February 5, 2005
Rosette Gonzales As a veteran of special effects and the film industry, Thomas G. Smith knows how to captivate an audience. He has worked on such classics as "ET: The Extra Terrestrial," "Raiders of the Lost Ark" and "Return of the Jedi," although his latest project isn't visually enhanced, Smith paints a picture with words. His novel "Massacre at Baxter Springs" tells the story of Smith's great-grandfather, William H. Clark and the Civil War events leading up to the tragic ambush at Baxter Springs, Kansas in 1863.
February 1, 2011
Two Burbank special effects makeup artists survived an intense first elimination episode Wednesday night in Syfy’s new reality competition series “Face Off.” The show’s debut pitted 12 up-and-coming artists in challenges that tested their edgy creative skills, including turning a live model into a hybrid of a half-human/half-animal. Judging were renowned sci-fi makeup artists three-time Academy Award winner Ve Neill (“Pirates of the Caribbean”)
May 10, 2003
Molly Shore Steve Johnson loves his job because, as he puts it, "All I do is make toys." It's actually a bit more complicated than that. Johnson owns Edge FX, a Burbank-based special-effects company that specializes in unusual makeup, prosthetics and robotic animatronics for movies, television, advertising and theme parks, including Disney's Epcot Center. If filming calls for a grotesque face, mangled limbs or any type of over-the-edge makeup, Edge FX can do the job. Making an actor look good is not what it's about at Johnson's 20,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility.
January 17, 2001
Karen S. Kim SOUTH SAN FERNANDO DISTRICT -- Red-haired and fair-skinned with freckles, 24-year-old Rhea Brown sat on a stool and watched her partner sculpt, mold and smear gray clay across a cast of her own head. "I'm going to be a chubby black lady," Brown said, verifying her partner's plans for the clay. Brown is a part of the special-effects makeup course at the Make-Up Designory, a vocational school in Burbank providing training in fashion, hair styling and makeup artistry for television and film.
January 1, 2005
Mark R. Madler Nicholas G. Vasu, owner of an award-winning animation photography studio, has died. He was 78. Vasu died Monday at Providence St. Joseph Medical Center. His animation photography company, Nick Vasu Inc., became a training ground for special effects creators and animators and for many years did work for "Charlie Brown" animated specials and Warner Bros. cartoons, said Chuck Martin, Vasu's stepson. "He had by far the biggest camera service in Hollywood at the time and the most prestigious," Martin said.
December 17, 2003
Tyler Nyczaj, 17, of Burbank, is a senior at John Burroughs High School. I saw Walt Disney Picture's "The Haunted Mansion" at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood. The film stars the ever-so-funny Eddie Murphy as Jim Evers, who is a Realtor, and Marsha Thomason as his wife, Sara. She gets a call from Edward Gracey (Nathaniel Parker), who wishes to sell his mansion. When the Everses arrive there, the thrills and chills begin. The movie had many breathtaking special effects.
August 31, 2002
Laura Sturza If you need an ear torn off your face, the Motion Picture FX Company will happily oblige. Alien masks, removable limbs, blood-spewing knives, industry makeup and peel-off skin are just some of the of the props created and sold by the shop, which moved from its 600- square-foot digs to a 2,300- square-foot space this month. The company does not only build props and costumes. Co-owner Jeff Colbert, 37, goes on location as a special effects and makeup artist, recently returning from New York where he helped magician David Blaine rip his heart out on television.
May 9, 2001
Gary Moskowitz MAGNOLIA PARK -- Max Wedner isn't like a lot of other 12-year-olds. For one, the fan of special effects and fantasy art spends a lot of his free time casting molds for latex masks at his home in Burbank. For another, his artwork was recently selected to be displayed at Park Labrea's Art in the Park Festival. Max was also the youngest artist to win. "I didn't know if the contest was just for adults, so I just didn't include his age with his submission," said Terry Wedner, Max's mother.
July 19, 2000
True adaptation Stephen Saito is a graduate of Burbank High School and will attend the University of Texas at Austin in the fall. Bryan Singer, the man behind "X-Men," has made an extremely faithful and intelligent adaptation of one of the few comic books that has not received a big screen treatment. He uses his gifts for seamlessly mixing storylines and exploring intriguing characters to make this the very best film of this genre since 1989's Batman.
February 21, 2007
"Bridge to Terabithia" is a spot-on adaptation of an excellent children's novel and a deeply powerful portrayal of love, loss and redemption through children's eyes and minds. The original novel by Katherine Patterson is brought lovingly and faithfully to film, thanks in part to the screenwriting participation of her son, David, for whom the story was written 30 years ago. Think it's only a kid's flick? Think again. The story artfully speaks to universal human topics ? oppression, ostracism, escapism, shocking loss and the healing powers of love, all told with great simplicity, subtlety and grace.