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Needables
  • Sony Alpha a7S Compact Interchangeable Lens Digital Camera
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    TASCAM DR-100mkII 2-Channel Portable Digital Recorder
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  • The DV Rebel's Guide: An All-Digital Approach to Making Killer Action Movies on the Cheap (Peachpit)
    The DV Rebel's Guide: An All-Digital Approach to Making Killer Action Movies on the Cheap (Peachpit)
    by Stu Maschwitz
Wednesday
Feb042009

Ten Years of The Orphanage


Today I had the heart-wrenching task of joining my co-founders Scott Stewart and Jonathan Rothbart in announcing that The Orphanage will be suspending operations indefinitely. We started the company ten years ago, tripled in size each year for our first three years, and worked on some of the biggest and best effects movies made. We produced shorts and even features, we spawned a commercial division and an animation company, and we hung out in the halls with Frank Miller, Ethan Hawke, and M.C. Hammer. We did DI before it was called DI, we gave birth to Magic Bullet, and we did really, really good work.

But that's not what matters the most.

It's no accident that our company's name described a place for people, people who may be thrown together, but who ultimately create their own destinies. Scott once described his vision of an orphanage as "a hundred success stories waiting to happen," and that is exactly what came to pass inside our offices. We have had the privilege of working with many "Orphans" over the years, and watching them grow and take on new responsibilities has been the single greatest part of coming to work every day.

A message to the visual effects industry: You will never find a better employee than a former Orphan.

And to the Orphans: It has been a privilege and an honor to work with you.

Reader Comments (142)

Ugh. What a sad day.

February 4, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDennis Looney

Everything that has a beginning has an ending but the Orphanage will be truly missed. For many you guys were more than just a company you were a source of hope and inspiration. Thanks for the memories.

February 4, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRashad Ferguson

Oh man..... The O was my first job in the biz a number of years ago. I see that you say 'suspending operations' I hope that means that you'll be back sometime in the future!! Either way, the best of luck to you and all the other Orphans.

February 4, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterdaMongolian

I don't even know what to say! This is truly a sad day. I wish your entire crew the very best of luck. They have done so much for the community and affected so many people. Thanks for setting the standards high and always maintaing the best quality work. The Orphanage will truly be missed :(

February 4, 2009 | Unregistered Commentertylerginter

Hey Stu,

I'm sorry to hear that 10 years of work has been put on hold. Hopefully you can pick up where you left off soon.

February 4, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDividend Inc. Team

Whoa? What the?

February 4, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterchriscoxadobe

Well said Stu. I will always cherish my memories of being in over my head and making late night discoveries while at the Orphanage, the place that churned out true generalists.

February 4, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLandis

Stu, you and the Orphanage are an inspiration to us all, nothing can change that. You've supported us for the last 10 years in your way, now it's our turn. Let us know what you need.

February 4, 2009 | Unregistered Commentercy

It's where I got my start, and I'll never forget it. Thanks for the opportunity Stu, and for making me better, (and conning me into dressing up like a zombie). I still miss my leather sleeping couch in 2D and the moustache championships. Thanks for everything.

Chris LeDoux

February 4, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAKFILMS

Wow, I am stunned. The O was my first job out of school and gave me the best foundation I could ever have hoped for. I learned so much working with you guys and was so inspired by you. I wish you all the best in whatever is coming next. May the road rise up to meet you.

February 4, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterElizabeth Matthews

Stu, Jbart and Scott-
I am truly honored to have been, and still continue to be, an Orphan.
You folks had (and still have) a wonderful operation.
After decades of being a 'company man,' you were the catalyst that pushed me into the freelance world.
I will always be grateful.

Peace, love, and understanding.

Kevin

February 4, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKevin

Proud to have been an Orphan

February 4, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSimon

Joe and Jo are sad for both the Founders and the Orphans.

February 4, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJoe and Jo

Good luck, Stu.

February 4, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterEric

This massively sucks. I will always been an Orphan, and continued to wish in my heart of hearts to go back there. It was the best place to work, and the people I met there are the best in the world. Good luck Stu.

