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Bruce Woloshyn interview

Date of publishing: 22th September 2007 (interviewed August 2006)

Bruce Woloshyn interview - Stargate Digital Effects Supervisor Bruce Woloshyn is the Digital Effects Supervisor and Lead Digital Compositing Artist at Rainmaker Entertainment in Vancouver and has worked on both Stargate SG-1 and Atlantis since the beginning of both shows. The Scifi World had the opportunity to visit rainmaker’s facilities with Bruce in August last year (2006). See the report here
Then we had the chance to sit down for a few minutes with Bruce for a small interview. Here is the transcript of that interview.

Gilles Nuytens: Can you speak a little bit about Stargate and Rainmaker?
Bruce Woloshyn: Ok, I mean we're into season 3 of Stargate Atlantis, and season 10 now of Stargate SG1, I mean the 200th episode of any television series that’s a huge milestone. I’ve been told that we're going to have the show added to the Guinness book of world records. It’ll be, how did that go, the longest running north America continuously made science fiction show ever, because there are more episode now than X-files which originally started being made in Vancouver as well, you know which used to hold the record, that’s incredible. Somebody once asked me the other day what I thought about that and I thought 10 years ago, when we were making the pilot test SG1 I would have never thought, you know television series don’t last that long. And not only has it lasted that long, but it looks good that whole time, the stories are interesting, the characters are interesting and important. I think that’s why the viewers like, that’s what makes it so interesting to work on, and that’s for sure. Stargate Atlantis, it’s funny because I feel almost a little bit more strongly about Atlantis than I do about SG1. Even though it’s only been on the air a very short time and I think that’s because not only Rainmaker as a company, for visual effects but me personally had so much to do with how Atlantis was going to look. It was so exciting to design a whole new world, a whole new galaxy, the way things were going to look. But I got to do that with all those years of experience on SG1. So it was not only, I won’t say it was easier, because it was a lot of things and easy wasn’t one of them, but it was a more of fun in the sense that you could draw on all this great experience that we had had from SG1 for all those years and pour that into something so new because we tried to stay so true to so many of the things that we had talked about the ancients because the ancients had been alluded to for quite awhile on SG1 and you tried to stay true to that but come up with stuff that was just fun, you didn’t have your hands tied. Brad and Bob gave us such freedom to stretch our wings yet stay true to the vision they had for their new series so it was great fun.

Gilles Nuytens: Can you say something to The Scifi World fans?
Bruce Woloshyn: To everybody that’s out there that’s a member or has surfed in thescifiworld just because it was an accident you go surfing that’s how I came across it one time. Tremendous site, I’m glad you guys are all here. Sure always happy to talk to everybody on the forums when I have a chance. We’re very, very proud both Stargate SG1 and Stargate Atlantis I hope to be able to have a chance soon to be on the forums again. To everybody out there, I hope you are well and I wish you well, that’s for sure.

Ok, so there’s something I could speak to the shear army of talented artists and technicians and designers that make the visual effects for both Stargate SG1 and Stargate Atlantis. One of the things that I always try to be careful of because I don’t want anyone to think it's true I don’t do this by myself my goodness, there are and I kid you not, an army is a good way to describe it. So many people especially if you look over the ten year history of SG1. There are people that worked on one season and not another. I can speak to people like my friend Michelle Comens who has been working on SG1 since Season 1 and has held down all kinds of positions, from Visual effects coordinator to visual effects supervisor to visual effects producer. Michele has had such a hand in how Stargate looks, how it's all coordinated together that I can’t even begin to say what a difference her hand print has made on the show. Supervisors like James Tichenor, Mark Savela and Bob Habros, you know there’s a huge list and those are the people that are the supervisors and production team that actually work at the bridge studios to photograph the things. Then you have all of the vendors, there is a huge group of companies that have worked on the show over the years that have done that. Rainmaker where I work is one of them, and we’ve been there, you know, since day one and I am very proud to say that. But companies like Image Engine who does an outstanding job on some of the best visual effects work ever for television for these series, you know, guys like Robert Hackell, and Craig Van Den Biggelaar, there entire teams of visual effects artists. Every vendor that have put, you know, quite frankly their hearts and souls into this work to try and bring the worlds that Brad and Bob have created with all the other writers and directors, cinematographers, the cast and crew together it's an army of people. Visual effects is a team sport, you don’t play it by yourself. Other companies like Atmosphere Visual effects, GV effects. I mean over the years so many companies and so many people have had a hand in it. I can’t speak enough to the fact that myself and Rainmaker, although we tried very hard are but one piece of this massive puzzle that puts all of these shows together over the years, especially with the advancements in technology and everybody gets better and faster and that production asks more of us every year, no one place could do it all. I want everybody who understands that people like Craig and Wes Sargent, Tom Brydon, Gary Poole and Lee Pierce I could just list on and on and on, Deb Dunphy there’s an army of people to do all this work. I want to make sure that everybody knows that because I think often times several of the senior staff at the various facilities and at MGM we’re the ones that you ask to do the interviews or talk to the media and there’s just all of these people that just never get to do that. I wish we could be in all of this stuff, it's kinda like both of the series have been very fortunate that our work has been recognized for lots of different awards, you see the pictures, but for every one person that’s on one of those nomination ballads, there are 10 people that should be. And there, out of all the things I mean technology aside, design aside, and hard work aside I want to make sure that I always say how many people have done such a fabulous, fabulous job so that a few of us can get up and say what a fabulous job was done.

