In the olden days, producers knew what visual effects were. Now they’ve gotten into this methodology where they’ll hire a middleman – a visual effects supervisor, and this person works for the producing studio. They’re middle managers. And when you go into a review with one of them, there’s this weird sort of competition that happens. It’s a game called ‘Find What’s Wrong With This Shot’. And there’s always going to be something wrong, because everything’s subjective. And you can micromanage it down to a pixel, and that happens all the time. We’re doing it digitally, so there’s no pressure to save on film costs or whatever, so it’s not unusual to go through 500 revisions of the same shot, moving pixels around and scrutinizing this or that. That’s not how you manage artists. You encourage artists, and then you’ll get – you know – art. If your idea of managing artists is just pointing out what’s wrong and making them fix it over and over again, you end up with artists who just stand around asking “OK lady, where do you want this sofa? You want it over there? No? Fine. You want it over there? I don’t give a fuck. I’ll put it wherever you want it.” It’s creative mismanagement, it’s part of the whole corporate modality. The fish stinks from the head on down. Back on Star Wars, Robocop, we never thought about what was wrong with a shot. We just thought about how to make it better.
—Legendary visual effects artist Phil Tippett wants many visual effects supervisors to get out of his office and go back where they came from.
Be sure to check out the rest of his AMA (Ask Me Anything) on Reddit right now!