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iTHiNK

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Everything posted by iTHiNK

  1. I just closed my post house last year in Miami/Ft Lauderdale after 10 years of great business/printing money because I felt like it was the end of the (my) road down there. Don't get me wrong, there is opportunity everywhere, and you can make an awesome go of it in Florida if you do some searching for the work. I could have stayed and collected money and perhaps been very happy. But... I wanted to work on more challenging projects with other more talented people. Translation - I was bored as hell. I found that there was always an issue with attracting the biggest work there, mainly due to the fact that in big markets the business model is totally freelance. In South Florida there is not a large enough freelance talent pool to staff for large projects that require a diversified skillset so you are dead in the water before you begin on some of the larger projects that are out there. It also didn't help that most of the companies that were there 5-10 years ago that provided local opportunities (MTV, Nickelodeon, AXN etc..etc..) have closed their offices there. In short - in Florida, I had to start my own company to create the type of environment that I felt I'd want to work in. In a bigger market, it's a non-issue, there is plenty of interesting work to go around. Lastly - one of the things that I saw a lot in Florida was people who immortalized (like you guys seem to) anyone from a bigger market, and thought they couldn't stack up. I can tell you with authority that you shouldn't put the bigger markets up on a pedestal. There are ALL types of artists out there that run the gamut from junior to seasoned Rock Star. You don't need to be a seasoned rock star to work. You just need to bring your all and above all be professional and reliable. Best of luck to you. -Chris
  2. Okay - I'm buying a peugeot now. That is a commercial aimed squarely at us. I especially like the part where he wants to clean up the tree that's 10 miles in the background. Awesome. -Chris
  3. Nobody is buying that big wheel spot.. for starters, the wheels are still round. Everyone knows that a well loved big wheel probably had flat spots on all of the wheels and if you were a real daredevil probably some holes too. That kid rode that big wheel once and put it away. I'm guessing that barbies or checkers were more his speed.
  4. I feel like I should not feed this thread - but oh well.. You can work every day as a compositor on film, television and Motion Graphics/Promo work here in LA. -Chris
  5. @ Chris Yeah, that's pretty much exactly what I was referring to - the whole stutter motion look totally reminds me of a no budget music video execution. It would be cool if it were a no budget music video, but when it's billed as pushing the boundaries of what's possible.. I mean, COME ON. These guys need to look at the Sony HD spots and go back to school. -Chris
  6. Especially since the 10% is taking something relatively cool, and making it really annoying. It's a clear case of technical "look at what I can do!" without any real attention to how the thing will play as a whole. I don't have speakers where I am, so maybe the music made the motion seem "profound" or something, but on it's own, that was pretty silly.
  7. iTHiNK

    Jesus H.

    Dude, that is CRAZY. I'm glad to hear that things worked out. I was broken into last year around this time, when I was off to work and the wife had just left the house. Some kid broke in and despite the alarm going off and the cops coming he STILL took his time and stole my wife's laptop, making sure to roll up the power cord and grab the case on the way out. In fact, the cops say that the back door was locked when they checked it, and when I got there it was open. They think that he may still have been in the house when they arrived. The situation gave me cause to consider buying a gun. Now that I have kids, I sometimes feel a much stronger need to protect them, but in the end, I just don't think I'm the gun type. I just feel like there is more chance of something happening accidentally with it than out of true need. Either way - I totally support your right to have one. And if someone is daring enough to venture into someone's house in the middle of the night, they should be ready to accept the consequences, legal or not. That guy could have just as easily walked into someone's place who is not as reasonable as you were in that circumstance. Kudos for keeping your cool. Now go get yourself an alarm system and some cameras. -Chris
