Outlook 2016: The maturation of the VFX business
David Altenau
Issue: December 1, 2015

Outlook 2016: The maturation of the VFX business

STRENGTHS: “The overall VFX business, tools and artists have matured and in the last 25 years we have learned how to create VFX more effectively and reliably for clients. Filmmakers in all media have gained an understanding of the power and process of VFX. They access VFX without question instead of as an after-thought or a needed option. It’s part of their toolset, and we now have a permanent seat at the table, along with other disciplines, like camera and grip, that have existed for a hundred years.”

WEAKNESSES: “The tendency for VFX to be exclusively cost-driven instead of quality-driven is a constant struggle. It’s a perpetual balancing act, but overall quality has to be the driving part of the equation.”  

OPPORTUNITIES: “More people are making content than ever before — Amazon, Netflix, WGN, Hulu, Microsoft, PlayStation Network — so there’s a chance to build relationships with new clients. Globalization can also be an opportunity. The experience we gained working in Vancouver and New York allowed us to open offices there in August 2015 and to recruit people with a level of experience similar to LA. Our clients like having the option where to work.”

THREATS: “There’s always a concern about our digital security and maintaining a super-tight operation. We’ve never had any issues, but this affects the entire industry and the tech sector.”

OUTLOOK FOR 2016: “The business will continue to be strong: More clients, more production, more using VFX as a common tool. There’s a comeback feeling in LA with the new California production tax credit, too. We see a continued growth trajectory for all FuseFX offices. We are adding new lead staff and broadening our work in features and commercials. We recently leased a space in LA that’s twice the size of our current operation. It will consolidate our LA offices, which are in multiple locations now. And we’re considering adding color and DI services.

David Altenau is the President of FuseFX, which has offices in Los Angeles, New York and Vancouver (www.fusefx.com). FuseFX specializes in VFX for episodic projects, films and commercials. The studio’s credit list includes work on AMC’s new Fear the Walking Dead and Turn, ABC’s Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Fox’s Bones, NBC’s The Blacklist, CBS’s Scorpion and Zoo, and the upcoming Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders. The company won an Emmy for its work on FX’s American Horror Story.