Computer Graphics World

Education Supplement 2009

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Hiring in Hard Times CG and effects studios face new recruiting challenges, while job applicants face new employment challenges in the industry By Jennifer Austin E ven in tough times, movies, games, and commercials still get made, and people still get hired to make them. But most CG studios have been affected by the recent financial turndown, just like everybody else. Some facilities are seeing fewer projects, and many are hiring more conservatively— picking up contract workers on a per-project basis rather than a permanent one. The applicant pool is different, too; more senior CG specialists are pounding the pavement—a boon for companies that can afford to hire them, but a bit of unwanted competition for raw recruits fresh out of school. Computer Graphics World/Post recently spoke with studio recruiters, both independent and in-house, for a look at the current situation with regard to hiring studio talent. Only a couple of studios that Computer Graphics World/Post spoke with say their operations had been unaffected by the recent downturn. Neither of those is in the US. "We're actually busier than we've ever been in terms of film projects," says Hannah Acock, recruitment manager for the UK-based Double Negative. And Lumière Visual Effects in Montreal has seen no changes, according to Lumière's HR recruiter, Christina Zervos. In the US, "generally speaking, the current economy has forced the entire entertainment industry to look at budgets and costs far more carefully," says Lori Beck, recruiter for Industrial Light & Magic (ILM). "Some have been forced to decrease their workforce, while others have even had to shut their doors." "The economy has certainly changed the way we hire right now," maintains Jana Manthei Day, director of recruiting for Sony Pictures Animation. For one, she says, when there is a "big push" to bring in recruits, the studio tries to hire locally in order to save on relocation costs. Another change, she points out, is a greater emphasis on hiring on a per-project basis rather than bringing on new staff. At Rhythm & Hues, most hires are on a project basis, which was the case when the facility worked on Night at the Museum 2. ©2009 20th Century Fox Film Corp. 14 Cindy Nicola, vice president of global talent acquisition for Electronic Arts (EA), says the new financial order has affected the hiring situation in several ways. "Like

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