VFX: An Industry Worth Staying In

VFX: An Industry Worth Staying In? –  “Inside VFX” Book Review

(insidevfx.com)                 Pierre Grage’s book “Inside VFX” is an informative read looking at the visual effects industry from its earliest days up until today. If you want a look into the rich history and the many industry pressures found in today’s Hollywood VFX industry this is the book for you.

As an industry professional myself, and having garnered interest to pursue a career in this field due
to some of the work mentioned in Grage’s book, I was interested to read about the possible economic forces at play in an industry that has been facing financial difficulty and a race to the bottom.

Grage provides many cited sources and graphs showing Hollywood trends over time, and his book is well researched and insightful on the politics that play into the financial aspects of the industry. I felt he really hit the mark when discussing how tax incentives have affected the globalization of the VFX community’s workforce, why Hollywood chases these subsidies follows them around the world.

The book portrays a dire situation with a grim outlook,
but I found the solutions lacking. I can only assume Grage feels the same way as a principle reason behind the book seems to be whether VFX is an industry worth him staying in. He is also under the assumption that the VFX companies hate their artists. While I find that a bit of a stretch, I do agree that we, as VFX employees, are a commodity. And yes, I AM going to call us employees even though many workers are freelance and on short term contracts. So often are we taken advantage of and have to pay the price for bad VFX business practices like fixed bidding with endless client corrections, you have to wonder… did they forget that we are human? Yeah that dinner they provided us with is nice, but I don’t want to be eating it at work five nights a week and miss out on seeing my family, and I need sleep to make quality changes effectively.

Someone should show the visual effects industry the charts on lost productivity with increased hours. They actually get a worse product and lose money, while also getting burnt out and tired employees.


This is also where I felt Grage missed a great opportunity in this book. I really feel like this book left the humanity of the workers out, rather as many VFX companies miss the humanity behind their great productions. He briefly mentions the turmoil some employees face, but could have gone much further in expressing this. He does provide an extensive chapter on mental health issues, which he feels a lot of people in the industry seem to have (mainly being sociopaths and having Asperger’s). While I think it’s an interesting idea, I can’t say that I’ve felt the same way. Despite the “Hollywood glamour” which Grage seems to think lures sociopaths in, I do wonder why he feels there are more sociopaths in VFX than in other jobs? I would think there’d be just as many/few in any organisation.

If instead we had seen what I feel is the actual humanity behind VFX we might hear stories of workers whose contracts get cut short in foreign countries and are forced to suddenly sell everything and move back to Forces of capitalism: Avatar, one of the many VFX-heavy films on which Pierre Grage worked their home countries, finding themselves without jobs and losing their deposits on flats. Or maybe we might have heard about those who waited at home over a weekend when the news broke that Rhythm and Hues was going under, to find out if they weren’t going to get paid or have a job to show up to on Monday. We might hear about the men and women who don’t put their children to sleep or maybe don’t even live in the same countries. If we could have heard their real stories maybe it would really explain to people what it feels like to be in the trenches working long hours to finish a blockbuster and the abysmal outlook and hopelessness many employees feel for future and longterm job stability in an industry they have given so much to.

Grage mentions BECTU’s work reporting this human side of the industry, quoting: “77% of people knew someone who had recently left the industry over workloads, overtime and poor working conditions; 81% of people have felt pressured or bullied into working overtime for free on films; 83% of people said it was difficult, or very difficult, to raise a family while working in VFX.”

I think that sums up a little of where we are today in the industry. Grage’s ideas for the future are to take a long hard look and think about if this is the right industry to work in and the whole industry needs a reboot and maybe some new technology much like stereo 3-d helped to boost sales. He suggests it may come from oculus rift, but cautions the reader that the vFX studios would be happy to replace us with computer algorithms and low-wage workers who wouldn’t need the knowledge to produce great results.

