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Question: Welcome to the Undernet Public Relations Committee's Live Events Interview Auditorium.
Question: We have a special guest tonight, Iain McCaig. Iain is one of the Conceptual Designers of the upcoming "Star Wars" prequel motion picture and Francis Ford Coppola's "Pinocchio."
Question: He has been an illustrator and designer for 17 years and has worked on countless films and books. His many projects include working as Concept Designer and Storyboard Artist on such films as "Interview With the Vampire," "Hook," and "Terminator II" and as the illustrator of J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Hobbit" and Jethro Tull's "Broadsword and the Beast" CD.
Question: He has currently begun work directing his first film and has been kind enough to take this time out of his busy schedule to be with us tonight.
*** Snowpnthr sets mode: +o cpw_
Question: As most of you already know, the Undernet Public Relations Interview Staff sent out many invitations for users to send in their questions to be asked during the interview.
Question: The best and most appealing questions have been selected carefully by the staff. We will ask one question, wait for an answer from Iain, and then proceed with the next.
Question: We will now begin the interview session. Sit back, relax, and get ready for an exciting hour.
Question: 1. What is it like working with George Lucas? Do you ever stop and say "Wow...I'm working on Star Wars!"? (Gamma)
Iain: Working with George Lucas has been like Jedi training under Yoda. Let me see if I can be a little more specific...I've been film designing and storyboarding for quite a number of years.
Iain: I know there'll always be things to learn and improve on, but, you know, I like to feel I have a few tricks up my sleeve. When George asked me to storyboard an action sequence, I pulled out all my aces. Took a little license with the scene and gave it some pazazz.
Question: We are currently experiencing technical difficulties. A problem has been encountered in our network feed from Iain McCaig. Please be patient until we re-establish a connection.
Iain: When he looked at it, he asked me what I was trying to convey and I said something like ''Er, well, dynamic action and speed, of course.'' After about ten seconds deliberation, he reached up and removed two shots and reordered three others.
*** X changes topic to "Next Interview: Saturday, September 6th, 1997 at 8:30pm EDT. Interview of Iain ()"
Question: be patient - another problem =)
*** bethie sets mode: +o Iain-
Iain: weee :)
Iain: okay, where was I....
Iain: What had been merely fast before was now lightning. He walked on to the next thing, and I stood there with my jaws hanging open, trying to figure out how the hell he'd done that.
Iain: And yes, on many occasions, Jay Shuster (one of the other concept designers) and I would look over the top of our drawing boards at each other and say, ''Wow...we're working on Star Wars!'' That feeling never left us.
Question: 2. What exactly is your role concerning the new Star Wars Prequels?
*** X sets mode: +o cpw
Snowpnthr: ladies and gentlemen, Iain McCaig is experiencing difficulties but will be back in just a moment, please be patient
*** bethie sets mode: +o Question
Question: :)
*** bethie sets mode: +o Iain2
Question: let's start over again =)
Iain: 2. What exactly is your role concerning the new Star Wars Prequels?
Iain: hey!
Question: 2. What exactly is your role concerning the new Star Wars Prequels?
Iain: I was going to say =)
Question: sorry
Iain: My role in the first Star Wars prequel is Concept Design Artist. Concept Designs are the pieces of art produced in advance of a film to show what it could look like.
Iain: The art can be drawings, paintings, sculptures, models, animations, computer art...anything in fact that conveys the look of whatever it is under consideration.
Iain: And in a film like this, most everything IS under consideration, from the look of a creature or a costume, to the shape of a hyperdrive unit or the shade of an alien's lip gloss.
*** Snowpnthr sets mode: +o Iain
Question: heh
*** bethie sets mode: +o Iain2
Snowpnthr: whoever is nuking ian, we have your ip (postoffice.Reston.mci.net) and rest assured, mci.net WILL be contacted.
Iain: wee
Iain: where was I?
Iain: And in a film like this, most everything IS under consideration, from the look of a creature or a costume, to the shape of a hyperdrive unit or the shade of an alien's lip gloss.
