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McGuinness Discusses Asylum's Shuttering

Asylum Visual Effects founder Nathan McGuinness told AWN that the financial collapse of his Santa-Monica-based vfx house came as a shock, amid the recession and inability to compete with overseas competitors in London, Canada and elsewhere without the same kind of government tax incentives.

Asylum Visual Effects founder Nathan McGuinness told AWN that the financial collapse of his Santa-Monica-based vfx house came as a shock, amid the recession and inability to compete with overseas competitors in London, Canada and elsewhere without the same kind of government tax incentives.

"At end of the day, I couldn't manage to keep up," says McGuinness, whose company received an Oscar for MASTER & COMMANDER, and created a distinctively artist-driven culture at. Recent films include UNSTOPPABLE, THE SORCERER'S APPRENTICE, THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON and TERMINATOR SALVATION.

"As a privately-owned company, I just didn't have the capital behind me to stay operational, which is sad. It's really a hard one to evaluate because we were very busy; we had a lot of movies running. But the bottom line is, without the payment type of schedules driven by the commercials and by the studios, it's very hard for a privately-owned company to prepare for incoming jobs.

"I don't have any bad blood with anyone, but I thought by now the government would've tried to do something to help us compete with the companies in rest of the world."

McGuinness has declared bankruptcy and must now deal with the painful closing of his studio, which he has been trying to forestall for nearly a year. Many of his artists are finding jobs elsewhere, but he still has to figure out his own future in VFX. However, he says he is very skeptical about IATSE's intention to organize vfx artists. In fact, it's been the ability to negotiate individually with artists that has kept prices down.

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