Archive for the 'General Sci-Fi' Category



19
Dec
09

Dan O’Bannon, saying goodbye!

I just got word of Dan O’bannon’s passing, and I am quite taken back by this horribly sad news!!!  Dan has been mentioned here on the blog many times, and I was unaware that he was battling Crohn’s disease for over 30 years….  Sadly, it looks like he lost the fight on December 17, 2009.  He will be deeply missed!!!  For those of you who are unfamiliar with Mr. O’Bannon, here is a little write-up for you to get to know him a little bit.

Dan O’Bannon’s passion was for movies & writing, and he was quite gifted with an amazing talent to do just that!  He went to USC in the late 60’s/early 70’s and teamed up with fellow wannabe film maker John Carpenter.  Together they were creating a 45 minute short Sci-Fi movie called “Electric Dutchman,” later to be renamed “Dark Star”!  The two men created a hilarious film that was later lengthened and released theatrically.  Both Dan and John wore many hats during the production.  Dan took on the role as Co-writer, Production Designer, Film Dditor, Visual Effects Supervisor and even acting…playing the mistreated and belittled character of Pinback (who’s real name is Bill Froog, but had to become Pinback because that was the name on the uniform).  Dan and John’s film was released on January 16, 1975 ( Carpenter’s 27th Birthday) and died virtually unnoticed!!  Today it has become a cult classic.  The film brought together some vast movie talents such as Greg Jein, Ron Cobb and Bill Taylor, as well as launching both John and Dan’s careers as major movie makers.  Sadly, the partnership did not survive after Dark Star, and both went out in different directions!

Dan went on to his next project of trying to get “Dune” off the ground!!  This attempt fell apart, and Dan went on to do some of the computer graphics for Star Wars.  Unhappy with the thought of becoming a computer graphics designer, Dan went back to his first love of writing and wrote what would be one of the greatest Science fiction films ever made!!!  “Alien” was it’s name, and the mega hit came out in May of 1979.   Along with Star Wars, the look of space movies coming out of Hollywood changed forever.  From there O’Bannon went on to write many other landmark films and stories.  He wrote two of my favorite segments entitled “Soft landing” and the awesomely horrifying “B-17” from the “Heavy Metal” movie released in 1981.  Next he wrote “Blue Thunder,” which he was terribly displeased with; the story had been heavily rewritten and had lost it’s political edge by the time it made it to the big screen.  The same happened with his screenplay for Lifeforce (1985).  In 1986 he wrote a wicked little screenplay for the remake of “Invaders from Mars,” and I was happy to be a part of this one.  I had just started working at Apogee VFX house in Van Nuys,  making Invaders and Top Gun the first two movies I got to work on.  I was extremely happy to be working on a Dan O’Bannon and Tobe Hooper  film!!  Dan switched to the director’s chair  with another cult classic, “Return of the Living Dead,” and then moved on to write another SCI-FI favorite, “Total Recall”.  “Bleeders”, “Screamers” and “The Resurrected” would come in future years.

Dan was a huge fan of Science Fiction and H.P. Lovecraft, as you could tell by his work, but he was a man of incredible talent in so many other fields; he was hysterically funny, very gracious, very kind and  he had a deep appreciation for others and their talents.  He had a strong sense of self confidence and rebellion towards authority which made him able to withstand just about anything and not fall apart when criticism was thrown his way.  He never gave up and always followed his passions with great pride and imagination.  Mr. O’Bannon  is one whom I have great admiration for.  He was the best at what he did, and his work and talent have definitely inspired me in so many ways!!!  He will be missed dearly.  Thank You, Dan, and may God bless and be with your family, friends and especially your wife, Diane, and son Adam.

this link will take you to a great site that has a lot of Dan’s graphics work and a cool interview as well!

http://www.denofgeek.com/movies/188053/pictorial_dan_obannon_and_the_tactical_displays_in_star_wars.html

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0639321

Click below to see several great photos of Dan and his amazing work…(if you see the pictures, you’re already there!).

Continue reading ‘Dan O’Bannon, saying goodbye!’

31
Oct
09

Happy Halloween, Happy adoption day, and happy Birthday to Greg Jein

Well, it’s an awesome day on many levels.  It’s Halloween for one, most importantly, this is the day way back 14 years ago that I adopted my twin daughters, Olivia and Alicia, and it’s also Greg Jein’s Birthday!!

I was a foster parent way back and the first children that I got to foster parent for were two little twin girls just a few days old. The girls’ birth mom vanished after a couple of visits in the early days and after a year or so the court gave the option to adopt, and it was a great day to get this long awaited news…just a few days before the girls turned three (Halloween Day).  We went to court and so happily made Olivia and Alicia a permanent part of our family…I have been truly blessed with these two wonderful daughters, and they bring a special joy to every day of my life!

