CMS Intern, and Dick Smith Scholarship Recipient, Wayne Anderson gives us his report:
Our first stop was at Rick Lazzarini’s “The Character Shop” where they specialize in animatronic animals, puppets, robots, creatures and characters. Feature films [they’ve done] include Aliens, Mimic, Snakes on a Plane, Nightmare on Elm Street, Ghostbusters II, and many, many more. They’ve also worked on a pile of commercials for major companies like Cadbury chocolate, DiGiorno pizza, Sprint and Budweiser.
Rick Lazzarini shows us an animatronic Puma. Foam latex is used for the skin of the Puma and the skull is made out of vacuform plastic, the whole thing’s hollow so Rick can run all the cables and servos. Rick used radio controls to give the Puma life. Just the head can be outfitted with 20 plus servos! Rick explained how the radio controller transmits to the servos that pull and push cables to give the puma expressions.
In the front you can see the “Foster Imposters,” a pair of goofy chicken character puppets from TV spots for Foster Farms. On the upper shelf are a grinning trio of “Desperate Hyenas” from Cadbury ads. The hyenas have rod-controlled head and legs, with animatronic facial expressions .
Just looking around the Character shop you’ll be inspired to start creating your own animatronic puppet!
Next stop was ADI. ADI is known for animatronics, animals, specialty costumes, makeup and human replicas. Alec Gillis and Tom Woodruff Jr. are the owners of ADI. You can see their work in some of the biggest hit movies like: AVP: Alien vs. Predator , Death Becomes Her (Academy Award Winner), ALIEN 3 (Academy Award Nominee), Hollow Man ( Academy Award Nominee), and Starship Troopers (Academy Award Nominee). We couldn’t take many photos at ADI because they’re working on a new movie that is strictly confidential.
As CMS students arrived, we signed disclosure agreements and handed over our cameras so pictures were limited.
We did get to snap one shot of the Predator bust from AVP and models of the Aliens to its right.
We had a really great time at both shops! The pros were very nice, super knowledgeable and happy to answer all of our questions!
Rick Lazarrini, via Twitter, had even higher praise for Wayne and the rest of the group from CMS:
“It was AWESOME! Lots of talented and interested students with great questions took the tour. Hope to see ‘em in the workplace!”