February 4, 2009 | Unregistered Commentermike

Well, what should I say? Maybe ... DAMN!
Good Luck to all at the O :-/

February 4, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterGPSchnyder

Hey man, I learned most of what I know about VFX workin under you there. And the post you just made there has got some class. Not a week goes by where I don't say "well, back at the O, we did it this way..."

I don't know what you've got cooked up, but I can't wait to see what it is, because I know it's going to be good.

I know that every former orphan is a great artist because the industry is full of them, they've got a higher bar, and they're all continuing what you started.

-ben

February 4, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBen Grossmann

What a sad day... it was a great place to work, my favorite by far - the people made ALL the difference. Thanks for putting everything you had into it, making it the best, and good luck to all the Orphans out there.

February 4, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJoe Scarr

Thanks for all of the great memories. The O will be missed and will always have a place in my heart!

February 4, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterArin

All of us motion artists are orphans these days, but I will say that you guys had an awesome run. Since I was close by, I always had the dream of eventually working there and bleeding my after effects heart out. But all I can say is that with every closing door, there's always 10 more opening to meet the caliber of your people's talents. So, while the annoucement is sad (cuz drats, i was ready!), this definitely isn't the end.

February 4, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJames

Most of the time, I haven't even known I was seeing your work until after. Except for the Ninja Bean days...

I'll watch this space from time to time, as I normally do, and I feel sure you'll be doing good things wherever.

Best of luck, Stu.

February 4, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAlan

Seriously buuuummmed! I have such great memories from working there and miss it already. Stu, Jbart and Scott - you guys built a great company and I'm glad to have been a part of it. Good luck to all of you!

February 4, 2009 | Unregistered Commentermb

This is really sad to hear ..

It was a great place to work at and the projects that we did their were pioneering techniques and software ..

I know of allot of great peoples that passed at the O during their careers and i m sure that they will have a great future ahead of them .. Good luck to everyone .

Thanks to everyone their and to Jbart for the opportunity that i got to become an orphan and work with you guys ,it was a big honor for me.

February 4, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRif

Wow - so sad to hear that - what a great place to work - really enjoyed my time there.

Wishing everyone good luck - you guys are awesome!!!

February 4, 2009 | Unregistered Commentermaya_z00

Oh I'm so sorry, for all the Orphans and for the industry as a whole to lose such an amazing company. I am now, and always will be, an Orphan.

Much <3 guys!

February 4, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterChryssa

Stu,

I'll always consider The Rebel Unit at ILM the real 'Orphanage'. You taught me a lot in The Rebel Mac Unit back in the day. Thanks... I still add grain by hand and get it perfect with your After Effects recipe some 10 years later.

-Louis Katz
www.louiskatz.com

February 4, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLouis Katz

Stu, you guys were the original digital rebels. The body of work, your book, all of it has influenced and inspired so many creatively. The collaborative talent that has been fortunate to be part of it has grown and spread throughout our industry to produce some of the finest work in the world.

I can only say, it's sad to hear this news but I look forward to your future endeavors.

Thanks for all the great work.

February 4, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAlba

All the best.
From your fans in india.
Love and blessings.


b

February 4, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterbehram

STU,

DAMN! This is very sad to hear.... I will always be grateful to have become an Orphan. I have met some great people and bonded with people I truly consider friends there at The O. I had some of the best times of my career down in the "Bunker"!

To sum it up in one word.... Unforgettable!

All the best to you and all the Orphans past and present!

Sincerely,
Anthony Reyna aka Tony Rain aka Tony Bagadonuts! The Bunker Crew!

February 4, 2009 | Unregistered Commentertony rain

Why?

February 4, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJoseph Jeremy Johnstone

Condolences on the closing of a truly revolutionary place for artists. I am so, so sad to see the O shut it's doors. I know how hard you all have worked over the last decade. You guys have inspired me, and I'll miss the little chances I got to come and hang around out there.

Best of luck to you and all the Orphans.

February 4, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterEric Escobar

My first real job in the industry. I learned more in a few months there than on any other project. The O is... was.. a pretty unique place...anyone that ever came thru its doors was and is an Orphan. The most talented people that work in visual effects had moved thru its hallways... I feel priviledged to have been there.. even for a short time.

