Nov. 30: Mike Fink

Many students choose to attend film school because of the amazing worlds they experienced in the movie theater growing up. Chances are, visual effects artist and new SCA adjunct faculty member Michael Fink had a hand in creating them. Fink has visual effects credit on over thirty films including Tropic Thunder, X-Men, Mars Attacks!, Braveheart, and Blade Runner. In 2008, Fink won the Oscar for Best Achievement in Visual Effects for The Golden Compass, and was nominated for the Oscar in 1993 for Batman Returns.

Fink will begin teaching CTAN 432, The World of Visual Effects, during the upcoming spring semester. He spoke to us by email about the “wars” he’s been in on set and what students can expect as the world of visual effects transitions into the CGI age.

How did you become a visual effects artist and supervisor? I was a studio artist, creating tableaux that referred to what I hoped were universal difficulties in life and then photographing them. I got my first job in the business as an attempt to find some way to make more money for my art, but was swept up in the collaborative artistic effort that is filmmaking. After about 2 years, the hook was set, and I left my art studio behind. The demands of finding creative, technically challenging ways to solve thorny problems was invigorating. In late 1981 or early 1982, I started on the film WarGames. Actually, I would hang out in the WarGames offices, and go to meetings to offer up whatever I could to help. But, I hadn’t been hired, and only got involved because I had a friend in the art department. After a few weeks the producers figured I was worth keeping around, so they offered me a job. In the discussion, they asked me what I should be called, and I said “Visual Effects Supervisor” (I probably made sure the capital letters were felt).

What are some of your early and/or continuing influences as a visual effects artist? Early influences in visual effects were Bud Abbott, Linwood Dunn, Willis O’Brien, Ray Harryhausen, and Peter Ellenshaw. Directors were/are Cocteau, Hitchcock, Capra, Sturges, Huston, Coppola, Ridley Scott, Zemeckis, and Weir. Beyond that, Pre-Renaissance and Renaissance art, the Futurists, Ernie Kovacs, Bob Clampett and Stan Freberg, Etienne Marey, and Harold Edgerton.

What’s the most challenging part of your job? Any war stories you can tell? The most challenging part of my job is clearly communicating what I want and what is needed to an incredible band of characters – and then getting them to do what is needed. Whether it is dealing with producers, directors, cinematographers, writers, actors, special effects, visual effects artists, computer scientists, or craft service, communication is the most challenging part of my job. War stories? You are joking! I think there are people in this business who do it just for the stories they can tell. Way too many to relate here…Of course there was the time when I was dangling in a basket 1000 feet above the Colorado River…Or the writers on one film who told me that they were waiting for me to finish animating the pre-visualization so that they could write the script…Or the director who said “What’s this vision s–t?  That’s your job!”

Talk about the class you’re teaching. From the description, it seems that you’ll be talking a lot about the history of early visual effects. Why is that important? The class is about way more than early visual effects. We will discuss this, of course, but we’ll also discuss current effects as well. I hope to have guests – my compadres who will do short talks featuring one shot, or one sequence, on a film they have worked on. But your question is a good one. I think it’s important for students to learn about the kinds of creative problem solving that went on early in film history, and still goes on today. The truth of the matter is that as much as the technology of film has changed, the things we do are much the same as those that were done decades ago. Sometimes going back and looking at these early efforts is not only fun (and funny), but is also incredibly revealing of the creative process.

VFX are dominated now by CGI, but you seem to have an affinity for, as well as a background in traditional techniques. How did that background affect your work with CGI, and how do traditional techniques still apply today? What we think of traditional techniques were state of the art techniques when I started. So, that part of my background was unavoidable. And actually, I don’t have an affinity for traditional techniques. I do have an affinity for techniques that work to tell the story. I’d as happily shoot a plate for an original negative matte painting as I would create the same shot with photographed and painted elements projected onto geometry. Well…except for the fact that you can’t find a good o-neg painter anymore whose paints haven’t dried up in storage. What I took away from traditional techniques and applied to CGI was a knowledge of lighting. Years building and shooting miniatures, and matching model photography to live action plates gives you a real appreciation for good lighting. The traditional techniques still hold up in many instances. Miniatures are still a part of filmmaking, even if not as prevalent as before. But, more than anything, you have to keep in mind that we are still just combining different elements into one shot to form a convincing whole. The concepts behind the combination of these elements are essentially identical in traditional visual effects and contemporary visual effects. It is the technology that makes them seem wildly different. The first pre-multiplied elements were bi-packed elements in an optical printer. The math is the same.

Do you have any tips or suggestions for students or young people who are interested in pursuing VFX as a career? Learn as much as you can about the creation of beautiful images. Study art, film, and architecture. Spend hours contemplating how the things you like to see become the things you like to see. Learn to trust your sense of taste. Don’t decide before you start that you want to do a specific job. Get whatever job you can, throw yourself into it, and find your way from there, always playing to your strengths. Get involved in the kind of projects that capture your imagination, even if it is a low level job. Then keep your eyes and ears open, ask lots of questions, and watch how the people around you do their jobs. I learned more about filmmaking from watching Ridley Scott while I was working on Blade Runner than from any book. And at that point in my career, I was many levels down from daily contact with directors. Be willing to take risks, be persistent in your efforts to succeed, and never say no to a job you don’t know how to do (yet). Within reason, of course.

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30 comments on “Nov. 30: Mike Fink

  1. Jovanna says:

    The SCA faculty member Michael Fink showed work from his visual effects credits including The Golden Compass, Constantine, Eraser, Tropic Thunder, X-Men, Mars Attacks, and Braveheart. He introduced the seminar with a brief history of his career. He we offered a faculty position shortly after graduating from CalArts with a degree in Studio Art. His first Visual Effects Supervisor credit came after he was invited to the set of War Games by a friend. He was hired onto the crew by one of the producers, after repeatedly contributing to the crew meetings. Fink has gone on to work on some truly entertaining films in his career: Tropic Thunder, The Golden Compass, Constantine, X2, The Mothman Prophecies , Thir13en Ghosts, X-Men, Lethal Weapon 4, Contact, Mars Attacks!, Eraser, Batman Returns, etc.

  2. Andrew Malek says:

    Mike Fink’s explanation of the process for visual effects was very interesting for me. I had always thought that some of the current problems with CG had to with the fact that different effects were made at different studios, but according to Michael this is not the case, it is in fact the job of the VFX supervisor to smooth out these wrinkles, its just that everyone is not as good as Mr. Fink.
    I really enjoyed being able to see the SFX shots from Tree of Life, because its fun to see a director like Tarrence Malick who has such a traditional aesthetic play with digitally constructed scenes, I felt these scenes looked really exceptional.
    In the end it was really inspirational to see and hear Mike Fink’s presentation, he has such a deep knowledge of the business and the medium and spoke about it so honestly that I really can’t wait to try my hand at visual effects.

  3. Lisa Chung says:

    I had heard a lot about Mike Fink before Seminar and was eager to meet him. I was charmed off the bat by his easy-going personality and blown away by his body of work. I loved all the green screen processes he shown in class…in particular the Golden Compass. To see an actor in front of a green screen turn into a full-blown artic environment with believable talent and CG integration was amazing. I was most impressed with the lighting and the difference it makes in the compositing.

    I also loved Mike’s story on how he got his start. Sometimes it’s all about just showing up and saying yes to a job (even if it means learning about it as we’re doing it). It’s these opportunities that create a breeding ground for valuable experiences and future jobs. In fact, this is not the first I’ve heard of this advice and starting to see the real value in it. As a person that feels the need to be fully knowledgeable and prepared for a project before going into it, it’s good advice so that I don’t inhibit the creative process or prevent the project from reaching it’s full potential.

  4. Chen Huang says:

    It is amazing to see Mike Fink in our seminar. He really got a lot of experience in the industry which I think is the most important part an instructor should have————the real experience..

    I am planing to combine some visual effects to my thesis film and I haven’t realized that how important it is to include the visual effects in the production and production part……

    After the seminar I knew that the amount of work visual effects could be.

  5. Mike’s career is quite impressive. Not only his oscar win, but all his work. I have had quite a lot of contact with Mike at this point, and am thankful for it, so it is hard to separate his presentation from other interactions. Mike’s career arc is pretty interesting. He has worked on a number of excellent films. He seems to have been fortunate to not have to back pedal as many working professionals do. The work Mike has supervised seems to speak for itself. He is a strong leader. Overall, Mike has been an excellence adviser and mentor. Aside from discussions of visual and technical issues, Mike has provided excellent story notes on my own work. Like I said before, it has been quite difficult to separate his presentation form my other interactions with him. Overall, I am thankful to have had the opportunity to meet, interact with and discuss my work with Mike Fink.

  6. Tristan Dyer says:

    What I found really refreshing about Mike Fink’s presentation was his dedication to the overall product and how it helps the story. Many people come to speak to students with strong feelings about technique and “CG sucks because..” statements or “digital is because,” and so forth. But Mr. Fink has experience and expertise in practical special effects and digital special effects, which was fascinating to see where he does what and why. I’m quite pleased with the fact that I could sign up for his office hours and steal his knowledge that he has gained through hard work.

  7. Yang Liu says:

    Mike Fink made an very interesting lecture. He explained how and why in many VFX shots he supervised, and those are very helpful to me. Such as “golden compass”, i was very impressed by how complicated the thought process was, and surprised that many parts of the process were not pre-planned, but for solving issues. It is also impressive that many VFX shots and designs were non-existing in reality. Mike Fink is able to deal with all those massive problems, and all those seem overwhelming to me. I also like his attentions to the details on screen, and how he is able to control of all the collaberation between production and post-production. He also gave us some ideas about how to budget the VFX shots and that’s very interesting to know. I would love to talk to Mike sometimes for helping my future projects and I feel very lucky to have such opportunity as a DADA student.

  8. Dan Wilson says:

    One of the most interesting parts of Mike’s lecture was the start of his VFX career. I think of a lot us imagine something like he did: do a little bit of industry work in exchange for the time to do your own art. In some ways it sounds ideal. When I’ve had free summers in college, I end up getting bored, losing motivation, or being paralyzed by indecision. It takes work or school to get me interested again — often in things that again require free time. I hope I can start off my career by doing something I’m excited to keep going back to, too.

  9. Rachel Jaffe says:

    Ranging from the charming nonchalance which characterized Mike Fink’s off-the-cuff delivery to the specific facets of his presentation during last Wednesday’s seminar — the professional anecdotes he elected to share, the green screen clips he screened in class, and the details of the special topics directing course he’ll be co-teaching in the spring — his hybridized teach-and-tell lecture was both mesmerizing and ineffably educative.

    Though I haven’t been fortunate enough to attend/SA a course taught by Mike, he very graciously spared a few hours over the course of the semester to drop in on the third years’ thesis class — and, even more benevolently, offered suggestions which I found colossally useful in toiling away on my thesis. Thank you, Mike — both for last week’s seminar presentation and for all of your help throughout the semester!

  10. It is an unbelievable experience and opportunity to have Michael Fink just a floor away!
    I was amazed by his reel and body of work. From the polar bears of the Coca Cola commercial to the polar bears of the golden compass he has brought to screen everything in between. It is now up to us to take advantage of all his knowledge and I hope I can rise up to the challenge.

  11. Mike Fink represents what is great about USC, extensive knowledge condensed into a very small place. It is truly remarkable that we can boast such an accomplished artist as one of our faculty members.

    It is always particularly useful to be able to listen or talk to someone with an extensive and varied experience of working in the industry, certainly not the easiest place for making art but one that consistently provides us with mind-bending examples of it.

    The level of expertise at display during Mike’s lecture was incredible and it was enlightening to hear the stories behind the images while being able to ask direct questions.

    It worried me quite a bit how little respect a master like Mike seems to command within the industry he works in. With years of experience, he seems constantly being placed under young directors with little understanding of animation or special effects and just vague ideas of what they want to accomplish. This is of course a danger with anyone who becomes a true wizard of what they do, people will think their mastery and command of the medium stems from that fact that the act itself must be easy, not realizing the painstaking effort and thought behind each frame and thus treat the footage lightly, wasting millions of dollars in the process.

    Keeping this in mind, it is amazing what artists, such as Mike accomplish within that system and witnessing his presentation and seeing what is really just a taste of the great many things he has worked on was as inspiring as it was enjoyable.

  12. Jay Kim says:

    What I admire most about Mike Fink is his versatility within the art of cinematics. He is known most notably for his supervision work in visual effects, but during my experiences with Mike I am impressed most by his keen insight for story, continuity, and sensible problem solving. Mike not only can pin point areas which need help, but he also provides his own bright ideas to invert those problems into highlights. What touched me most about Mike’s lecture was what he said at the very end of the night, when he said something along the lines of “you can’t do something for 30+ years and not love to do it”. I have always been a big proponent of “doing what you love” so it always makes me happy when a successful person like Mike finds pure joy doing what he does for his living. There aren’t many people like Mike Fink in this world so it is a great pleasure to have him help our students here at USC.

  13. Ryan Gillis says:

    Mike Fink is great. He’s so personable. I’m constantly shocked by the people an professors that I meet through USC. Thall all have incredibly long and impressive resumes, but maintain a warmth. It’s a working class attitude to the movie industry that I really appreciate.
    See all of the behind the scenes work that goes into these special effects was a real treat. I’ve never really considered how it gets done on an administrative level. Managing all the different VisualFX studios and determining what kind of effects will be created seems like a serious an intimidating task, especially when working on multi-million dollar movies. But Mike seems so laid back.
    Add Professor Fink to the growing list of wisdom-fonts I feel lucky to have access to at USC.

  14. Joseph Yeh says:

    Undeniably, communication in numerous aspects is such an important aspect in storytelling. I found it interesting that Mike Fink emphasizes communication in collaboration. This takes form when Mike talks about “the whole” that creates the artistic vision. It is great to see the perspective of a master who looks to create the masterpiece where every piece must fit perfectly. This must be how great artists think; they aim towards the final finished piece, never backing down or losing sight of their vision. Mike also has an interesting view of technology. He talks about how traditional techniques are so important in learning and are relevant to modern techniques. Oftentimes, I hear advice from artists that sounds similar to this- like in order to improve painting ability it is better to go outside and use oil on canvas rather than use photoshop to draw environments.

    Finally, his words of wisdom on learning are great. Sometimes finding the right fit is so hard; trusting yourself and keeping an open hear is so crucial to success.

  15. Amy Ketchum says:

    This is the second time I have heard Mike Fink speak, and once again it was a great experience. I was interested in hearing about his career path, because I also come from a Fine Arts background and am newly entering the animation world. His experience and clarity of vision are great qualities in a teacher. I look forward to one day taking his Directing in a Virtual World class.

  16. Ruthie Williams says:

    The best thing about Mike Fink’s story is that he started in money management in San Francisco. It must have taken a lot of discipline and dedication to change tack and learn a completely new trade, and a lot of guts to do something creative and totally different after making that kind of a paycheck. I think that he has, like Ryan mentioned, a great attitude and work ethic, but also I am inspired by how versatile he has been in his life. Not only to leave the corporate world behind to become an artist, but also he was not afraid to delve into filmmaking and the technical nitty-gritty that makes movies like the Golden Compass look absolutely stunning. I don’t know how someone can learn to manage such a massive undertaking and still be so laid back and passionate about trying and doing new things. I really enjoyed hearing about his career and watching his clips, especially from Golden Compass and Tree of Life. I am so glad Mike Fink is on the Faculty at USC, he is definitely someone I look up to. I hope to take a class with him soon!

  17. Larry Lai says:

    People use visual effects to make their film more fantastic and more believable. We know most of the worlds movies create are unreal, but with visual effects’ magic power, the world becomes real for our eyes. In addition to making the wonderland, visual effects can also help filmmakers overcome some technical obstacles such as animal training or acting difficulties. Visual effects is like a powerful machine which takes the audience to explore the imagination we may not think of or make the world in our dream come true.

  18. Louis Morton says:

    This was a great experience. My favorite part was seeing clips from the Tree of Life. I have not seen the film yet, but have heard it was amazing. I think it’s very exciting that a veteran director would use big Hollywood effects in an experimental and artful way. Too often the amazing and beautiful work of effects artists is constricted to the standard Hollywood blockbuster. I love seeing robots, explosions and talking cats, but it’s even more exciting to see visual effects used in a more experimental way. I thought Mike’s wealth of knowledge and talent shown through brilliantly in seeing the selections of work from Golden Compass and especially from Tree of Life… it was the most realistic looking image of dinosaurs I think I’ve seen. Thanks for a great talk and showing some really inspiring work!

  19. chaoqi zhang says:

    Mike Fink is definitely an excellent artist I’ve ever seen with great achievements in CG visual effects world, I appreciate his accomplished skill and knowledge as well as his easy-going character. And it’s quite an great thing for me to see his progresses of green screen, within which realistic CG buildings or 3D characters being created or from nothing by him, It’s a magic show of Visual Effects works. His concentrate spirit to his work is what I learned most from his speech.

    I do hope he will have Visual Effects class in summer so that I could have such a great master to lead me into this amazing visual effects world.

