’t get me started on the friggin dogs everywhere….wtf is that all about?

    Digital Tiger…yeah right..busted! They are so busted!!

  34. FUCK OFF VFX says:

    I think the point is, is that EVERYONE, EVERY studio article blames tax incentives. Here comes deadline, here comes variety. Same crap every 2 yrs when one tanks, yet the real insight comes from the comments of the artists that worked at these places. Saw the money being burned, saw the time wasted over and over and over. Same play every time. The student thing comes up a lot I think because they’re usually the first to hop on the bandwagon of “ugh we get treated so unfairly , losing our job or blah blah , they canceled beer friday! ugh! assholes!” when in fact..you were treated great! RH treats everyone fantastic. Like I said, best company I worked for. I just didn’t work on cg when I was there. It was more working for a government of people that all battled to look better than the next before showing to the one guy that actually makes decisions.

    • Julius says:

      Your comments are entertaining. If a VFX studio staffs up to do a 600 shot movie, and the studio winds up only awarding them 400 shots because the director managed to save them money by doing a lot of shots in-camera, what is VFX management going to do? Let’s think about options.

      1) “Pay us for the 600 shots you originally promised us”
      a) “Okay, but we’ll never want to work with you again.”
      b) “No, and we’ll never work with you again.”
      2) Pay employees to sit idle.
      3) Let employees go.

      1 is obviously a bad approach because VFX companies have no leverage with studios beyond goodwill. Getting projects is not only about the quality of your work, but the relationships you have with the studios.

      2 is what you do if you are conscientious about your employees.

      3 is what you do if the survival of your company is at stake.

      You obviously had a bad time at R&H. But no company goes bankrupt because of a single reason. In R&H’s case it was a confluence of several factors:

      Promised work being less abundant than advertised.
      Massive industrywide downward price pressure
      Unwillingness to force wages downward to keep up with industry price pressures (there’s that pesky trying to do best for your employees thing again)

      I’m sorry you had a bad time at R&H. I hope you alerted your supervisors to inefficiencies and worked with them to eliminate the inefficiences. I worked there for nearly two decades and got laid off yesterday. i enjoyed the company culture very much, and trusted the management.

      If you want to think that R&H went bankrupt because the company coddled its employees and let them draw salaries while doing no work, there’s probably a kernel of truth in that. But it’s not the whole truth.

  35. FUCK OFF VFX says:

    Send anyone of those artists to Hydrualx. HAHA that would be fantastic. The tears..oh the tears.

    • Jen says:

      If you represent the future of the VFX industry, you can have it.

      I’m too gettin’ too old for this shit.”

      • MR_Tinkles says:

        Thank you for echoing the sentiments of about 1/3 of the long term staff people at R+H. If only those people would come to grips with that realization, maybe they would move on and make R+H a better place.

        The biggest fault John has is being too kind. In my years there I saw way too many people who were long past their usefulness yet hung on thanks to John and management. If I had a dime for every time I heard a staffer complain about learning Maya or Houdini or Renderman or Nuke or Shake or whatever *I* could buy the company! If you think VFX is a profession where you don’t need to learn anything new once you have a job, you are in denial. Yet these people hung on and were promoted for years. And then to make it even more mind boggling, as time passed and the sexier shows went to the newer hires (who knew the latest software and didn’t rest on their laurels) a lot of the long term staffers started getting bitter and jaded. Which made them even more of a joy to work with!

        Experience is great, but use it to your advantage, help people, teach people, pass it along. DO NOT use it as an excuse to jack off on some shot for months before passing it off to someone else to final while you head off to your sabbatical in Asia! DO NOT use it as an excuse to ignore learning new software. DO NOT use it as justification for how you should keep your job when your team blew the bid weeks on your shots by triple digits…

        But as well as the bad ones, R+H has great ones too—equal to anyone at ILM or Sony or Weta. Those people deserve the credit for holding the place together through some pretty crazy times—as well as sticking it out with the bad ones through the years.

        In the end I think the bankruptcy is the best thing that could happen. They could use it as an excuse to make the hard decisions about releasing some of the bad people that have been there for years.

        As for subsidies, yeah, they factor into this mess as well. But a lot of the blame comes down on the management side as well. Think it would have been better to lay off tons of people when Pi and RIPD went on hold OR to go through what is happening now ? Management should have seen this coming…

    • andrei gheorghiu says:

      or MPC….or many and many more…

  36. shawn says:

    second to MPC, it is becoming a corporate slave house.

  37. usfilmguy says:

    Yes, the tax incentives do play a role in all this but there was chronic mismanagement at R&H for the last seven years. I see these posts about “Poor John Hughes”–John was complacent. He allowed incompetent amateurs (their initials are : DW, LSB, EWB, JDD, BT…to name a few) to “run” the place. Employees went to him often with their concerns about how the company was being poorly mismanaged, and while he listened—he did did nothing to correct it. What VFX company has two presidents, two executive producers, a production executive a.k.a bidder all in one office under the same roof? It was a free-for-all for those managers making high salaries with expense accounts while receiving terrific health benefits. It should also be mentioned that the two executive producers worked 3.5 day weeks each and pulled in FULL salaries. Furthermore it is a ghost town in the executive offices after 6:30pm on any given night.