  8. With all due respect, you are only presenting the system from the perspective of someone trying to take advantage of it by knowingly lying about their income. The thing is, that you don't have to lie about your income, and just play by the rules, and still reap benefits that are all within fair play. Here's how it actually works. Whatever you want to call it, (loophole, benefit) dividends exist to encourage people to start businesses. It doesn't provide an avenue for putting money directly in your pocket without paying taxes on it like I outlined in my previous post. It merely allows you to take any profits above and beyond your salary and the other costs of the company.. (ie: all salaries, rents, etc.. etc..) and take that as a dividend just like you would had you invested your money in another company's stock. Essentially you are creating your own company with stock, so why shouldn't yours pay you the way any other stock would on Wall Street? The dividend is still taxed on your income tax return. You don't just take that money and stuff it under your mattress. If you are looking to game the system on $50k and convince people you are living on 10k or something you would likely have issues, but if you are paid a fair amount, and business is good, you get the spoils. It's a different landscape at $50K than it is when you employ people and have tons of expenses, but I would encourage everyone here that is 1099 to set up their own company if only to learn the rules and get familiar with how it works. -Chris
  9. I would say no. I just visited LA to get a feel for the market there and I can say without hesitation that there is a shit TON of work there. People of all ages and capabilities work in the shops out there and it's not at all hard to break in if you have the skills which you most certainly do. It's WAY more diversified (age/work/everything really) out there than it is here in Miami and I imagine you would have a similar experience. I've already rented a place out there and am in process of moving my family out now if we can ever get clear of all this hurricane madness. There are other factors to weigh in, but that's a different thread. It's not really uncommon at all... I certainly wouldn't say it's HUGE red flag. It's ONLY taking distributions and not paying payroll taxes at all that I understand IS a huge red flag. Distributions are taxed as well. They flow right through to your 1040, so you are still paying income taxes on the money, you just are not contributing to social security or paying unemployment taxes on those particular funds. The general rule of thumb seems to be as long as you are contributing SS taxes via payroll on a sum that would be considered a fair salary for your position you should have no troubles. Obviously, anyone dealing with a situation like this already has a CPA and will consult them for guidance on how to handle the situation. You may pay that if you ask an attorney to fill out the paperwork... but it's easy enough that a half-retarded eight grader could fill it out, and the actual fees (from the gov't) are more along the lines of the aforementioned $250-300. I would encourage ANYONE working freelance here to set up a corporation and to do it yourself. The benefits of having a small business are what make this country great, and if you are not taking advantage of these benefits you really are cheating yourself. My .02 -Chris
  10. Ditto. Also - couple of things to note. Turning on front and rear blur will give you a small depth of field, meaning stuff will blur in back and in front of your specified region. It's usually easier to do one or the other and then decide where you want the blur in post. Second, white will be in focus, and black out of focus. Your pass that you posted will not have anything in focus, so you'll have to precomp and adjust it up if you want the FG cube to be in focus. Zblur gives you some great functionality for setting up your passes in a more intuitive way. If you search at CG Talk AdamT did a quickie tutorial on how to set-up Depth passes in cinema 4D a while back. -Chris
  11. I had a retainer agreement with a company that wanted to hire me F/T but were willing to lock down whatever I was willing to give them. In this case, it was a flexible schedule of about 2.5 weeks a month. It worked out really well, I would schedule them in, and then schedule everything else around it. It hurt a few times when I had to turn down either more interesting work, or better paying work due to the retainer agreement, but overall it worked very well for me for about 3 years. I ended it last year, but I would definitely do it again with the right studio. It's great to be able to count on a certain amount coming in every month, and since I was so busy I became a little pickier about the work I would take in the interim, which ended up making me a lot more in the long run than if I was always worried about making my months and just taking work to fill my schedule. -Chris
  12. I'm with Sao for the most part. For a long time my go to was the Univers family. It's super flexible and has a ton of weights.
  13. exactly what I ended up doing... good call.
  14. yeah I often wish they had that for cubes.. but I'm 99% sure they do not. -Chris
  15. just FYI - not sure which package you're working in - but you should be able to throw a median operation between the audio and the particles in order to smooth it out. Border patrol is an oldie but goodie. I use it to pull blend mattes for compositing all the time.
