UPDATED: Tippett Studio co-founder Phil Tippett responds to The Hollywood Reporter with a statement posted on the VFX Solidarity International Facebook page: :
Tippett Studio would like to clarify what we feel was a misleading headline and article in HollywoodReporter.com today.
Given the current climate and environment affecting movies and visual effects production today, Tippett Studio has made a business decision, as we routinely do, to reduce our contract-based work force as the projects ebb and flow through our doors.
Staffing up is easy. Scaling down is not. It's always an emotionally challenging thing, because we are a company of artists, run by artists. By doing a slow scale-down as tasks and projects complete, we aim to keep our employees on as long as we can, and to bring them back as soon as possible.
We are not immune to the problems our colleagues are experiencing, but we are not in a period of crisis as a company with massive layoffs and bankruptcy. As a small, independent company, we are delighted when we have a series, such as the Twilight Saga,and then Ted that allowed us to maintain a sizable workforce year after year.
As we wrap our current work on After Earth, we have been slowly scaling down the work force and reducing our overhead, until we have something large enough to justify carrying a large staff, so that we can be here when our clients call. We are retaining our core talent, and will use that talent to re-staff the studio when larger projects, that need more artists, are in production.
Berkeley, CA –
VFX company Tippett Studio has laid off 40 percent of its workforce Friday, according to a report by The Hollywood Reporter, with the possibility of more pink slips to come.
More than 50 visual effects designers were let go, leaving a staff of 100 full-timers still working at the studio, whose recent work is on display in such blockbuster films as Ted and Twilight: Breaking Dawn.
"We're hibernating, figuring out a way to reinvent and scale down because there's a lag in work obviously and there's such upheaval in the visual effects industry, period," Jules Roman, the company's CEO and president, reportedly said.
"We're not sure where it's all going, but we think it's probably going north," she added, referring to recent losses to Canada-based effects houses, which lure Hollywood studios with enticing tax credits.
The move comes in the wake of the collapse of Rhythm & Hues, the effects studio behind Life of Pi, acquired this week by Prana Studios following a recent bankruptcy filing.
Roman adds that if nothing changes, more layoffs will come to Tippett -- a 30-year-old studio that got its start with stop-motion animation in films like the RoboCop trilogy.