  20. A.W. Gammill says:

    Mike Fink is always an engaging and interesting speaker. He has great insights into the industry–both where it has been and where it might be heading. I think we all appreciate his dedication to his craft and his willingness to share his experiences. I think USC is very lucky to have Mike on board and I know the third year graduates have benefited from his advice and feedback regarding their thesis films. I am excited to hear about the class he will be starting next semester and hope that it goes of without a hitch. It was great to hear Mike speak again and I hope he can make many such appearances in the future.

  21. Linda Jules says:

    This week was yet another fantastic week in seminar. Like Paul Debeveck, I was super excited to hear Mike Fink talk because he works in so many different areas that I am interested in career wise. The most inspiring thing about Mike Fink is that the reason why he seems to find such consistently interesting work is because he is a true problem solver. His ability to look at a problem and see a solution ten steps ahead (all while being excited about the work that he is doing) is clearly the thing that makes him special in his field. I hope that someday I can reach a point where I am able to not only understand the technology well enough to work as a effects artist, but also be able to visualize a solution to any technical or production issue that affects an entire team of artist.

  22. Lanzhu Jian says:

    Mr. Fink is an amazing, fantastic artist and professional film maker. Actually, I think he represent the world TOP level of VFX artist. I feel really lucky and excitd to attend his speech. That was the very valueble 2 hours in my life that week. I admire his attitude to the work and his philosophy towards learning, work and life. I learned a lot from the seminar. He had an unique and foresight in VFX for film and animation. I was always confused by what I want to do in the future since I was in college, after I graduate I feel even more confused of my career and my future, this feelings also mix with the fear of unknown and the doubt of what I capable to do. With all these complicated feelings and the desire to learn advance knowledge in film and animation drive me to America. What I can do and what I want to do ? These questions I often ask myself with, the answer seems become more touchable here, I feel Mr. Fink can show me the direction at lots of aspect. I couldn’t agree more with what he suggest to us. Get whatever job you can, throw yourself into it, and find your way from there, always playing to your strengths. I don’t know VFX too much before But I m willing to step my comfortable zone and really to explore the whole new world.

  23. Miguel Jiron says:

    I really enjoyed Mike Fink’s presentation and his winding path to animation and special effects. I always find it interesting people who come to animation from widely different backgrounds; I think more than most fields, animation in particular is well suited for a variety of backgrounds as there are so many exciting opportunities and different jobs within it. It’s also very refreshing to hear a “FX person” stress the importance of art in creating his imagery. I often get the sense that a lot of bad FX loses the forest for the trees, needlessly.
    This kind of thinking leads to more interesting work I think, like his work for Malick’s Tree of Life. Like Lou, I also love that this kind of work can be found in artier, more unconventional films. It’s an expensive process I’m sure and an uncommon one, but it’s really great to see such great work being done in great movies.

  24. It was truly inspiring to hear Mike Fink’s presentation. He has vast experience in the visual effects industry, and due to his experience and insightful nature, he is an incredibly knowledgeable and thoughtful presenter.

    One thing that resonated with me was related to the course Mike will be teaching in this coming semester, a directing for green screen course. I recently went to see Hugo, after hearing Mike speak. I had heard before – through the grape vine – that a famous director had complemented a set painter on their beautiful set, and then commented “too bad it is a dying art.” They were referencing the fact that visual effects might become more and more integrated with production design in film. At the time, I didn’t quite believe the whole interaction. However, after seeing Hugo, which seems to frequently utilize CG sets, I’m starting to think this is a serious possibility. It was interesting to reconsider Mike’s lecture through this lens. He is so knowledgeable about the history of visual effects (which, in itself, is immensely interesting), and he is also an expert of sorts at integrating all of these things. I think his skills and his knowledge base are going to be even more in demand as this side of our field develops, and I am seriously considering taking his course if it continues next fall.

    With a door opening to allow for the creation of CG environments to be integrated more frequently with live action, I hope we might see the continued development of backgrounds that are integral to the content of films. As I’ve discussed with classmates in the past (Simon Wilches Castro), there is an interesting opportunity within a film (or animation) for a filmmaker to utilize the backgrounds to help create the content of the film. A recent live action example may be seen with Inception. Simon has been studying this in the context of animation, but I hope that as this integration of CG backgrounds with live action becomes more prevalent, we will continue to see the development of content. This reminds me of the essay “Designing a Movie for Sound” (http://filmsound.org/articles/designing_for_sound.htm) by Randy Thom, which deals with the integration of music and sound with film. Thom writes, “What I propose is that the way for a filmmaker to take advantage of sound is not simply to make it possible to record good sound on the set, or simply to hire a talented sound designer/composer to fabricate sounds, but rather to design the film with sound in mind, to allow sound’s contributions to influence creative decisions in the other crafts.” I would like to re-examine the role of production designer in light of this new opportunity to create more elaborate sets, and make a similar call for filmmakers to consider designing the film with the set in mind, allowing the set to become an integral part of the story and content – rather than an addition (or an aid) to it.

