Saturday, August 01, 2015


A Burbank effects house shifts work to the Land of Northern Tax Subsidies.

... Visual-effects company Stereo D, which last summer announced plans to open a Toronto office, notified the state earlier this year that in June it would be laying off more than 225 employees, including 75 temporary employees.

However, William Sherak, co-founder and president of the company, which specializes in converting films to a 3-D format, said there are still about 100 employees at the Burbank location.

“We will always remain committed to Burbank as our headquarters,” he said.

According to the filings with the state, the majority of the Stereo D layoffs affected artists, though some production supervisors and managers were also slated to be let go. ...

The California Film Commission last May awarded $82.8 million in tax credits for television productions. ... Sherak said it’s too soon to know the impact of those incentives on his business. The firm is a leader in 3-D conversion, a labor-intensive process that involves artists working on every frame of a film, which some artists call “pixel pushing.” ...

The recent formation of Deluxe Animation Studios, which Sherak also heads and which is located in the same building as Stereo D on Empire Avenue, could add 20 to 40 positions, Sherak said.

The company is set to recruit animators at the 42nd International Conference and Exhibition on Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques, known as SIGGRAPH 2015, which will be at the Los Angeles Convention Center the week of Aug. 9, as well as the Creative Talent Network Expo at Los Angeles Marriott Burbank Airport in November. ...

I'm a wee bit skeptical about Stereo D's commitment to Burbank, since there are all those layoffs supplying evidence to the contrary.

Still in all, they're recruiting staff for the new cartoon facility. And Mr. Sherak does imply that the talent pool in Southern California creates a gravitational pull for companies making cartoons.

So maybe when the hirings and layoffs are done and the corporate dust has settled, Stereo D/Deluxe Animation Studios will have a net gain in personnel.


teknagirl said...

As a former StereoD employee, they have been laying off and hiring newbies since 2011 before Deluxe purchase on 5/5/2011. They have shifted work from India (Pune) to Canada to England. Yes they are chasing the incentives. And they have a shaky infrastructure as well. An employee doing the same job (like Roto/paint) can work for $12/hr while the person next him/her do same thing for $18. Unfair! Yes! Only thing that helped StereoD was when Deluxe allowed staff employees (if they were told they were) can get benefits like health, 401K, etc. The rest are contract and 1099ers with no benefits and no assurances they will ever have a "career" in VFX at StereoD.

Steve Hulett said...

Ah yes, the sub-contractors who work in-house. Of course, this is likely illegal if any of these employees care to pursue it. When you work inside on company equipment, take direction from supervisors, the odds are good that you're actually an employee.

Don't know what each individual's separate situation is, but 'twere me I would do some research. And file paperwork at the appropriate state agency.

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