Pixomondo London & Detroit Close Leaving Some Unpaid

Variety’s David S. Cohen has confirmed Pixomondo will be closing it’s London and Detroit office. He’ll have more tomorrow.

Sad news for those affected.

In the last few weeks there was a bit of chatter going on about Pixomondo. A number of professionals in London notified me that they were not being paid on time or not being paid at all. What has made this news troubling is that there were job openings at other facilities like Baton Rouge.

Artists in London also claim that there were times when there was no water or toilet paper at the facility. It’s a bit ironic given that just last week Fast Company did an article complimenting Pixomondo how it manages it’s many facilities:

Most of the movie work is managed out of its office in Santa Monica, California, now its headquarters, where 190 employees toil in a kind of high-tech sweatshop. The lights are dim and high-powered fans blow in a nearly futile effort to counter the heat generated by the massive computers in the next room.

Last year Pixomondo won the Oscar for Hugo and this Sunday night the odds are very good that Rhythm & Hues may take home the Oscar. Both facilities have now left VFX professionals unpaid.

Soldier On.

 

78 Responses to Pixomondo London & Detroit Close Leaving Some Unpaid

  1. Paul says:

    Kind of reminds me of the dot-com bust when a guy named Pud ran an FC parody site of called FuckedCompany. Sadly, we’re seeing the same sort of layoffs and shenanigans

    • Cara Paul says:

      That was my industry before getting into VFX and It got to the point where that’s the website I got my news from. I have returned to dot.com work (and mobile) because that industry shook out and has risen from the ashes as a stable way to make a living.

  2. pixo-employee says:

    Just to clarify: Currently some workers remain unpaid. While the situation is frustrating and a lot more care could have been taken of the employees it is not clear if we will remain unpaid ultimately. Apparently things are still fluid so please report if and when we have been paid with the same vigor as this news here. Thanks and keep soldiering on.

  3. Martyn Drake says:

    Although I mentioned on Twitter (somewhat badly, I must say – although one has to ask oneself how well things are going overall for the company if it has to close an entire satellite office), it’s sad that another facility is cutting back just after winning a VeS award (for Game of Thrones).

    Seems redundancies and awards go and in hand in this industry (my previous employer just picked up an Academy Award).

  4. vfxg says:

    I worked in SM office and it is not a sweatshop.

  5. Ex_pixo says:

    Pixomondo’s situation in some of the german offices is just as bad. A lot of freelancers never got paid for months and probably never will. A good example on how extreme underbidding is not doing anything for the company…

    • Jim Moors says:

      no offense but half you digital artists deserve it…you are too introverted, too weak, and unwilling to stand up for yourselves…I did a stint at the Mill in London and they tried to pull this shit on me, I straight away sued them online…paid within a few days…anyway now I quit this lame industry with pathetic pay, and moved into UX design with motion, web etc…I like money..actually scrap that…I like ‘living’

  6. itsART! says:

    I heard about this two weeks ago from a friend. More falling studios😦

  7. trailersnovfx says:

    From what I’ve heard on my side ( I was working at Pixo London recently) they still didn’t get paid for what they’ve done on the latest Die Hard, which is already released:-/
    Like pixo-employee said, we still don’t know if we’ll get paid or not, it depends of Thilo Kuther if he wants to rescue that facility or not. In case things turns bad for us, we will get paid by the UK Government at a really low rate, no overtime no week-ends paid !

  8. vfxprince says:

    I know stories of freelancers who had to wait months before they got paid by Pixomondo, only after they contacted their lawyers and nobody of those I know ever wanted to work there again.
    Somehow it surprises me how a company which treats workers like that, can be so successful for such a long time… and at the same time starts to have difficulties now ( there should be a big amount of cash deposited somewhere, money they saved by paying junior rates or not at all) weird.

  9. VFX GUI says:

    This is what happens when your business model is buying jobs.

  10. Michael says:

    Unless these VFX studios are not being paid or waiting many months for payment I just don’t see how they are losing money. It sounds like upper management greed. Am I right in this? Also can this sector of the industry be so stupid but to bid on jobs at cost with little to no profit? Somewhere there has to be some fat cats.

