In the olden days, producers knew what visual effects were. Now they’ve gotten into this methodology where they’ll hire a middleman – a visual effects supervisor, and this person works for the producing studio. They’re middle managers. And when you go into a review with one of them, there’s this weird sort of competition that happens. It’s a game called ‘Find What’s Wrong With This Shot’. And there’s always going to be something wrong, because everything’s subjective. And you can micromanage it down to a pixel, and that happens all the time. We’re doing it digitally, so there’s no pressure to save on film costs or whatever, so it’s not unusual to go through 500 revisions of the same shot, moving pixels around and scrutinizing this or that. That’s not how you manage artists. You encourage artists, and then you’ll get – you know – art. If your idea of managing artists is just pointing out what’s wrong and making them fix it over and over again, you end up with artists who just stand around asking “OK lady, where do you want this sofa? You want it over there? No? Fine. You want it over there? I don’t give a fuck. I’ll put it wherever you want it.” It’s creative mismanagement, it’s part of the whole corporate modality. The fish stinks from the head on down. Back on Star Wars, Robocop, we never thought about what was wrong with a shot. We just thought about how to make it better.
—Legendary visual effects artist Phil Tippett wants many visual effects supervisors to get out of his office and go back where they came from.
Be sure to check out the rest of his AMA (Ask Me Anything) on Reddit right now!
Any words of wisdom for Kaitlyn Leeb, the actress who inherited your role, who already seems to be struggling with the same sort of fan interest?
Be nice to your fans and keep your legs crossed. Blouse open. But legs crossed.
—Lycia Naff, who played the original three-breasted prostitute in 1990’s Total Recall, gives advice to her successor in this year’s Total Recall remake. (With additional props to The Awl’s Tom Blunt for quickly scoring that interview.)
After I saw the movie, my 13-year-old daughter asked me if I was “team Peeta or team Gale,” referring to the District 12 boy who is Katniss’s “star-crossed” lover in the Hunger Games arena and her hunky best pal back home. The question also evokes Twilight,” of course, which has gotten a lot of fan-girl mileage out of the competitive objectification of Jacob and Edward.
For the record I always thought Bella should ditch the pouty, sparkly bloodsucker and run with the wolves, though as a grown-up film critic I know I’m supposed to remain neutral. But I have to say that it did not occur to me, watching The Hunger Games,” to think very much about who Katniss’s boyfriend should be. She seemed to have more important things to worry about — and also, to bring it back to Leatherstocking and his kind, to be a fundamentally solitary kind of heroine.
—New York Times film critic A.O. Scott on what makes The Hunger Games movie (and book) different from Twilight.
The [Firmware] game features a robust moral choice system, where your actions really do affect the world. Do you accept the User Agreement, or don’t you? This was an agonizing decision, since you never know what could happen later. I remember that unbelievable moment in Firmware 2.0, where I accepted the User Agreement and the Kaz Hirai was harvested for delicious ADAM. Is that right? It’s been so long since I did anything but download Firmware on the PS3 that my memory is a little hazy.
—Jim Sterling at Destructoid makes the best of a necessary console update, in the wake of last month’s credit card security breach of the PlayStation Network.
UPDATE: And… apparently, the influx of PSN fans who updated their firmware and wanted to game crashed the network, forcing parts of it offline again. How is it that Sony didn’t anticipate that?
I enjoy doing outdoorsy-type activities in addition to playing games, and I have a big, yellow off-road vehicle that I like to drive into the mountains when I go camping and hiking, etc. I was recently looking for tires for this vehicle and so spent some time on web forums for off-roading geeks. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that, among off-road geeks, tire brands are debated with the same ferocity as game geeks argue their positions in the console wars.
—The Escapist Magazine‘s editor-in-chief Russ Pitts has an awesome answer to a run-of-the-mill question.
(BTW, congrats on the five-year anniversary!)
Meanwhile, Wilhelmina the gnome wound up at the bar with a hoary ancient mariner, who had a very strange story involving albatrosses, and kept buying him drinks, with the end result that poor Kevin had to read most of the Rime of the Ancient Mariner, in character, which he did with great style, except that the gnome wouldn’t let him stop.
GNOME: This is fascinating! Tell me more!
GM: Now you’re just fuckin’ with me…
GNOME: I need to know more! I eat more chips and buy him another drink!
GM (wearily): One by one, by the star-dogged moon…
This continued on until after 11 pm, whereupon we called it a night. And then Kevin pinned my arm and insisted on reading another half dozen stanzas at me, because he claimed to be suffering from poetus interruptus.
—Ursula Vernon has a weird paladin, but an even weirder GM.