SIGGRAPH: Business Issues

While much of the SIGGRAPH conference is focused on research and technology that is more future focused or in-depth talks on techniques, this year there are two business sessions we wanted to highlight. This summer there have been several significant box office failures of tent pole films. Combine that with a very slow summer in feature film visual effects work and there is a lot of talk at the show about the state of our industry. These two sessions focus on those issues.

From Golden Statue to Pink Slip: A Conversation on the State of the Industry

Tuesday July 23, 11:00am – 1:00pm – Anaheim Convention Center – Room 213 B
Note that admission to this session only requires an Exhibits pass

This is an informal conversation with a chance for audience interaction. The title of the session is a reference to the Visual Effects Oscar win for “Life of Pi”, followed by the bankruptcy and sale of Rhythm & Hues. The panel consists of names that will be familiar to fxguide readers, as many have appeared in previous interviews in our fxpodcast:

Scott Squires – Visual Effects Supervisor and Director
David S. Cohen – Technology Columnist at Variety
Mariana Acuña Acosta – VFX Artist
Bill Gilman – VFX Supervisor, Artist & Editor
Steve Kaplan – Labor Organizer, The Animation Guild, Local 839 IATSE
Tom Sito – Professor of Cinema Practice at the University of Southern California

“Anyone who is curious about where the industry is headed is invited to join in an informal discussion of subsidies, working conditions, overtime, benefits, unions and the future of VFX.”

The State of the Visual Effects Industry

Thursday July 25, 2:00pm – 3:30pm – Anaheim Convention Center – Ballroom AB.
Note this session requires access to Panels, not open to exhibits only passes

This is a separate session from the one above, the moderator will be Jim Hillin – Visual Effects Supervisor, Indie Feature “Home”.

Dave Rand – Senior Visual Effects Artist
Scott Squires – Visual Effects Supervisor
Scott Ross
Steve Kaplan – Labor Organizer, The Animation Guild, Local 839 IATSE
David Yocis – Attorney, Picard Kentz & Rowe

This session is described as: “This panel explores the wide variety of business practices and issues surrounding the current state of visual effects production from several perspectives: visual effects artists, visual effects producers, and visual effects company owners and executives. Topics include the industry’s business history, current business pros and cons, and future prospects for an industry in transition.”

Once again the panel is made up of industry leaders that fxguide has interviewed previously. David Yocis was one of the authors of the VFX Soldier commissioned study regarding subsidies.

2 thoughts on “SIGGRAPH: Business Issues”

  1. I wish I could be there to listen to these discussions, especially after the paper the VES put out recently.

    Any word if these are going be available as a video or audio download?

    Thanks for making sure the labor/business side of things are being covered Jeff!

  2. Siggraph did not record or allow recording of today’s session, they wanted people to feel free to join the discussion. Almost everyone on the panel has appeared on our fxpodcast in the last year or so and most of the issues discussed are not new.

    Although the conversation covered a lot of topics – trade association, subsidies, countervailing duties, flat bidding business models, global politics… by far the predominant conversation was about unionizing workers. In my opinion there seems to be a lot of confusion about this topic – who is eligible, how the process works, what is a union… frankly, this confounds me as there is a wealth of information available on the web. I feel that artists really need to take time to educate themselves so meeting like these can be more solution oriented rather than re-hashing a lot of the same ground. One of the panelists, Steve Kaplan from the Animation Guild, has always made himself available to artists with questions and again made that offer today.

    The issues the visual effects industry faces are complicated and complicated problems often get bogged down because not every problem can be solved. We need to take one step at a time and help everyone get as much information on every topic as we can. I hope I have been helpful in doing that.

    Two things are clear. Doing things the way we are now is not working for artists or the visual effects companies. Doing nothing is not an option.

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