Iain: I was also storyboarding, which I really enjoyed (for those of you who have never heard of storyboarding, it means drawing some or all of the movie in individual panels, like a comic strip).
Iain: I adore any kind of visual storytelling. Also (for me) there's a lot of overlap between storyboarding and concept design. A lot of my better designs came from seeing ideas in action on the boards.
Question: 3. How often do your designs get turned down before one is accepted? and how often does it take you to complete a work in its entirety?
*** X sets mode: +o David-R
Iain: A lot of designs were accepted but not used, and sometimes it took a dozens of drawings to nail down a concept, which then might change!
Iain: But in general, I'd say we got most of it down before the half dozen mark.
Snowpnthr: Thank you for being patient, our difficulties are now resolved.
Iain: The time to create the artwork depends on what it is. A drawing might take less than an hour or several, a color marker drawing a day or less, a painting about a week.
Iain: Sculptures, animations and computer work totally depend on their complexity.
Question: 4. How long do you expect to be working on designs for the first episode?
Iain: The Art Department's part in the designs for the first Prequel is done, although we're always on standby...
Question: 5. How much of what you do is actually controlled by the art directors? and would you you say you have any creative say-so in what you design?
Iain: Doug Chiang was the head of the Star Wars Art Department, and the last word in conceptual design before George Lucas. The great fun of working for him is that his trust in your talents was usually greater than your own!
Iain: In general we were always treated as artists making valued contributions.
Iain: It really was a unique Art Department, in my experience. Quite apart from Star Wars, I loved going to work each day just to share a room with these people.
Question: 6. Mr. McCaig what advice would you give to young people who have an interest in graphic design and illustration. What suggestions do you have that may help them pursue this as a possible career choice. (ExtraRed)
Iain: Young people... listen to me... eat your vegetables, and turn off that horrible music!...
Iain: So, when did I become old people?
Iain: If you mean, 'established artist to the newcomers', my advise would be to find out what you really want to do and then do it.
Snowpnthr: Davinci.CS.UCLA.EDU, you're going to be in a heap of trouble when your isp finds out you nuked Iain McCaig. Thanks.
Iain: I had heroes and I really just wanted to do what they could do, so I practiced real hard, learned from books, colleagues and teachers, and spent hours, weeks and years drawing and stuff until one day I could do it.
Iain: THEN discovered that what I really wanted was not to be an illustrator like Norman Rockwell, or a painter like Frank Frazetta, or a film-maker like, well, George Lucas, but to tell visual stories like... uhh... me.
Iain: Fortunately, somewhere along the way I picked up some technique to do that with, and practiced like hell without realizing it. If anyone had told me the secret was technique and practice, I might have shot myself.
Iain: But it is the evil twin to Dreams and Desire, and without it, I would never have worked on Star Wars.
*** X changes topic to "Next Interview: Saturday, September 6th, 1997 at 8:30pm EDT. Interview of Iain ()"
Iain: If you are contemplating a career as a Concept Designer, repeat after me...good drawing, good drawing, good drawing.
Iain: When looking through portfolios, even more than wanting to see evidence that they knew what a storyboard was, and could use markers, pencils, and even imagination, we looked for a portfolio with good drawing.
Iain: Unfortunately, rare was the day that we found one...
Question: 7. What work did you do on the SW Trilogy Special Editions? (Darrin Connell)
*** Snowpnthr sets mode: +o Iain
Iain: I only worked briefly on the SW Trilogy Special Edition, and only on Return of the Jedi at that. For the extended musical sequence, alien musicians were required, and an additional dancer.
Iain: I contributed a few drawings to the melting pot.
Iain: Actually, that's not completely true. I was involved in Empire as well...
Iain: Jay Shuster and I donned Storm Trooper costumes and appeared in a scene with Darth Vader, where I learned that Storm Troopers are so mean because the armor is continuously pinching your many tender parts..