    The writing was on the wall about the subsidies and tax incentives years ago. R&H jumped on the band wagon in 2004/2005 and opened the India offices. Richard Hollander (former President of the Features Division at R&H) in a company meeting in May 2006 made the unfortunate statement: “No LA jobs will be lost because of India”….That worked well. What didn’t work was that while R&H opened India, Malaysia, Vancouver they kept LA at status qou, when they should have been restructuring. In fact, they added the additional executive producer and brought back the lame-duck additional president within the last year and a half. It was described to employees that the additional executive producer and additional president were brought in to help manage R&H’s expanding global presence. HOG WASH! There were already highly competent and effects managers in the LA in place for years who specifically handled India and later India.

    Sour grapes? NO. Tax Incentives and subsidies? YES, partly so. A poorly run company with greedy, ineffective and lazy executives…ABSOLUTELY!

    • vfx_RH says:

      Let’s not forget that certain managers owed their jobs to the fact that their spouses were also senior managers in the organization, rather than individual merit.

  38. F-OFF VFX says:

    ^^^^^ thankyou “usfilmguy” for saying exactly what I mean in a nicer tone, someone reassuring my opinion. Fridays? Building empty by 5pm. The fact that supervisors that have been there for years would joke about how inefficient they are and just laugh while we wait for supervisor number 8 to arrive in the meeting room. You think they care? hell no. They’ve been riding this gravy train for years. Definitely not sour grapes. More like…seriously? you didn’t get the hints when they were being shoved in your face? Everyone is talking about life of PI, but no one is talking about the other movies that they have/had and how terribly they were mismanaged.

  39. F-OFF VFX says:

    Not to mention RH being a little too nice to it’s staff. Buying the building for 15mil , what 3 yrs ago? A little confidant in these times don’t you think? DD crashes this last fall. Does RH flinch? no. Do you know any vfx company that still does sabbatical? RH does and has been for years. The PTO that has accrued ? 10million…do the math. You really are going to pin tax incentives on this one?

    • Jen says:

      What’s your idea of a workplace conducive to the best VFX work, F-OFF? Should VFX shops put artists under a winepress and squeeze quality out of them?

  40. usfilmguy says:

    Hey F-OFF VFX, Thanks for your response, and I completely understand the tone in your previous posts. You’re not trashing R&H or the talent but more so the culture. I saw it time and again. I loved working there–some amazing talent–and the potential was incredible. But alas.

  41. F-OFF VFX says:

    Hey Jen, No not necessarily, completely the opposite actually. I think it’s been no secret that the age of the massive vfx company is no longer relative. I think THAT’s why a lot of people, including myself just look at it as “see? why didn’t you listen? did we really need to hire all these people?” “why don’t you fire people that everyone collectively agree is horrible?”

    The whole wine press thing? Man, I’m working on a project now that would make a lot of people crumble, and for the department I’m in..I could not see someone who has only been at RH do this job. There’s just no way. I work with fellow artists that have been to sony, RH, DD and out of all those bigger places.. we always joke. “man..we could be at RH right now doing nothing and getting paid, instead of killing ourselves.” But we made this decision..because we know the deal with vfx. Crazy hours? crazy money. Vacation? bigger company. It’s just a known thing. Not that RH was bad or treated anyone bad at all , but they just never evolved with the industry. And actually, maybe they could of treated a couple people bad..might of helped. It’s almost like they were too busy trying to setup shop outside of the country, they forgot to upkeep the LA office.

    • Jen says:

      Crazy hours? crazy money.

      …crazy heart attacks

      • F-OFF VFX says:

        oh definitely, but this is what I’m trying to get across. I’ve realized it’s been on a downward slope for a good while now. Especially going through a couple of these RH’s type scenarios. You gotta milk it while it lasts. If you can hang with the hours? abuse it, because it won’t be around forever. I think a lot of people at RH are going to realize that. That , this has been going on all a while “everything was great” at RH. Trust me, I don’t like it. I hate working like this and I hate working the RH style, but hey it’s the game. THere’s no perfect company. They’re all ran by people that got in way over their heads.

      • Jen says:

        if you can hang with the hours? abuse it, because it won’t be around forever.

        What will you do when it goes away?

      • F-OFF VFX says:

        Good question, honestly not too worried about it. No ties in LA, and kept it that way for years now on purpose.

