Leading global vfx and animation studio MPC Film, owned by Technicolor, hosted a town hall meeting last Thursday in which MPC president Tom Williams announced some unpopular changes to pay structure and work-from-home conditions.
Who is MPC? MPC is one of the world’s foremost vfx and animation companies and is involved in dozens of top Hollywood titles every year. In 2022, titles which MPC has worked on include Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers (pictured above), Elvis, Nope, Sonic 2, and both Netflix’s and Disney’s Pinocchio films, among many others.
What is changing at the company? MPC announced it is scrapping pay raises in 2022 and adjusting its work-from-home policies. To that end, MPC has introduced the RAG System, a new hybrid program which will dictate how many days employees must report to the office based on the status of whatever project they’re working on at a given time.
How does the RAG System work? The RAG System is a color-coded program that dictates how many days per week employees must spend in the office. The colors are based on the status of the project that a given employee is working on:
- Red – This project has serious issues – I will need to join my team in-studio full time to get it back on track. (5 days per week in studio)
- Amber – This project has some issues – I will need to join my team in-studio more. (Minimum 4 days per week in studio, with permissions)
- Green – This project is on track – subject to confirmation, I can follow hybrid working. (Minimum of 3 days per week in studio, with permission)
A more detailed infographic made its way online over the weekend and can be seen below. The RAG System is scheduled to go into effect on August 1.
What’s the reaction been so far? Predictably, reactions have been mostly negative. At a time when inflation and cost of living are skyrocketing, not getting a raise is viewed by many as tantamount to a pay cut.
A thread dedicated to the MPC announcements in the r/vfx subreddit was the sub’s most-upvoted post of the day on Sunday and has received more than 175 comments slamming the company and its policies.
Reddit user Samvfx2015 posted:
In the poster they don’t need that Amber & Green Status as every project there is RED TAG.
I mean they already have a bad rep, they must be losing capable/senior artists at this point. How can they sustain the quality they have been known for? Less competent artists>poorer working conditions>even worse rep>more people leaving>and so on
Funkmasterslap claims to be a current MPC employee, although that tenure seems in peril:
Been at MPC a year or so, ready to move on so this came at a good time.
Many other posts with much more colorful language are also being heavily upvoted.
Lingering questions: Early reports have not indicated why the pay raises are being ditched this year, whether the changes are for the company’s U.K. offices only or if they’re global, or who will be responsible for establishing the RAG status of a project. Cartoon Brew has reached out to MPC for comment but has not yet heard back.