Question: 8. I'd like to know how different the creative process for the SW prequels is as opposed to how it was done for the original movies, and in what ways? (Chris Petersen)
Iain: I'm afraid I have no idea how the creative process is different from the old to the new films. I was at Art School when the original art department did it's work, and I have no idea what it was like back then.
Iain: All I have heard is that there has been more artwork generated for the first of the new films than for all of the old films combined, so I can only assume there were more coffee breaks.
Question: 9. How did you achieve the task of becoming one of the conceptual designers of the upcoming Star Wars? Did you apply for this job, or were you choosen in regards of your former artworks?
Iain: I became one of the conceptual designers.. I hope, on the basis of my portfolio. But I also worked at ILM (back in the Terminator 2/Hook days) and illustrated the odd thing or two for Lucasfilm and the other Lucas companies, and I'm sure that helped.
Iain: Also, Doug Chiang and I worked on T2 together and have been friends and colleagues ever since.
Question: 10. Do you have a lot of free margin for the design (What is your real job in the design?) or do you only perfect and define an existing world? (Deth)
Iain: George always made us feel like contributors to his universe, though I believe he was very good at invisibly guiding us where he wanted the designs to go.
Iain: It did take a while for me to understand what made Star Wars Star Wars, though, and not Star Trek or Babylon 5.
Iain: In that context, I was definitely working within an existing framework, though it was a pretty vast arena.
Question: 11. Mr McCaig, it cant be easy to have the responsiblity of helping produce one of the most looked-forward-to movies of the century (Star Wars prequel).. What day-to-day frustrations do you face in your workplace? (Snowpnthr)
Iain: It is a great joy to be working on a film as good as the SW Prequel, and that joy tends to make everything else take second place.
Iain: The day to day frustrations are probably no different from the usual creative process-
Iain: Aaagh, the page is so empty! How do I...Where do I...Wait, that's a good idea...that's a great idea...can't draw fast enough...s#%t, can't draw!!...It's a great idea and I can't draw!!...oh, yes I can, or something can...omygod...
Iain: this is....this is really mystical and powerful and...I'm hungry, can't stop...have to stop...great lunch, all right, look at the drawing, coward...hey that's not bad...shoot I ruined it, knew I shouldn't have touched it, I'll just put it back...AAAAAGGGHHH!!
Iain: It's ruined, come on mystical power, come on, mystical power...what was I thinking ?...there it is...no, it's not...yes?...no...but it's better, go with it, yes it's working...it's...god, I'm sleepy...Can't keep my eyes open...
Iain: I just fell asleep, wonder who saw...nah, he's sleeping, too...this is harrrrrddd...can't draw...mayday...wait....yes....it's...it's...IT'S...DONE!! Oh well, maybe the next one will be better...
Question: heheh
Question: let's keep going :)
Question: 12. What movie has been the funnest experience for you and why? (Snowpnthr)
Iain: The Star Wars Prequel has been the best of times, of course.
Iain: Another GREAT experience was working for Francis Ford Coppola on his as-yet-to-be-produced 'Pinocchio', for which he wrote both Screeplay and Music.
Iain: Francis is big-hearted and passionate, like a great Opera. I would work with him again in a heartbeat.
Question: 13. Is film your preferred medium.. and if so.. why?
Iain: Visual Storytelling is what I do best. Film is certainly an excellent medium for that, and I intend to spend a good part of my life making films.
Iain: But preferred medium?...I'm not sure. Put a great movie and a great book side by side, and I'd probably go for the book.
Question: 14. As far as films go do you prefer storyboard art and similar work or do you like directing/screenwriter more.. and why?
Iain: I like the film-making process, and the team aspect of it. I enjoy directing, storyboarding, and writing equally.
Question: 15. When/where can we expect to see your debut film as director, 'The Face' ?
Iain: My debut film, 'The Face', will be ready for a San Francisco screening by Thanksgiving of this year.
