Archive for July, 2009
Haven’t been putting any updates recently, sorry… just have been quite busy with work, and lack of work, and life…etc. etc….
So here’s just a couple drawings from 1993, back when I was transitioning from regular art to computer art.
Still in the throes of slogging through my Video Tapes, I’m enjoying seeing these “lost” bits of Trek history. One of the biggest moments in the annals of Trek Lore is the press conference announcing “Star Trek – The Motion Picture”… as we know now, the machinations behind the scene were extremely complex, and this was only the halfway point in the long process of bringing trek from the small to the big screen.
Paramount had been toying with making Star Trek into a movie for many years… (according to some accounts, even as early as 1973) but had been on a treadmill of indecision and half realized ideas. The process had been hindered, of course, by Leonard Nimoy’s legal actions against the studio and Roddenberry to secure his own likeness rights and prevent his face being used to sell beer. (Whether this was due to the fact that he actually didn’t drink Heineken , or that he wanted to be _paid_ for these ads) In any case, the previous attempts at bringing star trek into its new incarnation didn’t get anywhere…
These days with all the fabricated “buzz” about movies and popular culture… it’s a good idea to take another step back and look at a simpler moment… where there actually _was_ excitement before all the hoopla. It’s amusing to see, now, in retrospect, Nimoy’s attitude at the news conference. He is definitely “playing ball” at this point, after several mettings with Paramount big-wig Jeff Katzenberg and a “let’s be friends” check…
Ok, I couldn’t think of a better title for this entry… sorry. lol
In 1989, I was working on a movie called “Guilty by Suspicion” directed by Irwin Winkler, starring Robert DeNiro as a blacklisted director in the early fifties. It was a period piece, and interesting to work on… This was my third film working for Academy Award winning Production Designer Les Dilley who had art directed Star Wars, Empire, Raiders, and Superman… basically my top favorite movies of all time, and it was the film that I finally got in to the IATSE union on. During production, Les was contacted by a production company who were putting together ads for the LA times calendar section that would play in movie theaters as part of the beginning trailer package… (those of you old enough in the LA area will remember these, often times annoyingly repetitive shorts which focused on different aspects of movie production…) They did cinematographer, Stunt man, Visual effects, and other segments… one of the first of these was focusing on the Production Designer, and they had chosen Les to be the subject. Les chose me to be the liason between him and the production company, headed by Paul and Jane Raimondi. We arranged for them to film a day in a location set that we were preparing for the film, a house up in the hollywood hills supposedly once occupied by Frank Sinatra, that we were dressing as DeNiro’s character’s house. I got to appear in the short, doing a quick illustration of a furniture piece intended for the set, and looking all artsy over a lightbox.. (I had the brilliant idea of wearing a pair of glasses for the shot, so the light would bounce off them and I’d look cool) and I deftly spouted the line “3/4 inch scale ok?” and it has me diligently taking notes in my file-o-fax as Les was instructing me with some made-up instructions to “block off that wall completely over here”… whatever that meant. Also in for the day was the set dressing and construction crew… who had just done some work on the actual set, and participated in dressing the set again for the cameras. Leslie McDonald, the art director, also appeared that day… she had been an art director on “Field of Dreams” and would later Art Direct the classic “Hudsucker Proxy” for the Cohen Brothers.
It was a fun time, and I got a kick out of seeing myself in theaters for a couple months back in 1990… Here it is…
I’ve been sifting through my collection of VHS tapes… and culling out little gems here and there. Here’s one that I got from a friend… amidst a collection of wonderful video of interviews and press kits from the history of Star Trek fandom.
Here is a great piece from 1980… (I think this was a show called 20/20 but I’m not sure) it’s Hugh Downs and a celebration of the premiere of Star Trek: The Motion Picture. A little unfortunate that the only fan interviews they have re-inforce stereotypes… but that’s how it goes.
When I was at USC, I was really thinking I wanted to be an editor… it was one of those things that I sorta just fell into doing because I had the opportunity to. I was able to make use of the Film School’s equipment when I did work-study as one of the monitors of the Marcia Lucas Post Production building at USC. In the various editing rooms, there were professional VHS editing decks… which I learned, and utilized practicing my editing skills… along with my friend Chuck Michael. As some of you have seen, one of the results of this collaboration was “The Empire Strikes Quack”… another project that I was doing at the same time, with the same elements, was a 6 minute montage of clips from the Star Wars movies edited to the closing theme music from the films. I called it “The First Decade” in anticipation of the 10th anniversary of Star Wars that was coming up in the next year. At the 10th anniversary convention in May of 1987, I showed this and “The Empire Strikes Quack” alternately over and over again at a booth for everyone to see… it and “Quack” were a big hit… but this hasn’t been seen since. I’m kinda proud of this too… I’m particularly happy that I was able to maintain my edict of keeping the clips in their original order, and managing to sync up several good music cues with actions in the clips. Especially fun, is hearing the “plunk plunk plunk” of the music as Wicket jabs princess leia with a stick. lol