Big versus Small

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A couple friends and I had lunch today and we started discussing how big visual effects companies do business differently than small ones. The discussion came up on how ILM is going to be moving into their new Presidio complex here in San Francisco this summer. Where will the money come from to fund this endeavour, and will it be enough to keep all the artists they have currently employed? How about small, one or two man operations? Can they do the work of a larger house with just their resources? Can they charge a significant amount of money LESS than the big houses and still get away with decent quality? Will anyone else know except us?

The reason why shops like ILM, SPI, Dreamworks, and Pixar can keep expanding is because they have an inate ability to promote themselves with their own developed shows, while still being able to be profitable. All the larger companies that I mentioned above also have a significant amount of resources and infrastructure to make such amazing films such as Spiderman, Shrek, and Finding Nemo. There is also a level of talent that resides at these companies that mesh together. Something that you can't get by just tossing a group of freelancers in one room and asking them to get along.

It seems that that there is a shift to a show-based visual effects industry, where everyone is freelance and comes onto a show, and then leaves that show to go to another one, with no ties to any one company. The Visual Effects Society is going in the right direction, with providing members with health care plans since this shift is happening. It's a great step!

What would you prefer? A show-based industry where you have to search for your next job and maybe endure a bad show to pay the bills, or a company based industry where you mesh with your coworkers, and the company is responsible for getting the work for you?

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