Computer Graphics World

March/April 2014

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VISUAL EFFECTS VISUAL EFFECTS 26 ■ CGW M a r ch / A p r i l 2 014 VISUAL EFFECTS Director Stu Maschwitz creates a short film that shows off Red Giant's software and serves as a feature-film pitch By Karen Moltenbrey ed Giant Software is known for developing tools that make the filmmaking and motion-design processes faster and more efficient. Starting in 2011, the company began creating short films to production-test and highlight its tools, even de- veloping new products in the process that would later be offered to the public. It turned out to be a creative and practical way of putting Red Giant products through their paces. "Some think of Red Giant as a software com- pany, but we are a bunch of people who worked in TV and film. We like making films, we like working on films, and we like visual effects. There are a lot of ways you can spend money on marketing, but why not do what we love to do and, in the process, learn more about filmmaking and making our products better," says Aharon Rabinowitz, Red Giant's director of content and com- munities and executive producer for Red Giant Films. Red Giant has enlisted various directors to helm its short- film projects for the past two-plus years, always hoping to snag in-house talent Stu Maschwitz, who joined the software developer in 2008 as creative director, designing many of the company's products, including Magic Bullet, Looks, Colorista II, and more. And why not? Maschwitz, writer/director/pro- ducer/visual effects artist/cinematographer/editor/technologist, comes with a long list of movie credits to his name, as well as those by The Orphanage, a visual effects studio he had co-founded but is now closed. However, the planets (or, more accurately, the schedules) never aligned that allowed for the film collaboration. That is, until recently. And, not only did the stars align, they collided, resulting in a bang-up project that would be used for two purposes: a short that tackles production challenges while using various Red Giant software and serves as a Hollywood production pitch for the feature film Maschwitz will direct. "Aharon and I have wanted to do a movie for Red Giant Films for a long time, and we had been going back and forth with some ideas. We wanted to do something emotional, fun, and engaging, but obviously something that also showed off the tools and my background as a visual effects artist," says Maschwitz. "Then, around the same time, my agent handed me this feature-film screenplay called 'Run Like Hell,' written by Max Adams. I loved it. It's an action/comedy that's a bit raunchy, with an alien invasion in it. I had been having conver- sations with the producer, Adrian Askarieh, to figure out how we were going to pitch this movie to the world. And we both agreed we needed some type of short video to sell people on the tone of the film. That is always the hardest thing with any movie, to know what it will feel like to launch it. So, I decided I would try to smash these two worlds together and see if Adrian would be interested in having his pitch video something we could share with the whole world, and if Aharon at Red Giant would be interested in helping me pitch this video to Hol- lywood. Luckily, both said, 'Yes.' "

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