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Pacific Title:: implosion, bad leadership?


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#1 Glen Alexander

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Posted 03 December 2009 - 02:24 PM

I didn't any other posts about what really happened?

http://www.variety.c...9...d=1009&cs=1

Anyone have the real story?
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#2 Scott Fritzshall

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Posted 03 December 2009 - 02:40 PM

Probably just not enough work. Post companies- especially VFX companies- are usually in a perpetual state of just barely hanging on. Even a momentary lapse in work can sometimes kill an otherwise great company.
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#3 Glen Alexander

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Posted 03 December 2009 - 02:44 PM

Probably just not enough work. Post companies- especially VFX companies- are usually in a perpetual state of just barely hanging on. Even a momentary lapse in work can sometimes kill an otherwise great company.


PacTitle has been around for a LONG time and had a good reputation, I talked with them a few times and the staff was really good. Most major films in the last 90 years or so had a PacTitle credit. After 90 years of stability, they suddenly crash and burn? Something smells....
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#4 Stephen Williams

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Posted 03 December 2009 - 02:58 PM

PacTitle has been around for a LONG time and had a good reputation, I talked with them a few times and the staff was really good. Most major films in the last 90 years or so had a PacTitle credit. After 90 years of stability, they suddenly crash and burn? Something smells....


Hi,

It would seem that the company is no longer profitable, large overheads can kill a company very quickly in a downturn. With finance difficult to obtain, lack of cash flow, payroll not paid = end of story.

Stephen
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#5 Glen Alexander

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Posted 03 December 2009 - 03:10 PM

Hi,

It would seem that the company is no longer profitable, large overheads can kill a company very quickly in a downturn. With finance difficult to obtain, lack of cash flow, payroll not paid = end of story.

Stephen



They were a union shop. So you're blaming the union?
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#6 Scott Fritzshall

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Posted 03 December 2009 - 03:21 PM

The article mentioned a few events that were financial setbacks. Things like that could have put the company in a vulnerable position, and a downturn in work at the wrong time could have finished it off. There are a lot of really good, solid, well-run companies out here that are literally just weeks away from going bankrupt at all times. I don't know the "inside story" here; you could be right that something funny went down, but I didn't hear anyone in the post community here voice any suspicions. The same dagger hangs over all of our heads- they seem to simply have had the misfortune of having it fall on them. I would not be surprised if we start hearing about some even bigger names shutting down over the next 2 years.
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#7 Scott Fritzshall

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Posted 03 December 2009 - 03:22 PM

They were a union shop. So you're blaming the union?

For companies like this, 90% of their expenses are payroll, regardless of whether or not they are union. So no, this has nothing to do with unions.
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#8 Keith Walters

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Posted 03 December 2009 - 06:51 PM

Hi,

It would seem that the company is no longer profitable, large overheads can kill a company very quickly in a downturn. With finance difficult to obtain, lack of cash flow, payroll not paid = end of story.

Stephen

Part of the problem is simply that things that could at one time only be done by a few extremely specialized companies can now be done by just about anyone with access to a PC. There was a time when "Opticals" made up a significant part of the cost of episodic TV shows. Relatively inexpensive video character generators started decimating that market more than 2 decades ago.

It doesn't mean that the end result from Johnny-come-lately is necessarily going to be anywhere near as good, but unfortunately "A" result is all that is required in a lot of cases.

The only real way forward is for such companies is to leverage their experience to offer a better product than the upstarts can offer, but let's face it: how good can titles and credits actually be?

Edited by Keith Walters, 03 December 2009 - 06:52 PM.

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#9 Keith Walters

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Posted 03 December 2009 - 07:12 PM

PacTitle has been around for a LONG time and had a good reputation, I talked with them a few times and the staff was really good. Most major films in the last 90 years or so had a PacTitle credit. After 90 years of stability, they suddenly crash and burn? Something smells....

Unfortunately, this sort of scenario is quite common.

Companies are often allowed to accumulate ludicrous amounts of debt over ludicrous periods of time, because their creditors cling to the quaint notion that they are worth more to them solvent than if they go bankrupt. They'll go through endless bailouts, but inevitably drift back toward bankruptcy.

A common factor is dead-wood executives in the creditor companies reluctant to admit that they should have pulled the plug long before. For them the soft option is to keep occasionally puffing a bit more hot air into the notion that the company still could be turned around, given the "right set of circumstances". In far too many cases, dropping the word "Digital" into the boardroom conversation seems to have gotten corporate pulses racing, but only to result in a financial coronary :rolleyes:

For the employees of the bankrupt company, the ideal scenario would be for the bankruptcy to clear all the company's debts, and the company to be sold intact to a new owner who would then have a reasonable chance to making it profitable. Unfortunately, this rarely seems to happen.
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#10 Glen Alexander

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Posted 03 December 2009 - 07:20 PM

PacTitle also did many conversions. They had the gear to optically convert to or from any format.