Iain: Subsequently, we will be taking it to the festivals, and are developing it as the pilot for a 13 part series of short films for television.
*** David-R sets mode: -l
Question: 16. What do you think about the Undernet?
Iain: This is my first visit to the Undernet, so I'm still determining what I think about it.
Iain: But I am a big believer in the future of cyberspace, so long as she remains a forum for free thought.
Question: 17. Iain, what about all the Star Wars questions that were submitted? We are dying to hear more about the prequels.
Iain: I know this will be a major bummer for most of you, but I can't reveal any specific or even general information about the new Star Wars prequels beyond what's already been announced by Lucasfilm.
Iain: We're all under non-disclosure agreements, but here's an even better reason why not: it's like Christmas.
Iain: George Lucas is making this really REALLY great present for everyone. And I sure as Hallebop don't want to spoil the surprise...do you?
Iain: So for information on the new films, I'd refer you to the Star Wars Insider and Lucasfilm Fan Club magazines, as well as the Official Star Wars Web Page (www.starwars.com).
Question: This concludes the interview portion of this event. A log of this interview will be available via HelpBot, http://www.user-com.undernet.org, and ftp.undernet.org tomorrow.
Question: Please direct all comments to liveevents@undernet.org.
Question: We will now open the channel up for a 5-minute question-and answer session from members of our audience.
Question: We will unmoderate the channel. Please ask a question that has not been previously asked and wait patiently.
Question: Due to time constraints, Iain McCaig will not be able to answer all audience quetions. We ask that you please understand.
*** Snowpnthr sets mode: -m
Chris2x: Were other companies looking for you when Lucasfilm offered you the job [Conceptual Designer]? If there were, what factors helped you choose Lucasfilm over the rest.
McJames^^: Is it true that Ewan McGregor has been selected to play the young Obi-Wan?
ThndrVoic: Iain: do you concider yourself one of the "Great Minds" now?
Question: Please - ask all questions in the channel!
Rutiger: will yoda be unhunched? perhaps with the build of bruce lee?
careful: Iain: with the invention of new technology, do you ever use teleconferencing for your work? or use the internet for real-time conferencing?
Question: Private Messages will be ignored. Thanks =)
Thunder: Mr. McCalf what kind of software and hard do you use in you job?
Dave_J: Iain, you mention having worked for ILM. When you did, did you do work on any other sci-fi TV series or movies?
a-ko: What did you mean buy "that music"?
Snowpnthr: Please ask all questions in the channel
j-dog: Ian: Who's idea was it to put those Fraggle Rock type characters into Return of the Jedi's Special Edition?
Iain: I was involved with Dinotopia--the Motion Picture at the time
Iain: Fortunately, that project finished with minimun overlap
Uriulet: did you use Silicon Graphics computers ?
Chris2x: Were other companies looking for you when Lucasfilm offered you the job [Conceptual Designer]? If there were, what factors helped you choose Lucasfilm over the rest?
Iain: so I was clear to jump onto SW
Thunder: Mr. McCalf what kind of software and hardware do you use in you job?
*** Snowpnthr sets mode: +m
bethie: okay folks i think we have enough questions :)
Iain: I hate to moderate, but Mr. McCaig is on a time constraint. He will answer as much as possible, please do NOT msg him. Thanks!
*** Snowpnthr sets mode: +o cpw
Iain: Dave...I worked briefly on Star Trek 6, and then left ILM to work freelance on Interview with the Vampire and F. F. C 's Dracula
Iain: Threnian it is something we are discussing right now but i would love to continue working with George
Iain: however i intend to pursue some other personal projects as well
Snowpnthr: that was an answer to >Iain, do you have any plans to be involved in future Lucasfilm Projects, or other current ones, such as the Indy Jones 4th
Snowpnthr: wiith the advent of digital crossover from film to games .. will you be branching into the gaming world ?
