2 Cents: Mackevision Stuttgart

Mackevision have established themselves as one of the world’s leading players in print and web content for cars manufacturers. There are many positive sides to the company. First and foremost, it’s still small enough for you to get to know everybody who works there. And there are a lot of super cool people who will make it easy for you to find your place among them. In no other company have I made so many new friends so quickly. Some of the machines you’ll work on are quite dated, but they’re being replaced bit by bit, so there’s less and less reason to complain. :-)

The kind of work you’ll do there is both strength and weakness. Much of what you’ll be doing can’t really be called compositing. It’s all very technical and needs to meet special requirements, particularly when you get to work on content for car configurators. The weakness in this is that, it can become quite dull after some time. Once you get acquainted with the highly specialized pipeline and toolset, and the initial awe at the scope of the projects has ebbed away, you will be left with very repetitive work that is hard to find any creative satisfaction in. However, this also makes for very predictive tasks and days, and you won’t often experience the long periods of stress before a deadline that are so common in vfx houses. Work hours are very relaxed most of the time. Also, this doesn’t mean to say that Mackevision don’t do live action stuff at all. There are those projects, too, and after you have worked on one for one or two months and fought your way through all the stress that comes with them, you might even be happy to go back to a relaxed configurator project. :-)

The pay for freelancers is quite good when compared to film and tv work, the pay for permanent employees probably average. Wages/invoices are transferred promptly. Extra hours are not paid, though, and it’s up to you to make as few of them as possible. Saying “no” to requests from time to time is one of the harder lessons I learned there. :-) Freelancers are not as integrated as I (as a freelancer) would wish for. For example, they’re excluded from works assemblies. Whether this is connected to the almost paranoid secrecy which the clients impose on Mackevision, I don’t know.

There has been some aggressive restructuring going on, which has led to some beaurocratic clutter many people aren’t used to in a company of this size. However, the company seems eager to improve the situation for everyone.

One of the biggest issues when working for Mackevision has actually absolutely nothing to do with the company itself, but with the clients it works for. You will have to get used to working for people who have absolutely no idea about the process of cg content creation, who have never made a film, many of whom are not in any kind of design-related department. Your “show supervisors” will be business economists, management experts, sales persons. They will make tons of decisions that you won’t understand and might even loathe from a visual standpoint. There are enough artists out there who have no problem accepting this “the client is king” philosophy. For me, even after two years at Mackevision, it takes a considerable measure of self-restraint to swallow change requests that in my opinion make the image completely unrealistic and downright ugly.

Still, of the companies I worked for so far, Mackevision is the one that can actually offer artists an acceptable, family-proof future. One, where you actually get to SEE your family from time to time. :-)