    • Just a guy says:

      It’s not greed, it’s fear. VFX companies are frightened by the relative lack of work available and the super-low bids coming from their competitors. These bids are driven down by tax subsidies (passed straight on to the movie studios in the form of a discount) and by fear of missing out on this job and being unable to pay the overheads.

      VFX companies do take work as low prices on just to cover their costs so they can keep their overheads going otherwise they wouldn’t have the ability to do any work. You take on a break-even bid but it doesn’t take much of a change for it to become loss-making.

      The fat cats in VFX are a dying breed. Some companies are still profitable but only because they have been driven to ethically questionable business practices which people are starting to wise up to.

    • Get Real Soldier says:

      Michael,

      Without question there are many at the top of visual effects houses who have made, and if smart, saved some serious dollars. Top heavy overhead both in salaries and bodies is a problem. To be fair, however, many of the top heavy folks have been with their companies for many years, and most probably struggled until they established themselves. Once those folks became accustomed to a certain level of income, they are reluctant to lower it as margins tighten.

      With Pixomondo this somewhat applies, but their reality/problem was one of huge expansion in a relatively short time. They were adding a new ‘facility’ (some were small) at the rate of one or more a year in a business environment which was in the early stages of feeling the studio squeeze in a global market place chasing subsidies. As Pixomondo kept growing while MatteWorld, DD, Orphanage, R&H and others were feeling the impact of tight margins, excessive overhead, production delays/staffing, global competition, technology improving while costing less, exponential number of new workers from schools around the world and so forth. Eventually, the hot new kids on the block Pixomondo fell into this world where long term survival and short term reality are clashing. It was amazing that Pixomondo could do what Thilo has done and not see this happen sooner.

      Thilo had a great run, but it is quite difficult to keep that many facilities open and operating in the current visual effects business climate.

      I think Thilo and Pixomondo will survive in the short term for sure, but other offices will also close. Hope all the workers are fully paid.

      When I did some work for Thilo, I believed him always to be quite honest and committed although I had to chase a check or two for lack of timeliness.

      Thilo was always moving at a very high rate of speed, and you know what they say, “Speed kills”.

  11. Beepernps says:

    Well the executives usually get their big pay when everything crashes. But yes this sector of the industry will bid at cost or below “just to keep up a relationship, to get the next job”

  12. Ex_pixo says:

    It’s just sad that this kind of management style actually works, not to long but it does. Pixo is getting good shows because of crazy underbidding. Good shows will always get you decent artists. And especially in areas where Hollywood projects are rare, artists will work for you even if you treat them like slaves.
    But I agree….. Pixo is hiding some fat cats. Maybe only one.

    • anon says:

      I also heard from a lot of peeps in the Berlin Pixo office that they are waiting for pay for over a year now. Freelance work contracts exclude overtime for anything less then 10 hours – basically making the normal workday 10 hours long.

  13. Beepernps says:

    I did a short-term gig a few years ago at Pixomondo, and those folks didnt have enough bathrooms for the people they had. It was excruciating at times to wait for a “vacancy”

  14. VFX_nomad_working_bee says:

    Pixomondo is destroying their own future and they help messing up the industry.
    the owner will have a fat bank account, some juniors will have a few demo shots on their reels, but very little money (if at all) in their bank accounts.
    The artists over in some of the German Pixomondo offices have been on strike over and over again, because they were not paid and no one seems to care. the artists keep on going back. I hope they keep on shrinking. that would be healthy from them and the industry.

  15. ginger says:

    change careers, you are putting unnecessary stress on your families.

    • Some Guy says:

      Agreed. I left Pixo, and the industry, a couple of weeks ago for that reason. It was an excellent decision, one that I unfortunately delayed for too many years.

      As for Pixo, I don’t want to trash it because the folks I worked with were very talented, responsible, professional and hardworking (as is true at most houses, which is why fx artists are so easily preyed upon); but I will confirm that every paycheck was delayed for the past few months, and I know the rent was only paid once the landlord’s lawyers threatened eviction for months on end.

      Though I’ve left the industry, I’m delighted to hear about the protest at the Oscars! Good on you all, and a big thx to vfxsoldier and others for getting it organized in such a short time! I wish you all well!

  16. Angry Movie Goer says:

    VFX has ruined movies as we know it. Bring back the 2d effects and robotics. 1000 more believable and more enjoyable.

    You are just adding to the heap of trash that already exists and I for one am glad all these shitty studios are going down in flames.

