Tippett Studios Lays Off 40 Percent of Its Staff [UPDATED]

The Hollywood Reporter confirmed today that the Berkeley-based VFX studio Tippett Studio has laid off 40% of its workforce, or approximately 50 employees. The 30-year-old vfx/animation studio, which was responsible for the animation in Seth MacFarlane’s Ted, has indicated the possibility of additional layoffs. Its full-time staff currently numbers around 100 people.

UPDATE: Tippett Studio owner Phil Tippett posted a rebuttal on Facebook to the Hollywood Reporter story. He says it was “a misleading headline and article.” Read his full statement HERE.


  • TippetFan

    This sucks. I always looked up to TIppet Studios. Does Phil Tippet ever comment on this? I wonder what he thinks of all this…

  • Mac

    Whats with these multi stage layoffs these days? I thought you were supposed to do it once. How is anyone gonna do a good job with the next one hanging over them?

  • http://twitter.com/lukepshea Luke Shea

    Heartbreaking. I’m a huge Tippett fan. I really hope they can pull through this.

  • d. harry

    Welcome to my world VFX artists. We 2d animators have suffered long an hard this past decade. It ain’t pretty. and it ain’t funny.

  • Leif

    Phil Tippett posted this on his Facebook:

    “Tippett Studio would like to clarify what we feel was a misleading headline and article in HollywoodReporter.com today.

    Given the current climate and environment affecting movies and visual
    effects production today, Tippett Studio has made a business decision,
    as we routinely do, to reduce our contract-based work force as the
    projects ebb and flow through our doors.

    Staffing up is easy.
    Scaling down is not. It’s always an emotionally challenging thing,
    because we are a company of artists, run by artists. By doing a slow
    scale-down as tasks and projects complete, we aim to keep our employees
    on as long as we can, and to bring them back as soon as possible.

    We are not immune to the problems our colleagues are experiencing, but
    we are not in a period of crisis as a company with massive layoffs and
    bankruptcy. As a small, independent company, we are delighted when we
    have a series, such as the Twilight Saga,and then Ted that allowed us to
    maintain a sizable workforce year after year.

    As we wrap our
    current work on After Earth, we have been slowly scaling down the work
    force and reducing our overhead, until we have something large enough to
    justify carrying a large staff, so that we can be here when our clients
    call. We are retaining our core talent, and will use that talent to
    re-staff the studio when larger projects, that need more artists, are in
    production.”

  • Toonio

    Never had any admiration for Phill Tippet as he comes across as a douche (Nothing to do with all his merits and accomplishments as an artist).

    Never knew anybody at Tippet that was happy to be there, however many said they grew a lot while there. So this situation might come as a blessing in disguise for those affected for yet another “business decision”.

    How funny is that business decisions are nowadays made to affect artists negatively. A long time ago they made the business decision to share the profits among the artists but nevermore.

    • KP

      I disagree. I was working in the Bay Area (not Tippet) for over a year recently, and sending a friendly email to Phil lead to him to inviting me to check out his studio. For his lunch break that day he toured me around not only the VFX studio, but his personal stop-mo and memorabilia warehouse. Then he screened me his working cut of Mad God, and even let me fire up my work to watch. After that, he took me out for lunch and we chatted stop-mo for an hour.

      I’d say that’s a nice guy, considering to him I’m just some kid starting out in the stop-mo industry. Don’t want your assumption to sway people.

    • Proud x-Tippett employee

      I take it you never knew or even talked to anyone who worked at Tippett? You just make the assumption no one ever liked working for Phil and decided to comment on it. You also comment on a man you never met in your life, only read about. I worked there and it is by far the best place I have ever worked, and I would go as far to say many of the artists I worked with there probably feel the same. It is an artist run studio, a” Ma and Pa shop” if you will. He truly cares about the artists because he is one. They do as much as they possibly can to keep people employed over at Tippett, I know this for a fact because they did so much for me while I was there.

      So next time you decide to have a point of view on something, make sure that when you share it you don’t come across as the douche.

      • Toonio

        Ask the same to Phil will ya.

        I don’t have to tell you any particular details and the people involved in the situation I witnessed. Many of the ones affected won’t talk because of the “it’s a small industry and what not”.

        Maybe He’ll tell you and you’ll have a remote idea who I was back then.

        If you love him so much, marry him and give him a kid or something. However you’ll never wash away his sins by claiming only your point of view.

        We all know what we have done in life and the things that we said and cannot take back. Well that happened to your hero too.

        Chill out and enjoy life.

    • owe Phil everything

      Toonio, unfortunately for you, you never met the man. And Let me be one of many who can say that you will never meet a more giving and passionate artist as Phil Tippett. When I worked there I felt like I was part of a family, and Phil, the grumpy Dad, was always there to offer his words of wisdom and his support for the work you were doing. Like you said, Yes you definitely grow as an artist while working for Phil and Jules and I would strongly recommend that experience to anyone if you get the chance. You’re going to work with some of the most talented people in the industry who have stuck by Phils side through good times and bad. Many will stay with him through this bad time as well because they believe in the man. Unlike the other studios that you read about, Tippett Studio will be there at the end because Phil and his Team are survivors and an amazing company.

    • David Gibson

      I’ll use my real name. Worked at Tippett for 3.5 years and with Phil directly on a couple projects. Amazing company, great people, and a legendary owner.

      Toonio hasn’t got a clue.

  • zac leck

    How is this newsworthy? A pretty big studio finished a pretty big job that they had to staff up on freelancers for, now the job is done and they don’t need the freelancers anymore. This literally happens all of the time.