"If you can put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything."
A quote from a Star Wars movie. My close friends regard this as "nerd heaven". The place where the science fiction freaks meet. Well I'll admit I'm a huge Star Wars fan and a nerd, but there's more to it. Let me explain.
This week in the busy USA touring schedule for my new 'Intense' album, I had a day off in San Francisco. I gladly accepted the invitation from a contact at Disney (who recently purchased the rights to the Star Wars movies from George Lucas) to go and visit 'Skywalker Ranch' and 'ILM'. Skywalker Ranch is a movie ranch, workplace for film director/ producer George Lucas, and also the home of Skywalker sound. The site itself is 4,700 acres (19 km²) and consists of many trees, forests, lakes and lots of wildlife. It's one of the most beautiful places I've ever visited.
On this site the sound was produced and mixed for many of my favorite movies, such as Indiana Jones, Titanic, Saving Private Ryan, Jurassic Park and many more. Since I'm very much interested in sound, you may understand how excited I was to be here. There were six mixing stages and several movie theatres with impressive features. For big movies they have foley artists working day in and day out to create footsteps and the sound of rubbing cloth for every movie. It's here that I learned that you can fool the eye, but not the ear. Our eyes focus on what our ears tell us. It's one of the many things I picked up from this private tour.
But what sticks in my mind the most about this visit is the power of imagination. George Lucas created all of this with an idea he had in his head. A story that inspired millions. There's even an encyclopedia you can buy with the details of all the animals, planets, cities, weapons and spacecraft HE imagined. It showed me once again that in this life we're only limited in our capabilities to think 'big'. When we drove off his ranch it became clear to me that you can only achieve in life what you want if you never stop. Obviously you have to have a firm belief that what you're doing is cool. Perhaps sometimes my own insecurity of what other people may think is my biggest limitation of trying to do new things.
We know science fiction movies are fake. With several techniques we are fooled into thinking that what we see is real. When George Lucas founded ILM (industrial light and magic) he perfected that. We visited the headquarters of ILM after the visit to Skywalker Ranch. (This site is open to the public and I highly recommend going there.) Here you can find many of the stages where they filmed movies scenes from big films Iron Man and the Avengers. George found a way to convince me to dream and to think that bigger things are always possible as long as you can put your mind to it.