    • fishies says:

      What a terrible thing to say. You do know they still use vfx artists for ‘2D effects?’ I’ve worked on plenty of films/commercials that used ‘robotics and 2D film effects.’ Who do you think combines those effects together with the actors and into the sets? The visual effects artist.

      It’s sad that you can’t see the talented work some people do to bring a vision to you, and you clearly don’t understand that a lot of the ‘heap of trash’ is due to what the director/studio as the client wants to see which may or may not be realistic. Not to mention the amount of time that’s given is usually impossible to deliver visual effects in for true quality sometimes.

      Guess you prefer people to just lose their jobs. I am sure you don’t realize how much visual effect contribute to films/commercials/music videos and I doubt you could name a film without it. I bet a lot of your favorite films have used visual effects in it in some way, even if it’s not noticeable to you.

    • stjohn says:

      You do know that 2d effects are VFX, right? Maybe you mean CGI. Either way, go fuck yourself until you prune up.

      If you’re just trolling, I’ll give you 1/10 for plausible ignorance.

      • Bob (another one) says:

        Actually… I kind of agree with him. I’m a vfx guy but I think CG VFX *has* ruined movies. It’s not the only thing, but it’s definitely helped. I mean, hands up who thinks Prometheus looks better than Alien. Really? I mean, really? How about the first three Star Wars movies compared to the prequels?

        CG VFX has allowed the studios and the directors to fill movies right to the brim with stupid, meaningless BS that they couldn’t possibly have done back in the days of analog VFX. Old style VFX kept their limitless stupidity in check and meant they had to tell a story instead…

      • Bob (another one) says:

        Sorry… I need to add that I only agree with him that CG VFX hasn’t necessarily had a good effect on movies. It isn’t good that VFX houses are going down and people are out of work.

  17. […] VFX Soldier – Pixomondo London & Detroit Close Leaving Some Unpaid […]

  18. VFXsurvivor says:

    Pixomondo started out in Los Angeles with an unfair advantage by violating US immigration and labor laws. Thilo was bringing his German employees to the US on tourist visas and then paying them in Germany. I was fired for refusing to work all night without any additional compensation which is illegal in California. Thilo is a crook and a liar.

  19. Stressed says:

    I just want my Jan and Feb wages. They even hired some short term freelancers a couple of weeks ago. I made sure they knew we still hadn’t been paid for Jan.
    Did anyone notice they changed the company name in early Feb but didnt tell any of their staff??? Messed up. http://companycheck.co.uk/company/05392567

  20. Vfx ethics says:

    General talk by artists in la ,is that pixo. Is a terrible place to work. Stay clear. ….

    • sm pixo says:

      90 plus artists in one big room where air conditioning was absent for an entire year and there are 3 single bathrooms for that many people, nobody talks to each other and long hours are expected out of employee’s.
      Pay checks have been routinely late and overtime is often danced around.

      I am currently at pixo sm and I would advise everyone to stay away from pixo if you value a good working environment, hours and getting paid on time.

      • boo hoo a bathroom line says:

        When was your paycheck delayed? I have worked at Pixo SM for 2 years and my biweekly paycheck has never been late by more than maybe 1 day. Oooh how terrible that must have been for you! I really don’t get why everyone is trashing on Pixo, do you really think Thilo wants to rip off his employees? He’s a businessman trying to stay in business just like CafeFX, DD, R&H, just to mention a few. Should I say, “ya I hope R&H goes down hard, they went bankrupt and artists aren’t being paid now!!”? Pixo is obviously feeling the crunch just like the rest of the industry, how does cutting costs make Thilo a bad guy?

    • btw pixo has 5 bathrooms not 3 says:

      Yes, steer clear in your Audi getting paid 40, 50, 60+ an hour to do vfx work. Must be a tough life only making a six figure salary. I see a lot of people pissed off that someone is willing to do their job for less money! Cry me a river, wake up and do something about it instead of bitching and moaning. Some kid in India or China is going to be doing your job soon, what skills do you have that are irreplaceable? Keep sitting at your computer whining, who’s gonna respect that hahaha.

  21. Paul says:

    All this vfx business is sounding more and more like a scam really!

