I threw the following video together a few months ago after watching Christopher Sherwood's awesome edit, The Path of a Lightsaber. With a lot of people still wondering how Maz Kanata got a hold of it, here is my attempt to answer that question.
The child in me really wishes that what I'm about to tell you is true... that the following selfie is real and I risked my life by opening my visor because the glare on my helmet was just too bright for the photo opportunity. Of course everything went well and I lived to blog about it.
Last week I shot a fun little promo for Cooper Tires at the ESPY Awards.
I'm super stoked that Vice.com was interested enough in our movie to write this. And yeah, you read that right... We didn't just make a movie, we made a drinking game in the form of a movie. Hopefully this is a first of its kind.
Been busy this last year! Back in August I directed "DEAD7", a post-apocalyptic western about a gang of gunslingers protecting a town from zombies. I helped develop this concept with Executive Producer and actor (and action hero!) Nick Carter over the last couple of years and we recently got a chance to make it. We shot in Montana and had a blast with a cast made up of mostly boy bands (Backstreet Boys, 'N SYNC, O-Town, No Authority, 98 Degrees, All-4-One, Everclear)... and they were bad asses.
This is not just for ladies nostalgic for the 90s, it's a fun, over-the-top, action-comedy that everyone can enjoy.
Dead 7 airs on the SyFy network April 1st.
Here are a few of the promos I had the opportunity and pleasure to direct recently for the SAG-AFTRA Foundation. The following PSAs cover a variety of the programs the Foundation offers which include cast panels and Q&As, assistance, scholarship and child literacy programs. It's all donation based so big kudos to these actors that contributed their time as well as the donors that keep the Foundation going.
The modified Nikon SLR initially caught my eye when I first saw this clip, but then I realized this fits into exactly what I've been posting about the last two days about Computer Generated Issues: click the following to check out Part I and Part II.
I previously mentioned the work of Stan Winston, but if Winston is Gandalf the Grey in this situation, one could argue that Dennis Muren is Elrond Lord of Rivendell, also able to harness and control the magical powers of practical effects. The following mine cart sequence from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom is a great example of something that would look better being produced in 1984 versus if it were computer generated in 2015. Back then, there were only a few ways to accomplish effects like this and by the 1980's, they got really good at doing it. Plus the skill sets that artists like Muren have aren't necessarily required in the current generation of VFX supervisors.
Seriously... A bunch of tin foil. A modified SLR camera. A little bit of motion control. With all of the technology of today, this type of work would just be easier, cheaper, and look better with a DSLR. It'll be a shame if model making and motion control techniques like the ones demonstrated in the video really do become a lost art, only for the industry to "re-discover" it decades from now and have to relearn this all over again... It's sort of like CGI is the atom bomb that blew us back to the stone age and we'll eventually be forced to learn from our mistakes and play catch up.
Following up on the previous Computer Generated Issues post, here are some additional points brought up by Vince Mancini from Uproxx. The following "Hasta la vista" clip from Terminator 2: Judgement Day is a great reminder how much more awesome special effects were back in the day and if this scene were shot in 2015, it would most likely be all CG.
Sequences like this were more of a spectacle. Wizards like Stan Winston created the real magic that we're not seeing so much of anymore.
It seems these days for every image a computer generates, it creates its own problems as well. Looking back at 1993's Jurassic Park, it's amazing to see that it's still one of the best made films that incorporates modern computer generated imagery. However over twenty years later, it's hard to find a film that can subtly blend live action and CGI without looking fake.
The reason we've arrived at this point is because the visual effects industry was born out of a necessity to supplement practical effects, but it too quickly outgrew itself. Nowadays, many younger VFX artists have come into the picture without the practical experience that the artists in the 90's had... Just because it's now possible to do a scene completely in CG doesn't mean that you should.
Unfortunately a lot of artists and special effects houses that focused on practical effects have been deemed obsolete, or as Dr. Ian Malcom said in Jurassic Park, "Don't you mean extinct?" However that craft isn't obsolete at all, the industry needs them now more than ever.
Check out the following video from the StoryBrain YouTube Channel as they further explain what is happening to our psyche when we're overloaded with CGI: