Warning! May Contain Monsters

by Graham Edwards

Warning - May Contain Monsters

Why are you here?

It’s a profound question. But don’t panic – I’m not going to get bogged down in all that “I think, therefore I am” nonsense. I just want to know why you’re here. As in here reading the brand-new Cinefex blog.

To help you get to grips with this tricky existential question, I’ve devised a simple checklist. Using it couldn’t be simpler. Just scan the items and make a mental note of every one that applies to you. Ready? Set? Go!

  1. You like robots, monsters, dizzying cityscapes and anything that explodes.
  2. You’re able to use the term “subsurface scattering” in everyday conversation.
  3. You always stay in your movie theatre seat until the last credit has rolled.
  4. Your online avatar has spent most of this year tinted green.
  5. You’ve just about worn out the frame-by-frame viewing button on your Blu-ray player’s remote control.
  6. You always look for the join where the live action meets the matte painting.
  7. You know at least 10 different quotes from Star Wars.
  8. Your friends are always telling you to shut up about how the shot was done and just watch the damn film.
  9. Your blood runs cold whenever you hear the phrase, “We’ll fix it in post.”
  10. You know where the zipper is in the back of the monster suit.

How did you score? If just one of the above rings a bell, the Cinefex blog is the place for you. If you identify with all ten, I hope you’ll settle in and make yourself comfortable, because I reckon we have a lot in common.

So, now you’re reading the blog, what can you expect to find here? Well, stuff about visual effects, obviously. I’ll be here with a new article every Tuesday. Cinefex publisher Don Shay nabbed yesterday’s inaugural slot (well, it is his magazine, after all), but as a special launch bonus I’ll be here all through this week, with a new post on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, before settling into my regular weekly routine.

My plan is simply to ramble on (as only a good geek can ramble) about whatever’s caught my fancy in the VFX universe. It’s a big universe, one that not only boasts a rich, romantic past, but also holds the promise of some quite astounding miracles still to come. As for what’s happening here in the present, well, that can get pretty exciting, too.

It’s a fair bet some of the articles will feature robots. Others will undoubtedly contain monsters. From time to time, I may even throw in a little subsurface scattering. If you get tired of all that, we’ll take a flight over a dizzying cityscape or two.

Very occasionally, something might explode.

Wait a second. Rewind. We never did answer that opening question, did we? Why are you here? Now’s the time to tell me. Whether you’re an active VFX professional or a movie-obsessed couch potato, I’d love to know what it is about visual effects that makes your pulse race … or maybe your blood boil. Just post your answers in the comments box below. Don’t be shy – you’re among friends.

In the meantime, I’m going to try and get out of this suit. Wouldn’t you know it, the zipper’s stuck again …

17 thoughts on “Warning! May Contain Monsters

  1. I’m here because I want to hear en to talk about SFX film making in the way Cinefex has. With passion and grate respect for the art of creating and telling stories on screen.

    • Welcome, Federico. Telling stories is a passion of mine too, so we’re off to a good start.

  2. Well my dear Graham, nice to read you for the first time!

    I´m here because I love to see a movie with fx and feel of having no idea how the hell they did that, seeing something impossible in the reality and cannot be able to distinguish from the live action! At least in the theater 😀

    And obviously, the feeling that comes when I can deconstruct these incredible scene in my mind and I can proudly say: I know how they did that!

    So, keep writing and I will keep reading you! Bye!

  3. Thanks for providing fantastic reading material Graham. I’m here to look into the making of the million dollar moments – as well as the bad ones! Like you said: where live action meets matte painting (by the way, love watching the original star wars where you can actually see all the flying elements “sandwiched” together) That’s what it fascinates me!

    • Hi Alex. We’re planning to pack the blog full of commentary and opinion, but I’m sure we’ll find room for a few ‘million dollar moments’ along the way!

  4. I am here because since I was 4 and first saw the battle of hoth I have been fascinated by the art of cinema especially visual and special effects, were the departments aid each other and the amayzing invisable line between practical and virtual. I am now a vfx supervisor and my intrested has become my obsession, as Kubrick once said that he become a practical problem solver cinefex has become a treasure chest. I love cinefex for being the best resource for research as well as a great read to see what fellow supervisors new and old have achieved with their boundless imagination. Keep up the great work

    Marcus dryden

  5. Thanks to Cinefex… There are lots of scenes that I know and can figure out how they were shot.. But as days go by there are more and more creative & technical options that are being used .. and I want to keep abreast of that !!!
    I am glad that you started this blog… wish you and Cinefex .. the very best !!!

  6. Well I scored 9 out of 10 (only because my wife has no understanding of what exactly subsurface scattering is, and the kids wander off when I try to explain it to them)
    So I think I’m going to like it here 🙂

    I’ve been reading Cinefex since I was old enough to get into London unaccompanied by parents to buy it (around the Blade Runner issue) so I’m looking forward to this blog 🙂

  7. I’m here because I’ve loved FX since I saw Star Wars in the cinema, aged four, and I love Cinefex.
    Essentially for me watching an FX shot means seeing something amazing I’ve never seen before.

  8. Welcome, everyone! It’s great to hear you all talking about what visual effects mean to you.

  9. I’ve been interested in special effects since I was little and watched the original trilogy of Star Wars along with som real classics from the 20th century. I’m obsessed with filmmaking, but since I’m just a university student from a little European country, I cannot afford to buy Cinefex and there is no chance for me to find it in a local library or elsewhere. So I’m looking forward to learn more about movies and effects and especially you, the enthusiastic authors and editors of these upcoming articles.

  10. I’m here because I’ve been obsessed with visual effects ever since I found ‘ILM: The Art of Special Effects’ in a bookstore when I when I was probably 6 or 7 years old. The idea that movies weren’t magic but were made by people using models and paintings and whatever else made me realize that I could do it too… and now I am.


  11. I’ve bought about two dozen issues of vintage Cinefex over the years, knowing what an important magazine it is. I’m on my third year of print subscription and I have a complete digital set of the vintage issues coming in January via the Kickstarter-funded restoration. I also read all of your Cinefex Revisited entries.

    I look forward to something more frequent and casual but still focusing on the world of special and visual effects that Cinefex covers. Living in Australia, there’s far less domestic film and TV content happening here that makes use of said effects. Which is sad. My childhood was filled with British and American films packed with effects though and as I got older I loved to find out how they were done. These days I keep up on the news and developments of the field as much as I can.

    Looking forward to your posts, Graham!

  12. Thanks for all your comments. I’m beginning to detect a common thread. Most people are using words like ‘love’ and ‘obsessed’ and ‘inspired’ when describing how they feel about visual effects. If we can share just a little of that passion on this blog, we’ll be very happy!

  13. I’m here because ever since I saw the “SP FX” TV special about The Empire Strikes Back’s visual effects, and realized that the awesome stuff I saw in movies was a job that someone could do, I’ve been hooked. My career took me more toward TV than it did movies (so far), but I still have every issues of Cinefex, and I still love to talk about movies. Plus, I ran through the backlog of Graham Edwards’ Cinefex articles on his blog this summer, and really enjoyed what I read. Glad to see him here!

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