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Paying to work for free - be very angry

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Craig Seeman
Paying to work for free - be very angry
on Mar 28, 2012 at 4:15:28 pm

Interesting blog post on how using tuition paying students for professional work and how it's being subsidized. Alas it may be a viable business model. Of course in the long run how many are going to pay for a degree in a field in which the pay will drop so precipitously.

Personally I've not been worried about those who underbid me when low cost means lower quality. My concern is that there are such a wealth of talented students who will go this route, likely under experienced supervision, that even those of us with talent and experience, will have a hard time competing.


The “Paying To Work For Free” VFX Business Model
http://vfxsoldier.wordpress.com/2012/03/26/the-paying-to-work-for-free-vfx-...



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Mark Suszko
Re: Paying to work for free - be very angry
on Mar 28, 2012 at 10:10:26 pm

I doubt that they will get usable work out of first and second-year students. Even so, the "Craigslist mentality" seems to be leeching into broadcast-grade operations now. That is not a good thing for anyone.

I think you have a right to let yourself be "exploited" if your personal evaluation of the relationship is that you're getting equal value out of the work experience and contacts, but if they burn you, you'll have no excuses or recourse. There were a number of for-pay online type universities in the US that recently got sued by the government for taking government-funded student loans and not teaching accredited courses. Remember that when you pay tuition, you are hiring the school: they are working for YOU.

If you're paying THEM, it's not an internship. It's maybe a lab or "practicum".


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Craig Seeman
Re: Paying to work for free - be very angry
on Mar 28, 2012 at 10:30:29 pm

[Mark Suszko] "I doubt that they will get usable work out of first and second-year students."

They will out of the third and the fourth year students though. Especially since the school has a profit motive for getting them to improve their skills. I don't doubt the admissions program will "tag" those with potential coming in as well.



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Bob Zelin
Re: Paying to work for free - be very angry
on Mar 28, 2012 at 10:41:08 pm

you just freaked me out. I am on a Disney job right now, and we were just talking about
Digital Domain in Port St. Lucie, and how they operate. When they first announced this,
I thought they were setting up in Florida to compete with Electronic Arts. But of course,
this article is accurate, and disturbing. I was just talking about this 30 minutes ago !

Bob Zelin



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Mark Suszko
Re: Paying to work for free - be very angry
on Mar 28, 2012 at 10:56:17 pm

Bob, if I remember right, you're a graduate of Hard knox and you were all right with how it went, so I'm interested in your impressions of this "deal".

It's not for everybody, we can agree. Still, if you were a kid today hoping to someday work on Hollywood-level computer animation, would this sound like a square deal to you? Paying in a hundred grand to be someones' render monkey, in hopes you will learn enough and make enough contacts to make back that huindred grand in salaried work?

I'm not a gambling man, rally, I only bet on sure things. to me this seup looks like a very few may get what they dramed of while most of the class ends up 4 years older and only somewhat wiser.


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Craig Seeman
Re: Paying to work for free - be very angry
on Mar 28, 2012 at 11:06:48 pm

If the school is delivering paid client work, students are not going to be treated equally. My bet is the best ones will get lead roles and the pecking order (the assistants on down to the not capable) will defined. The geeks might become the free facility engineers for example. The poor students will be encouraged to stick around though in some fashion or mechanism to subsidize the operation unless they need to free seats for incoming talent.



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Michael Aranyshev
Re: Paying to work for free - be very angry
on Mar 29, 2012 at 2:11:42 am

Welcome back to Middle Ages.

My guess it's going to backfire. How many rotoscoped 4k frames a week can you expect from a guy who just paid a hundred grands to learn magic? First week? Second week? Seventh week?


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Steve Martin
Re: Paying to work for free - be very angry
on Mar 30, 2012 at 12:26:36 am

Craig,

I'm in Orlando and wasn't aware of this "school" set up.

However, in a related story, I recently got a call from a company who wanted multi-cam HD coverage of their event. Sensing that their budget was tight, I put together what I thought was an aggressively affordable budget proposal.

When I followed up with them a few days later I was told that the Event Planner they had hired for the event had some connections with a popular for-profit digital media school in town. The school would do the production in exchange for promotional consideration.

Granted, I don't think students will be able to create a program as good as what a professional crew with years of experience might do, but my guess is that the school will have enough adult supervision in the form of instructors/staff so that the program will be at least "passable."

I wished him luck - I just can't compete with free.

Agggrrrrhhh!

Production is fun - but lets not forget: Nobody ever died on the video table!


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