Another way back story to the late 1970’s, as a little kid in Arizona, was the day Close Encounters of the Third Kind came out and I learned about a man named Greg Jein!!!  Within the next couple of years, special effects mags like Starlog and Cinefex would do special articles on Greg, and from the first day I read about him, I was a fan!!!  In 1984, I got a hold of his # and worked up the courage to give him a call, and he invited me over to his shop to say hey.  I was in town doing my bi-monthly turn in a new portfolio and resume to all the VFX houses hoping to one day get a job, and Greg’s shop was right behind Boss Films!!  It was a quick visit, and Greg had his hands in some black, gooey, brushable resin he was smearing into a laser blaster mold…I didn’t have a lot to show him, but I left with one big ear to ear grin after meeting my hero!!!  A few years later I managed to break in to the VFX world, and Greg Jein came to the shop I was working at to lend a hand on some models we were making.  We kept in touch, and soon I was working with Greg at his shop on Star Trek V; it’s funny to look back on those times and have a new outlook on someone who was once someone I only new from books and the big screen to now calling Greg my friend!!!  To this day, it is still one great honor!!

Happy Birthday, GREG!!! and Happy adopted day, Olivia ‘n Alicia!! and Happy Halloween to all.

10116_1042723685330_1742747436_89056_3575617_n

Alicia and Olivia

Greg and I working in his shop on STV

Greg and I at his shop

running into Greg at Comicon

Greg and I at Comicon

Greg had a lot in common with Ed (Big Daddy) Roth,, they both liked to work bondo with their hands!!! HAAA- OOOOO-WA

Greg and Ed (big daddy) Roth both loved to work their magic with bondo by hand!!

18
Sep
09

Jonny Quest turns 45

Happy 45th Anniversary to my all time favorite cartoon as a kid!!!! This one had it all, Scientists, evil villains of all kinds, awesome sci-fi gadgets and aircraft, Monsters, Dragons, Dinosaurs, and Mummy’s, OH MY!!! And a couple of kids with nothing better to do than go on a world wide adventure with their dad and a cool James Bond type body guard nammed Race Bannon!! What was rare for a main stream cartoon at the time was that the bad guys often got shot and killed or crushed by flying boats or massive boulders!!! I remember one episode where Jonny’s dad hollers; Jonny…Hadji, grab some guns and shoot anything that moves!!!  Hanna Barbera put this classic out on September 18th 1964 and the show aired on ABC and only lasted one season!!!  Truly a masterpiece and has place in history as one of the many classics created in the 1960’s!!

imagesJonny-quest-620x465

30
Jul
09

Nakatomi Plaza

Here’s a pic of the Fox Plaza, AKA the Nakatomi Plaza from “Die Hard”.  Just had to go shoot some stills for work of the buildings to the north of this one and snagged a shot as I’m driving away…. Enjoy Desert D

desert d

30
Jul
09

“KARR” the art of Knight rider

Too busy here at work to scan all the art for the Valdore, so today’s post is comprised of images already in the computer.  Last year the old “Knight Rider” TV show from the 80’s was re-invented and had a short one season run as a new series, and sadly it died away right when it was getting it’s bearings and the cast was getting into their roles.  During that time I got a call from Richard Toyon, the production designer on the show to come over and work on the Karr designs with him!!  It was great fun to work on an old favorite show, and it was a treat to work with Richard.  He is a comic book artist on the side and he worked on “From the earth to the Moon”.  Anyway, Richard was sketching out some pretty awesome ideas for KARR, but his work load keeps him away from his desk more than he is there.  Taking his roughs, we started to come up with a plan and not be a rip off from Transformers…I hadn’t seen the Transformers movie so I hadn’t been jaded yet!  The first drawing asked for was of the robotic KARR’s silhouette behind a curtain; it was a backwards way to start, but it was the first set to be built and had to be done first.  So the shadow that came to be on paper had to be turned into what KARR’s shape and mechanics were going to be later.  Working closely with Richard and the in-house CG unit, we worked out all the details and came up with a very fun robotic car (KARR), so below are the renderings that established each mechanical piece and hinge-point so the animators and modelers could run free and add their own creativity to the project.  These guys were a lot of fun to work with, and their end results were awesome.  This episode was a big, fast and crammed story, and the KARR segments were short and left you wanting more!!  Below is also a link to some of the trailers and the official site.

Enjoy

http://knightrideronline.com/knight_rider_2008/season_one/knight_to_kings_pawn/#

 

the first drawing establishing KARR's look

the first drawing establishing KARR's look

Continue reading ‘“KARR” the art of Knight rider’

01
Jul
09

Osiris Chronicles (AKA The Warlord: Battle for the Galaxy) Links

osiris1

As a follow up on The Osiris Chronicles articles, here are some links to more information…

osirisalien 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Warlord:_Battle_for_the_Galaxy

