Before I say anything worthwhile, I want you to watch this renowned 20 second clip from one of the greatest films in Hollywood history - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HyophYBP_w4 - (note: the aforementioned request may have involved some sarcasm. Or not. You decide).
Okay ready to read on? Good. Let me start off by saying that thankfully when it comes to special effects in metaphorical terms, a better Hollywood movie; say Avatar for arguments sake; is more like Shakespeare laying down a sultry, seductive sonnet and whatever the hell that was you just watched is like some TOWIE audition reject trying to compose a memo to the Prime Minister about the budget deficit.
This may come as a surprise to you, but did you know that there is an almost secretive, physical effects company hidden behind a bleak, cheeky corner near Perivale tube station in North West London? I recently went there to speak to the CEO and SFX (Special Effects) Supervisor, Mike Kelt, to see what the place is all about and how they help the community as part of the TV feature I was shooting for the show I am a reporter and producer for, London360 (viewable here - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IaIvObQ5bH4).
The place was pretty cool. Obviously I've never been to a special effects studio before, let alone a humungous factory. Machines, dirt, dust...pieces of wood lying about; parts of the venue reminded me of the resistant materials classroom at school where I proceeded to get a C+ in some random project 10 years ago. The experience itself though was neater than Leonardo Di Caprio's gelled, slicked back hair cut. I even wore my silky white Ryan Gosling 'Drive' movie jacket in preparation for getting in front of the camera as it seemed apt for the piece (the comments of 'spaceman' and 'astronaut' from my peers back in the office in regards to my appearance however killed the fun).
Some of the physical effects I saw included the Churchill dog, a severed corpse, a horse's head (minus the bed) and even a giant wind machine to which I was swept of my feet like an innocent leaf minding its own business, scattered by tree near a cold park bench. I was introduced heartily to a 3D printer, some of the staff (who were creating things as if they were in a kids arts and crafts class) and I got to puppeteer the gremlin from the Snickers ad.
Mike, the creative brain behind North West London's Artem SFX said: "I don't think in schools there is ever the career option to do special effects", during our interview. With this in mind I feel the education system definitely needs an overhaul. Sometimes kids need to embrace their personal talent and have their education tailored towards their biggest, natural skill. But that's a whole other issue."
They've worked with institutions such as Creative Skillset to help local school kids get a taster of what they do, in the hope of inspiring youngsters and their creativity.
As an ex-film student, I am certainly appreciative of the hard work and artistic creativity special effects teams put into their creations. You could say that the effects had an effect that didn't affect my ability to interview Mike effectively.
This place was truly a work of art. Or Artem you could say...
Over N' Out.