Overall I would recommend reading Pierre Grage’s Inside VFX. It’s a good look into the history and economics of Hollywood’s relationship with VFX. As for my opinion on the future, let’s just say I think a united front with collective bargaining would help immensely, especially in the case of long hours. While Grage touches on this, it’s not his solution.

Just remember, it’s not just BECTU we will need to rely on to help achieve changes in workers’ rights and compensations, it’s you. You are the union. You will make the difference to change BECTU’s survey results on hours and poor working conditions. Are you ready to step up to the plate? I’m in, are you?

“War of the Planet of the Apes” Swings Ahead

East Los High’s Gabriel Chavarria has signed on for War of the Planet of the Apes

Following the announcement earlier today that 20th Century Fox has wrapped principal photography on both X-Men Apocalypse and Independence Day Resurgence, Deadline brings word that the studio is also moving forward with casting on their 2017 franchise feature, Matt Reeves’ War of the Planet of the Apes. According to the outlet, the sci-fi sequel has hired “East Los High” star Gabriel Chavarria. He’ll be playing one of two key human roles.

“I know that part of the desire for Matt [Reeves] to do this next movie is about continuing the enjoyment of seeing these apes evolve. So I don’t think we’re going to see a situation where we’re jumping [ahead in time],” series star Andy Serkis said of the film last year. “…It might be three films, It could be four. It could be five. Who knows? But the journey will continue. It might not necessarily be summarized or completely fulfilled in this next one. The point being, eventually we know that we’re going to end up back at ‘The Planet of the Apes,’ but whether it’s this film or not, I don’t know.”

Reeves, who directed last year’s Dawn, will return for the sequel, the script for which he is co-writing with Mark Bomback.

“The notion of what we’re after with the third is to sort of continue that trajectory and see how he becomes a seminal figure in ape history,” Reeves previously told us. “He almost becomes sort of like an ape Moses. A mythic status… We’re trying to play out those themes and continue to sort of explore it in this universe. Exploring human nature under the guise of apes.”

Gabriel Chavarria, who also recently appeared on NBC’s ‘Aquarius,” can be seen coming up in Ricardo de Montreuil’s Lowriders, starring opposite Melissa Benoist, Demian Bichir and Eva Longoria.


Disney Previews Iron Man Experience Ride

(variety.com)          Bob Bacon, Paramount Animation’s executive VP, production, is leaving the studio and his position will be eliminated.

Bacon had been at Paramount for just under four years. He had previously been a producer and consultant, after having been an executive VP at Walt Disney Feature Animation from 1991 to 2006.
n chief at a major with both live-action and animation responsibilities — Warner’s Steve Papazian, for one, also oversees animation production.

Paramount Animation, the studio’s animation division, was created after the studio released “Rango” and ended its relationship with DreamWorks Animation. It released its first feature, “The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water,” in February 2015. Its slate includes “Monster Trucks,” and it recently struck an alliance with Ilion Animation Studios of Spain, which will handle production on a tentpole film with IP created at Paramount. Both pics are scheduled for release in 2016.

VIDEO – Take a look:   http://bamsmackpow.com/2015/08/16/d23-expo-2015-disney-previews-iron-man-experience-ride/

Production Wraps on Suicide Squad Movie

(comingsoon.net)       Filming has wrapped on the Suicide Squad movie

Following in the foot steps of Captain America: Civil War, X-Men: Apocalypse, and Independence Day Resurgence, production has wrapped on Warner Bros.’ upcoming Suicide Squad movie. CTV News put together a story about co-stars Margot Robbie and Jai Courtney visiting a local girl’s lemonade stand, perhaps the nicest thing that members of Task Force X have ever done. The station revealed the pair were on their way to the wrap party for the film afterwards. You can check out the video below.

