A storm whipped through the New York Film Academy Theatre last week—a combination of wind, water and sharks, known by the title Sharknado. After the screening, NYFA students welcomed Emmy Winning VFX Artist Glenn Campbell and VFX Supervisor Joseph Lawson from “The Asylum” Studio. NYFA Animation Chair Mark Sawicki moderated the event.
Sharknado was a made-for-TV disaster film produced between the SyFy Channel and “The Asylum” Studio. Directed by Anthony C. Ferrante and starring Ian Ziering, Tara Reid, and John Heard, the film has been a cult sensation since its release, spawning a franchise that includes three sequels (the fourth installment will be coming out this summer, titled Sharknado: The 4th Awakens).
Following the screening, Glenn Campbell and Joseph Lawson showed a reel featuring shots from the movie before and after the visual effects were added, with their own personal commentary on the process. They showed scenes from the first three films in the Sharknado franchise.
Campbell and Lawson explained that visual effects aren’t just for storms featuring murderous aquatic creatures—it’s for things as simple as turning a blue sky into a stormy sky, or removing satellite dishes from houses.
They both agreed that planning was a very important part of the process—making sure that all necessary shots are taken, knowing what you want before you start setting up. “Don’t change your mind so much,” they advised.
They also spoke to the importance of things like storyboards to help with planning and getting the best performance out of the actors. “It’s a challenge…nothing can replace the tangible, someone holding something in their hands.”
Finally, a student asked them if there is, or should be, a limit with visual effects. “There is no limit,” they responded. With enough time and creativity, anything that one could imagine is possible with visual effects.