It happened in London, and it’s about to happen again in Canada.

We’ve heard reports that 90% of the compositing department for Montreal will be let go/have their contracts run out shrinking the Montreal office down to around 20 core compositing crew (including supervisors).

This sadly includes some new recruits form MPC’s comp academy, many whom having relocated internationally for the opportunity to work with MPC, were being told that as soon as the course concludes they will also be let go. You can imagine moving half-way across the world and just starting out, to learn a short time later that you’re going to have to move again.

This seems to be a departure from MPC usual hiring of the comp academy graduates and letting go mid-level compers. Even seniors appear to be having their visa renewals reduced. Does this spell the end for their Montreal office?

Montreal doesn’t appear to be the only Canadian MPC suffering from cut backs, as we’ve also hear rumours of cuts in the Vancouver office. We can only wonder what this mean for compositing jobs in general at MPC.

I know there were some people that speculated that it was the threat of unionization that may have contributed to cutbacks in London’s compositing department, but that wasn’t really happening in the Canadian offices, could it be that really this was their plan all along? Many people would have said that writing was certainly on the wall, well before BECTU joined the fight for better working environments. Our hearts and solidarity go out to our fellow colleagues in Canada who are facing the loss of their jobs or are affected.

Has this affected you? Let us know!

VFX workers have to stick together, and it’s sad when companies bottom lines affect real human lives with such stark consequences for workers of having to be let go and move cities. It’s something many VFX workers know all too well.

Edit: Small edit made about production staff. Apparently they will not be considerably reduced, but instead will move to other departments for the time being.

  • Patriarchy or Die

    Any woman who supports multi culturalism should be tortured and paraded around in the street. Just like the French did with women who started relationships with the occupying nazis….

  • Rick Sander

    I’ve been doing this for 25 years, but I’d advise anyone never to get into vfx post. It’s an awful way to live.

    • Hannah

      How about start as being that change for it not to be awful? Make it for the better and not let MPC and other companies get away with treating employees like this. Nothing will change unless we start doing something about it. Talk to your colleagues and start making a change within your company. Small steps for the long road ahead.

      • Rick Sander

        Hannah, the forces at work are at the highest level – MPC is just responding to those forces – not creating them. international treaties made by distant governments funded by payoffs from international corporations have resulted in massive subsidies to those companies by governments paid for by your tax dollars to artificially create needs in some places and undercut the abilities of places with functioning industries and infrastructures. There are virtually no market forces involved. The forces keep wages low in specific areas – then the subsidies end and they move on. I don’t know which industry you’re in or if you’re in post VFX but this has been an ongoing issue for 20 years – and it’s not something thats going to be solved on social media.

        • Butters

          Rick you are right on.. The companies are not to blame they are servicing the sector.. and have to abide by the rules at play.. VFX unlike many here belive is a very small sector of the economy. basically you run into the same ppl as you work around the shops.. so its insignificant in that sense.. and i belive its a decent career and quite rewarding.. so ppl should not stay away just based on hours and movement.. its just hard when it comes to settling down with a family..
          here is an interesting read that might put things in perspective.

          • Vfxicle

            Finally some sense. Companies have to stay competitive, adapt to government legislation, work to the filmmakers budgets and stay competitive with other companies movement around the globe. If they don’t they’ll go bust. Rhythm and hues were one of the first to move to India years ago, double negative seem now to have moved most of their artists there. Industries adapt and change according to economics and politics and we must adapt too.

          • dveight

            Er… dneg has more than 800 artists in london alone (very few are roto prep or mm though).

        • Eddie

          Yes, thank you. I am glad to read that some people have figured this out. Allow the Market to work. And they wonder why Government solutions are never a real solution. You can not subsidize or spend your way out of a problem. People need to learn basic econ and read Hayek, Mises and Rothbard.

      • Dave

        Is that not the reason the staff at London got let go? It’s better off just to warn people not to go into it at all. I was seriously considering it but luckily I saw all that Life of Pie stuff and VFX soldiers advocacy work.

  • Done With MPC

    I was a part of the team recently let go in Vancouver. From what I understand, they let Seniors to Junior (comp academy) people go. Also, we noticed a lot of our shots being moved to Bangalore before they fired us. A bunch of artists sat around doing very little for months. They flew a bunch of people over from Montreal to work on this project. So much wasted money. Its a shame the way they operate. Callous and void of emotion… zero leadership and vision.

  • Suzy Josef

    I’m one of the compers in Montreal whom they’re letting go. It is true unfortunately.

  • Suzy Josef

    It is true unfortunately! I and all of my comp colleagues that I know are let go in the Montréal office.

  • Vive la VFX

    I was working at MPC Montreal. They still have lots of work but its being sent to the Bangalore office as was mentioned here by “Done With MPC”. The small core crew in Montreal will guide and supervise those in Bangalore. Speculation is – if it works out well for the composting to be done this way, then other departments will also be shrunk in Montreal and the work transferred to Bangalore. Pretty devastating but the VFX industry has always been this way.

    • tazzman

      The industry has always moved operations to Bangalore?

      • Josh Evans

        I think they mean that the industry has always been willing to send work to the cheapest place possible if they can get away with it. The clients have their heel firmly on the throats of the vfx studios, so little things like the livelihood and well-being of their artists are of no importance to them. They’re just trying to survive. Doesn’t make it right, or easy for us artists. But it does make sense.

  • robfird

    It’s going to be around 30 people in comp (including 2d sups and leads). On the hand, they are going to hire a lot of people on CG side. So the comp is shrinking down, but the MontrĂ©al studio is still globally growing up.

  • Mad Guru

    So saddened to hear about the loss of jobs and the impact that has on so many families. To say that VFX companies have no options is not true. Just as for VFX artists, it requires us to band together to have a voice, so too it is with VFX companies. To say that nothing can be done is to not look at how almost every other role in production has banded together to keep struggling to maintain some balance in terms of remaining profitable for companies and workers. The work we do is profitable, for clients.There just isn’t any balance in profitability to the vfx companies and in the long term for vfx artists. That requires people to shake off apathy and push back, together, not just shake your head and say, that’s how it’s always been and always will be.

  • Ben Jean

    MPC is massively sending the comp work to Bang, and they are trying as much as they can with the other dpt. Dneg is starting doing the same with their 2 offices in India, and Framestore is starting outsourcing their roto/prep work to Bangalore too…
    The safest department now is the FX one as the companies struggle to outsource it to India.
    Just so you know an Indian guy is around 8 times cheaper than a worker from another country…
    What a shame

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