  42. vfx vet says:

    This blog focuses a lot on the tax incentives. I get it. But you know what else hurts? I worked on shows..big shows…where the producers were literally incapable of saying ‘no’ to the client. But hey…they more than made up for it when the crew went to them for help. It didn’t matter how rational the solution was, if it didn’t compute with the genius producer, it didn’t happen. They had a whole pile of ‘nos’ for us. And on the client side…what a bunch of babies. Is there ever a limit to their requests? um…no. You could see that the schedule was getting more and more compressed because they couldn’t commit to an idea, and the work was going to suffer down stream. Not to mention the OT that was going to be pressed upon the artists. But none of that mattered. Family time for the artists didn’t matter. Maintaining quality across the show became impossible. And the producers were inept a managing ego’s or expectations. What a terrible mix.

    I can’t say one way or the other whether this happened at R & H, but it is a systemic problem in VFX work. The industry has been on life support for the last 5 years and I think it has as much to do with the incentives as the chronic managerial issues present across every single show.

    • Studio_Spotter says:

      This is part of the problem, true. But it is exacerbated by subsidies. Subsidized houses can say yes just a little more often and afford it. Non subsidized houses have to figure out a way because if they say no, they know subsidized houses will start to look even more appetizing.

      • sad day says:

        for the year of not having shots they could have drastically cut the wage bill until they were approved to work on shots again. Its cut throat but that s how other facilities do it. Dneg dropped alot of staff after pushes on films as they had a 4 month gap and for the good of the company had to let people go only to rehire them 4 months later.

        I know of it happening at companies in london, vancouver heck even weta downsizes while they are waiting to be approved to start on turnover shots and they are backed up with my guess 4500+ shots to do in the next year. Its often for the good of the company and this has little to do with the subsidies which don’t help.

        I applaud RandH for sticking by there crew for so long but sadly like any industry whilst you are on hold you have to restructure until the work is flowing. If they had done this I think the story would be very different today where now 1400 jobs are at risk rather than those who were paid to do little.

    • Blacklight says:

      I’ve always said that if you stick 100 vfx pros in a room for 100 days and ask them to make you a movie, after 100 days you *will* have a movie. If you do the same with 100 producers, executives, agents, or actors, after 100 days all you’ll have is 99 bruised egos.

      What I don’t understand is why so many people are clamoring to work themselves to the bone to make money for some truly awful human beings.

  43. usfilmguy says:

    Yesterday and today Rhythm and Hues fired TD’s, support personnel and nearly all of the mail room staff, but some how two “co-presidents”, two “co-executive producers”, a production executive/bidder, a “new business executive”, a senior production accounting manager are all protected. This seems wrong on so many levels. The combined salaries of these individuals is well over one million dollars. Certainly by firing a couple of them at least several artists job’s could have been spared. But I guess I’m incorrect in thinking that we’re in a business to create visual imagery, shots for films.

  44. vfx_RH says:

    The less said about their Management in India the better

  45. vfx_buggywhip says:

    F-OFF VFX, vfx vet, usfilmguy = wisdom

  46. Josef Bloomfield says:

    Huge part of the problem is that clients are 900lb gorillas compared to any of the vfx houses. Everyone is chasing work from the same big 6 studios.

    From the studio’s point of view its a great situation. Costs are driven down by competitive bidding, the lowest price every day! They don’t have to maintain facilities between shows but can rent them like live action equipment. They can get volume discounts by promising additional shows. Not sure about Sony and Disney now, but there’s no need to referee between your productions and internal effects divisions, and your productions can haggle over change orders with vendors and pocket the savings towards their bottom lines.

    Frankly if most of your revenue is coming from a few sources, you have no leverage and you can’t afford to push back even if you had incredible margins.

    Its like being a permalancer …perma-subsidiary..Can’t think of a better porte-manteau.

  47. louise says:

    I’m very sad about R&H , I’ve seen that a page called VfxSolidarity is born yesterday here https://www.facebook.com/VfxSolidarityIntl , join them to see how our futur can changed, 2000 peoples, 3D artist, FX artist, etc in 24 hours ! VFX STRIKE not against our studios, against business ! we have to be “with” our studios against business freedom, in order that they don’t fall like R&H

    • F-off vfx says:

      ….and here we go with the websites. This industry is full of slacktivists. We really need another website to know which places shut down? If you do , then you’re under a rock. ( probably a big rock that sat in the RH parking lot collecting PTO.). Get over it. Instead of trying level the playing field. Look out for yourself and make plans. “13 grand in donations to end tax incentives.” Reality check. I’m pulling that in every two weeks before taxes at the moment, and I’m ONE ARTIST working around the clock, andI know I’m nowhere near the top paid. Just think of the sups that sit on their ass all year round and get paid more than that.It’s always been every man for himself an it will always be that way. It’s called freelance. Everyone is your competition. STOP MAKING websites! We’ve moved on!

      • RH_vfx says:

        Jesus, you’re pulling in $13k every 2 weeks? That must be nice. And no, we haven’t moved on.

      • Julius says:

        This post indicates to me that you really did not fit in with R&H culture at all. I’m not criticizing you for it, but everything you write about R&H has to be taken in that light.