  22. vfxprince says:

    When I worked for Pixomondo there were not even enough tablets to do the work and I brought my own equipment to be able to finish on time. Thilo apparently did not want to invest in infrastructure, but instead open new facilities everywhere. Pixomondo = a nice name, but lots of promises without substance.
    good luck to all fellow artists who are still waiting for their pay.

  23. Chris Kelch says:

    All Artists still waiting for payment just need to post on Pixomondos Facebook Page…within 1 hour Thilo transfered my money after 3 long months…and deleted my post. It’s all about reputation.😉

  24. Arthur Dent says:

    Almost went to the London gig – but seeing as the website ‘jobs on offer’ was a year out of date – thought better of it. Anyway, this is the inevitable fallout from flying too close to ground in the ‘under bidding war’. You bury yourself!

  25. atPixo says:

    It’s a shame!..we haven’t been paid on time since october 2012, it’s always a week later or two. After the lay offs, few months ago, China, Canada and Germany studios are in pretty bad shape too.

  26. Pixo BTR says:

    I worked for Pixomondo in Baton Rouge on Beautiful Creatures. The Detroit office that was just shut down was actually a recent acquisition by Pixo (a company by the name of With a Twist).

    They brought in their ‘top dogs’ from With a Twist to open up and run the BTR location, essentially leaving their Detroit office devoid of any seniority (I use the term loosely). Sadly, these supervisors and managers don’t know anything about running a visual effects studio or their artists.

    The show was a complete mess… They didn’t have the right hardware for the right departments, open communication was a foreign concept and the supervisors / managers were all a joke. They even scammed us on occasion, promising employees paid OT on holidays, without us seeing a dime…

    All of this is to say… say goodbye to Pixomondo Baton Rouge!

    • BTR was good to me. says:

      I was there for the same project at the same location. While th project priorities changed frequently, this was mostly from the client side. The location had a rediculously small window in which to set up a new facility AND begin work as the hub for that project. I don’t remember any promises that were made that weren’t kept. Anything and everything we had questions on were either in writing from the beginning or answered in writing. As faras the management being a joke, you couldn’t be farther from the truth. I’ve been in the industry long enough to see so many types of management, almost all leave you feeling completely disposable, and this was one of the first in years that didn’t. I’m not sure how communication was open enough for you as we were in one large room and each person the, artist and production were highly approachable. There will be growing pains from a facility setting up a new location. The OT was never with held. Unfortunately, not many people got Holiday pay plus OT for regular hours worked because most were not staff. It was in writing from the beginning. While that sucked, I would hardly call that scammed. it sounds like we just had two very different experiences while working somewhere within 20 feet of each other. I’ll take and respect your opinion if you could please do the same for mine.

  27. The below quote from http://provideocoalition.com/mchristiansen/story/why-is-the-vfx-business-failing-questions-for-scott-ross describes exactly one major reason why this industry is so baldy frakked up. Finally there are no rules and regulations, it’s wild west and at the end the business staff is abusing the young creatives (wrong) attitude. Creativity is a business. THIS has to be taught at the film schools EVERY DAY.

    ‘Most vsiual effects artists and technicians are conflict-avoidant. The culture of the business is: I’ll work 24 hours a day, you don’t have to pay me because, “damn, I’m working on Star Wars!”’

  28. […] O acontecimentos fluem e as más notícias crescem como uma bola de neve. Agora quem dá sinais de que está passando por dificuldades é a Pixomondo, vencedora do Oscar do ano passado com “Hugo”. A Pixomondo anuncia o fechamento de dois escritórios, um em Londres e outro em Detroit. Mas dois indicativos que o mercado de VFX precisa ser revisto e pagos adequadamente. […]

  29. As a CEO of a small animation studio and former 3d artist for over 15 years I know exactly both sides of this business. Working passionated what is a must have to survive and staying happy, I experienced many times the very hard side of the profession and I am aware what kind of skills you need for reliable and high-quality work. And I know what even a small company will cost per month if you do everything right.

    Especially for a small company it’s hard to find good people who deliver great output within a normal working day. It’s all about communication and producing in a right way. It’s important to say “No” to some clients or stupid deadlines. There’s no need to work over the weekends and fuck up your life for some temporarily arts and control freeks without a cool budget. It takes years to learn this and today I am just interested to work with artists who are knowing what and how to do. My statement: the team is the company. If my team decides to leave my company I have a real big problem. My message everyday: without you we are nothing. Simple.

