(Source: forums.cgsociety.org)          Imagine, if you will, that your job is to make sure that the VFX for a major blockbuster movie are made, within the limits of the budget that the film is set to. You cannot go back and beg for more money, and you don’t get any extra time to complete the work. You either get it done, or you don’t. Black and white, there is no room for grey in production. You either do it, or they’ll find someone else.

If you’re the VFX producer, you probably work for the major studio underwriting the project (ie: warner bros, sony, disney), and your boss is the guy holding the purse strings on the entire project for the studio. Your boss is the studio executive who will step in and make sure you get your job done, and who will cut you off at the knees if you fail. As the VFX producer, you are charged with a large portion of the budget, sometimes the largest.

Once you’ve hired someone knowledgeable to help you, you’ll start breaking down the shots with the director to determine which shots have VFX and which don’t. It’s your job to make sure the VFX Sup and the director don’t become creative visionaries outside of the scope of your budget. Reel them in if they go too crazy, that’s your job.

If something is wrong and requires a reshoot, it may cost your VFX shop money if the internal VFX Sup failed to catch a mistake on set or didn’t get what was needed. Or, the VFX shop may opt to do more work than originally agreed, to fix the problem, so that they don’t have to pay for a mistake they made.

Sometimes a VFX shop is unable to complete the work as agreed. They may try to outsource the work to another shop, if the VFX producer agrees.  Sometimes a shot is omitted, or cut, and the VFX shop is then required to stop working on it. They usually don’t get paid for omitted shots.

Some shops will know many producers, and that means more options. Some shops know one, and for some that’s all they need as long as they do a good job. Some shops have friends that are directors, or friends that are writers, and so they get the work that way. Some shops are the direct result of a director or studio wanting to dictate the work, so they just started their own company.

The bigger shops have profit margins of 2-5%. Some have negative margins that are allowable due to the necessity of the studio or director to have direct control over the work. These shops may try to get external projects as well, to help ease losses or to even generate profits. Some shops can offer discounts due to economic packages available to them that offer tax breaks – like in Canada, New Zealand, and England. New Mexico, Texas, and Virginia offers similar breaks for US based companies, and is slowly attracting filmmakers.

George Lucas once told his employees at ILM that he could make more off of a Certificate of Deposit (CD) at the bank. He was right.

Much more:   forums.cgsociety.org

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