Classes #3-4: Sequence Design; Hybrid Characters (Stan Winston School Diary #4)

Each class is taught by a Legacy Effects co-founder. I used my first week trial on some of the more introductory coursework and immediately went for these when I saw John Rosengrant’s name. Remember to read my Variety article from this spring Mr. Rosengrant is quoted in! I did a quick interview with him regarding The Shape of Water’s creature.

Class #3: Special Effects Sequence Design

This class was taught by Legacy’s Shane Mahan. Films referenced: Wrong Turn, Interview with the Vampire, Jurassic Park, Terminator.

Mr. Mahan talks about where to find inspiration. And, when you get a script in your hands, what to do with it from the production end.

Halfway through, he gets into my favorite part: getting a job! I don’t know about you. The word “job” to me is like rainbows falling out of the sky with the most delicious ice cream known to mankind. JOB. Bold type that! The job advice(!) is about meeting with studio executives and filmmakers that is applicable to people doing the filmmaking, or really, professions like the freelance journalism I do, where you do deal with people in the film industry or film media, convincing them to work with you and later on, letting you interview people either them directly or people who have worked under their company’s brand. Lots of focus on the business side of effects. VIP.

We wind down with info on some examples of on set changes and details on specific famous effects from assorted films in the Stan Winston archive. Things in action. How do they change? How does budget change?

Oh yeah! Did I mention enough you have great tips on finding a film industry job and holding down a successful meeting with assorted folks encompassing budget and beyond? ;) I like it because Mr. Mahan actually did that a million times successfully with the Stan Winston and then Legacy teams. Pretty sure his advice is solid!

Class #4: Hybrid Characters: Blending Practical & Digital Effects

Mr. Rosengrant explains the origins of hybrid characters in film. He goes into detail about working on Avatar pieces in collaboration with Weta Digital Effects down in New Zealand with every point on how the film was made and why it was a box office success, the balance of digital and practical effects, when to use either, Stan Winston’s mottos, small changes you can make to a character for extra frightening effects, and probably everything you ever wanted to know about Stan Winston’s attitudes blending CGI and practical effects. The how-to behind the scenes work on Iron Man gets discussed for fans of the franchise.

My notes on class #4 were like a medical pamphlet in length, only, you know, missing the evil side effects about causing stomach sickness. Lots of useful information.

“What happened to your muffin puppet project?!”

Michaels shipped the remaining needs for my muffin puppet craft supplies separately in assorted boxes. Thanks, Michaels, for stalling my homework. You’ll hear about it hopefully next week when all my supplies arrive by pigeon, or Wells Fargo horse and buggy. Stork? :)