The Broken VFX Business Model

Scott Squires has a good article about how the VFX business model is getting distorted by film subsidies.

Companies and workers will continue to be forced to move to the place on earth that offers the largest (tax-payer funded) film subsidies.

As far as I know, here in Germany, the Stuttgart area (or the state it’s the capital of) has recently increased subsidies. Companies like Pixomondo or Mackevision (think “Game of Thrones”) surely benefit in the sense that they can get some shots from overseas shows.


Oh look! LookFX, which had opened an office in Stuttgart, maybe unrelated to said subsidies but maybe just because of them (I have no idea) has gone tits up.

In Munich I’ve immediately heard people ask for further tax breaks for post-production work. But would that really benefit local vendors or just big film studios? And wouldn’t it be a bubble that’s gonna burst when another state takes the lead in a “race towards the bottom”?

You could certainly design subsidies that can’t simply be exploited by overseas studios as a way to reduce their costs while not actually increasing profits of local vendors. Attach limits or thresholds, coupled to the amount of money that’s spent on local actors or other crafts. Whatever. But will those subsidies be effective in attracting shows when the producers of said shows wouldn’t profit as much as from Vancover’s or New York’s taxpayers?

Another blog that’s constantly covering the issue of film subsidies is VFX Soldier.

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