February 4, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMatt Moses

The Orphanage took a chance on me nearly 5 years ago and gave me a new career that is the envy of all my ex-co-workers. And they kept giving me opportunities to prove myself at the next level and the next, as they did for so many.

Thanks Stu, JBart, Scott, Luke, Marc and all the Orphans who made it possible.

Most sincerely,
Heath

February 4, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterHeathMan

It seems like a sad day, but I cant wait to see what you do next. Bigger and better - you are only on your way up.

February 4, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBrian

Good Joke.
But if you are serious, we need good people especially DV-rebels here in our young film-production company in Germany, Stu :-)))
And The Orphanage always was kind of a role model for us - and hopefully this will not change.

February 4, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterThirty

such a loss for the world, but we all imagine you will take us farther in your next ventures.

good luck to each of you, thanks for giving us so many hours of joy at 24fps

-dan
psyop/visualnoiz

February 4, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDan B.

I was in a mildly good mood before I read this. I've looked up to Stu since DV Guru and wanted to work at the Orphanage since I found out about it a year or two ago. I can only hope it'll come back to life at some point in the future. I'm very, very sorry to hear this, and wish nothing but the best of luck to all Orphans out there. Hope I see you around.

February 4, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRuneshai

10 years in the lousy business of vfx: what's that in human years? I was there at Sundance when Variety turned you guys out. I was around when it was nine guys and a TV movie. I survived Spy Kids 3D, which allowed me to join the ranks of the immortal undead, and actually came back for a couple more shows. I was talking to Dav just yesterday about making my way back if Avatar landed. It was vivid, man. The shock waves will be big, the success stories bigger.

February 5, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterFlowseeker

Wow, quite a shock. The Orphanage is my career in VFX. I've never worked for another facility and probably never will. I had no real qualifications, no reel, when you guys took me in way back in the day. And everything I ever learned was through being there. I'll always be grateful.

The O's corpse will be very rich in nutrients. Much new life will grow out of it.

BB

February 5, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBrendan

I truly enjoyed all of the time I've spent at the O, and will miss it greatly, but I am thankful for the experiences I had and count myself lucky.

-brad

February 5, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterbrad

wow. What a way to start the day.

I don't know what to say really ... I have many people to thank for the time at the O; for what you have taught me and for the people I have met.

I'm really sad to see you closing the doors.

Good Luck and thank you for letting me become an Orphan.

February 5, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterChristian

All the best Stu really wanted to work alongside you. Wish you the best.

February 5, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterswerve

That's really sad, especially at a time when it seemed things were going so well (The Spirit etc.). I hope you come back from the dead!

February 5, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterderkiki

SHOCKING !!

I just hope it comes back to business soon.All the best !!

February 5, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterNaveen

oh God, nooooooooooooo ...!

February 5, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDom

Dang.

Sorry to see you guys go. Sad day.

Happy to have seen the things that you have done. Hope your future travels and projects are made of good stuff.

All the best.

February 5, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterPaul

A very very sad day indeed. Even here in NZ, you guys have always been an inspiration to our small fx teams, just with the creative way you tackle fx challenges, ...ingenuity is the word that springs to mind, genius is another. I hope that the orphans all move on to bright futures (you're all a talented bunch so i am sure there will be no problem there), and that sometime down the road you may have the joy of 'getting the band back together' in some form or another. This industry will be the lesser without you guys working as the close knit team you were. Best of luck.

February 5, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAndy Shanks

Not good. Best wishes to you and your coworkers, Stu. I've found your info on this blog and in the rebel cafe to have been invaluable so I'd just like to say thanks for everything you've done so far. I'm sure you will continue to inspire and innovate.

February 5, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRobert Dee

wow....

wtf....

Don't loose the faith and keep your head up so very very high.....


All my heart felt love to you and to yours.

February 5, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMARY JANE

To quote one of my favourite movies: "No...words... they should have sent a poet!"

Extremely sad news.

And one can't help to wonder if there isn't many other dominoes about to topple in this mess we are in :( *schnieff*

/Z

February 5, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMaster Zap
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