New Media Council
DREW YOU TO THE ENTERTAINMENT BUSINESS?
My early career focus was animal
behavior. I began by writing shows
and training animals in theme parks, including Six Flags and the Bronx
Zoo. After traveling to Europe to
work on film projects, I moved back to California in 1987 to pitch my brand of
productions to Hollywood. I’ve
been there ever since.
WAS YOUR FIRST JOB IN THE INDUSTRY?
My first traditional production job was
with Ralph Andrews at his game show production company. I supplemented on-the-job training with
UCLA courses, which led to a production coordinator position for Columbia
Pictures. I have 2 mentors: Producer David Brown taught me volumes
about film production. He referred
me to Irwin Winkler- who I worked with in Paris and New York on Round Midnight,
for which Dexter Gordon was nominated for an Oscar.
DID YOU START OUT AS A PRODUCER?
Shortly after arriving in LA, I took a job
at Disney, where I was when the personal computer took over. I soon heard about Imagineers and how
much fun they had. I applied
and was hired on the team for the Disney/MGM studios in Florida. They needed interactive media producers
that knew about traditional media.
I was hired as a Show Producer.
LED YOU TO JOIN THE PGA?
I came to the PGA after meeting Debra
Hill when she worked on the Disney/MGM Studios project in Florida in the late
YOU TALK ABOUT THE VOLUNTEER/COMMITTEE WORK YOU DO FOR THE GUILD?
After the new group was created for
Special Venues in the New Media Council, I increased my participation and I’m
now on the Board. I try to work
with people in the Guild whenever I can.
PROJECTS ARE YOU WORKING ON NOW?
For me, it’s now about immersion. That’s my current interest
– to create more immersive experiences than even King Kong 360-3D. For that experience, you feel like
you’re being knocked around by the creatures, but it’s actually all just
digital media. I find it thrilling
to suspend belief using immersive media. As a producer, you have to know how to figure it
out, to define the goal and how to get there. You don’t know the technology you’ll need until you imagine
the show and its requirements. My
ultimate goal is to promote nature and conservation in general and incorporate
that love of nature into highly immersive experiences.
WHAT HAVE BEEN YOUR MOST INTERESTING
PROJECTS, AND WHAT DID YOU LEARN FROM THEM?
For my first project at Disney/MGM Studios,
I developed an interactive show called Superstar Television. The venue married a live feed of guests
on stage being videotaped with playback from a laser disk for the canned part
of the show. The live action was
composited with the feed. For
example, we incorporated guests appearing in I Love Lucy. I had great fun at this new career,
that’s for sure, even altering existing show footage and shooting new footage
for Golden Girls for one of the
My last film compositing project for
Disney was Body Wars, a simulator ride where the guest was shrunk to
participate – similar to the environment in Fantastic Voyage. For this project, I produced content
I left Disney in 1995 to be a media
producer for Metreon, where I produced location-based entertainment for Sony
Development. I seem to prefer the
science projects. I produced a 3D
film with David McCauley about his hugely successful The Way Things Work combining film, cell animation and CG - 3 screens with 3-D in the middle! I was thrilled to work with Maurice
Sendak to re-envision Where The Wild Things Are. I also produced the pre-show for an interactive game called Quaternia.
I went back to Disney in 2005 and produced
a prototype that used handheld devices at the theme parks.
Since then, I’ve worked with WETA Digital
to produce Peter Jackson’s King Kong 360 3D experience for Universal Studios. It opened 2 years ago and was my last
theme park project. It was
supposed to be a redo of the original animatronic attraction, but at
Universal’s suggestion, Peter loved the idea of making it an all media
experience. He was in agreement
that digital media was ahead of animatronics. We created a 3D attraction made entirely from WETA digital
media. My favorite experience was smuggling vials of scent to New Zealand for a
review with Peter. Jennifer Sauer
(the Creative Director) and I met with Peter so that he could make a decision
on what the jungle and the dinosaur breath should smell like!