September/12/2013 Filed in: Commercials
Click to play the MOVING LIFE SAVERS commercial!
This unusual commercial, titled Moving Life Savers, featured hundreds of real Life Savers candies in action. In 1989, I was hired by Limelight, a now-defunct production company, to bring said candies to life via stop-motion animation. The project was a huge challenge, particularly because the desired result required maintaining control of a large number of candies while using the very limited "old-school" technology of the time.READ AND SEE MORE...
June/09/2013 Filed in: Animation
CLICK TO PLAY the Stone Giant animation sequence!
During the early Nineties, the animation and visual effects industries transformed rapidly from their traditional old-school techniques to the use of computer generated imagery. One of the lost arts was "Dynamation", invented by the late, great Ray Harryhausen. Once considered the best and most revered method for integrating creatures into live action movies, Dynamation is now long obsolete. Although this Harryhausen-created procedure was generally considered to be a magician's secret, a few other masters such as Jim Danforth, David Allen, Randall William Cook, Jim Aupperle, Phil Tippett, and Doug Beswick all knew and practiced the art. The procedure involves animating a realistic stop-motion puppet in front of a rear-projection of live action footage. Foreground elements are masked out on a glass sheet in front of the camera and then restored by backwinding the film and running a second pass. The result is the illusion that the animated character is in the scene and interacting with the actors in the movie.
While employed by Full Moon Entertainment in 1994-1995, I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to animate using the Dynamation technique on five separate movies. One of these productions, Magic Island, had the distinction of being the last feature film released which utilized Harryhausen's legacy process!READ AND SEE MORE...
March/10/2013 Filed in: Commercials
Click to play the BLACK STAR BEER commercial!
One of the cleverest ad campaigns I have been involved with was for Black Star Beer in 1992. A "Make-Believe History" was created for the newly started brewery by the Wieden & Kennedy agency, directed by Alex Proyas. The ad featured a montage of pretend commercials from the past, presented by announcer John Corbett (of Northern Exposure fame). My contribution was to animate Zippy The Cap, an iconic talking bottle cap character, supposedly from the year 1950.READ AND SEE MORE...
February/19/2013 Filed in: Moviemaking
Running from vampires in the sewer. Note the pink and green eighties lighting.
Having moved to Los Angeles with the dream of becoming a professional stop-motion animator, I initially found it very difficult to get my foot in the door of the movie business. I managed to get a few gigs making miniatures as a model maker, but even those jobs were hard to come by for a newcomer. Then the opportunity came to work on my first feature motion picture, starting at the very bottom... the sewer! Okay, in actuality I was hired to build a sewer, as part of the construction crew on the horror movie VAMP in 1986.
Taking a break in the nearly finished Vamp sewer set.READ AND SEE MORE...
January/05/2013 Filed in: Sculpting
Frank Zane and Lisa Lyon, examples of classic bodybuilding physiques! CLICK TO PLAY
Some may call bodybuilding a sport, but it can also be an art form. Bodybuilders literally sculpt themselves by making conscious decisions about where to add and where to subtract, accomplishing their goal with focused weight training, exercises, and diet. The objective of their efforts is to reach the physical ideal, which is certainly subjective depending on the eye of the beholder.
When I was a very young man I attended the 1979 Mr. Olympia competition, and filmed many of the highlights with my trusty super 8 camera. In that event, the bodybuilders essentially gave stage performances as living breathing sculptures. Frank Zane, arguably the greatest bodybuilder ever, won the contest for a third straight year. There was also a unique guest poser, pioneering female bodybuilder Lisa Lyon. The show represented the end of an era, within a few short years the world of professional bodybuilding experienced BIG changes. More on that, but first some background on the featured stars of this movie clip.READ AND SEE MORE...