Think Small(er) in Los Angeles.

We’ve heard the term ‘Digital Dustbowl’ rolling around for the last few months in regards to the VFX climate in Los Angeles. It does feel a little like there’s no water (work) in sight. People are out of work left and right, large features are almost always getting work done out of town to where the tax credits are. The few shops that are here are laying off (See Disney laying off ‘Frozen’ artists) and there isn’t a lot of work on the horizon. 

 

It really does feel bleak. Is it? Smaller and smaller shops and remote businesses are starting to populate the market. With the exception of advertising, there isn’t a lot of VFX work to be done by strongly qualified people. There is work though. There is television work from all of the majors that needs to be done.  A lot of it will go to Canada because of the tax credits, but there are a number of shows that just don’t have huge VFX budgets and don’t really see the savings of a tax credit in Canada. It takes longer to ship the work up and have Jr. artists work on it and get it back than it does to have it done right locally. 

 

So smaller shops and smaller work feel like the order of the day. Finding a way to make that profitable will remain the challenge. At least there is a challenge. What we have here in Los Angeles is a huge crew of hungry artists who are out to try and make ends meet. To pay the mortgage or day-care. No one is out to get rich working in VFX. Sometimes, if we make $60-70/hr It may seem like a lot to people coming into the industry or looking at the industry with outside eyes, but imagine you work a week at that rate once a month and you live in one of the most expensive markets in America. It’s really not much of a living. 

 

Voices are mounting. There is talk of unionization, guilds, trade groups and all manner of tools to help the local VFX community. We will be on the forefront of feeding people the information needed to change to the ever-changing visual effects market. 

 

Stay tuned and stay strong.

A point of clarification.

We would like to take this opportunity to clarify further on the goals of this blog, and we believe, the movement in general.

This is not Anti-anybody.

No one thinks that London is full of lesser artists, or that New York is somehow riddled with incapable maroons.  This is merely about promoting where the American film industry resides. We would like to see Los Angeles stay the hub of visual effects for American Cinema.

Organizing VFX talent and reducing or eliminating subsidies should be the goal of every artist and supervisor. Otherwise, nowhere is safe. No one is angry at New Mexico for offering really attractive offers… they are angry at New Mexico for stopping the offers and killing the industry where people bought houses and moved their families.

There is a fair amount of reward for people in New York, New Zealand, Vancouver, and Singapore. It seems like the gold will never leave. That there will be a glut of work for decades to come. It felt like that here in Los Angeles 8 to 10 years ago. When people flocked here from all over the US and other countries. We can tell you from experience that it does dry up.

This is why, while it feels protectionist, it is not. This movement is not an ANTI movement. We are a team. We are like minded, hard working professionals and students of every walk of life who dream of a better life making great imagery. We want fairness in pay, and options for our futures. We want the ability to settle down and live lives of success and challenges. None of us are averse to hard work.

VFX Los Angeles supports VFX artists. Period. The focus is to bring it back to profitability and to bring a once vibrant industry back to Los Angeles and be a partner with other states and countries. This train needs a conductor. For American film, that is Los Angeles. For UK film, that is probably London. For Asian film, Singapore, South Korea, and Japan. For Canadian film, Vancouver and Montreal. We all have our markets. Let us grow those markets. Let us work together.

We challenge other voices to start a VFX Vancouver blog or a VFX Sinagpore blog. Bring the voices together and help end any us versus them, and let us all make great movies and television, great commercials and trade projects.

VFX Los Angeles

VFX Los Angeles

Welcome to VFX Los Angeles.

Started and maintained by VFX artists in Los Angeles, for the sole purpose of promoting the visual effects industry in Southern California and an attempt to reign in runaway visual effects production to other states and countries by focusing on quality and affordability of local talent.

This blog will focus on work done here by local artists and local companies, striving to provide effects of the highest caliber without resorting to sending work over seas and to Canada.