Iain: male30s: Well, I've already had an excursion into designing for games
Iain: and an early verion of the Dig
Iain: and on the HOrd
Iain: and directed the live-action portions of Killing Time for 3DO
Iain: I still consult...I love games, especially role-playing games, but most computer games just don't do it for me
Snowpnthr: Once again, please do NOT msg mr mccaig (Iain) with questions
*** cpw sets mode: -m
Snowpnthr: How long ago did the pre-production on the Prequels start?
Snowpnthr: Iain: Kinnian: A long, long time ago...
Snowpnthr: Iain: in a galaxy far, far away
Snowpnthr: We have time for one more set of questions.
ThndrVoic: Iain: do you concider yourself one of the "Great Minds" now?
The_SpYY: lian are these your designs the concepts , the drawings meaning is it each unique or do you use some drawings from other medias for inspiration and ideas ?
Sirilyan: Iain: You mentioned role-playing games... which ones? Computer, or standard paper-and-pencil?
Jihaddi: Iain did you do a lot of the Coruscant design?
Boombaras: Iain: Do you try to imagine yourselves living in the worlds you create?
Thunder: Mr. McCalf what kind of software and hardware do you use in you job?
`tintalle: i heard something mentioned about illustrating the Hobbit... what were you involved in there?
Sirilyan: And a friend will probably kill me if I don't ask if Traveller had any influence on you. :-)
Iain: ThndrVoic: One of the great mimes????
Iain: No seriously, never...
ThndrVoic: Thank you
*** Snowpnthr sets mode: +m
Snowpnthr: Iain2: CGI was not possible on a large scale in the current 3 movies. How does the rapid progress of such technology effect your planning for the new movies? Is there a mental "hurdle" of conventional filmmaking to overcome?
Snowpnthr: Iain: Four-Work:the rapid progress of digital technology was largely helmed by George Lucas. I believe he probably already knew what he wanted it to do in the new movies, and was helping to get it there as quickly as possible like oping him the Hobbit that Nicole (Merlin in Excalibur) Williamson narrated
Iain: It was later reprinted as a limited edition poster for Abandon Art
Iain: Boombaras:I am living in the worlds I create. Everything I make is derived from out own world, which I think is a pretty amazing place
*** cpw sets mode: +o bethie
*** X changes topic to "Next Interview: Saturday, September 6th, 1997 at 8:30pm EDT. Interview of Iain ()"
Snowpnthr: Iain, can you work at your home????
Snowpnthr: Skywalke_:I have worked in Studios and I have worked on mountaintops. Mountaintops is better.
Iain: Sirilyan:If you mean Travellor the role playing game...no. I was more of a Dungeon's and Dragon's person.
Iain: W_Raven:The books I read reflect the kinds of films I'd like to make, stories of extraordinary reality. That kinds of opens up the field genre wise.
Snowpnthr: what sort of art should I work on to put in my portfolio if I want your job?
Iain: Boba_Fett: Well, as i mentioned, just show that you can really draw.
Snowpnthr: What's your favourite movie ? :)
Iain: dach:Amadeus and One Flew Over the Cuckoos nest tie.
Snowpnthr: Iain... would you ever consider being a personal mentor for a young aspiring mind?
Question: Thank you for participating in our interview session. This concludes the interview with Iain McCaig.
Iain: pacer:I do teach a number of private pupils, and mentor aspiring artists and film-makers. I had a lot of great teachers growing up and I feel it is important to give back what you got.
Question: We thank him deeply for the time he has taken out of his busy schedule to be with us here this evening for this very special event.
Question: We'd like to thank the following people for making this possible: Bethie, Caveman99, Cpw, Dr_Seuss, DrSprite, David-R, ExtraRed, Ferrago, Gamma, Jady, Snowpnthr, and WAVMaster.
Question: The Undernet Promotions Project is a group of volunteers devoted to bringing fresh, exciting events to the Undernet IRC network.
Question: We hope you had a very entertaining and educational experience tonight. We will now unmoderate the channel for general comments and chat. Remember, all comments should be directed to liveevents@undernet.org. Thank you.


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