      • Ivan DeWolf says:

        if you’re pulling in $6,500 a week, you are absolutely one of the top paid artists in the industry. I guarantee you I am more experienced and been in the industry longer than you and I can’t get more than $2,500 a week. I think you don’t know what you’re talking about, you’re just some troll trying to stir shit up for kicks.

      • F-OFF VFX says:

        well, then I guess I’m the top paid artists, but I know I’m definitely not compared to a lot more people I know. Notice I said before taxes….overtime and double time when you’re working non stop adds up.

      • Ivan DeWolf says:

        and that is how much hourly? I’ll state clearly and honestly, with no BS fake names, I really am Ivan DeWolf, and the best offer I can find in LA or Vancouver is about $62 an hour. If you’re getting more than that, I’d like to know where to submit my resume.

        I DARE you to take off your mask and state what you make hourly.

      • Ivan DeWolf says:

        as I thought, not a real person. Probably some shitdisturber hired by the studios to pretend to be an artist. I doubt if the actual author has ever sat at a graphics workstation.

        now back to your regularly scheduled reality….

      • F-OFF VFX says:

        it’s pretty easy math to figure out. Let’s say your rate is 62 like yourself. Multiply that by a standard 40 hr work week. That is in fact 2500 like you said. And congratulations. That is a hefty rate. Now if you go past that 40 hrs. Like another 40 hours of overtime that week. Your rate is now 91 an hour. Super hefty rate. Now we’re talking. 91x lets say 40 is. $3,640. Now lets add a couple of double time hours in there. Lets say 5-6 (it was a slow week) $124 dollars! holy shit .we’re doing great now. 124 x5 is 620. 85 hrs in a week, Ok so lets add all that up for 1 week of pay untaxed. 2500+3,640+620 = $6,760. ..now tax that and yeah..lose more than half of it, ofcourse.

        Congrats Ivan dewolf You are making as much as I am ..if you were working as hard as I was during the week….actually a little more. So I would send your resume to whoever you think is going to be swamped if you want to work 80+ hrs a week, and thankyou for letting us all know about your hourly rate. Definitely more than mine!

      • If you are pulling those hours on a feature, you must not be that good- but hey, there is definitely the mentality in this industry, that the last person to leave the building MUST be good.

      • Ivan DeWolf says:

        yes, an 85 hour work week would result in a $6500 week at $62 hourly, given time-and-a-half and gold-time.

        The interesting thing is, about 3 years ago, top pay was $85 an hour, not $62. Within 5 years, the best of the best will NOT be making even $3000 for an 85-hour work week. You’re good at math, you can see where this is headed.

        The situation is even worse for your boss and the shareholders.

        and yet, the clients are earning more off of our efforts than ever.

        this is indeed an area worthy of discussion, something needs to change, and will change. We could all just “suck it up” and collect the currently available overtime hours, and let the ride take us where it will, or we could try and steer this titanic towards dry land.

        THAT is why “whining on websites” is a worthwhile endeavor. You’ve had your say, F-OFF, you have added your voice to the milieu. You may see no value in this, yet you have added to it. Duly noted, now lets move along.

      • ash says:

        F-Off.. What kind of a dumb ass calculation was that… And Ivan.. You fell for it?

        He doubled his hours.. And he worked for 80 hours a week.. 16 hours a day.. or so?

        This kind of a work ethic has ruined this industry.. This willingness to be a hit and run case for the vfx studios and in turn the clients has destroyed any leverage a vfx studio could have with them

        The culture that you so crib about, of doing business with your employees and your work as paramount, is only problematic because of the existence of labor like yourself..

        You work all those hours to make someone really really rich, who treats you like the livestock that you are.. In exchange for bits and pieces that might be a little higher than that of people who don’t destroy their lives and the industry for it.. Atleast those people lived with a modicum of self respect..

        If all studios treated their business and employees in the way John Hughes did.. This would be a great business model for the entire industry..

        Its a failure of imagination on the part of this entire workforce, that you represent, that i would blame these kinds of situations on..

  48. F-OFF VFX says:

    yeah it’s amazing when you work 18-20 hr days. It’s retarded that vfx companies pay it. It’s nice , sure, but I’ve killed myself for it. You probably should move on…just saying. The layoffs will continue.

    • InsideVFX says:

      See… that’s where the problem lies. The VFX houses do NOT want to pay for that kind of overtime. It’s killing them.

      However, the VFX houses are being forced into the kind of ridiculously tight schedules where they end up in that kind of crunch.

      It’s now at the tipping point where the costs (e.g. overtime for one) of just doing business exceeds what the studios are willing to pay. This is true across the board in the industry and is why companies like DD tried to move into defense/medical visualizations or D-Neg opening their own production house.

      The profit margins are razor thin as it is and it’s not getting any better.

      You may think that getting paid golden time is awesome, but go ask the head of the VFX house what they think about it… I’m sure you’ll get a different answer.