    20 years ago I started my dream: 3d animation. I made the same mistake like most passionated young artists do: I did’t care about the pay. I did’t care about 24/7. I did’t realised the benefit for the company I am working for this way. This way led me to what I am doing today but I would do it different if I could restart. Working double or triple shifts, over-night, nearly every weekend is waste of time, life, unhealthy and your social life is totally ruined. Funny is that especially people like us who have to be creative, full of ideas and phantasies are living like animals in a Zoo. From where should your ideas come from when you can’t go out, recharge your batteries and enjoy real life with friends or a wonderful wife/husband and kids some day?

    I was so wrong because the success of high-end results is made by passionated, talented and experienced artists who should be treated, organised and paid the same way like high-end engineers. You need a work life balance. The older you get the more you want this. If you have a family with kids EVERYTHING will change. And if the industry is not willing or able to organise a good work-life balance for its staff you simply have to look for an alternative otherwise your body and mind will tell you some day the hard ways to stop it. Some people call this: burn-out. And if there’s additinally no money left on your account it’s a big desaster.

    At the end your attitude and claim for a good pay will define the rules and regulations. No, it will force the industry to change. Be aware of this power. Forget about the competition that someone else will do the job for less money. Be aware that your skills and creativity is a business. Because the film- and advertisement industry is a huge business. If this industry pays their staff low, less, late or finally nothing this might be a reason to offer work at the lowest rate. Think about this. It’s up to you to change it. The work isn’t the problem. It’s the circumstances. And you are able to change them.

    As a CEO I highly recommend this. I am tired of losing projects to those companies doing it for the half price because they have shit paid slaves working for them and at the end I am not able anymore to pay my people right for their awesome skills and will to deliver the best work. When you guys remind yourself every day that beeing well, very well paid for your high-level and very complex knowledge about using different and complicated software like a genius is same important than beeing satisfied with your work then I am happy because noone of those companies is able to offer low-rates for their work anymore. Just tell yourself that animation and vfx needs more than just talent. It’s some kind of intellectual work where you take a high responisbility to create good looking visuals other people pay for and love to enjoy. It’s really something like working as an engineer. The difference is: in this business you can’t start as a trainee and end up as a chief engineer in one year. It’s impossible. An engineer is probably the same way passionated about his work. But he knows that he will be paid well and more till the end of his carreer. This is an important motivation instead of realizing with 50 that noone wants your experience anymore because those 20-30 guys work harder for a pathetic salary.

    Spread the word: creativity, talent, skills, animation and visual effects is a serious business.

    • Very well said, couldn’t agree more !

    • caffix says:

      @el presidente: Totally agreed ! But the bigger the company, the harder it gets to live up to those standards. Because you need a certain regular production volume to maintain your staff and facilities. And you need to do research to stay at or even redefine the edges of the state of the art. And that renders you vulnarable to compromises by nature. Nothing is more expansive than a production machinery not in use. And the universal rule “the more products you sell (or in this case vfx shots you produce), the smaller the individual profit margin per piece” does not take an exemption for vfx only. Even though each and every one is a single piece of art.
      And I am quite sure, as CEO you already had the situation a hundred times, that you started out with a calculation for a project and came up with a realistic number, that was let’s say double the budget. And then you and the producer cooked down the show. Just to find out that at the end of the day, after the edit was finished you had exactly the show you calculated in the first place. But with a producer that doesn’t want to compensate the extra work that needs to be done to make the edit work. And if he does pay something then for sure not even a quarter of the price you originally calculated. So you start dumping at the back end of the production. What’s the difference there ? And the big studios are facing the same challenge, just on a much bigger and therefore potentially more dangerous scale.
      Because what’s the alternative ? Letting go all your employees (even the core team), every time a project is finished, giving up facilities as soon as a project is finished, selling all machinery as soon as a project is finished, giving up research as soon as a project is finished ? And then start re-hiring and rebuilding facilities at the right place as soon, as you signed a new contract (and not 1 hour before) – pushing the pressure towards the individual artists side ?
      It’s a matter of balance that every company is calculating and maintaining on it’s own in it’s own scale. And where profit ends and loss begins was and always will be the responsibility of the management.

