I’m wondering whether the CGI people who work on Hollywood movies and so on, get paid a FLAT salary, something flat+something commission, or TOTALLY commission, ie. their income is dependent on ticket sales of the movie…?
A VFX shop is considered “below the line” as far as budget. Same as any crew member. The same as a make up artist or an art director or wardrobe. “Above the line” is considered the creative talent. Examples of above the line would be directors, producers, actors, writers composers etc.
Only the creative “above the line” talent negotiate for percentages of movie profits.
A VFX shop will bid for the contract from the producers as a “below-the-line” budget item and the workers in the shop get a salary, even if on that project the shop did not make a profit, which can happen. Unless it is a very small company where the workers/co-owners decide to split profits. Either way it is still a below the line budget item for a movie.
There is a popular misconception about VFX as some kind of creative business. Most of the time it isn’t. Most of the time VFX companies (even big ones) work as a service companies.
You have an idea of cool table. You found good carpenter and he made this table for you. Now you own this table and a carpenter doesn’t have any rights on it. Even on it’s design. He won’t have any royalty if you’ll sell that table.
Carpenter just sold you a service of realizing of your idea, he did his job and got exact amount of money that were in a contract.
From the producer (and marketing) point of view situation looks like this:
- nobody (except extremely minor amount of geeks) will go watch movie because ILM or WETA on the poster.
- everybody (just for example) will go watch movie if Steven Spielberg of James Cameron on the poster.
That’s why VFX companies usually have only amount of money for exact amount of work they did. If they made mistake on a contract negotiation stage (for example - underestimate project complexity) - they screwed.
Exception are companies that do their own content like LAIKA, PIXAR, SPI, Tangent studio maybe (I don’t know if they share rights on “nextgen” with netflix or not).
I’m starting to think those “interviews” and “articles” with people like these, for example there was an article about Tenet in the paper the other day, with Dimple Kapadia saying “how utterly GOBSMACKED she was that Christopher Nolan chose her”…are No Co-incidence! If people get a high idea of that director, they’ll watch their movie, right? …this is some way to “make a star” out of a DIRECTOR??