My Art Career
I started my so called art career making and selling pictures at Science Fiction Convention art shows. Believe it or not! It taught me that people will buy anything that has cats, unicorns, dragons, or naked babes in it. A true lesson in marketing. I liked making unusual pieces in unusual media so I was only moderately successful. At the end of this phase of my career I was into Japanese-style art which was not yet "fashionable". Click on the picture below to see more stuff that I've made.
Ok, so being ahead of my time can be a drag. After that I did some work on low-budget films (the names best left vague and unremembered in the mists of time). This launched me into making props for commercials. And airbrushing cels, dressing sets and blah blah blah. Eventually, I noticed that a few commercials were using computers. Hmmm, said I. Better learn this newfangled de-vice before I be out of a freaking job! So, I saved my gelt and bought an Amiga computer and taught myself computer animation/graphics.
Eventually this led me to Los Angeles. I went to alot of computer meetings and even helped organize some of these gatherings. It was at one of these that I met Tony of AI Effects where he was asking for someone who could do...oh, I forget what now. Naturally, I ran up there with smoke coming out from under my shoes. It's not that I could do what he was asking about - I just saw an opportunity and took it. He and Frank, his partner (in crime ha!) were starting their company and I was the first employee. The job was the infamous "Hologram Man". We did all the blue screen work on three Amigas and as I work fast, we did even more shots than originally scheduled. You can see some stills in my article about blue screen.
Other films I worked on were: Cybertracker 2, To the Limit (PM Entertainment), and The Misery Brothers. In 1999 we did a few shots for Y2K. The most well known project was From the Earth to the Moon, an HBO 12 part mini-series, produced by Tom Hanks. We did traveling mattes, blue screen, animatics, modeling and other special effects. We worked on episodes three and four - although my composite shots were used at the top of each episode. Episode four was nominated for a Special Effects Emmy. By the way. And then came DUNE.
What I'm leaving out, of course, are all the times I've been out of work and stressed out. If I was an ass-kisser I'd be successful, but being a phony does not suit my personality. And being a plastic ass-kisser is what LA is all about. That and incompetent people who get work through means that I don't care to explore here. If everyone in LA was like Tony and Frank this place would be Nirvana. They are honest, upfront and fair. I find it hard to deal with people who are anything else. Where I come from respect is more important than money. I've always gotten respect from Frank and Tony and that's why I give them 200%. More times than not, it was more like 400%.
I have made showreels and mailed things out and done a bit of that sort of thing but I admit I'm very sloppy about it. I feel like I'm taking a test - something that doesn't sit well with me. When I go to work I just work. I don't yenta, coffee klatch or gossip. It's not my thing. In LA it's called "networking". Whatever. I go to my station (or stations; I've been known to work on more than one computer at a time. Learning on Amigas taught me how to multitask!) and block out everything. I pay no attention to anyone else. It's one of the reasons I get done quickly. I don't let myself get distracted. However, when asked, I teach my fellow artists in the office whatever I can about what I know. With one guy who worked with us during Earth to the Moon, I was giving him plenty of Lightwave tips and introduced him to AfterEffects. He went on to work at Netter for awhile. But then he's 1) younger than me, 2) male. That is the way LA works. No point in getting a heart attack about it.
I regret nothing. I've done good work and that is the only thing that really matters in the long run. I can die knowing that I have left behind things that have been stamped by my contribution. And I am very proud to have worked with incredibly creative people. I learned a great deal from these experiences.