You may or may not know that it has been a long-time dream of mine to work on special effects for film. I specifically remember a phone conversation with a friend from middle school, and when I told her this, her response was, “Huh?” I admit that it’s a fairly specific dream, but there is something about visual effects that has always captured my interest. It’s true that I now work in a vaguely-related field (games), but it’s actually not digital effects that I’ve always been interested in; it’s been old-school live action effects like animatronics and puppetry. So when I heard that Stan Winston was coming to speak at EA, I jumped at the chance to meet him. For those of you who don’t recognize the name, he is responsible for the “creature” and makeup effects for movies like Terminator and Terminator 2, Aliens, Jurassic Park, and probably most blockbuster sci-fi or fantasy films that you can think of. Though he’s not really a household name, he is definitely a legend in his field, and I’m sure all of you have seen his work.
I found out that he would be signing autographs as well, but I didn’t have anything proper for him to sign, so I just brought my work notebook. I geeked out for the minute or so that I talked to him, and told him about how Terminator 2 was my favorite movie when I was a kid and that the effects in it blew my mind. (I actually said it in those words; I felt pretty dorky.) He responded with, “It’s one of my favorites, too” and signed my notebook “To Sha Sha, Cool Name Good Luck Stan Winston”.
He started by showing a reel of his work, then talked mostly about his career, and how he got started in the industry. All in all, he was a fun speaker, and seemed like a very personable guy. It was definitely an honor to meet him.