      I think the market it self is changing, these days. Productions are more and more split up to be produced at a multitude of smaler studios at competetive rates. Giving the productions vfx supervisor and postproduction coordinator a lot more headaches. And defining the out of the box toolkit solutions from The Foundry and Autodesk as state of the art, leaving the research completely to the software developers.
      Not nice but that’s where the ride is going, if the studios aren’t taking the unique production value of pictures never seen before into their budget calculation, as well. So we all better prepare to see more of the bigger studios come down.

  30. […] schließt Niederlassungen Vor wenigen Tagen gab auch Pixomondo bekannt – ein deutschstämmiges und binnen wenigen Jahren zu einem der erfolgreichsten VFX-Studio […]

  31. HelloPixo says:

    Additionally, what I do find funny about all this thing is that when RH closes after Life of Pi oscar everyone is so upset and goes around, green avatar and all.
    Last year, 2 days before Hugo won the oscar for visual fx, pixomondo london fired EVERYONE in the 3d department. Every single one. In bulk. And it was London who made 90% of hugo’s vfx. But the press loved the LA studio for it…well, because there was a shitty supervisor overpaid and flown in from US who ran away back home 1 week before delivery just to start giving out interviews on how amazing the team in LA did.
    Nothing happened back then, lol.

    Anyway, pixo deserved it. They did the same mistakes twice in two years in a row, it’s normal for them to try and recoup some of the costs before FY ends.

    The oligarchy of the german offices propagated all throughout the london office, they weren’t able to pitch for local projects but were just given remainings from all the others offices.

    I don’t blame the london management that much though (as long as I recall, they tried…)
    If you don’t give any freedom…

    Let’s see how this progresses…

    • helloclueless says:

      You really have absolutely no clue what you’re talking about.

    • bixler says:

      I was at Pixo London throughout this period and right up until last week. From my perspective things weren’t the way you describe at all. I thought the Supervisor from LA did an excellent job and was definitely an essential part of the London team on Hugo. I don’t remember credit being given incorrectly to other facilities ever being an issue.

      It was upsetting to see the redundancies in 3D and I couldn’t believe they let all those great people go, but it wasn’t everyone in that department.

      The German guys who came over later were equally talented and put genuine effort into making things work. The reason things didn’t work out is pretty much the company line (no local work), and this unfortunately was out of the artists hands (who were constantly busy with shows won in other facilities).

      • Charlie Don't Surf says:

        they are certainly entitled to close down the facility if they so choose. what is disputed is HOW they did it. in particular the fact that they left employees unpaid.

      • bixler says:

        Yeah, I was responding to comments made in the post above. Employee pay is a separate issue to those comments and one that still needs to be resolved.

  32. getthefactsright says:

    I was at Pixomondo London at that time, and none of the above is true. There were without any doubt serious problems and mistakes, but not what was listed above. When sweeping statements that are not based on fact start propogating, what are actually legitimate concerns become overlooked.

    1) The layoffs had nothing to do with Hugo, but with another show.
    2) London did not do 90% of the VFX. A closer number would be a little under 50%.
    3) No interviews were done that highlighted the LA office only, nor did any supervisors leave a week before delivery.

  33. Lloyd says:

    Does anyone know how many people worked at the Detroit-area location? Has anyone gotten them information on how to file for ‘Unemployment Insurance,’ etc?

  34. Jeevfx says:

    “Around 100 people from MPC Bangalore (India) worked on Life of Pi. Out of the 120 shots”

    http://newindianexpress.com/cities/bangalore/article1478600.ece

    Rhythm and Hues Hyderabad office:

    Everybody who has seen Life of Pi , knows that if it weren’t for the visual effects, there would be nothing in the film. “The initial part with the tiger in the zoo and the last bit where Richard Parker and Pi are dying, those scenes were extensively made here,” says Varun. The visuals of the island with the meerkats were also done in the Hyderabad studios. “There was special team dedicated to the island and one for the meerkats,” adds Varun.

    http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-features/tp-metroplus/pouring-life-into-richard-parker/article4467680.ece

  35. jerome says:

    Look…its really easy. If your pay stops – THEN STOP GOING INTO THAT JOB AND STOP WORKING FOR FREE!!

    No money = No workey

    • Annoyed says:

      When you get paid at the END of the month, then that is not possible…is it!!

