Improved productivity and creativity
According to Zoic Studios, the artists working at the studio became both more productive and more creative when they switched to remote work due to the pandemic. In light of these improvements, the studio has no reason to look back and wishes to embrace this new paradigm.
This doesn’t mean Zoic will get rid of its physical offices in Culver City, CA, New York City and Vancouver. These offices will be used “for in-person collaboration and special projects”, according to Zoic. “The office spaces will also be available to employees as an option to work in-person while adhering to all local health guidelines”, Zoic added.
Communication is the key
Kristen Branan (Zoic Studios’ EVP of global productions) explains: “Eliminating the long commutes, distractions and white noise that used to make up a typical day, we’ve discovered a newer, stronger Zoic Studios. We’ve proven to be more productive, cohesive, and efficient in a way we couldn’t have foreseen. The outlook of the company and its employees has never been better!”. The studio also highlights that “[Zoic] provides opportunities for the team to connect, including monthly all-team meetings to provide transparency and motivation from a C-Suite perspective, and seasonal virtual opportunities to socialize”. In other words, communication is the key to the success of this new strategy.
More than 400 full-time staffers have been working at Zoic during the last few months. They worked on TV shows such as For All Mankind, WandaVision and Superman & Lois. Moreover, Zoic has been pushing a realtime filmmaking technologies strategy and launched a “Real Time Group”. Some of these technologies were used in the aforementioned series, states the studio.
Remote work doesn’t mean global recruitment
Zoic explains that remote work will allow a “globalization of talent”. In practice, however, the studio won’t always be able to hire artists wherever they are. As the studio told us: “Zoic is hiring globally when possible or for specific disciplines, but generally their labor markets are the same as their city locations for Vancouver and New York tax creditable shows”. The goal of tax credits is to increase local investments & spending, which means you can’t claim tax credits if most of your employees work on the other side of the world.
Still, this announcement by Zoic Studios shows that remote work is a viable option for VFX studios, even when the pandemic is over. Other companies might follow the lead in the months to come.