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Thread: How different is the Video Game Industry from the Movie Industry

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    Lightbulb How different is the Video Game Industry from the Movie Industry

    As an art student entering the entertainment business, one might ask if there is a huge diffence between working on movies and games. Does one offer more artistic freedom than another? Is there more respect in the movie industry? It might all depend on the company your with. Do you start out as the coffee maker, or actually participate in the art developement when you're hired to a job fresh out of school? These are the type of questions I hope to have answered in this thread. So, what's your opinion?
    We know that there are those who are diverse enough to work in both games and movies, such as, Feng Zhu, Craig Mullins, Ryan Church, James Zhang, and Ian McCaig, to name a few. So, we look foward to hear from those that have experience in either field.

    -britt
    Last edited by britt; February 15th, 2005 at 02:27 PM.
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    Movies have unions, games have ea_spouse =)

    I wouldn't take a job at a game studio if they paid me 200,000 a year. It's slavery basically. Movies are similar, but you have more of a chance to have a union to protect your interests.
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    Guess the biggest difference is the budget. An artist can do more if the budget allows for it.

    Another big difference is the star factor. Its different in games. We've seen game icons come, go, get reborn then fade away.....Look at Lara Croft...hottest thing in 96, hardly a whisper about her in 2005. At least in Hollywood you have the star factor. If some big names take part in the movie, you know your artwork will be seen.....if by chance its a big production, then you might even win some awards...


    Games industry....eh....I dunno....I think its very much harder to make a decent living out of it while being able to spend the money you earn.
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    Quote Originally Posted by the_blur
    Movies have unions, games have ea_spouse =)

    I wouldn't take a job at a game studio if they paid me 200,000 a year. It's slavery basically. Movies are similar, but you have more of a chance to have a union to protect your interests.
    How is it slavery?
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    I think by "slavery" we mean long hours with no overtime pay or recognition. At least that is what I've read.
    Does anybody feel that the video game industry is a good place to start a career as a concept artist looking to move into film? Or are there other preferable routes; such as, going to a film company as an assistant until someone recognizes your work?
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    Or you could draw comic books. That's gotta help too. There are many ways to get into the film concept art industry.
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    Having strong drawing chops help , but if you want to be a "hired gun" beggers can't be choosers. Just build a good relationship with whoever you work with. Becuase all that matters in the end is how reliable and on-time you are,...basically your reputation.

    If you want a secure job,..look elsewhere.
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    depends on the job really..
    I've worked in both, briefly in games (my experience there is quite limited)
    but as an animator. games are a lot of busy work... not very creative...
    cycles, deaths.. easy stuff.. maybe cutscenes here and there.. but those if they end up playing real time are a poor representation of your work because the curves you make are often filtered and compressed..

    film you get to act a lot more
    they respect what you do (without perfomance there is no movie)
    your mom sees your work

    games still have too many limits.. and will for a long time

    as far as concept art goes I cant really say.. just do what you want to do (if you have the option)
    if you dont.. do what you're given
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    good topic. I guess the main difference also has to do with your own personal goals. Do you have any particular preference to work in games over movies, or vice versa? Is this strictly a "which one will allow me to have a better life outside of work" sort of thing?

    Now Im in the gaming industry now, and don't plan on ever going into movies, but there are a lot of personal factors:

    1. I love games. I spend my days wondering if a lot of different things will be fun as a game, and coming up with game designs. I grew up more compelled to play games than watch movies, so theres that personal interest.

    2. The gaming industry is a young, and IMO, a more versatile artform. Movies in general have become more and more watered down, streamlined, and stupid (and I mean that in the sense that they are geared to a more massive audience, and therefore have to be not too sophisticated.) There is a lot of established "Formula" in the movie industry, and not a whole lot of innovation. Games, I feel, also share a good amount of formula and whatnot, but being a younger artform, are more open to change. Games essentially have the power to provide everything that movies do, with the added aspect of interactivity. The story often suffers from a lack of linearity, but the experience can be much more compelling because the viewer is involved, not just an observer.