  25. I really enjoyed Mike presentation in seminar. I had spoken to him earlier about something unrelated, but I had no idea just how knowledgeable he was about the process and his influence in the realm of visual effects. The work he showed was incredible impressive and I appreciate him breaking down the process and sharing a more intimate breakdown of how shots go from conception to final. Two standouts for me were the Constantine breakdowns and the Golden Compass breakdowns. I loved seeing the inspirational material behind the afterlife scenes and the raw green screen edit. I also was intrigued to hear about the original Iorek being replaced after filming. Even to this day, it still amazes me how much work has to go into VFX that we frequently take for granted and I’m glad that Mike will be here next semester to impart some of that experience and wisdom into us with his new class.

  26. Robert Calcagno says:

    Going into the Visual Effects field, I’ve appreciate Michael Fink’s practicality with the nature of the industry (and also a good explanation for why the budgets of modern blockbusters have ballooened so much in recent years). His accomplishments are inspiring even in the little details or sometimes in spite of the quality of the movie. Say what you will about Tron Legacy but DAMN did the movie look good. Obviously the experience of working with a major studio like Disney and a first-time director has its issues; but then again, if it’s an opportunity to create art and amazing visuals, then by all means take advantage of it.

    Another thing that I’ve appreciated about Michael’s perspective is the versatility of skills a person can apply to the industry of visual effects. You could be an electrician, architect, painter, storyboard artist, technical engineer; any of those skill sets can apply to supervising and creating visual effects in new, unique, and visually intriguing ways. The idea that a 3D artist is the only one that can understand 3D visuals is a close-minded one and it’s encouraging to see that that’s not the case; if anything, a unique perspective is what allows one to stand out.

    More importantly, it’s the attention to details and how the visuals contribute to the story and narrative that’s likely the great asset to have in the field; you can create something beautiful but if it doesn’t have any weight to it or narrative contribution then it’s sometimes all for naught.

  27. LaMar Ford says:

    The work of Michael Fink is impressive. I couldn’t believe the amount of films he’s worked on, and the variety of effects used. I like the knowledge he passed during his presentation on what makes a film with a lot of effects work. In the “Golden Compass”, Fink has to work with animators, and compositors to bring the characters to life and make their existence in the environment believable. There are a lot limitations when dealing with effects, and to make the effects work you have to compromise. The effects should serve the story and not hinder it.

    I enjoyed the Mike’s presentation, and I hope to take one of his classes.

  28. Javier Barboza says:

    Mike Fink story about how he came to be a visual FX supervisor was an interesting story. From his life as an artist, to background artist, to visual FX very intriguing. The brake down that he scenes was interesting, the details and insight form raw to very details. The one that stand out was in film the Golden Compos, with the polar bar and the girl riding, the in genius part of using a maniacal motion control rig to add the girl in the effect was awesome.

  29. Nesli Erten says:

    Things I learned:

    The green bar that appears before movies stating “This movie is approved for all audiences” restricts babies and guns be present in the same shot.

    Mike Fink uses smooth textures that are fairly close to the actual shape of the item he wants to emulate when using a green screen. In his speech last week, Mike noted that animals in general are difficult to work with because they often don’t hit their mark.

    He describes one of his jobs as “coaxing the director to explain what he envisions and offers reference material to help concepts turn into actuality.” (Paraphrased)

    Every verb in a script is a new set up, therefore one needs to break down the script page by page, line by line “and hopefully you are right.”

    Mink Fink is humble, down-to-earth, charismatic, and sensitive to human behavior and the relation humans have with systems at large. He dwelled on several key issues when talking about the communication necessary between different studios working on the same movie. Discussion of color spaces and the production “bible” were one of many interesting topics dwelled on during the seminar.

  30. Eric Tortora Pato says:

    Mike was a pleasure to have in class. He clearly loves the work he does, and was able to show us the amazing time, and extraordinary headache that effects work (particularly coordinating it) can be. He also raised the important issue that more and more, in our films and entertainment today, the truly “live action” films is something of a myth. the question isn’t any longer “is it animated?’ but “how much animation?”, so to speak…

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