    • In theory, yes. But in reality it’s working like this: you have a contract and you get paid to the end of the months. Then the new month starts and you don’t get your money and someone tells you not to worry because it will be paid. It’s like in every business. You deliver the work and then you write your invoice without any control if the client will pay or is probably not able to pay. When everyone doesn’t get paid there will be rumors and finally people discuss and decide as a union to stop working. And this will not happen at the moment where people realize that there’s probably a cash flow issue. They keep on working and start to think when mostly the situation is at a limit or too late.

  36. […] | Pixomondo London & Detroit Close Leaving Some Unpaid | Análisis de la industria de la animación y VFX – Post-Oscars 2013 | Los VFX: tu pasión, su […]

  37. I am now not sure where you’re getting your info, however good topic. I must spend a while studying much more or working out more. Thank you for magnificent info I was looking for this information for my mission.

  38. Wan says:

    Same problem in Shanghai. Thilo owned a huge amount of money for salaries so he decided to close down the facility. Freelancers never get paid on time and now they probably never get their money.

  39. berlin in beeing shutdown too. they announced it on facebook

  40. It’s always a desaster when a company has to shut down. People lose their jobs and beeing unpaid is a horrible scenario.

    The question is finally: what was the reason? In my opinion PIXOMONDO is a typical case of a fast and unhealthy expanding business by getting project at all costs due to underbitting and price-dumping.

    Every office for animation and vfx needs infrastructure and pipeline what isn’t trivial from a technical and investment point of view. Especially the bigger stuff will need a strong reliable support and maintenance 24/7. You can’t let the hardware run in hope it will work 24/7. And you have to pay the rent and electric power supply in time to keep everything running.

    The fact that PIXOMONDO is closing their offices that fast without a warning to their people is just a sign that there was a bad or no control over costs, pays and liquidity. The focus seems to be on finishing the work by exploiting the attitude of all these talented artists additionally by keeping them unpaid for months. This is like a bank giving a free loan to the company. How else is underbitting possible? It’s a big problem especially in the creative business where a lot of very talented and motivated people just see their profession more as a hobby for self-fullfilment instead of realizing their hard worked skills by years of spending (spare-)time, training, learning, sacrificing social life and realationships. Finally they are so deeply involved in their complicated and complex work that they forget to claim for the right pay for all of this.

    Why are people accepting beeing unpaid for months? It’s not because they are stupid. It’s because most of them are good guys with passion, loyal and reliable to their employer and believing in what they do and what was promised to them. And especially young people don’t need much money for a living. From my experience in many cases the management or leading staff is a bunch of strange and selfish people while the people doing the operational work are extremely loyal to these dic*heads making promises all the time. It’s typical that the creative people working as a team on a big project will become buddies after some months because of their passion, their skills, their fun, their hard work and finally their co-worker will be an important part of the social life. The solidarity is getting stronger when everyone is working under the same bad circumstances.

    Exactly this is a classic trap. Even when you feel you have to leave the company you feel mainly sorry about leaving your workmates behind. It’s a great attitude and it’s annoying that many CEO’s and their management will not realize: “Without you, we are nothing. The team is the company.” But they would be stupid to say this because it might happen that people start to claim for more money and beeing paid withing 30 days.

    I am sick of all this crap. I hope that artist will learn: it’s not about self-fullfilment, fun and the credits on the silverscreen. It’s about making money for a creative, inspiring and healthy life. Start to think and change now. Spread the word.

  41. […] I have received many emails from their former workers after they closed various facilities and left them unpaid. The same has occurred at Rhythm & Hues after it filed for bankruptcy and left many […]

  42. ddddd says:

    all VFX will go to the countrys that pay the least with the low taxes in the end – its simple just like manufacturing has in many ways

  43. […] terminated for tending to pregnant wife. Artists in India experiencing exploitation. Pixomondo artists going unpaid. Dave Rand who has also been accused of the same things I have been accused of and still fights to […]

  44. […] Os acontecimentos fluem e as más notícias crescem como uma bola de neve. Agora quem dá sinais de que está passando por dificuldades é a Pixomondo, vencedora do Oscar do ano passado com “Hugo”. A Pixomondo anuncia o fechamento de dois escritórios, um em Londres e outro em Detroit. Mas dois indicativos que o mercado de VFX precisa ser revisto. […]

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