[Sidefx-houdini-list] Re: Interviewing Candidates

CraigLeeHoffman at aol.com CraigLeeHoffman at aol.com
Tue Jun 12 22:23:38 EDT 2007


I figured I should chime in on this since I have lived through much of what  
you guys have been discussing.
I was a TD at Disney before they were Unionized  (way back in the PRISMs 
days!..).  We did longer hours  than the Union artists and were salaried so we 
didn't get overtime after 40  hours like they did, even though we worked side by 
side and did much of the same  work.  We eventually got Unionized (long story 
here but we banded together  ourselves to make sure we got treated right in 
this deal since they were trying  to give us 50 hour work weeks instead of 40 
like everyone else at Disney) and it  was a good thing.  Hours were better, we 
got overtime, benefits were good,  etc.  Nothing like the "Unions are Evil" 
thing that many people try to get  you to believe.  The main thing is the 
Management was forced to plan  better and schedule more realistically instead of just 
dumping tons of work  on folks with little time to do it because they were 
unable to manage things  properly.  That is all the Union really achieves- it 
makes management do  their job.
Now on to EA.  When the Disney Studio shut down in  Orlando, I decided I 
didn't have faith in the schizophrenic film world any more  (start a new studio, 
make a film, shut it down, repeat) and decided to try Video  Games.  I worked 
long hours, but not much worse than I did in film (and not  as bad as what I 
have heard at some VFX facilities) and then the EA Spouse thing  happened.  The 
lawsuit was real and it had an effect, but other things were  happening too.  
EA was losing good people, and they realized that they had  not done a good 
job transitioning to larger more complex Next Gen  Projects.  A whole slew of 
things have gone into play in the last two  years, and guess what?  Things got 
better.  Entry level folks now have  40 hour weeks with paid overtime.  I am 
salaried (with bonus) and work  between 40 and 50 hours a week.  There are 
crunches where hours are longer,  but I haven't had one in a while.
Anyway, we have to realize that we are valuable and stop killing ourselves  
because of bad management and planning.  We have the talent and the means  to 
get the job done right.  Sure they can outsource to some far away land,  but 
that has it's own costs and difficulties.  We need to stick together  and 
support each other.  I know that sounds like "Union Talk", but what is  going on 
right now (and has been for a while) in "CG-Land" is pretty much what  got Unions 
started in the first place, and nothing is going to change if we keep  
standing idly and quietly by while Studios keep undercutting each other to win  bids 
and then kill their folks to get the work done.
That's my 2 cents.
Craig Hoffman
Visual Effects Director
EA Tiburon
In a message dated 6/12/2007 12:56:08 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time,  
lisa at red3d.com writes:

The VFX  industry needs to pay attention to the lessons learned in the  
game  industry. Making insane hours the norm not only burns out your   
employees at an alarming rate, it also opens you up to lawsuits. See   
what happened to  EA


This all came from a blog posting of an EA  spouse



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