John Textor caused an uproar in the blogging and general artist community with his comments to investors about free student labor providing up to 30% of the workers in Digital Domain Florida. We speak bluntly and directly about this and his view on our ‘broken’ industry in this exclusive one on one interview recorded at Digital Domain LA.


Related links:
Original VFX Soldier post (March 26th, 2012):
vfxsoldier.wordpress.com/2012/03/26/the-paying-to-work-for-free-vfx-business-model

VFX Soldier from April 4th, 2012 with video of John Textor:
vfxsoldier.wordpress.com/2012/04/04/john-textor-free-labor-is-much-better-than-cheap-labor

A detailed write-up by Scott Squires that also includes links to other coverage:
effectscorner.blogspot.com/2012/04/digital-domain-plans-to-have-paying.html


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10 Responses to fxpodcast: John Textor, One on One interview

  1. unbelievable and enlightening listening to this.

    Taken from the United States Department of Labor and California’s Division of Labor Standards Enforcement list of six criteria that must be met for an unpaid intern.

    4. The employer that provides the training must not derive any immediate advantage from the activities of the intern, and on occasion its operations may actually be impeded.

    In light of his explanation, DD is still wrong according to the above if they are making money (an immediate advantage) on unpaid interns work that displace regular employees. This guy’s sugar coating is BS trying to make a bad intention excusable by justifying it. “We’re not the first” (what, thief?). I learn on the job everyday even after 17years and my BA wasn’t a trade school education. I listened to an hour of a guy saying our bad isn’t quite as bad as everything else.

    http://www.wageandhourcounsel.com/2010/04/articles/minimum-wage/united-states-department-of-labor-and-californias-division-of-labor-standards-enforcement-clarify-rules-governing-compensation-for-interns/

    Posted by Ehren on
    • I agree with you – It is certainly true that this epidemic of interns being taken advantage of across multiple if not every industry is inexcusable.

      The current economic climate is escalating the effects of ‘fat cats’ at the top earning multibillion dollar/pound/etc salaries whilst it is increasingly hard for people to find paid work, let alone internships that abuse your skills whilst trying to join the remnants of the ‘career ladder’.

      Some semblance of order and control of pay needs to be put in place for the types of salaries these ‘higher ups’ earn. It is them that abuse the current economic situation – it leaves me very disillusioned as a recent graduate.
      The situation is so dire that I believe we won’t see the fallout of this until decades into the future.

      Posted by Philip White on
  2. Does this apply to Florida as well or just in California?

    Posted by Vinh Nguyen on
  3. That’s a federal list which the states should adhere to. It’s an issue even in small shops. I’ve seen many motion graphics companies bring on lots of interns and they are tasked on paying jobs as anyone else. Albeit with less responsibility and more supervision under the disguise of “education”. If they are just starting out, you will not hear them, the employers, or clients complaining; just everyone else who’s making a living who learns they aren’t paid. If free interns worked on free jobs, there wouldn’t be an issue. That’s just not the case I’ve seen or heard on this interview.

    Posted by Ehren on
  4. As a Fullsail Grad I would encourage everyone to take this interveiw to heart. If you can burn it and pass it along to all the students that can still get their student loans refunded. Please don’t graduate with 90,000+ usd in debt, its not worth it.

    Posted by Nathaniel Westveer on
  5. Studios have made so much money with these vfx feature films. For them to win even more we now have to work so much. And now since the buisness model for vfx houses is really hard to maintain (and I totally understand that) the workers have to make more efforts and students need to pay so much for free work. Well maybe studios should pay more in the first place.

    Posted by Romain on
  6. Textor resigned due to close of DD’s Florida office… My thoughts with my fellow VFX artisans that will be out of a job.

    Posted by john on
  7. Thought I would add to this, the DD model of students paying to work there as an intern is also been trialled by Rising Sun Pictures in Australia.

    Posted by john on
  8. I’m interested to understand where ‘john’ got his information from. As a long standing employee of RSP, I can state that this claim is utterly false.

    1. There are no internships at RSP that people pay to get
    2. RSP has an excellent internship scheme that helps people who show potential become employable in the industry.
    3. Any person working on a production at RSP are fully paid employees. No person doing unpaid internships works on productions.
    4. We are aiming to trial a scheme that partners with a local university to provide an advanced VFX course. These people would be students and WOULD NOT work on productions.

    I am happy to answer any further questions on this via the contacts on our website http://www.rsp.com.au

    Also, please note that we will not be discriminating against hiring people named ‘John’ in the future. ;-)

    Posted by Ian Cope on

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