VFX artist’s message to adland: You treat us like scum, you rob clients and you’re obsolete

roger boltonA visual effects artist has posted a hard-hitting message to the advertising industry, accusing agencies of treating suppliers like “scum” and ripping off clients.

In the post from Roger Bolton, who created key special effects in Lord Of The Rings, he explains why he is quitting the ad industry. He also predicts that agencies will lose much of their work as clients go directly to people like him.

Bolton wrote:

lord of the rings flames“I have worked on and off with multi-national ad agencies for almost 20 years. You name it I’ve worked with them. EuroRSCG, Dentsu, Ogilvy, M&C Saatchi etc etc etc. I’ve also been a VFX artist for almost 20 years with a long list of feature film credits. My work was personally chosen over 4 or 5 other artists by Peter Jackson to put the flames and reflection on the ring in the first Lord of the Rings film.

“And yet with every single job I’ve done with an ad agency, I am treated like scum, pressured to deliver to impossible deadlines, have my work insulted and my ideas over-ridden by an overpaid agency creative director. Trying to deliver to these standards and getting “fired” by an agency producer after working until 5AM to deliver a job is one of the things that drove me to six months of depression last year.

“Fire your clients. Well I am firing the entire world of ad agencies. Ad agencies are already half obsolete. Nowadays a small Hybrid creative studio can deliver on both production and post production for most jobs. Clients please pay attention: Ad agencies have been ripping you off blind on every job. I have seen the way budgets are broken up by agencies, at least 50 percent going into the pockets of the Agency partners which means less to spend on the actual execution , production and post. Ad agencies: I will go direct to your clients and undercut you delivering direct results and do it better than you can.

“By posting this publicly I am probably ensuring I will never work on another big budget TV commercial ever again. Thats ok with me. I have an income stream from my software plugins and I would rather do smaller jobs working direct with clients. Anyone thats worked in VFX or production for a long time knows what I am saying and agrees with me, but most people are not in the position I am where they can afford to say it.

“Bring it on 2013. I’m ready to rumble.”

According to Bolton’s LinkedIn profile, the University of Wollongong graduate has worked on ads for major brands including Sony Bravia and Singapore Airlines. He has freelanced at post production houses including Complete Post, Animal Logic, The Lab and Cutting Edge. He has also worked for Weta Digital in NZ and is currently based in Japan as GM and creative director of new creative studio Triple Hexagon.

Bolton’s full post (reproduced with permission):

roger bolton facebook



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