Gilles Nuytens: Can you speak about the 200th episode?
Bruce Woloshyn: I’m gonna be honest, I haven’t actually seen it yet, I’ve seen bits and pieces of it, but I haven’t sat down and watched the show. One of the things I have a hard time doing when everybody is so busy making the shows is watching. I mean I have every Stargate and Atlantis episode every made upstairs in that vault when we were touring through the building that you saw. I’ve never seen every one of those shows, I’ve seen lots of them, I’ve seen every shot we ever made to go in them. But I simply haven’t sat down to watch every episode. I have an idea of what’s happening in most of those episodes because it's important that the visual effects people understand the story lines and the background of why we design things and why certain races have certain technologies and stuff, but I haven’t seen it. I’m looking forward to it because the pieces I have seen look really good. And I love the fact that this show doesn’t take itself too serious. I remember when we were doing “Wormhole Extreme” so 100 episodes ago, which was in itself a huge milestone in a television series, watching it when it was finished, because I had an opportunity to be in it, I’m mean I think everybody in the crew was in it. I laughed so hard because it was still Stargate, but it was done so well, and it poked a little fun at itself. And I think that’s cool. There are certain lines over the years you know like the first time they are going someplace on the Prometheus and Carter’s got this great line, she says to O’Neill “No you can’t call it the Enterprise” like that’s just great television. The fact that it could be good a good story with good characters and not take itself too seriously. So I’m really looking forward to watching 200, because I haven’t had the opportunity to see it, heck it only aired a little while ago, here. I’m usually only a few months behind the best case. I think the pilot of Atlantis is the only show I ever got to watch before it hit the air in its entirety. I think that is just because we were so careful to check everything so many times.

Gilles Nuytens: Are you in 200?
Bruce Woloshyn: No I’m not. I’ve done a cameo at least one every year since the 100th episode and I haven’t done one this year. Last year, I was in. I’m trying to think of what I was in last year but I was. The day I was on set to do my little cameo bit was the very last day of principal photography. The trouble is my schedule versus Stargate shooting schedule, we have a heck of a time finding a day that I’m not busy making pictures to go be in pictures. Although I enjoy immensely, it’s great fun. Last year I got to spend the day with Ben, Amanda and Chris and my friend Martin Wood who I’ve known since he was my college instructor a long time ago, so it was great fun, I love those days. I love to get to watch the other artists work, the artists that I don’t get to see very often, I love watching the directors work, I love watching Martin Wood work, I love watching Andy Mikita work, I love watching Pete DeLuise work because he makes me laugh and they’re are all very, very talented artists and directors and technicians. I love watching Jim Bernard work when he shoots and designs the cinematography. I love watching the whole crew work and the days when I get my cameos I really don’t have to work, I just have to stand where the director tells me and do what he says, but it's great because it’s the one day where I get to watch everybody else work. I get to take in this marvelous world without having to concentrate on is the glow on something too small you know, that’s for a different day when I’m not out on set.

Gilles Nuytens: And this year, is there something planned already?
Bruce Woloshyn: No I am going to try and do, like I said last year we almost didn’t get it in because we kept running out of time before I had time and quite frankly, Martin made a great effort last year to find a place to put me on that last day. I got a great little seat with Amanda helping her put her space suit on. I've done one cameo on Atlantis in Season one. I ran out of time last year, there was just no good day, but I was in an episode of Atlantis and it was great. I joke with everybody that I’m probably the best treated background performer ever and it's just because I get out there, I know all those people. I got to do a nice scene in the first season with Torri and Joe, it was nice. I love Torri, I love to do a conversation with her, she is just a tremendous person as well as a very talented actress. I've been in every SG-1 since "100" but i've only done Atlantis once and that's probably the only chance I got to do it because it's so hard to find the time. But it was fun because if I did it last year, that means I was in the original Atlantis expedition. Just another good engineer from Canada, that's all.
I joke when I was shooting that I went from being the guy that designed the shield that goes over the Atlantis Stargate, to being the guy that operates the shield that goes over the Atlantis Stargate.

© 2006-2007 Interview by Gilles Nuytens for The Scifi World.
Transcript by Linda Craddock, Second read by Nora Allstedt.


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