Suicide Squad stars Will Smith (The Pursuit of Happyness, Focus) as Deadshot, Joel Kinnaman (RoboCop, Easy Money) as Rick Flagg, Margot Robbie (The Wolf of Wall Street) as Harley Quinn, Jai Courtney (Divergent, The Water Diviner) as Captain Boomerang, Cara Delevingne (Anna Karenina, upcoming Pan) as Enchantress, Karen Fukuhara as Katana, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje as Killer Croc, Jay Hernandez as El DIablo, Adam Beach as Slipknot, Viola Davis as Amanda Waller and Jared Leto as the Joker. There’s also mystery roles for Ike Barinholtz, Scott Eastwood, Raymond Olubowale, Alex Meraz, Jim Parrack, and Common.

Created by Robert Kanigher and Ross Andru back in 1959, the Suicide Squad team has included countless DC villains among its ranks, including Deadshot, Captain Boomerang, Bane, Killer Frost, Poison Ivy, Count Vertigo, Deathstroke, and Harley Quinn. The CW’s “Arrow” introduced their own version of the team in the most recent season of the series and the recent animated film, Batman: Assault on Arkham, offered another version of the team.

Suicide Squad will debut in theaters on August 5, 2016.

Academy Considers 20 Sci-Tech Achievements

(animationmagazine.net)               The Scientific and Technical Awards Committee of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced today that 20 scientific and technical achievements, involving 11 distinct investigations, have been selected for further consideration for 2015 Academy Awards. The list is made public to allow individuals and companies with similar devices or claims of prior art the opportunity to submit achievements for review. The deadline to submit additional entries is Tuesday, September 1, at 5 p.m. PT.

A remote-controlled lens attachment that enables highly adjustable in-camera
distortion effects. Prompted by Squishy Lens (Clairmont Camera)

A remote-controlled lens attachment that allows viewable, easily manipulated, real-time image movement without displacing the camera. Prompted by Image Shaker (Clairmont Camera)

Portable, inflatable panels for on-location motion picture production. Prompted by Inflatable Airwall (Aircover Inflatables)

Displays that provide P3 color space for image review in motion picture workflows. Prompted by Dolby Laboratories model PRM-4200 Professional Reference Color Monitor (Dolby Laboratories)

Tools that are used for the creation and quality control of DCI compliant digital cinema packages for the motion picture industry. Prompted by easyDCP Software Suite (Fraunhofer IIS)

Rig-based solvers for tracking and animating deforming objects from image sequences. Prompted by Geometry Tracker (ILM) and FACETS – Directable Facial Motion Capture (Weta Digital)

Integrated computer solutions for collaborative, iterative review of cinema resolution shots and sequences within the visual effects and animation studio environment. Prompted by RV Media Player (Tweak Software)

Clip – A Comprehensive Playback, Editing and Review Suite (Double Negative)

DreamWorks Animation Media Review Ecosystem (DreamWorks Animation)

FrameCycler (IRIDAS)

Global DDR (Rhythm & Hues)

HiDef – Media Review System (Weta Digital)

Itview Collaborative Review System (Sony Pictures Imageworks)

WDAS Collaborative Enhanceable Image Playback and Review Systems (Walt Disney Animation Studios)

Large-scale, massively parallel, distributed, multi-physics simulation systems. Prompted by Odin: A massively parallel simulation environment (Weta Digital)

Image compression coding and parameters that adhere to the specifications for the theatrical release of motion pictures. Prompted by JPEG 2000 Digital Cinema and IMF Profiles (Fraunhofer IIS)

3D texture paint systems capable of dealing with large texture sets for production assets. Prompted by MARI (The Foundry)

Rule-based frameworks for the art-directable creation of computer-generated structures and urban environments. Prompted by CityEngine (Esri R&D Center Zurich)

After thorough investigations are conducted in each of the technology categories, the committee will meet in early December to vote on recommendations to the Academy’s Board of Governors, which will make the final awards decisions. The 2015 Scientific and Technical Awards will be presented on Saturday, February 13, 2016.

