Photo by AnimationMerc
Well it’s looking to be that time of the year again where Andy Serkis tries to make another failed run at garnering an Oscar nomination for motion capture performances in VFX films. The Brew nails it:
In an interview that Serkis did recently, he made one of his most preposterous statements yet: that he ‘authors’ his performances entirely himself, without the creative input of any other artist. According to Serkis, the only thing that the digital artists at Weta do is paint ‘digital makeup’ over his immaculate acting.
While the performances of Gollum and Caesar are great, it’s important to know they are the creation of a team of VFX craftspeople who painstakingly iterate and perfect every detail on the screen along with Andy Serkis. Unfortunately, in order for Mr. Serkis to garner an Oscar nomination, he and his publicists have engaged in a campaign of “VFX plagiarism” to discredit those artists for their work so he can convince the Academy that Caesar’s performance in Planet of the Apes was completely his. It’s absolutely unprofessional and a totally intentional lie.
Could you imagine what would happen if someone submitted a VFX demo reel exclusively taking credit for the work of others? How about actors, writers, and directors who engage in similar acts of plagiarism? They would be correctly chastised. Last time it was animator Tim Borelli who corrected Mr. Serkis and now the Oscar-winning Animation Supervisor from Lord of the Rings who worked with Andy Serkis is going on the record to correct the misinformation being put out by Andy Serkis.
There’s nothing more I need to add to this but one thing: This is costing us money.
When people like Andy Serkis and others up above in the studios and other departments misunderstand how VFX work is done it ends up costing more money for their productions in the long run. Things get shot incorrectly or someone was under an impression that there was a simple tool to do something complicated. It all ends up getting re-done with a lot of behind the scenes VFX labor to fix it and make it work.
One piece of advice that I learned in my VFX experience was that perfecting your craft is one thing, but learning intimately about the craft you are delivering assets to is just as valuable. If you’re a Character TD you should know how animators work to deliver high quality assets to them. The same goes for Animators to CFX and FX departments, CFX/FX to lighting, lighting to compositing, etc.
When that happens, you have more people knowing the pitfalls and not having an ill-conceived notion of how VFX works like Mr. Serkis. Also, it’s worth noting as I mentioned in my previous piece that we bare some responsibility for this by not respecting our craft the way others do in the industry.