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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Stan Winston on Art & Innovation

Special effects innovator Stan Winston died on Sunday, at 62. He'd won four Academy Awards for his work in movies such as 'Aliens' and 'Jurassic Park.' Here's the LA Times obituary.

I interviewed Winston in 2005. He told me that he was "a storyteller and an artist first."

"For me, the way that I've been able to have had the chance to be innovative technically is to think innovative thoughts artistically. The art has to come in front of the technology."

Making a movie, Winston told me, "is the most collaborative art form of all time. Every artist is not only an artist, but a tool for another artist, and at the top of that food chain is the director."

We talked a lot about his collaborations with James Cameron and Steven Spielberg ... and how they often volleyed back and forth on the best way to achieve an effect -- stop-motion, CGI, animatronics, etc.

"Every brilliant director I've worked with has been my partner in creating new technology," Winston said. When Spielberg asked him if he could build a 25-foot dinosaur for 'Jurassic Park' - a T. rex that could act - Winston said, "I don't have a clue. But we'll figure it out, because that's what we do."

Winston was clearly someone who had great fun doing breakthrough work.

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