Visual Effects Society Demo Material Guidelines

(visualeffectssociety.com)                  Overview

From the earliest beginnings of our industry, compilation or “demo” reels as they are known in the industry have been the standard vehicle that artists and facilities use to promote and market their skills and services.  With the proliferation of online distribution and digital media formats, and concerns for security, this industry standard practice has been challenged for a myriad of legitimate reasons. However, the practices and policies implemented to date have become inconsistent among producers, studios and production companies.  This, in turn, has negatively impacted visual effects practitioners who are increasingly denied access to their work while trying to survive in a highly competitive and global marketplace.

As stated in the Visual Effects Society’s VFX Bill of Rights, the Society upholds the concept of Portfolio Rights.  More specifically, we recognize the right of artists and facilities to show work that they have contributed to in order to seek and gain employment in the field.

Using work from a project on a demo reel may seem a logical and even moral right, but it is critical to acknowledge this is an arena fraught with complexity that can result in legal action and even criminal proceedings if mishandled.  Copyright law can be a delicate arena to navigate.  Thus the VES makes the following recommendations on how materials are handled, both at the facility and the artist level.

General Guideline:  As a rule, any work-for-hire material presented as part of a demo reel portfolio must be shown in a private, non-commercial format. It should be presented only after public release of the work, and done in a manner that does not interfere whatsoever with the copyright holder’s ability to promote and exploit their own work for commercial gain as set forth in the practices stated below.

Guidelines For VFX Facilities

1. Contract Clause:  It is in your best interest to negotiate the right to use project material for your demo (as well as the right for your artists’ use) as part of your initial contract with the studio or producers. This is often a complex negotiation and not always approved, but it should always be attempted.

2. No Use Before General Market Release:  Never allow footage from a media project to be used in any format before the project is commercially released in the United States. This is the most sensitive time for the distributor, where a single image might impact the ability to market the project. Any release of information during post-production can expose the facility to the risk of litigation. Direct requests for pre-release materials by the studio or producers for purposes such as public relations, test screenings or toy design, are, of course, appropriate.

3. Images from Released Version Only:  When including imagery in your demo reel, only use shots that appear in the released version of the movie. Do not publicly release shots that were cut from the final project or use alternate takes that you may prefer unless specific permission has been granted.

4. Actor Approvals:  Be aware actors often have clauses in their contracts that give them final approval over how and when their images are used. The company should seek permission from the studios in these cases.

5. Plates:  Do not release original plates in any form without the express written consent of the studio or distributor.

6. Utilize PR Channels for Public Usage: Whenever possible, utilize a publicist or public relations firm to obtain permission for use of materials in a public forum, such as industry presentations, promotional events or any other widely-viewed format or venue.  Following the film’s release, the studio’s marketing department will continue to carefully manage information to best promote the movie. Unapproved materials can impact carefully laid plans and thus harm your relationship with the producer or studio. A well-connected public relations firm or publicist will know the proper communication channels to utilize in order to receive permission. Under no circumstances should you publicly show any “making-of” material, shot builds or any information that reveals the “secrets” of the film without studio permission.

7. Third Party Usage: While it may not ultimately be your responsibility to obtain permission for an outside group (media, educational group, news program, etc.) to use your demo reel or to display your work, permission should nonetheless be sought by either you, the third party who executed the work, or the organization that seeks to present the materials.

8. Provide Only Shots in Release:  Unless otherwise negotiated, only provide shots to artists that: 1) have appeared in a theatrical or mass-market promotional trailer or 2) have been released as into the home video market (DVD, Blu-Ray or On-Demand format).

9. Footage Request Forms: When providing information to artists, determine a company policy and create a form that allows an artist to request a “reasonable” number of shots. The form should require the show supervisor confirm the artist worked on “significant elements” in the requested shot.

10. Provided Footage: When providing shots to artists, always include the company logo “bug” or other on-screen ID.  Establish a standard delivery format for the artist. For example, you can provide HD Quick Times in a specific compression. Make this part of your employee manual so the procedure is clear to all employees.

