Life After Pi

VFX and Animation studios has taken a big hit these past years. It’s bad. This department is not looking bright. Years ago, hand animators were afraid and worried on what to do next when computer animation came in to the picture. Some had to adapt, others retired, and a few moved on to perhaps becoming storyboard artist or in search of another medium. 3D animators were on the rise, taking over. Movies like Toy Story started a new standard. Big blockbusters became bigger with more explosions and robots. Studios demanded more and more for less.

Due to crazy budgets, little returns at the box office; fix priced bidding and exploitation; and terrible US state tax incentives — this caused VFX and Animation studios to plumb, go bankrupt, and pick up their bags to move off to places Vancouver, London, India, and China where they can get more bang for their buck.

Dreamworks laid off 500 employees, Digital Domain laid off 200, Rhythm and Hues wins best VFX for Life of Pi and goes bankrupts weeks laters, laying off 1,400. This is just three out of the many.

“India is seeing a VFX growth spurt, going from a $124 million industry in 2011 to $154 million in 2012. It is expected to reach $384 million by 2017, according to a KPMG analysis.” — Hollywood Reporter

Congrats for India. Sucks for us American filmmakers.

Now all animators are on the run, being forced and pushed to think of creative ways to be employable , affordable, and memorable like their mentors and heroes once were.

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