Anyone know where that equipment went?
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#11 John Sprung

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Posted 03 December 2009 - 07:51 PM

After 90 years of stability, they suddenly crash and burn? Something smells....


Not necessarily. Remember Baldwin Locomotive Works? They lasted 125 years.





-- J.S.
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#12 Richard Boddington

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Posted 03 December 2009 - 08:06 PM

In far too many cases, dropping the word "Digital" into the boardroom conversation seems to have gotten corporate pulses racing, but only to result in a financial coronary :rolleyes:


That's actually kind of funny. I can just see the guy at the sheep shearing farm yelling, "digital", as a way to save the farm and every one hailing him as a hero.

R,
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#13 Keith Walters

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Posted 03 December 2009 - 09:02 PM

That's actually kind of funny. I can just see the guy at the sheep shearing farm yelling, "digital", as a way to save the farm and every one hailing him as a hero.

R,

Over the past two decades it seems to have been much the same goggle of techno-goats meandering from one sheep farm to another, like Lillian Gish on the ice floes...
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#14 Saul Rodgar

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Posted 03 December 2009 - 10:33 PM

Probably just not enough work . . . usually in a perpetual state of just barely hanging on.


Why, that sounds like a lot of us . . .

But, Glen, why is it so hard to believe that they just couldn't afford to stay in business anymore. Why the continuous "something smells" suspicion?

Edited by Saul Rodgar, 03 December 2009 - 10:36 PM.

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#15 K Borowski

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Posted 03 December 2009 - 10:54 PM

Even if Pacific Title is gone, and you really really were to want optical titles for your own personal project (which is a real stretch, even if you are as big a purist as I am), I'm sure others still offer the service.

I was fascinated to find, about a year ago, about the company that basically continues all the model services of LucasFilm Limited's former model shop.


This stuff is still out there, for an affordable price. Be happy you don't have to dig people up from the dead or do it yourself!
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#16 James Compton

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Posted 03 December 2009 - 11:20 PM

Even if Pacific Title is gone, and you really really were to want optical titles for your own personal project (which is a real stretch, even if you are as big a purist as I am), I'm sure others still offer the service.

I was fascinated to find, about a year ago, about the company that basically continues all the model services of LucasFilm Limited's former model shop.


This stuff is still out there, for an affordable price. Be happy you don't have to dig people up from the dead or do it yourself!


Karl, please elaborate. I am directing an action feature this spring and I'll need both models and opticals. PM me if discretion is key. Thanks.
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#17 Stephen Williams

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Posted 04 December 2009 - 03:49 AM

They were a union shop. So you're blaming the union?


Hi Glen,

If the sales & marketing dept. can't get enough orders at the right price, they will go bankrupt. Unless your GM and get rescued.
I remember when Mill Film closed down their 'Feature Film dept.' having 250-350 extra people on payroll was a huge risk to the rest of the operation, especially as the work was more competitively priced than commercial. Very few companies in the world could survive for 90 days without any work coming in, most would be bankrupt in less than 30.

Stephen
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#18 Will Earl

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Posted 04 December 2009 - 08:25 AM

Karl, please elaborate. I am directing an action feature this spring and I'll need both models and opticals. PM me if discretion is key. Thanks.


The ILM modelshop is now a separate company called Kerner Optical http://www.kerner.com/
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#19 Glen Alexander

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Posted 04 December 2009 - 03:47 PM

Why, that sounds like a lot of us . . .

But, Glen, why is it so hard to believe that they just couldn't afford to stay in business anymore. Why the continuous "something smells" suspicion?



Saul,

I met and knew a few of them quite well, when I last visited in April 2008, they were still chugging along with lots of work. We needed to talk about when it would possible for them to do an optical downconversion from VV to 4-perf because they were so busy. Hence I'm interested to know where the equipment went to. Also the area they were located has many places that are legends in film production history, Crest, Glen Sound, etc. that all made the addition/conversion to digital production and are still going. Seems to me something rotten at the top. Guys were worked there were/are still real pros at post.
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#20 Glen Alexander

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Posted 04 December 2009 - 03:55 PM

Even if Pacific Title is gone, and you really really were to want optical titles for your own personal project (which is a real stretch, even if you are as big a purist as I am), I'm sure others still offer the service.

I was fascinated to find, about a year ago, about the company that basically continues all the model services of LucasFilm Limited's former model shop.


This stuff is still out there, for an affordable price. Be happy you don't have to dig people up from the dead or do it yourself!


There are one person that I know of near Burbank who can still optically do titles for VV and he's semi-retired Ron G. When you start talking optical conversion for independents the like gets real short real quick. There's one very small lab near Paramount as well but I forgot their name. I ended up doing optical titles myself, I built a downshooter, rented a macro lens and shot it frame by frame by frame....

The result was interesting, I went off the wall avante-garde. On the projected film, I took an indian black marker and put sutble black on black marks that gave movement to the blackness, sometimes hovering like a black cloud, swirling hatchmarks like a black vortex, etc.

Edited by Glen Alexander, 04 December 2009 - 03:59 PM.

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