Owner Legacy Effects - we design and create characters and Live Action Animatronic and Prosthetic Effects for Film, Television and Commercials
It’s really rewarding to go see a film that showcases your work and feel the positive energy from the audience’s reaction.
What is a typical day like for you?
We usually have several projects going at once in different stages of development-overseeing the CG artists, sculptors, painters, fabricators, mechanical engineers, mold makers and model makers. My day in the shop starts around 7:30 am till about 6pm. When we are on a movie set shooting what we created the day runs typically 12-14 hours sometimes longer.
What is the most enjoyable part of your job?
I love every aspect of the creation process from visualizing what it can be from reading the script to creating the actual end result… It’s really rewarding to go see a film that showcases your work and feel the positive energy from the audience’s reaction.
What is the least enjoyable part of your job?
Probably like any job horrible deadlines and budgets - but loving what you do gets you through all of that.
Explain the path you took to get to this job (education, internships, etc.).
I was always drawing, painting, sculpting while growing up and self-teaching special effects make-up techniques. I was an art major for 2 years then decided to move to Hollywood to pursue my dream to work in the movies. I figured the worst thing that could happen is that I would fail miserably and know that at least I gave it a shot…fortunately it turned out a lot better – I’m now a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and an Oscar nominee.
Who or what was the greatest influence that set you on this path?
Early on at the age of five I saw King Kong, the Bride of Frankenstein and the Universal Monster classics and decided I wanted to make monsters for a living. No one really knew how to help me with that (I grew up in New Jersey and Louisiana -not exactly a hotbed of film activity at that time). My parents were supportive; I had a great Art teacher in high school that pushed me to always get better as an artist. Shortly after kicking around Los Angeles working on low budget movie stuff I got a break to work for Stan Winston on the Terminator and Stan became my mentor and allowed me to fulfill my dream. I became Stan’s right hand man for 25 years until his untimely passing. I then formed Legacy Effects along with my 3 partners Alan Scott, Shane Mahan and Lindsay Macgowan and have been going strong every since.
What advice would you give others seeking a similar job?
Study all the traditional art forms along with computer programs such as Maya, Z Brush and Photoshop.
How does your job make a difference?
Well I’m not saving lives but hopefully bringing entertainment and fun to people’s lives.
How do you use science, math and technology in your job?
Technology is a big part of what we do. We have set up a very unique pipeline between our computer design and rapid prototyping our digitally created sculptures. We have invested in state of the art rapid prototyping machines and are beta testers for the sculpting program Z Brush.
Is there one course you wish you had taken in high school but didn’t? Why?
I would say Auto repair because I love cars (old Muscle Cars is a hobby) and I’m sure I would learned something useful. Because I was busy taking art and related classes.
What makes this job right for you?
Well it’s hard to put into words why this is right for me, I guess because it satisfies an inner desire to create and appeals to the make-up of who I am as a person. Art is really a way to express one’s self.
What's the most bizarre or silliest thing you’ve ever done in this job?
Well a lot of the commercials we do are bizarre or silly but I must say it keeps it interesting…As far as bizarre created a realistic Komodo dragon whose body opened up to reveal an ice chest filled with ice cream cones.
What activities do you like to do outside of work?
I enjoy spending time with my family, traveling, restoring old Mustang Muscle Cars, playing (always learning) guitar.
You just won $10 million! What’s the first thing you’d do?
Make sure my family is set financially forever.