Tuesday, May 16, 2006
At a time when conventional wisdom around town sez the visual effects business operates at too low a margin, and is too vulnerable to the Indian animation expansion, an investment group that includes director Michael Bay has bought Digital Domain. . . Digital Domain was formed in 1993 by James Cameron, Stan Winston, and Scott Ross (former head of ILM), along with a big investment by IBM. DD went on to do major effects work on an impressive list of films and commercials, while also developing a reputation as something of a sweatshop. A recent online poll of vfx workers ranked it as the worst place in town to work. On the other hand, I spoke to a friend at the Over the Hedge wrap party who's been at DD for a few months who said it's been a pleasure to work there. As a side note, Scott Ross, the outgoing DD CEO, once publicly debated Tom Sito on the merits of unionization in animation. As far as I know, he's the only nonunion studio head to ever have the guts to do that. It'll be interesting to see if the new owners/managers have larger plans. It's always seemed to me that the work-for-hire effects biz is a high-risk, low-reward proposition.
Posted by Kevin Koch at 11:59 AM