Guidelines For Artists

1. Deal Memo Clause: Much like a facility, you should attempt to negotiate the use of shots you’ve contributed to for self-promotional purpose at the time you negotiate your deal memo. It may not be possible to put this in writing, but making it clear you are thinking of this prior to the start of the project is good practice.

2. Wait for General Market Release:  Never use footage from a media project in any format before the general market release of the project.  This includes the home video market (DVD, Blu-Ray or in an On-Demand format) for theatrical film projects or the mass-market television or internet release of other media projects by the copyright holder.

3. Plates, Intermediate Materials & Builds: Never use original plates or other non-final material in any form without the express consent of the visual effects production company, or distributor  Any “builds” or shot breakdowns that utilize intermediate materials to demonstrate how a shot was executed should be approved by the facility or copyright holder and should be properly credited as work contributed to create the shot.

4. Images from Released Version Only: When including imagery in your demo reel, only use shots that appear in the released version of the media project. Do not publicly release shots that were cut from the final movie or use alternate take that you prefer.

5. Actor Approval:  Artists should be aware that lead actors in film and television projects will normally have clauses in their contracts that give them final approval over how their images are used.  Any unauthorized use of an actor’s image by an individual artist could result in legal action or industry blacklisting of both the visual effects company and the individual artist.  Never show camera original plates (“before” portion of a before/after comparison) of a lead actor without the express written consent of the copyright holder or visual effects company.

6. Theatrical Trailer Shots: If you worked on material that has been released in a theatrical or mass-market promotional trailer, it is generally considered acceptable to use those shots in your demo.

7. Social Media: A demo reel is a professional tool to help you market your skills for future employment.  It should not be intended for public consumption. Avoid unwanted and unnecessary exposure on public forums and social media sites.

8. Third-Party Websites: Do not provide your demo reel to any other websites. If you receive a request to show parts of your demo reel, refer the requester to the studio’s or VFX facility’s marketing departments or publicists for their own approval.

9. Breakdowns: Always provide a reel breakdown in text or pdf format on your website. It’s important to explain to a viewer what you did on every shot.

10. Proper Credit:  Give credit where credit is due. In your reel breakdown, identify the work you did, and the work you didn’t do. Thank the VFX facilities and/or studios, and acknowledge the copyright owner for the material (i.e. “copyright Paramount Pictures”), preferably as a small watermark on the shot.

11. Private Viewing Format & Security: When possible, show your demo reel on a portable device and do not leave it behind. If posting the materials on your own website or a video sharing website (such as Vimeo), always use password protection. Passwords should then only be provided on a one-to-one basis to potential employers.  This will enhance security and limit the ways you might be exposed to legal consequences.

For both facilities and artists, it is always best to be cautious, as well as honest, about your use of copyrighted material. Though there are no clear cut rules on these matters, the more that you can show you are being responsible with the material, the less likely you will offend someone. By following the rules above, and basic common sense, you should be able to safely present your work to potential employers and clients.

Source:     https://www.visualeffectssociety.com/post/visual-effects-society-demo-material-guidelines

Watch the Peanuts Kids Scream About the CGI Peanuts Movie

(vulture.com)            In the past decade, an insidious force has crept its way into the lives of America’s youth: CGI cartoons. It only used to appear in the occasional TV show (remember ReBoot?) and movie (the less said about The Polar Express, the better). Now it’s everywhere in children’s programming.

But CGI has finally gone too far: This fall, the beloved characters of Peanuts are being tossed into the Uncanny Valley of computer-generated cartooning. The trailer for The Peanuts Movie is disorienting and disturbing for anyone who loves the timeless Charlie Brown masterpieces of yore. It was too much to bear. In the latest “Vulture Remix,” video artists Diane Bullock and Mike Schuster force the beloved hand-drawn tykes of Peanuts to see what’s been done in their name. The results aren’t pretty.

Tune in Mondays for more Vulture Remixes, and check out our past episodes, in which wonderful things happen, like Doug Funnie singing Fetty Wap and Howard the Duck getting a big-budget Marvel-movie reboot.

