Which is your favorite movie vehicle why
Tron Legacy vehicle designer Daniel Simon interview
TS: How did you get selected for the film?
DS: It's funny. I've lived in L.A. for two years and it's not a city, it's a juggernaut of people from all over the world who want to get famous. When you go to Starbucks, ten people sit in there with laptops and write scripts. Everyone wants to go to the film, so you first get an idea of how far the road is and I got an email from Joe (Kosinski, director's note) and I'm part of a film like this! I can't understand that yet. On the other hand, I didn't do anything different than in the 20 years before. I was an expert and a professional. They also learned something from me.
TS: Were you involved in all of the vehicles?
DS: Not all of them, I wasn't there with the container sailor and the deactivator. But I was involved in ten vehicles in parallel for over a year. That was a life's dream. Before that, I worked on a car in the auto industry for a year. This was the complete opposite.
TS: Were all the designs created on the computer?
DS: We also worked "old school", with a sheet of paper and a ballpoint pen. I drew the little jet on a post-it during my lunch break. On others I worked desperately on the computer for most of the year.
The directors are now very spoiled in Hollywood and want you to be able to view designs in three dimensions after a week so that they can already plan their camera settings. They in turn influence the models that we actually build. All the cockpits for the actors are real, painted, with light so that they can really act.
And it goes straight to the pre-vis. A week after I start designing, they put the film together with an almost complete cut. And then maybe the director comes again and says "I've got a fight scene, you can't really see Jeff's face, make the window a little bigger". It's almost scary what is going on today.
TS: Where are the limits of the imagination? Do you have to adhere to physical laws in the Tron world?
DS: The script is the be-all and end-all, almost everything is ready before I start working as a designer and they drafted a kind of code of law. We knew there was a kind of weight, there was aerodynamics, clouds and rain. There was a catchphrase: "You can get hurt in Tron-World" and those are good limits. If you don't set any limits to a designer like me, the result is just nonsense. Solving problems is actually the most fun.
TS: How much freedom did you have with you?
DS: The director came by every Friday and I also had a head of design. I wasn't the only designer, there were also some for costumes and architecture. You don't really have any freedom because the script says exactly what is going to be done. You are then told "this can only be one meter wide", but what you do within this meter is completely your decision. That is then your creative freedom, there you are a designer. After what you do with this free space, you will also be selected, they will look at your previous work.
TS: Were there any drafts from the previous film for development or did you watch the old "Tron film"?
DS: We had the guys' sketches from back then. It wasn't like today when the film shows what you thought up. Back then, the film was just an interpretation of their ideas. For me the drawings were much more impressive than the film.
TS: What happens now to the vehicles you designed?
DS: There are only two complete Lightcycles that we built for the fans at Comic-Con. Men's hearts beat faster. Unfortunately, they don't work. All the cockpits that were built for the set work, however, you turn the key, then the lights go on and even the actors have tears in their eyes and then they play completely differently. Otherwise everything is just blue screen these days. The models are under a foil in the basement of Disney in Burbank. Maybe we'll make a new film, then we'll need it again.
TS: Aren't you sorry that they were only needed for a brief moment?
DS: No, not at all, because that means there is something new. For me the end of something is always a new beginning.
TS: Do you think it's a shame that designs that you've worked on for months are only shown in the film for a short time?
DS: No, four seconds are an eternity in the film. I find it terrifying how long four seconds are when you notice how actors knock themselves out for half a second in the picture. If you cut everything together, you can see my things for half an hour. If you watched it longer, you could also see all the tricks we played around with. By the way, I'm in the film for a second myself. I wanted to watch the filming and the director had a costume tailored for me and two other designers and now we can be seen as programs in the nightclub scene.
TS: There aren't many films for which completely new vehicles are designed. Sometimes a new concept car from a manufacturer may be used. Can you make a living from designing movie cars or will you soon be working for automakers again?
DS: An interesting topic where we also come across product placement. Manufacturers are of course interested in showing their cars and also giving their own designers a chance. I just say "I, Robot" with Audi. They then say to themselves "let's treat our designers to some fun, let's make a deal with Warner". Redesigning something like this is rare, but the more computers develop, the easier it gets. At the moment, a producer who has to look at the money says to himself: "We four prefer to buy old Ferrari and make a slightly different body over it. That is of course a nightmare for a designer. But for me it went on straight away : Legacy "went to Marvel and was chief designer for the vehicles at" Captain America ". I designed seven vehicles from the 1940s, they were completely built, you can drive around with them. That was awesome. From politics Apart from that, the 40s were also an interesting phase for a designer. A dream job. Now I'm back for Disney on the "Tron" television series. But completely different people also call. I have a deal with the Formula 1 team HRT: I'll do the entire look of the racing team for them.
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