      • vfx_vet says:

        Not to mention the fact F-OFF that you are showing the producers that you will work whatever horrendous hours they ask to get the job done and to completely cover up their inability to plan a reasonable production schedule. There will always be somebody that will work those stupid hours, so their is no impetus for them to push back on anybody. And maybe they aren’t asking you and you are doing it because you want to? Then that’s still a problem because you are most certainly giving the producers and unreasonable expectation on what can and can’t be done in a day. If you turn around the impossible..not because you are fast or really good, but because you work more hours than the rest, then it’s a lousy trickle down effect to the team. The sup says ‘he did it..so why don’t you do it too?’ Newbies end up working the long hours and not charging for it.

        Do you know what it’s like to try to bid out a sequence when some of your team is working 20 hours a day? Impossible Sorry…but it’s a selfish way to do business in our industry and it’s a huge part of the problem. Too many people looking out for themselves (i’m speaking in general terms here..not you specifically) and literally taking the legs out from anyone trying to fix the issues. I worked with a guy once that was really good and fast…but didn’t charge any OT across a whole show. He looked GOLDEN to the producers. And he kept on getting crewed. It’s crap like that which drives me nuts.

      • PolarisSoup says:

        No matter how hard you try there is always the “sad guy” in the corner, lives and breathes polygons, lives alone in a shit bedsit down the street. He has no reason to go home, sits at work until god knows what hour eating left over pizza and biscuits. The sad thing is the management / producers think the sun shines out of his ass “yer sad guy really puts in the effort” … you always get this and it puts everyone with a life and family in a bad light. You just can’t compete if you want to go home and spend the evening with your wife or play with your 2year old before bed. Thats why the industry needs to change, it needs structure, reliability and boundaries that everyone knows and can follow.

  49. Mike says:

    let’s be a little forward thinking, you might be working with each other at some point. there is a lot of arrogance in the field, from both veterans and newcomers…but we can still unite to form a better situation for all of us when we work…

  50. F-OFF VFX says:

    uh, I’ve worked with everyone at every company. I for one knew what I was signing up for when I started earlier in this industry. Lots of money for the easiest, fake job on earth. What’s the hardest part? working long hours from time to time. Or in my case the last couple of months? yeah it sucks, but hey , I’m getting paid for it. As long as people have a job, they don’t care. People need to stop thinking what we do is of godsend. We don’t do anything that’s awesome or contributes to the world. You think it’s right a vfx sup makes as much as surgeons? If you say yes, go to hell. Why can’t people just say “hey..you know what? it sucks..but ALL of AMERICA has been going through this the last 6 yrs, and hey..I’ve made a lot of money over the years thanks to this fake job.” Bunch of spoiled ass bitches. If you don’t want to hustle, then you’re in the wrong industry. It’s freelance based, the last time I checked.

    • Jen says:

      uh, I’ve worked with everyone at every company.

      That’s an exaggeration, right? You can’t have worked with all of the VFX artists at all of the VFX shops.

      • jedilarry says:

        “We dont do anything that’s awesome”.

        LOL. Gee, get some self esteem. I can tell youve been fake-working for the last few years

    • RH_vfx says:

      Best troll I’ve seen on the internet so far.

    • Ivan DeWolf says:

      if the CEO of Pepsi deserves more income than a surgeon, then yes. a vfx supe also deserves more than a surgeon.

      Income should be based on a fair share of the income generated by the endeavour. If pay was based on how “important” the task is, teachers would probably get paid a bit more than they do.

      if this job is “fake”, then so are most other jobs on earth. In my corner of the industry, the hardest part is NOT simply the hours put in. I’m not just pulling vertices on polygons in an off-the-shelf program; I am developing algorithms that run in the given hardware for a given production. Not an easy or repetitive task. It has value, and not “any monkey” can do this.

  51. F-OFF VFX says:

    Saddest group of self righteous babies ever. Fine, You want to sit on these blogs and bitch about the same crap over and over? be my guest. Make another website.

    I guess I’m the only one that thinks this money for this easy ass job is fortunate. Apparently no one wants to put the blame on themselves one bit. A lot easier to blame someone else ….like canada! yeah screw canada! . You guys stay here and bitch and moan about how poorly you have it and how much you’re owed. I’ll be busy snatching up the work. Good luck out there soldiers! HAHA that alone. We’re not soldiers..how offensive to people that are actually soldiers. We’re nerdy artists that go to forums with anonymous names to bitch about how hard it is to work in a (sometimes) air conditioned building. Get a life, get off the box and go outside. Lift a hammer for once maybe. MIght give you some insight to how easy you’ve had it.

    • Dank says:

      “We’re nerdy artists that go to forums with anonymous names to bitch”

      So then who are you? Stop hiding behind your anonymous name? You make some solid points but you also talk a lot of shit. if you are this tough person, then you shouldn’t hide.

    • Paul says:

      While we’re not literally sweating by 8am I wouldn’t call seating 10-12hours/day in front of a monitor easy. Yes miners have it a lot worse but dealing with countless autistic full of shit you-know-who-I-Am’ers assholes like you all day long does take its fucking toll on ones body & mind health. Get it?!