VIDEO – Take a look:    http://www.vulture.com/2015/08/vulture-remix-peanuts-movie.html

Blue Sky and PacMin Studio Form New Partnership –   Focus On Immersive Exhibits / Uncanny Realism

(PRWEB.com)         Blue Sky CGI, an award-winning studio specializing in CGI and multi-media, and PacMin Studio, an industry leader in visually dynamic scale models and prototypes, announce a new partnership beginning this year. The partnership connects Blue Sky CGI’s photorealistic creative content with PacMin Studio’s precisely engineered models to create accurate, immersive exhibits for virtually any product—existing or conceptual.

Blue Sky CGI produces a wide spectrum of multi-media and creative services including CGI renderings, creative retouching, mobile app design, and 3D projection. With a photographer’s eye in mind, they can seamlessly incorporate a product into any environment.

PacMin Studio utilizes detailed engineering and customer provided data to design scale models and prototypes. Models range in size from 5 inch (12.7 cm) palm-sized marketing models to full size engine nacelle mock-ups measuring over 12 feet (3.7 m) in diameter.

“Blue Sky CGI and PacMin Studio are a natural match. Each of us is an industry leader in our field and to stay leaders, we constantly challenge boundaries and strive to create a better product for our customers. It was actually one of our mutual airline customers who suggested that our two companies should team up,” said Dan Ouweleen, PacMin President.

The automotive and entertainment industry are leaders in immersive environments and emerging technologies. Other industries, such as aviation and aerospace, with complex or high-risk products can benefit from taking advantage of these advances.

With in-flight experience innovations and new aircraft expecting to enter market in next 20 years, PacMin-Blue Sky CGI’s precise scale models and realistic projection technology can enhance product launches and demonstrations. Once a model is produced, creative content is custom programmed to complement the model. Content can then be easily refreshed for unlimited future uses.

PacMin-Blue Sky CGI’s approach gives clients greater control over the customer experience, and creates new ways to promote their brand and message.

“We share the common goal of providing the finest visual assets to meet the specific goals of every project. Our clients are part of the team. Creating amazing imagery is an exciting process, and we’re excited to bring our clients in to share that experience,” said Lee Waters, Blue Sky CGI Director.

Pixar To Release A New Open-Source Tool For Animators

(techtimes.com)                  Pixar Animation Studios will release an open-source universal scene description tool to be used as an industry standard. It’s expected to better streamline the workflow for animators by combining objects from various apps into one “scene graph.”

Pixar Animation Studios has been entertaining us for years, inspiring audiences and filmmakers alike with its level of creativity and high-quality animation. And now Pixar fans will have help making their own animated shorts and films because Pixar plans to release a new open-source tool that is expected to roll out in the summer of 2016.

Pixar previously released its in-house animation software called RenderMan for free for noncommercial use. This time its Universal Scene Description open-source software will help animators and filmmakers better streamline production since the tool allows them to input from animation apps to combine objects into one “scene graph.”

“USD is the marriage of Presto’s ‘composition engine’ to lazy-access cached scene description, with top-to-bottom enhancements for scalability and leverage of today’s multicore systems effectively,” says Sebastian Grassia, lead engineer for the USD project, in a press release. It lets studios assemble and modify highly complex virtual scenes created with different digital content creation tools more easily.

The open-source tool will include embeddable 3D visualization via the GPU renderer Hydra, plugins for several visual effects digital content creation tools (VFX DCCs), tutorials, and Python bindings.

Pixar is still developing and optimizing USD, but has already began sharing snapshots with studios and vendors like The Foundry and Fabric Software for feedback.

While the tool will provide an industry standard, it may come later then expected since Pixar announced RenderMan, the renderer to create complicated 3D images, in June 2014, but it wasn’t released until March 2015

SIGGRAPH 2015 Pays Homage To Aardman Animations, Showcases New Technology

(shootonline.com)              At the recently concluded SIGGRAPH 2015 confab–about as high a high-tech event as you can find–a century-old technique, stop-motion animation, was given its due with tribute paid to one of its leading practitioners, Bristol, U.K.-based Aardman Animations.

