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Dreamworks Animation posts huge loss, huge Layoffs to follow

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Mike Cohen
Dreamworks Animation posts huge loss, huge Layoffs to follow
on Feb 27, 2013 at 10:34:15 pm

A $87 million write down on Rise of the Guardians, plus an additional $79 million on Me and My Shadow which is not slated for release any time soon. Dreamworks Animation will layoff 25% of their staff as a result. Spielberg will have to purchase one fewer Lamborghinis this year also (just kidding Steve - I know you only buy American).

This combined with the bankruptcy of Rhythm and Hues is all bad news for digital artists working (or trying to) in Hollywood.

Is it foreign competition or simply ideas being greenlit that are not of interest to enough people. I think it is clear than parents will not take their kids to any CGI movie that is released. Just because there are not very many G or PG animated movies released does not mean that any animated movie is going to be a hit.

Granted many of them are quite enjoyable (I'm a Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs fan myself) but with the large budgets and marketing costs, studios are losing their shirts on these things.

Add to the mix live action films laced with CGI and wooden acting (we have already discussed Battleship - Jack the Giant Slayer looks like a possible victim) and you have more cash going into the red.

Talk amongst yourselves.

Mike Cohen


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Stephen Smith
Re: Dreamworks Animation posts huge loss, huge Layoffs to follow
on Feb 27, 2013 at 11:03:07 pm

[Mike]
Jack the Giant Slayer looks like a possible victim) and you have more cash going into the red.

The Hollywood Reporter just released a story titled: Warner Bros. Faces Big Challenge With 'Jack The Giant Slayer'

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/jack-giant-slayer-warner-bros-424755

Stephen Smith
Utah Video Productions

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Tim Wilson
Re: Dreamworks Animation posts huge loss, huge Layoffs to follow
on Feb 27, 2013 at 11:10:46 pm

[Stephen Smith] "The Hollywood Reporter just released a story titled: Warner Bros. Faces Big Challenge With 'Jack The Giant Slayer'"'

The article contains the first words I've read to explain who the hell this movie is for. Biiiig problems ahead.


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Tim Wilson
Re: Dreamworks Animation posts huge loss, huge Layoffs to follow
on Feb 27, 2013 at 11:07:36 pm

[Mike Cohen] "Is it foreign competition "

Moreso local competition. There are maybe half a dozen R&H blockbuster-scale VFX houses, and maybe that many customers (studios who put out VFX blockbusters) who buy their services. While there have been talks about unionizing or guild-izing or whatever to set rates for basic services, the competition is so cut-throat that nobody has been willing to possibly leave a job on the table that might be parceled out to a bunch of smaller houses who are happy for the work at lower rates. Studios are demanding a race to zero, and artists aren't willing to take steps to put an end to it.

Other artists aren't helping. Ang Lee said some mild words of support for R&H and other VFX houses...in a quote that began with him saying he thinks effects cost too much. He thanked the people who worked in the pool tank in Taiwan without referencing the army of people it took to turn that into the ocean and integrate with the cinematography and CG tiger, fish, etc.

Union is too often a bad word, but unionizing has a simple purpose - to give enough small people with common interests the scale to stand up to billionaires. For example, an editor who's a member of ACE can take advantage of union rules to "only" work 56 hours a week, for $46/hour. Does that sound like a communist plot to fleece the self-made free enterprise entrepreneur? No. Not that they can't make more, and not that non-union jobs can't pay more, but it's insanity that $46/hr for a 56-hour week is the best that they can secure as a floor. My rate was never less than twice that, and I wasn't all that good. LOL

Outsourcing is a smokescreen. The issue is very simply, who gets to set a bottom rate that would apply no matter where they work gets done - just like it doesn't matter where a DP shoots or an editor edits, or where he or she is from. The bottom price is the bottom price.

My guess is that any VFX union couldn't guarantee much, but there's got to be some way for artists to work together to establish some kind of floor. As much as I'm sure a lot of VFX workers are bleeding for their brothers and sisters, and know that they could be next, I don't doubt that there are at least a couple who see themselves more secure for just a little while longer as their companies now face less competition...

...until they figure out that the studios have even less incentive to ask for more than zero, when fewer artists have even less leverage.


[Mike Cohen] "Talk amongst yourselves."

What he said.


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