    • What is this? The pot calling the kettle black? Get real asshole- these problems effect everyone. You may be good, and you may always have a job, but don’t pretend this shit doesn’t drive down the potential for the industry as a whole.

  52. F-OFF VFX says:

    hence the word “we” and “we’re” in most of my responses. We’re all in the same boat. I seem to be the only one that will admit that just about anyone can do this job though. I understand that..I guess. It’s job security.

    I’m signing off. Said my piece(s) and there was a handful of people out there that agree so I know there’s still hope, but I hope a lot more people wake up and realize…

    We asked for more features in software. We got em.
    We asked for more user friendly tools. We got em.

    We’ve done this to ourselves. A monkey can do this job. A lot of you can’t handle how brash I’ve been, but there needs to be more of that I feel like in this industry. Hard truth, people. I by no means say I’m a tough person, but thanks for the compliment I guess. : )

    see ya everybody. Good luck out there, seriously. Just don’t bank on the companies is my advice.

  53. Mike says:

    ok, now….we really do work for a reason other than money….but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have worker’s rights….of course, if we do get better working conditions across the board, even smarmy workers won’t complain ( I hope)…. but there really is more than just money and photoreal imagery to vfx…

    hopefully, something positive will come from these current events….

  54. oldimer says:

    Foff, wait until you are older and have a family with kids. Those 18 hour days wont be so apppealing.

    Goodluck dude, enjoy your rush while you can. See you in the unemployment line.

    • F-OFF vfx says:

      Have a family, No kids, wouldn’t think about having kids living in LA or until this career has run its course. Just got off work. Another 16 hour day. It’s not that I want to work this late, or really have to at this point of my career. At one point I said I would never work like this again. That is, until I realized its a lost cause and should work my ass off while I still can, make a cash pile for my wife and I and move onto something with substance. I mean I knew this project would have OT, and that’s a big reason why I came, but Jesus.:.if this is any testament to why this industry is in the drain… Once again money just blown out the door for months upon months because of poor communication and lack of structure. To think places still run like their previous peers that have recently shut down for the same reasons over the last couple of years… So I just go with the flow…know the flaws..accept it and make a killing. I’m not a student, I by no means work for free, I’m good at my job and I’m reliable. been doing this for quite sometime now. When a show is so bad that it just won’t get done…what else can you do? Would you complain to the producer and go home? Or do you suck it up, do what you can to make it work, make your money, and move on? …maybe they’ll shut down after you’re done? Maybe they’ll never call you again which is the same as shutting down. I for one would rather accept the problem..make the money, and be on good terms for killing it. Unemployment? I can honestly say I’ve never been on it. I wish I’ve had the chance to do it and take a month off or something, but I guess I’m leaning towards an early retirement instead.

      • VFX Soldier says:

        Only place I know of working crazy hours like this right now is pixomondo… You work there?

      • andrei gheorghiu says:

        “but I guess I’m leaning towards an early retirement instead.”…hope you will have this opportunity. But I doubt…

      • Ymir says:

        Pulling 16, 20 hour days, you’re not looking at early retirement. You’re looking at an early grave. What are you doing to your body and your health? But I guess your wife will be well set up after you’re gone.

      • Paul says:

        F-OFF vfx personal diary…like we give a fuck.

        But I’d like to know what “make a killing” means according to you.

      • Ivan DeWolf says:

        although his communication style leaves something to be desired, I cannot simply dismiss this nameless troll. He

        thinks that the reason R&H failed is due to wasteful practices and poor management. I don’t agree; I think if R&H

        were a ruthlessly efficient well managed machine, they would sill be on the brink of bankruptcy like every other

        VFX shop. but thats my opinion.

        He thinks we oughta “suck it up, buttercup” and let the industry die, and stop whining on websites. again I

        disagree. I think discussions like this are necessary for the industry to get on track. He’s obviously an employee

        not an employer, and is just collecting cash to move on to other endevours. I can relate; I have moved on to other

        things and no longer am creating VFX for films. I still care deeply what happens in this industry, though. who

        knows, maybe I’ll return someday.

        I don’t agree with everything said on this website, but I relish that these things are being discussed. I’ve seen

        top pay plummeting, I went into debt trying to bootstrap a boutique shop, I launched numerous artists careers in

        this industry, and I have virtually nothing to show for it.

        I think F-Off’s abrasive verbose rants should be noted, and we should move on to building the world he is currently working in.

      • Ivan DeWolf says:

        (this is just a more legible re-post of the obove missive. perhaps someone can delete the rendundant version above?)

        although his communication style leaves something to be desired, I cannot simply dismiss this nameless troll. He thinks that the reason R&H failed is due to wasteful practices and poor management. I don’t agree; I think if R&H were a ruthlessly efficient well managed machine, they would sill be on the brink of bankruptcy like every other VFX shop. but thats my opinion.