  16. @RAZ - yeah man, the studio shook for a good 20 seconds yesterday... it was really weird. Strange how I'm completely over it today. Friends tell me that was the biggest they've seen in 5-6 years of being out here, so I'm glad to have gotten it over with early.
  17. Yeah man, originally from New York.. but I've been in South Florida for a loong time now. What's crazy is, I've only been here for 4 days, and I already ran into several people from Miami. I'm even working with a buddy's brother at the same shop. Small world. Yeah, I'm not sure about 826... but they have been adding lanes on 95 and converting the HOV lanes to SunPass only. Crazy... -Chris
  18. amazing. Bonus points - how many times does he say fuck?
  19. @ FAILURE - Thanks for the suggestion.. I actually ended up getting a blitzkrieg tour of LA today from a couple of friends. I can now say I've gotten a rough sketch of every neighborhood from Skid Row to Santa Monica. Well.. a whole lot of them anyway. @AromaKat - yeah... I heard everyone has a ferrari out here.. you mean it's not true? I have to say that so far I've found every stereotype I've heard about LA to be false. You CAN get dinner on a Friday or Saturday night, so far I haven't seen traffic that is so much worse than Miami if you are staying in town (not the valley) and everything is not much more expensive than it is out east. Housing is a bit more expensive, but even that is not much more. After today, I think LA is looking a lot more reasonable than my expectations led me to believe. Of course, I could wake up tomorrow and sit in traffic for an hour, but for now.. I'm feeling good. PS - For the record, Miami is WAY more pretentious than LA. WAY, WAY more. This is a really nice break. -Chris
  20. I would expect no less from this crowd... I just started today - think it's gonna be a pretty long couple weeks.. but I'll probably stay through Siggraph and check out some neighborhoods with the family. I've heard LaCanada is really nice, I'd like to stay somewhere close to all the studios though since I've got a little one and would like to minimize the commute. Anyhow - If there's any crazy user groups or Ferrari giveaways or whatever, I'd love to make it out if I can get the time. -Chris
  21. Awesome... I'm actually overdue for a doctor's visit. Mind if I join?
  22. Hey all, I'm gonna be in LA for a couple weeks on a gig right up until Siggraph. Just wondering if there is anything cool going on while I'm around. Not that I'll have a ton of time, I'll be working some pretty crazy hours, but just in case. Hook a brotha up.. -Chris
  23. My wife and I just got iPhones on the launch. So far, I haven't run out of battery.. but the battery life is pretty bad. I can put the phone down at night and by the time I get up that battery is nearly dead. It's my first iPhone but I read that this is not how the first iPhone worked. Either way, I was a blackberry user for many years and I can't believe how much better the experience is on the iPhone. I ended up turning off 3G to try and conserve battery life, so I am kinda kicking myself for waiting all this time to jump in. -Chris
  24. Sounds like you are trying to pull a key in one pass. In real world scenarios like this where the legs have a ton of motion blur, there is hair, and then the body is pretty solid you will likely have to pull several keys in order to get a great key. A passable key may be possible in one pass, but in order to get an awesome matte you would likely have to garbage matte the motion blur and key that separately. You may need another for the hair as well. For the basic matte you should probably do two passes anyway. A really crushed one for your core matte, and then a nice dainty one for your edges. I really don't see you being able to preserve the motion blur without doing a separate pass. As far as the camera or how it was shot - it's totally dependent on style/preference. You can shoot stuff like this with a skinny shutter and keep things sharp and add the blur back in post, or sometimes it's shot natural like you have here and we just deal with it as is. Either way creates issues in post, so there is unfortunately no simple answer. Usually we'll look at a project before it's shot, and weigh in on how we'd like it shot for post. No matter how simple the request, there is almost always some sort of snafu that we are left to figure out. Best of luck, -Chris
  25. That fuse stuff is pretty tasty - but I think you may be looking for a promo done for MTVHD. I've searched high and low but can't seem to find a link. Seems like that is what you're looking for though.
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