On opening day of SIGGRAPH 2015 last week, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences presented a session devoted to Aardman, as its co-founder David Sproxton and cinematographer Dave Alex Riddett chronicled the studio’s voyage over the past three decades–and counting. Founded by Sproxton and Peter Lord, Aardman is no stranger to the Motion Picture Academy, having won four Oscars, the first coming in 1991 for the animated short Creature Comforts directed by Nick Park. That year, Creature Comforts beat out another Park-directed, Aardman-produced short, A Grand Day Out, for the Oscar statuette. Park’s later work featuring his A Grand Day Out stars–the eccentric inventor Wallace and his no-nonsense canine sidekick Gromit–yielded three more Oscars for the animated shorts The Wrong Trousers in 2004 and A Close Shave in 1996, and The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (directed by Park and Steve Box) which won the Best Animated Feature Oscar in 2006. Aardman thus far has amassed a total of 10 Oscar nominations.

Aardman’s filmography spans not only features and shorts but also TV programs, special venue projects, commercials and music videos. On the latter score, the studio made a major global splash in 1986 working alongside Stephen Johnson and the Brothers Quay on the seminal Peter Gabriel clip “Sledgehammer.” Fast forward to today and Aardman’s latest feature, Shaun the Sheep, has just been released in the U.S. by Lionsgate after receiving acclaim and a strong box office showing internationally. Written and directed by Aardman veteran Richard Starzak, Shaun the Sheep is based on a British TV show that was a spinoff of the aforementioned Wallace and Gromit short A Close Shave.

Full article:    http://www.shootonline.com/news/siggraph-2015-pays-homage-aardman-animations-showcases-new-technology

“Jonny Quest” Film Set For 2017

(darkhorizons.com)                With “Hitman: Agent 47” set to hit cinemas this week, there’s been a bunch of press regarding the film and interviews with the film’s producer Adrian Askarieh. Askarieh is a man in demand these days and one of his upcoming projects is that of the live-action film adaptation of the “Jonny Quest” franchise which Robert Rodriguez recently became attached to write and direct.

Speaking about ‘Quest’ this week with Collider, Askarieh confirmed that Rodriguez recently turned in the script he co-wrote with Terry Rossio which they crafted out of an earlier draft by Dan Mazeau. The script reportedly isn’t ready for the studio yet but will hopefully be handed in shortly after the Labor Day holiday.

In terms of the content, Askarieh says they’re using the original 1960s Jonny Quest prime time animated show as their source of inspiration, rather than the more recent “The New Adventures of Jonny Quest”. As a result, the original characters of Jonny Quest, Race Bannon, Benton Quest, Hadji, Jezebel Jade and even Bandit are all there.

In terms of a rating, he says “We want to make a PG-13… This is not going to be a kiddie action-adventure movie; this will be an action-adventure that happens to have a 12-year-old in it… That’s, all of us, that’s what we want. That’s our M.O. for this movie. Indiana Jones meets James Bond.”

“Hitman: Agent 47” opens in cinemas this week. “Jonny Quest” is targeting a 2017 release.

50 Jobs to be Created by Brown Bag Following Takeover by Canadian Firm

(rte.ie)                      Up to 50 jobs are to be created in Dublin after Irish studio Brown Bag Films was bought by Canadian animation studio 9 Story Media Group.

In a statement, Brown Bag Films said it will retain its brand, with the senior management team continuing to lead the company.

Brown Bag Films has received both Oscar and Emmy nominations for its past work, including ‘Give Up Yer Auld Sins’ and ‘Granny O’Grimm’s Sleeping Beauty’.

The company also animates a number of high-profile cartoons for companies like Disney and Nickelodeon, including Doc McStuffins and Henry Hugglemonster.