        He thinks we oughta “suck it up, buttercup” and let the industry die, and stop whining on websites. again I disagree. I think discussions like this are necessary for the industry to get on track. He’s obviously an employee not an employer, and is just collecting cash to move on to other endevours. I can relate; I have moved on to other things and no longer am creating VFX for films. I still care deeply what happens in this industry, though. who knows, maybe I’ll return someday.

        I don’t agree with everything said on this website, but I relish that these things are being discussed. I’ve seen top pay plummeting, I went into debt trying to bootstrap a boutique shop, I launched numerous artists careers in this industry, and I have virtually nothing to show for it.

        I think F-Off’s abrasive verbose rants should be noted, and we should move on to building the world he is currently working in.

    • F-OFF vfx says:

      Yeah I hear pixo is on crazy hours again, but again that’s what you always hear about that place. I’m not at pixo, and haven’t been there (yet). I’d definitely go there if it was the right choice at the right time.This is a smaller operation with much less people. Should be running way more smoothly than it is.

  55. Mike says:

    can we get back on topic and quit posting about this guy’s rants?

  56. Curious says:

    F-OFF, why do you say a monkey could do the job, what kind of VFX work do you do?

    Not a VFX professional myself, but 1) the results on screen look impressive, and 2) I’ve dabbled with some tools (I bought ZBrush), this stuff is learnable but by no means easy, there is definitely a learning curve.

    I’m heading in a direction where I will be on the client side, what kind of advice would you give someone who wants to extract good work from this industry, how do you tell the monkeys from the humans?

  57. Caleb says:

    @vfx soldier, Don’t condone all you want, doesn’t change the fact that some people would benefit from a good ass kicking. Not saying I’m the person to do it, I’m a lover not a fighter. I’m lucky I had a father that put me in my place when I most needed it. 😉

  58. Mike says:

    why do people who post abusive posts get to write all they want, but blogs like vfxlaw get pulled? jus’ wonderin’

    • Dank says:

      Because vfxlaw was doing some great damage to studios (helping us VFX artist). When you spread actual Knowledge and help unwind naiveness it strengths everyone as a group. Where random people that are just looking for attention don’t actually hurt people with Money or Power. Which is another reason why we need to stop fighting with each other as artist. Solidarity gives use more power, and strengthens people (groups) like VFXLaw and even VFX soldier.

    • vfx oldster says:

      What’s the story with VFXLaw? I noticed yesterday that his blog had been deleted and that all his twitter activity is now private.

  59. 2D Attack Force says:

    In my opinion, there are many great ideas here about the business state of the vfx industry. Both sides do bring up some great points. There can be no doubt that foreign subsidies are hurting the U.S. VFX industry. These subsidies will eventually damage the very places that thrived on them. They lower prices for everyone on the whole until a point will be reached where you simply cannot do what a director asks for at the price point that is being asked. (yes, we
    are already at this point in many areas) If it follows other industries, then theoretically the price will bounce up so that the work can be accomplished by companies that have financial stability. I think we need to remember how
    young the VFX industry is. With things that are young, the beginnings are tumultuous,radical, and things change on a dime before becoming more entrenched. The last 20 years
    of silicon valley are like that. Different industry with different problems, but nearly all sectors in business seem to undergo beginnings born of ‘violent change’ and ‘gnashing of teeth’.

    I applaud VFX soldier for having the foresight to create this blog and to be commenting on issues that are of real importance to us. While I don’t agree with everything he/she says or is said here, I do believe the conversation has to happen if we are going to protect ourselves. Because
    if we don’t protect ourselves and our livelihood then who will? I’m glad this place provides a forum to talk to other artists about real issues. Based on this, I feel compelled to provide my 2 cents on the matters before us. I am not trying to hurt anyone’s feelings, be a jerk, or rile anyone up.
    This is an honest assessment of a few things. I feel lucky to be a part of this business. I love it. The hours get crazy sometimes sure, but when you’ve spent hours, days, and weeks trying to solve a crazy problem, and you nail it? It’s a drug of sorts to be atop that hill if even for a moment.
    It’s an amazing combination of the technical and the creative. I don’t plan on leaving. My main issue most of the time is that I spend long hours,and much sweat to pull off a great shot for a movie that lacks any sort of depth to it’s story whatsoever. Pearls before swine, but whatever
    it comes with the territory.

    It seems that if we look both ways as an industry we can see issues that persist on both fronts. What I mean by that is if we look outside of ourselves (Foreign Subsidies, Studios), we can see the assault on our vfx life as we know it. We can also look inside though at how our industry is internally run. Can we be smarter and more efficient? Every industry in a free market economy has to do this. Only we can really answer this question. In the current situation with R&H what is the answer to that question? I think it is an unequivocal yes. I have not worked there. This is on purpose. I have known scores of friends, co-workers, and random people I interviewed who filled me in time and time again on the ‘culture’ of the place. It sounded like a great place to work, but not the place for me. Countless stories of time spent ‘finding the end of the internet’, using an essentially ancient and useless comp tool (ICY), and combining layers of Alvin, Garfield, and Yogi, really didn’t sound very challenging or exciting to me.