    3. Gamers are a brutally honest audience. If your game sucks, they will let you know it. Its hard to make money off a bad product in the gaming industry. Now to some (lazy) people, that is unfortunate, but it also forces those in the industry to be on top of their game (no pun intended, well, ok, pun intended) in order to deliver a succesful product. Movies on the other hand can be horrendous (like say, Aliens Vs. Predator, Resident Evil, any jerry bruckheimer "film") and still rake in a load of profit. On average, the movie going audience is much easier to satisfy than the gaming audience. This promotes a lower standard of quality that is required to be financially succesful. Just think of the number of good games that were released this year compared to the number of good movies.

    4. The inertia of the gaming industry is much stronger. Already making more than the movie industry, it has taken a mere 15-20 years to catch up and surpass an industry that took a good 100.

    So these are my reasons for choosing my path. Again, it all comes down to want you want out of it. Do you want to make a lot of money and not have to worry about the infamous "crunch mode", then movies are your way. If you love the challenge (slavery?) of those long hours, and have a personal inclination for gaming, then go with games. Also gaming tends to have a bit more job security then the movie industry, unless your REALLY good. If it's the quality of art that you are concerned about producing, movies are probably an aesthetically more demanding industry currently, but give it a good 5-10 more years, and they should be about the same. There is also the issue of how long do you want to work on one particular thing. In movies (and games too, but much more rarely), you could be the "tire guy", or work on character shoulders, but in gaming, you could be doing somehting different every day. Hope this helps....
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    yeah i've thought about working for both...sure why not.
    the movie insustry does pay hella lot more, but the game industry i respect more. but i still watch movies more than play games. when it comes to movies, star wars, LOTR, the matrix, alien quadrilogy, etc. those movies were kind of works of art. also some games are works of art in a way, like doom3...it had a very artistic feel to it. so i would work for both industries, or stick with one...we'll see.
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    i remember a few months back i met with a very established movie concept artist to find out about how to go about picking up movie work. in sitting down with him, i found that he was just as interested in doing work in games as i was in movies. its the same shit really. movie guys tend to look down their noses at game doodz, which is sad i think. in certain specific fields, ie, modelling, texturing, animation, one can certainly find they can push further in movies visually. as far as concept goes, its all the same shit, drawing stuff, painting over blockmesh and screens, blah blah blah...the thing i find i like about games is that while the movie industry is very regimented, placing artists in just one job, the smaller teams present in games allows for more vareity, meaning a concept artist gets to work on a host of things, character/costume design, creatures,enviroments, look dev and implementation, ect. i enjoy the freshness of that, versus just doing one thing every day. i think in the end it all comes down to personal experience and what one wants to get out their job. i feel like i can make more of a difference working on a smaller team, and for me thats a very satisfying thing. While i always dreamed of workin in movies, the longer i work in games the more i enjoy it. it is an artform, and one that has yet to be fully tapped. and while movie guys can gloat all day about having their names in the credits, or their 10 second shots they spent months on, all i can say in response is "tony hawk royalty checks" -c36
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    It seems that all of our jobs are going to much more intense with the rise of the PS3, Xbox2 and Nintendo Revolutions(?). For a moment I thought games got a big as they could get and now it seems they will soon be on par.....well close heh with film. Didn't Halo 2 make more money than any other entertainment product ever?

    Though my goal is film.

    -Joshua James
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    Naw, I think HALO2 managed to hype it up nicely. I don't doubt that it does sell as well as some of the best selling films, but its probably the only example thus far. Not even the cinematic looking MGS trilogy managed to push the profit barrier I think. I mean, so many games, but how many actually sell at HALO2's level.

    I dunno the actual numbers....but its hardly likely a game will get the 100million budget a "normal" effects film will get. And games are harder to make than movies....technological constraints of end users systems, interactivity, suspending disbelief, suspending boredom, multiple endings that come with the interactivity, interesting level designs.....just some of the things that I feel are harder to do than film in certain design aspects...lets not even go into the techinical aspects of it.

    Film isn't easier, but at least the budget makes up for the difficulty....

    I've done some games and I've spent 2 years in concept dev for animation.....I hate both now
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