All good things come to an end, and today was Grimm’s day.
Four score (er, well, 6 years) and precisely 123 episodes ago, Portland got it’s shot. Rather than take the easy out and ship the work off to our neighbors to the North (BC) or South (CA) as so many have done, the forward thinking Producers of the NBC/Universal show Grimm did something unique. They looked at our raw ingredients here in Portland, and saw a spark.
Coordinated through the office of Oregon Film and masterminded by then-Executive Director, Vince Porter, the team behind Grimm agreed to a “Pepsi Challenge” of sorts. Several prospective companies, near and far, submitted Grimm like transformation (Woge) pitches done without logos or branding of any kind. Portland went up against more established vendors in larger VFX markets.
The taste test proved without a doubt that the Portland shops were ready. Hungry. And that solid VFX work could be done right here, alongside production, at a stone’s throw away.
And work we did. Grimm was the gift that kept on giving, and as they teed up challenge after challenge, you all rose to the occasion and proved time and time again that you have what it takes to knock it out of the park. Finally- a show not afraid of (but that actually embraced, and designed for) our clouds and rain! Ha. And VFX heavy, too? Amazing. It’s the role Portland was born to play! Ripples of the creatures, characters, and shots of all types continue to permeate and pervade the demo reels of the shops and artists involved, and it’s been a source Portland pride to say the least. Dare I say it’s given us an identity.
But yes… all good things come to an end. By my (unofficial) estimate, about 40 CG/VFX/Post Production artists between the two Portland vendors on the show are being “rolled off.” Does this compare to, for example, a recent Intel layoff of 800? That day when a key account broke ties with W+K, an account that had employed 400+ on it’s own? Perhaps not in raw numbers, but certainly in spirit – consider another unofficial estimate: 1/3 of Portland’s working, studio based artists primarily doing VFX are now out of a job. I don’t care if you’re a glass half full or half empty type: that stat is Hexenbiest scary on several levels.
In many ways, forming this user group was a response to the momentum Grimm brought to the table as we elevated above being labeled a “one shop town” in the press and industry circles. And it’s been great to show off each other’s work, talk shop over a beer/coffee/what have you, and mix it up occasionally. But – for better or for worse, as they say… just as we did when this thing started – right now we need to step up, pull together as a community, and take action.
We’re organizing a night of networking and interviews with local companies and studios on the rise, that can put your skills and experience to work. Take advantage. Details here.