[ad: Todd Mastesr Co]
[photo: Character Shop]
[photo: Character Shop]
My best buddy Christian
Carlberg worked in the movie effects business from about
1995 until 1998. Instead of taking mundane jobs over my school
breaks, I used his connections to land 2 effects jobs in 1996.
At the Todd Masters Company, in 6 days, I designed and built a
fiber optic lighting system for the Borg suits in Star
Trek: First Contact.
Character Shop, I machined hundreds of structural and
mechanical parts for the mutated giant yucky insects in Mimic.
my own, armed with a camcorder and boxes of LEGO,
I made a stop-motion animation music video.
At the Todd Masters Company, for the Borg lighting system, I obtained
extremely powerful (and pricey--around $150 apiece, as I recall)
rechargeable flashlights from a military/law enforcement supplier.
I fashioned an aluminum collar to fit on the end of the flashlight,
into which a bundle of fiber optic cables was inserted. I added
2 colored gel slides that slid in and out of the collar on a crankshaft,
powered by a small motor, to make the colors of the lights shift.
Finally, I added a cooling fan to prevent the extremely hot flashlight
from damaging the suits or the actors inside--the flashlights
had warnings all over them reminding users to not turn them on
& stick them in their back pocket, lest they ignite their
a mechanic on Mimic at Rick Lazzarini's Character Shop,
I machined hundreds of parts from technical drawings: elbow &
knee hinges, radio servo mounts, cabling accessories, and LOTS
of structural plates that made up the "skeleton" of the cockroaches.
the animated LEGO music
video, I spent 2 weeks painstakingly moving little LEGO
pieces bit by bit until I had produced a short story about a robot
dragon disrupting a rock concert on the moon.
I set it to the thoroughly obnoxious
industrial song "Thieves" by Ministry.
Star Trek Borg lighting system was based on some amazingly bright
law enforcement flashlights. Onto the end of the lights, I affixed
a section of aluminum tubing, while a set of fiber optic strands
poked out the other end. A small, gearhead motor was strapped
to the side of this collar, and, through a crankshaft, it drove
2 colored slides back and forth through the beam of light. As
the different colors (taken from a sample book for spotlight gel
covers) moved across the light, the colors coming out of the ends
of the fiber optic cables cycled smoothly. A few of these parts
& ideas were carry-overs from the Todd Masters Company's work
on Predator. A computer cooling fan blew across the whole
assembly to keep everything cool. Well, sort of cool.
Mimic, I machined boatloads of aluminum, steel, and delrin
parts for the mechanical insides of the giant mutated insect creatures.
I spent most of the time making complex shapes out of thick (1/8")
aluminum plates. The designers drew up pieces on AutoCAD, then
printed them out & I glued the printouts to the plates as
templates & bandsawed & sanded the plates to match the
printouts, with lots of tapped and clearance holes all over. I
also made some parts for the controls: a bracket to hold several
servos used for head movements, and some cable connectors.