Victoria Alonso Talks VFX Production, Marvel and The Avengers
VA: I mean, how long can you work for free?
DS: You can’t.
VA: I can’t, can you?
DS: No. It’s gotten very tough for vfx companies in the U.S. to compete. Obviously it’s a big issue within the visual effects business community. Where do you see opportunities for them? How should they position themselves to be competitive?
VA: I think the days of the high margins are gone, as a United States company. I’m not sure [about your future] if you are a big company like ILM and Digital Domain and you don’t go global, which is something they’ve all done. They all have a Vancouver office, they’ll have a Singapore office, they have a London office. Wherever you can get the work done you go do it. You have to restructure and you have to adjust. So, if you are rigid in your thinking, you’re not going to make it. It’s really as simple as that. You know the rest of the world has done it. We need to do it.
I’m making it [sound] very simple and it’s not that simple. But it’s happening everywhere.
The one thing that I would love to do if I could, if the governor of California would listen to us, is [to institute] the same kind of tax break in California as you get in Vancouver, as you get in the Carolinas, as you get in New Mexico, as you get in New York. Some have 20%, some have 25%, some have more. The reason why productions continue to leave [California] is because at the end of the journey, it’s a big check that is waiting for you. If you get the same quality out of any country or any state that you go to, then if I’m the studio I go, “Well, hold on, if I send it here, or I send it there, and I still get the same imagery, why wouldn’t I go to a place that gives me $30 million at the end of the day.” It’s a lot of money!
Hurdles are always put in front of us. Sometimes it doesn’t matter what tax incentive they give you. That place doesn’t have the locations that we need, the story cannot be re-written to fit the location or the imagery that we’re trying to create. That particular scene cannot be done in Asia, because we haven’t seen anything come out of there like we have seen in this other place. So, let’s bite the bullet on this one and go to the company that has done it before beautifully, because it’s a huge component of our film and let’s try to lessen the amount of money [spent] on other things. So, it’s that constant balance. You’re trying to get a little of this, take a little of that, and put it over there. It’s a struggle.
DS: What’s your philosophy on stereoscopic 3-D? You talked a little bit about how that’s the additional 40 pounds in your backpack on every hike you’re taking. What do you see in the next two, three, five years with regards to stereo?
VA: I don’t know. I wish I could tell you stereo is here to stay or stereo is going to go away. I don’t think it’s that black and white. I think the audience will decide where we’re going with it, which is the beauty of this market. I think that for certain films, especially for our films, it's another way of viewing our stories and our imagery, and I think that it does work for what we do.