Saturday, October 31, 2009

Turning to Cartoons

There might be more visual effects in movies than ever, but that doesn't mean there's any money in it.

In an ever-competitive vfx market, Buf is one of the rare companies in France to be regularly tapped by Hollywood studios to create high-end work for tentpoles, such as "The Matrix" trilogy, "Spider-Man" franchise and "The Dark Night." ...

It's [Pierre] Buffin's quest for originality and independence that has set Buf apart and drawn the attention of his international clientele. Some of the tools he pioneered are camera mapping, stereo modeling and the "bullet time" effect ... "He's the big signature of visual effects in France."

Buffin now is stepping up his activities in the toon arena. He created the animation on Luc Besson's blockbuster "Arthur and the Minimoys" and its two sequels ... "It's essential for me at this stage to initiate projects and feed the pipeline," he says. "I can't sit on my chair and wait for projects to come my way." ...

What Pierre is saying here is that jobbing visual effects for big budget tent-poles doesn't cut it anymore, not if you want to stay in business. The only way a viz effx house, even one that's high profile and renowned, can survive in the market today is making its own animated product.

The problem is, creating content audiences want to see isn't as easy as it looks. Just ask Imagi or Sony Imageworks or any number of visual effects shops who've attempted to make the jump to "animation studio." If they're honest, they'll tell you that breaking into the charmed circle of Pixar, Blue Sky Animation and DreamWorks Animation is hard.


Anonymous said...

Problem is, he's a software engineer. Not a screenwriter. Creating original stories audiences are willing to pay for, and distributers are willing to finance, is very different than writing software. Not easier, just different.

And Buf is only one of MANY effects shops that get work for the features he mentions. And Buf is not one of the bigger or better ones, either.

Steve Hulett said...

So Monsieur Buffin had better go hire his own John Lasseter, non?

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