Iron Sky – Day 17
I just sent Luke home after he had pulled about 18 hours straight. I am here doing some last minute tests before heading home myself. All we have left to do for our next batch of renders is do some object swap outs, tripple check everything for placement, light the scene for key, fill, bounce (no big deal – I can do that in my sleep and probably will have to) , set up the break out scenes and throw it on the farm. I hope the power holds for our renders. While many of you know that I typically use Smedge, the production here is using RenderPal, which is the same idea more or less and I have used it before, but somehow I am thinking I’m going to keep it on the boxes “just in case”. I’m rather impressed with LightWave3D 10.1 and the latest builds and while I can’t say much there are some “glitches” but they are overcome easily and I know they are being fixed. I recently rediscovered an amazing little time saver (well actually its a massive big huge thing if you know about it and use the software like I do) with regards to volumetric lights. I’m going to keep that little secret to myself for the moment until I can record the next Practical Production Techniques installation. Hopefully I can get permission to make use of the assets from Iron Sky in some way, at least for the video side of things. It’s really nice to be working on something “real” again that’s for sure, even if the hours are now pushing season II BSG insanity – I can see progress every step of the way and while we are slightly behind on our side we are going to make up for it about 10 fold on look, quality and render speed and throughput now that Luke and I have taken the extra steps in getting these assets production ready. I am a bit disappointed however with “European Work Ethics” regarding hours. Most of these guys leave to the SECOND at 8 hours (which includes a 1 hour fucking around lunch time in most cases). If I have anything to say about it, and for the most part I won’t have to as it’s going to become very apparent soon once our renders are done for this batch of shots, that hard work pays off big time and when you do the heavy lifting up front your momentum carries through. Some of these guys have been working on this show for a year already while Luke and I have been here for just over 2 weeks. I don’t know if its a LightWave vs. Maya thing or British/American work ethics (ie get it fucking done and do it right) vs. European attitude with regards to 8 hours and that’s it, even if there is a deadline crashing down around you or what, but in the time that Luke and I have been here one thing is certain – LightWave artists are monsters when it comes to being able to tackle work. Luke on his own has taken on stuff that we could have left alone and it would have been “ok” but when we both looked at certain things and did some tests and showed them to the Art Director and the VFX Producer of the show it was pretty clear to all of us these things needed to be done. I myself have been pushing the envelop on several things to get the look of the show up another several levels and so far I think everyone (except for the maya crew) are excited about it. I don’t want to come off like I am bashing the other guys or “maya” in general – but I have been in pressure cooker situations more often than not due to other outside of “my or anyone in vfxs'” control and we have to hit the pavement running. It’s just reality. As I was saying to Luke this evening, which was a thing someone impressed upon me while at BSG – This stuff is out there forever. Your name is attached to it and it means future work or not. Even awards. If you don’t push hard and do it while keeping the quality level up, there is someone who will replace you and probably for less money (hello? China) or you simply won’t work again or won’t for a long time. Film and TV is history in terms of memory – its always there for someone to look up and look at. The ultimate resume really. Well, I should stop babbling and get back to what I am doing here. I’m sticking around working so the “texture and maya” artist get the hint that we (LightWave people) are in this to win when they walk in and still find me perky (pepsi max is great) and rocking it out with the shots. More updates soon. Kat (and Luke, who really did need to sleep and deserves it).
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Just… Speaking as one of those people who only put in 8 hours a day, I just wanna say that large portions of the team isn’t getting paid anywhere near reasonable amounts. Some aren’t paid at all and some would get better salaries working as store clerks. Most would probably work a bit extra if the salary was something we could comfortably live on. We haven’t left for better paying jobs yet, So that’s a sign of excitement right?
It’s great that there are a few people like you on the team, which means the movie might actually get done someday, but just don’t hate on the rest of us too much if we’re not willing to put in the extra hours. It’s hard to get motivated when you have to count pennies to have a decent lunch.
I’m working on this show for less than half my standard rate. I can replace every single person working in the Maya department overnight (I’m serious) with LightWave3D people who need the work and haven’t had work in some time and will put in the 10-12 hours easily.
People need to start putting in that kind of time or its unemployment or worse. A film like this cannot be made again leading to more work because it blew a major opportunity for you, your coworkers and people you don’t even know who also need jobs and are creative and talented that will have them because Finland gets put on the MAP.
Also keep in mind your name is attached to this permanently. Once its out there its out there and you can’t explain away this or that or blame it on budget.
Some things to consider here.
1. No one cares about excuses.
2. Someone else will do it without complaining and for cheaper (China/India) or faster and better (USA/Canada/Britain).
3. If the film doesn’t get done on time and on schedule and on budget within reason – heads will roll. Guess whose? Yours? Nope. You’re just a “shift worker” right? It’s not your fault. Right? But Samuli and the others will pretty much be fucked for life.
4. If you can make more as a store clerk – go and do that instead. VFX vs store clerk… hmm.. One will get you a discount somewhere for booze maybe in the next down over, the other will bring opportunity for you to drink in other countries.
5. For the 8 hours value currently I don’t see where the money goes. Just yet of course. But it needs to start happening ASAP/RFN
That’s a hard and fast deadline.
Now I know its smoking hot in the office right now (I know because I am here at the moment watching renders, checking frames and setting up more shots) – but it could be worse. You could be outside on the street begging for change or collecting cans.
Ok forget what I said. I’m sorry.
People are people (one of the few Europop songs from eighties I can stand without tossing my cookies). Please don’t generalise “Europeans”. As the sole graphic designer / AD in my last job at a certain forestry magazine, you didn’t watch at the clock. If the PDFs had to be at the printers by deadline, they were. Even if it meant working all night.
The craziest fuckup was when I was drivin 300 klicks away in EtelÃ¤-Savo looking for a suitable plot for my parents’ summer cottage. It was fuckin’ sunday afternoon. I had FTPd the PDFs on Friday, as agreed (working late into the wee hours as usual). And this fuckwit from the printers calls me on SUNDAY that the file transfer had been buggered. Well, what can you do? Had to break some speed limits to get back to Helsinki to send them again.
And in Finland there is this nasty (and illegal) habit of not paying for overtime in some jobs. Instead it is “paid in equivalent free time”. Which you never have time to take. I was paid generally well, we had all the perks one could get, I was proud of my job, and considered the mag “my baby”. After all I was the last link in the office before the PDFs shot off to the printers. So every fuckup the editors, contributors and advertisers had made came crushing on me. I was young, and could take that hell for little over 10 years. But it is taxing as hell, and my nerves couldn’t take it anymore. So I started to drink. A lot. And on the job. You know what happens then…
Well, I’m recovering now. At 41 I can still make a new start.
But I can well understand your frustration. Been there, done that. You pay peanuts, you get monkeys. And I don’t mean anyone at Energia now. Your words are a bit harsh at times, but at least your professional pride (or work ethics) seem to be doing well and kicking.
Ah… yeah this is the movie business… that’s how it works. If you are not prepared to put in these kinds of hours then you are in the wrong business. I blew my brains out on Galactica for 2 seasons along with a lot of other really talented artists most of which now work at huge studios after moving on and have steady stable work and reasonable hours and great pay. On Cargo in Switzerland I was working with two other LW artists and we had to play “VFX Mop” for a bunch of slack assed C4D/XSI artists who had a year to get to where they were and were still behind. One of my guys under me is still owed money from that job, another is owed about 20K CHF from that job still and that was two years ago. They are still waiting for the money. Be glad you are getting anything. Because many people that I know would kill to have what you have now.