    I come from the 2D side of the business. When I would hire compers who had spent a great deal of time there, I would find they would have to be essentially retrained in many aspects. They were the opposite of a comper we would get from a DD or a scrappy mid size house, where the 2D people had to be genius in their solutions to things.They had a hard time with the hours, the amount of shots required, or the Macgyver style hackery that goes on in the 2D world. The running joke was always that R&H is where compositors went to be put out to pasture. Obviously, their 3D is top notch so I can’t speak to that. I have a hunch it was so good, the compers didn’t have to do much, and hence never developed any ninja skills. Granted this is a BROAD generalization and by no means applies to everyone.

    Now,if a more laid back approach to VFX like this, is for you, then fine so be it. To each their own. However, in a highly competitive environment, this approach on a broad level will only work for so long. R&H is not going under, they are restructuring. If 200 jobs out of 1400 have been lost, then a 14% reduction in the workforce at that facility has occurred. Does anyone really believe that R&H could not have been 14% more efficient? Every company I’ve worked for could have been 14% more efficient if they had to be, and none of them had the lackadaisical reputation that R&H had. It is sad for the 200 people that lost their jobs. Perhaps though, those 200 jobs were not necessary in the first place.

    I’ve heard talk about the ‘culture’ and people not understanding it. I don’t know what the hell that really means! That you don’t work your ass off? That they really care? I’m not sure. This is a business. Business are designed to make money first and foremost. This is not Walden, these are not communes. Cold efficiency is what keeps companies afloat (unless you work for the government or have a fat government contract). We really do need to stick together as an industry, and as players in that industry. That doesn’t mean however, that we should encourage lazy behavior, inefficient pipelines, government handouts, or anything else that doesn’t make our lives and our product better in the long run.

    We have a two front war here. One is against the ‘outside forces that affect us’. The other is with ourselves, and what we can do to be as surgical as possible. R&H is being forced to become more efficient or become extinct. DD fell apart because it seemed to be ran by the same people that run the San Diego Chargers. We can and will survive if we work smart and take action on both fronts. I salute the work being done here, and hope we can all figure out how to self-actualize our livelihoods.

    • Heywouldyabuzzoff says:

      Wow… Misinformed on so many levels… Don’t know where to start. Way to throw your fellow artists under the bus btw. Talk about being part of the problem.

    • Heywouldyabuzzoff says:

      “R&H is not going under, they are restructuring. If 200 jobs out of 1400 have been lost, then a 14% reduction in the workforce at that facility has occurred. Does anyone really believe that R&H could not have been 14% more efficient?”

      You seem to really know what is going on at R&H… LOL. Let’s talk in a month.

      • coastuc says:

        try 300 just from the LA branch, and many of the intl branch employees have been told to seek new work

    • Nix says:

      1400 is the number of workers R&H has around the world, LA is under a thousand. The number laid off in LA was closer to 300. so your talking atleast a 30% layoff. That much harder to be 30% more efficient.

  60. The VFX Law link is down. Blog deleted. Wtf?!

    • InsideVFX says:

      The employee who filed is claiming R&H violated the WARN act which requires 60 days notice of layoffs etc. That employee, who worked there 4 months (according to his LinkedIn profile), would’ve been hired as an “at-will” employee which, also pursuant to California law, means that he could be terminated at any time, for any reason, with no notice and is therefore not subject to the WARN act.

  61. psuedonym says:

    I interacted with John Hughes(CEO of R&H) a little bit during my time at R&H a few years ago. While I don’t know him well, and don’t know many of the sups and higher ups at R&H, I truly believe John wanted(and wants) to do what is right by his workers. In my limited experience, John(and thesegment of R&H management I met) really seemed like really good people. This stands in stark contrast to the many of the other higher ups I’ve met both in VFX and graphics SW.

    • psuedonym says:

      Lastly, I just wanted to say many things in VFX need to fundamentally change. I agree, tax incentives are unfair and the studios are bullies. However, the idea that raising 14k on a vfx blog will be able to combat this is naive to the extreme.

      VFX artists need to realize that their skills lie in:
      1 – The ability to produce beautiful cg images
      2 – The ability to use complex VFX software rapidly and effectively

      The 2 talents above can be found in individuals in China, India, Toronto or anywhere! Much of the high end VFX capabilities are now in off the shelf software, so the barrier to entry is lower than ever for artists. Many people want to work in “hollywood” and a new business model is needed for vfx artists or this job won’t survive in the US….

      I’m not sure what this new model is…. I’m curious what other people have to say…

      • Time to act says:

        Well the new model looks to be this guy. Giving TED talks to people in India (probably other countries) telling them how cool their kids will be if they go learn VFX and not how to be Doctors.

        How to break ground within the Indian VFX industry: Pete Draper at TEDxYouth@Chennai

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