The Yard moves up a dimension

  • 2023-07-13
On the occasion of the opening of The Yard’s new studio in Montpellier, Laurens Ehrmann has been interviewed by French Ecran Total magazine about its expansion.

Learn more about The Yard in this interview article with Laurens Ehrmann, Founder and Senior VFX Supervisor at The Yard VFX in this interview for French magazine Ecran Total.

Initially published in French in their July 12 printed issue, the artcile is also available on their website. You’ll find below the highlights of the article in English. Have a good read !

The Yard VFX a young company founded less than ten years ago that now rivals the industry’s biggest players. The studio, founded by visual effects supervisor Laurens Ehrmann in 2014, continues to attract projects. This summer, it begins a new stage in its development with the opening of its new studio in Montpellier – in addition to its historic headquarters in Vanves, just outside Paris. It has also just been selected as one of the winners of the « La Grande Fabrique de l’image » call for projects, as part of the France 2030 plan.

Two years ago, The Yard VFX had just 10 artists on its payroll, but now it has 100. The company’s sales for the last financial year amounted to 12 million euros over a nine-month period. Three years ago, this figure did not exceed one million euros over a 12-month period. The company’s change in dimension can be seen in its ability to work on international projects that benefit from the CNC tax credit. This is normally 30%, but is increased to 40% for projects spending over 2 million euros on VFX in France. Whereas previously The Yard VFX was mobilized with other French players on these projects, the company now attracts productions that exceed the 2 million threshold with The Yard VFX as their sole service provider. A case in point is season 2 of the series The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, produced by Amazon Studios.

In the past months, The Yard VFX has also worked on around a hundred shots for Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, mobilizing more than thirty people in all over a six-month period. The company also contributed to the films The Gray Man and Murder Mystery 2 for Netflix, the Marvel series WandaVision for Disney+, and the blockbuster John Wick 4.

The Yard has worked on more than a hundred VFX shots for Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny
(L-R): Teddy (Ethann Isidore), Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) and Helena (Phoebe Waller-Bridge) in Lucasfilm's INDIANA JONES AND THE DIAL OF DESTINY. ©2023 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.

Today, there is a fine line between a theatrical feature and a film or a series for a platform. They are all fiction productions and the quality required is the same. Some series cost as much as feature films.

Laurens EhrmannFounder and CEO of The Yard VFX

The company, which works on six to nine projects a year, is also involved in a number of French productions: Jean-Jacques Annaud’s Notre-Dame brûle (Notre Dame on Fire), the Netflix series Notre-Dame, La Part du Feu, Albert Dupontel’s next feature, Second Tour, and Ladj Ly’s new film, Bâtiment 5, both due in theatres this autumn.

Official picture of Notre Dame on Fire, directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud, VFX Supervised by Laurens Ehrmann, founder of The Yard VFX and winner of 2023 Cesar for Best Visual Effects

Doubling the workforce

The ambition is to continue growing the company. The studio has the capacity, in terms of structure, to accommodate twice as many artists as today.

We've already given ourselves the means to achieve this objective before the France 2030 plan.

Laurens EhrmannFounder and CEO of The Yard VFX

Currently, 30% of the workforce is made up of permanent contracts, with the remainder filled by fixed-term contracts and freelancers.

We're gradually trying to take on more and more permanent contracts, to make sure we retain our artists and have them with us over the long term.

Laurens EhrmannFounder and CEO of The Yard VFX

Attracting and retaining the best talent is at the heart of the company’s strategy. According to Laurens Ehrmann, it’s essential for a studio to find ways of standing out from the crowd. The Yard relies on the quality and richness of its projects, as well as on its corporate culture, which must enable talented people to feel at ease and to develop and grow as artists.

Settling in Montpellier

About its new site in Montpellier, Laurens Ehrmann explains that the studio will open with a couple of artists at the beginning with the objective to welcome around twenty people at the beginning of next year and around fifty people in the next 18 months.

By setting up in the Hérault region, The Yard VFX aims to offer its employees the living environment they are looking for, while working on ambitious projects. Laurens Ehrmann confirms that the Paris and Montpellier teams will be working on the same projects.

The company works on a hybrid organizational model, combining telecommuting and on-site presence.

People like to work remotely, but they increasingly need to be together [...] Today, companies need to reach out to talent. We knew there was a pocket of talent in the Montpellier region, thanks in particular to the ArtFX school.

Laurens EhrmannFounder and CEO of The Yard VFX
The representatives of PICS Studio, Dark Matters and ArtFX with Cecile Barral of La Region Occitanie and Laurens Ehrmann, founder and CEO of The Yard VFX
From left to right: Véronique Cuilhe (PICS Studio), Jean Louis Eude (Dark Matters Solutions), Alain Guiraudon, Jacques Vienne and Sébastien Giraud (PICS Studio), Laurens Ehrmann (The Yard), Cécile Barral (Occitanie Region), Antoine Pietrera (PICS Studio), Luc Pourrinet and Simon Vanesse (ArtFX) (©naïri)

Read the full original article on Ecran Total website (in French only) by clicking here.


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