Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Interview with... Rose Duignan

Okay, more Star Wars interviews!
This time I have for you Rose Duignan, who worked in the Miniature And Optical Effects Unit for Star Wars: The New Hope.

Rose was also the Production Supervisor for Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back.

Rose has some interesting things to say about these two productions. Let me know what you think afterward.

How do you obtain a position working in The Miniature And Optical Effects Unit?

If someone were interested in working in miniatures today, I would have to advise them to learn computer graphics as well as physical model making skills. The workload has shifted almost 100% to cgi I am sorry to say.
There are only three or four companies still producing physical, practical miniatures any longer for film and television projects. CGI has completely taken the dominant role and very few directors are now choosing to use action miniatures. ILM used to use many miniatures and now they are only calling upon our skills very rarely. Mostly we just shoot elements for their shots; debris, dust, smoke, fire, water. So, I wouldn't advise young people to make a career in physical miniatures at this point.

What advice can you offer for people wanting to become a Production Supervisor?

A career path to become a producer or production supervisor, is to start as a production assistant and work your way up. You need to have keen organizational skills and be a great communicator. Production is the hub of information and this department needs to be very flexible and adaptable to change, since the creative process isn't neat! It's messy as hell! It is the goal of production not to waste peoples time and money, so it is critical that information is correct and flows smoothly to those that need to know. Getting the creative decision maker to focus on decisions in a timely way is key to saving time and money. This is a delicate skill the producer must have; to keep things moving and avoid wasting time.

What was it like working on the Star Wars Films?

Working on Star Wars was just plain FUN. I think the average age of the workforce at the first ILM in Van Nuys warehouse, was maybe 26! I turned 25 while I was there. We were entirely focused and dedicated to delivering a very complicated picture. The team had great parties and comraderie overflowed. We loved working on such a different type of picture and doing such groundbreaking work. I am still friends with many people who started their film career at ILM.

Do you have any advice for people wanting to get into the film industry?

If you want to break into the film industry you need skill, commitment and more perseverence than the other guy. You must volunteer to work on people's films for free when you are a student to build your resume and figure out what role you want to play, and what you are best at. There are many jobs in the visual effects industry and it's growing every day. If you are good and persistent, you can get work in this field.

What are you currently working on?

I am currently helping Kerner Studios evolve from being a miniature effects facility into a fully functional 3-D movie studio and also expanding our services from just physical models into a hybrid approach that will incorporate digital destruction as well as action miniatures. Our goal is to become the MASTERS OF DESTRUCTION!

And there you have it!
Thanks a bunch Rose. I hope you enjoyed this blog. I had a ball interviewing you.
I look forward to reading that you thought about this finish product.

What did you think of this interview? Please comment, or email me directly at mgbouw@yahoo.com.au
Until next time.


  1. Hey Nice job...I sound so smart! Thanks so much. Rose

  2. Great interview. I've just finished reading Rinzler's "The Making of Return Of The Jedi" and finding this was a delightful way to extend the pleasure of the book.