More than 100 Artists on ‘Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse’ Quit over Alleged Sweatshop Conditions

more than 100 artists on spider man across the spider verse quit over alleged sweatshop conditions
Sony Pictures

More than 100 digital artists who worked on Sony Pictures’ Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse reportedly quit during production due to alleged sweatshop-like conditions, with some blaming producer Phil Lord for the brutally long hours.

Four artists who worked on the animated sequel told Vulture about the working conditions behind the scenes, saying artists were asked to make alterations to already-approved animated sequences that created a backlog of work across multiple late-stage departments.

Some said Lord slowed down the production by editing fully rendered work rather than cutting scenes at the conceptual level. This led to some artists sitting around with nothing to do for three to six months as Lord edited the movie.

They then had to make up for lost time by working 11-hour days for seven days a week to complete the movie.

“I know people who were on the project for over a year who left, and now they have little to show for it because everything was changed,” one artist going by the pseudonym “Stephen” told Vulture. “They went through the hell of the production and then got none of their work coming out the other side.”

“Stephen” claimed Across the Spider-Verse was not complete when he was interviewed by Vulture in early May 2023 — just a month before the film was released — though this isn’t unusual for movies heavily reliant on digital effects.

Another artist going by “Nathan” also criticized Lord’s style.

“The analogy for the way Phil works, it’s getting a whole bunch of construction workers to make a building without a blueprint,” ‘Nathan’ told Vulture. “You get them to start putting bricks on top of each other. You get the wood guys to put the wood in, put the windows in, get some metal scaffold in there. And he’s like, ‘Nah, knock that part down.'”

“Nathan” also claimed Sony “lowballs” digital artists on their salary with the promise that overtime pay will make up the difference. The studio denied the allegation in a statement to Vulture.

The digital animation and visual effects industries are notorious for their insanely long hours, especially when a major movie is involved. On top of that, the profession offers little in the way of job security, with companies going out of business even after landing lucrative contracts.

The most infamous example was the visual effects company Rhythm & Hues Studios, which declared bankruptcy shortly after working on the Oscar-winning Life of Pi. For the movie Cats, visual effects crews reportedly worked 90-hour weeks to complete the movie, with one visual effects artist likening working on the movie to “almost slavery.”

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Authored by David Ng via Breitbart June 25th 2023