Douglas Trumbull is no stranger to special effects in big movies… And we’re talking big big movies: “2001 Space Odyssey” Big. With visual effects credits on 2001 (as mentioned), Blade Runner, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and Tree of Life, Douglas Trumbull sees a bright but complex future for digital filmmakers.

In Part 1, Douglas Trumbull talks about lessons learned from over 40 years of work with filmmaking and exhibition technology, as well as some hard lessons in the movie business.

Here in Part 2, Trumbull delves more deeply into his career and stories from the production of iconic films.

My career started when I thought I wanted to be an architect and studied illustration. I discovered I didn’t want to be an architect, but meanwhile I had gotten into photorealistic airbrush illustration. Because I had a long-standing interest in science fiction, my portfolio quickly filled up with pictures of aliens and spaceships.

I was also deeply interested in animation, so I thought I’d try to get a job doing that. I went around to different studios, including UPA, the animation studio producing the Mr. Magoo cartoons. They looked at my portfolio and said I was in the wrong place and sent me to Graphic Films, a company that had a specialty contract making films for NASA and the Air Force. I immediately got a job there and started doing animation background illustration for these films. We had a job previsualizing the Apollo program and here I was, really a kid, painting lunar landers and vertical assembly buildings.

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