Co-founder and CEO of Brown Bag Films Cathal Gaffney, said: “Over the past 21 years, Brown Bag Films has constantly evolved its business model, always keeping quality at the forefront of everything we do.

“This new chapter is the next logical step for us in our ongoing evolution and will ensure that audiences around the world.”

Watch 5 Completely Unnecessary Uses of CGI in Movies

In recent years, there’s been a lot of backlash against CGI visual effects as movie studios rely on them more and more instead of practical set pieces, models and make-up effects (mostly because there’s some pretty terrible visual effects out there). We’ve already highlighted a thoughtful look at how CGI effects are actually great when not relied upon too heavily and blend seamlessly with practical filmmaking techniques.

But sometimes CGI special effects are just downright unnecessary and baffling, and the folks at Dorkly have assembled a short list of five of the most unnecessary CGI special effects, but beware of some brief NSFW nudity. Somehow one of the Star Wars prequels only appeared on the list once.

Here’s the 5 Most Baffling Uses of CGI in Movies from Dorkly:

I’ll bet you didn’t know about that John Wick “special effect.” Seriously though, why the hell did $5,000 need to be spent to make a digital pile of dog poop for a shot that barely lasts a few seconds when a prop piece could have done the trick just as well. That money could have gone towards something much useful, like paying off my student loans.

It’s impressive on some level that visual effects are so good that they can fake nudity on real people now, however, The Change-Up is not a very good example of this. I always knew there was something weird about Leslie Mann‘s topless scenes in that movie, but I thought she was just wearing some kind of chest prosthetic, which is why they looked so artificial.

And as ridiculous as it is for Fifty Shades of Grey to add digital pubes to obscure nudity, it’s nowhere near as terrible or stupid as that digital pear in Star Wars: Attack of the Clones. It’s excessive and even poorly done. Like the video says, it would have been much easier to just dangle a pear on a string and then take it out in post-production. But then again we’re talking about a movie that used visual effects to create all the Clone Troopers.

VIDEO – Take a look:   http://www.slashfilm.com/unnecessary-cgi-special-effects/

‘Terminator Genisys’ Is A Flop No More

(forbes.com)              Terminator Genisys may not be a box office flop anymore, but rather a groundbreaking smash hit. The Arnold Schwarzenegger sci-fi sequel opened with a whopping $27.4 million on its first day in China. That is the fourth-biggest opening day in that territory ever, behind Transformers: Age of Extinction ($30m),  Avengers: Age of Ultron ($33m), and Furious 7 ($63m). It’s higher than the $17m single-day debut for Jurassic World. Now the three films above it on the single day record list, and at least one film below it (Jurassic World with $229m) all earned over $200 million in China alone, with Transformers 4 and Furious 7 both earning over $300m ($320m and $390m respectively). Now for the record, we’re only talking about one day of box office and frontloading is as much a thing in China as it is in America. Word of mouth for the film likely won’t be much better over there than it was over here. It is probable that the movie’s opening week grosses will make up around 50% of its overall box office take, especially with the likes of Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation, Minions, and Ant-Man coming down the pike in September.

The film was the first American release to debut in China since Jurassic World debuted back in June, as its release ended the mid-summer “blackout” or moratorium on American which allows local productions (like the $330m+ grossing Monster Hunt) to have their piece of the box office pie. But with an opening day this big, there aren’t many scenarios by which Terminator Genisys isn’t a huge hit in China. From the moment it debuted in America seven weeks ago, I was careful to confine my analysis to its domestic performance, because I had an inkling that something like this might happen. Arnold Schwarzenegger still has a significant following in China, especially when it comes to franchises and/or team-ups with Sylvester Stallone. Escape Plan earned $40 million there in 2013, or 36% of its overall $112m foreign total. The Expendables 3 made a whopping $72m (43%) of its $166m overseas total to give the film a vaguely face-saving $200m+ worldwide cume.

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