Tag Archive | "Visual Effects"

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Monsters & Magic Bullets

Posted on 07 June 2010 by Derek

There’s a little buzz starting to build for a film by the name of Monsters. It’s by no means being eagerly awaited by a legion of comic-con pilgrimaging fanboys, nor are breathless Twihards counting down the days till it’s release.

Let’s be honest, Snakes on a Plane had a bigger internet presence than Monsters… but it’s early days yet, the buzz is slowly, steadily growing.

Having been screened (out of competition) at the recently concluded Cannes Film Fest those who saw it seem to be in universal agreement, this is one to see.

Outlined (Monsters from my understanding was improvised, not scripted) and directed by Gareth Edwards, the film is being described as “Lost in Translation” meets “Jurassic Park”, a description that instantly piqued my interest.

The story is that prior to the film NASA discovered signs of life in our solar system and sent a probe to investigate, without incident. On the return home though the probe crashed in Central America, unleashing new life forms. Now, six years later, half of Mexico is quarantined as the US and Mexican governments struggle to stop the spread of the aliens.

Our protagonist is a photographer for an American newspaper whose been covering the incidents that occur within the infected zone. As it happens his editor’s daughter went on vacation in the area and he is saddled with the task of finding her and bringing her safely home.

As a writer I am always excited by original takes to well tread territory and Gareth Edwards’ goal of grounding a monster movie in the most realistic world possible does just that. I haven’t yet seen the film and unfortunately there’s no script to get my hands on but by all accounts the story is more “Lost in Translation” than “Jurassic Park”, a structure unique to attack of the monster films that I am told makes the scenes when these aliens do attack a hundred times more scary sheerly for the fact we actually care for these three dimensional character rather than just caring about the three dimensional monster animation.

But the CGI is a big part of why this film is gaining buzz. Rumours suggest the film was made for the minuscule budget of $15,000 and with the smallest crew possible.

To hear how this was done, in the director’s own words, check out this video:

A lot of people in the industry are taking notice, as they do every couple of years when an outsider makes an excellent piece of cinema for a fraction of the normal Hollywood budget.

There’s no doubt that the current business model of this industry is up for evaluation and Monsters is starting to be bandied about as maybe one to learn from, maybe, they say, it’s the magic bullet that solves the unsolvable problem we all seem to know is right around the corner: film industry profits will dramatically drop while the astronomical price tag of production will stand frozen.

Let’s be honest, Monsters sounds like an excellent film but it’s no magic bullet. Read on and I’ll tell you why…

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Let’s Get Down to Business

Posted on 02 December 2009 by Derek

When I worked as a Visual Effects Coordinator I was considered part of management, which I quickly discovered meant two things: Firstly I would be spending most of my days being called into meetings while thinking the entire time that I really should be out on the floor making sure the artists were meeting the deadline. Secondly that I would spend the rest of my time being yelled at by senior management for being busy elsewhere while my team went off schedule.

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