Sunday, February 27, 2005

How Do You Train for Star Trek?

There were several questions from students in the audience about career paths and preparations.

What are the best schools for visual effects? one asked. Curry named two: Expression College of the Digital Arts in San Francisco, and Gnomon [School of Visual Effects] in Los Angeles. "There are probably others. Those are the ones I'm familiar with that are really good, and people who go through those schools are sought after."

Where do you get a start? another student asked. She was a costume designer.

"It's very difficult to jump right in," Curry said. "It's hard to get into the union. The studio system is evolving differently, the political structure of the studio system is becoming very bizarre. You might find independent films, short films, high quality student films, that your work can be seen in. If you have a reel, a portfolio of beautiful designs, talent is found."

"I loved making movies [as a child.] When I saw "The Beast from 10,000 fathoms" I saw they were using some sort of projection, and I had a broken projector, and I realized that if I put a piece of trace paper up on the screen, I could make dinosaurs chase my brother.

But it was just a series of fortuitous accidents that led me to here. I came to Humboldt State with the intention of getting into production design for live theatre. The more I got involved in film, the more I wanted to pursue it."

"I was very lucky, I walked into a situation where they needed somebody with my set of skills. I went to Star Trek where I found a home, where the range of my imagination had value. If I'd had to work on a soap opera it would have been horrible."

On Education v. Job Training

"There's a big difference between job training and education. Job training gives you the skill to do one thing. Education helps you to react to whatever opportunities present themselves. It's really important for those of you who are students here to recognize that your number one job is to become an educated person. Whatever skills you learn, they change as technology evolves, but it is your education that allows you to deal with those changes. So learn everything you can about all sorts of things, and you'll find that as different opportunities present themselves during the course of your life, you can deal with them better than if you approach school as job training."

I urge all of you to support education [on all levels], for the collective good of our society... It seems our society is shifting away from giving proper value to the educational process, and in this time when our nation lives with the fear of threats that are real and imaginary, [applause]the true defense of a nation is an educated population."

After his talk, Curry went off with old friends from university days. He would hold a workshop for students in the morning, and then explore more of Redwood country with his son, sharing the sights and the memories before returning to southern California early Sunday. Among other projects, he'll be working on a new pilot for CBS.

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