Well I made it to that creative masters forum featuring Ron Cobb, and I very nearly didn't.
I was struck down by some sort of virus on the days before.
Simple pleasures like keeping your food down and not having to crawl back and forth between the bath and the toilet are often overlooked.
I made it in the end though.
I had imagined I might find a few familiar faces when I arrived(still ill) on the registration/ opening night- not so, and it seemed I was the only person from Queensland there.
There is nothing so depressing as free drinks and nibbles when you can't eat.
I think I recognised a few names from the DLF but couldn't remember where they worked(scott wilcox?)- (none of the name tags had who they were what they did).
Oddly enough though I found myself standing next to Ron while the wacom rep and others barraged him with questions.
Ron actually looks a lot like santa claus, minus the suit .....and his beard is a bit short and too neat...still.
Actually the questions people asked were like the small rocks that create an avalanche, and Ron was ful of interesting recollections etc. Far more interesting though is when you get him talking about the technology he's tried to imbue into his design(s), he really lights up and you can see how that excitement drives things artwise especially things to do with space.
I got my photo taken with Ron and a few others that night so who know where that might turn up.
I chatted to and hung out with Mark Woszczalski( who teaches and also runs Metaldog productions in rural NSW).
The name does sound like the one eyed green guy out of Monsters inc(but of course it wasn't), and I was compelled to joke about the street he works in ("Bong Bong St.").
We watched the documentary they had created for Ron(called a 'Ronologue' because once he starts talking....they basically just pointed a camera at him). Fortunately he's so interesting he could carry that sortof close camera scrutiny for 40 minutes. Then there was a short animation about a metal dog befriending a robot ('Tin Can Heart'). I didn't quite get it sadly- at least the significance of photos at the begining and end, but the texture on certain hero scenes and characters were very nice. in was only when they rescreening it the next day that I scrutinised it and saw all the rough edges/things they hope you won't notice. (Like texture mapping problems, animated geometry self intersecting, composited characters kind of floating WRT walking surface, texture/bumbs swimming). That said I can completely sympathise with this sort of thing slipping to final.
After I was lucky enough to share a cab (and not pay) back toward my hotel, and escape the Arctic weather of Sydney(and the desolation of fox studios precinct on a monday night.).
The next morning I had coffee and breakfast with Mark and of all people Ron Cobb- we all turned up at the same cafe. That morning and for quite a bit at the closing drinks was spent talking/listening to him.
One of the things he said was that he felt he'd bluffed his way through everything,( ie people had faith in him and appointed him in various roles although he had no prior experience or qualification.).Some of the things he talked about in the presentation were his involvement in Alien, Conan, The Last Starfighter,The Abyss, Star Wars and how he didn't end up directing a film that eventually became ET(actually the thing he was going to do and ET were chalk and cheese really).
Funnily enough while he was talking about the Et saga on one of his Starwars cantina images- lo and behold the spitting image of ET's face on one of his cantina guys.
Speaking of spitting images I met Frantz Kantor that day too. He was sitting a row in front of me and looks like John Hurt, and so i was wondering if Ron(having worked on Alien) would remark on it.
It was only during the drinks that afternoon that I found some other concept artists(I'd been sitting at then conference all day - and from the questions various audience members were asking I could tell that they weren't concept artists). They were from animal logic, one of them was a fellow Queenslander- Brad Greenwood (who apparently knew Pete Mullins and the like).
They didn't know me but they knew the job I'd left as some of them had tried to apply for it- funny that.
So there you go.
Also looking at someof Ron's drawings as he brought them out- the Last Starfighter drawing looked vey much in pencil style like Mr Matt Brady.