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0142973/

http://www.rodtaylorsite.com/osiruschronicles.shtml

http://www.mjsimpson.co.uk/reviews/osirischronicles.html

More screenshots at these links:

http://blog.360.yahoo.com/blog-qzcELew6frWBZspks_7SsnUuv9VNTUA-?cq=1&p=164

http://www.kelesa.net/marjoriemonaghan/gallery-osiris.htm

01
Jul
09

Jay Roth’s CG Osiris shuttlecraft

It’s a great day…just heard from my old Apogee buddy, Jay Roth!!!  Jay and I were on Spaceballs together, share the same birthday and have a fine appreciation for good quality flatulence (ed. good grief!  dm)…is that an OK topic for blogs????  Anyway, Jay was an awesome modeler, and he built Ron Cobb’s Narcissus for Cameron’s “Aliens” before joining the Apogee crew 1n 1986.  Towards the end of the show, Jay had been pioneering, with some buddies, a CG modeling program that I shall not name because I am sure I’ll refer to the wrong one!!  But his program made it big, and Jay left the world of glue, lead, Acetone, Fiberglass, 2 lb foam, lacquer, radiation and everything else dirty and toxic in the model shop, and went on to begin a new career of CG VFX modeling.  We met again some years later on Osiris, and Jay beautifully modeled the Shuttle and the Engineering ship.  Here are two pics of his model.  Great to catch up for a moment or two, and Jay’s a dad of a 6 year old boy sounds like his son could use some of your prayers for his health too, so if you want to pass some of that Jay’s way, I am sure he would appreciate it.

Thanks.

 

little grey rough

little grey rough

 

and a beautiful color model

and a beautiful color model

01
Jul
09

The Osiris Chronicles Shuttlecraft

This is another wild week, so my blog plans from last and this week are all in disarrangement!!!!  Ohhhh the madness!  So in lieu of this, here is something I had already scanned and is easy to post.  Right after working on Star Trek Generations, the art Director, Sandy Veneziano, was going on to be the production designer for a Joe Dante Sci Fi TV movie called the Osiris Chronicles…She gave me a go, and I was thrilled to be a part of her team.  I am a huge fan of Joe Dante and was very excited to get a chance to work on one of his films!!  One of the projects to be designed was a small Shuttlecraft that was to be built as a miniature, and for the full size set, an interior was to be built.  Here are the sketches of the principle design and also some images of the Greg Jein master model.  OK, here ya go for now and more later as the day goes on…Enjoy. 

 

the shuttle 3/4 view

the shuttle 3/4 view

hatch detail

hatch detail

  Continue reading ‘The Osiris Chronicles Shuttlecraft’

30
Jun
09

Deanne mcfarland’s birthday

Yesterday,  June 29th, 2009, was young Deanne McFarland’s Birthday, and I had an out of control day and didn’t get her award ready in time, so we will celebrate today instead of yesterday.  I am sure you all know her if you comment or read the blog, she is a witty one for sure,  quick with a fine comment to add with vast intelligence, knowledge, and humor…I had no idea she was a secret Sci Fi geek fan even after knowing her for most of our lives.  Deanne is one of my best friends, and I so wish her a great late Birthday.  In honor of this late great day, we all present you with your own Birthday Starship.  D requested an NX  class ship, and here is a little vessel that fits the bill.  It’s a deep space communications relay and posting ship that keeps the inter galactic com lines open and in decipherable formats….In addition to her Birthday, she is also an administrator here at the blog along with Matt Wright, and she helps out with my horrific spelling and grammatical errors.  Thanks D,  for your fine service and HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!

d's Starship

d's Starship

closer

closer

24
Jun
09

The Art of Ryan Church

Many of you know of Ryan Church from his recent work on Star Trek which seems to be the bulk of the interests of the folks that come to the blog here, but Ryan’s work covers a broad range of organic as well as industrial designs. His skills and talents are incredibly displayed in his images created using primarily Painter and Photoshop.

I met Ryan about 10 years ago on an ILM animation project called “XO”. It had a brief but awesome run and some incredible art work was generated in the short time it was up and running. Everyone in the art department were still using pen and ink and other traditional media to render out their ideas and concepts. Ryan had a keen eye for the industrial side of things and was working on some pretty gnarly robot characters in the vane giant mechanical armor wrapped around soldier.  Mr. Church had some pretty awesome pencil skills that reminded me a lot of the tech version of (Crash McCreery) who is the king of graphite in the creature world!!! The show only lasted 9 more days after I got there and most of us went back to LA while Ryan stayed on to work on a possible CG version of Frankenstein. That one didn’t happen, but Star Wars did and somewhere along the way he lost his pencils and picked up a stylus and a new creative force was born. I am a big fan of so many of the illustrators and designers I work with and Ryan is one of my favorites. Hope you enjoy the sneak peak of some of his awesome work and be sure to visit his page regularly because there is always something new to see.!!!

Enjoy

http://www.ryanchurch.com/index.htm

War Of the Worlds

War Of the Worlds

Something cool from Star wars!!!

Something cool from Star wars!!!

 

Star wars the factory, WOOO feels pretty hot in there!

Star wars the factory, WOOO feels pretty hot in there!

THESE were the coolest things ever!!!!

THESE were the coolest things ever!!!!




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