CFP: [Film] The Science of Special Effects (5/1/08; 10/30-11/2/08)
Call for Papers
â€œThe â€˜Scienceâ€™ of Special Effects: Aesthetic Approaches to Industryâ€ Area
2008 Film & History Conference
Film & Science: Fictions, Documentaries, and Beyond
October 30-November 2, 2008
Second-Round Deadline: May 1, 2008
AREA: The â€œScienceâ€ of Special Effects: Aesthetic Approaches to Industry
This area examines the industrial, technological, theoretical, and
aesthetic questions surrounding special-effects technologies. Presenters
may investigate historical changes in special and visual effects, as in
the gradual switch from physical to digital applications; they may focus
on the use of visual effects in film or television texts that do not fit
into typically spectacle-driven genres (i.e., effects in drama, comedy,
and musical narratives instead of in action-adventure, science fiction,
or fantasy); they may consider the theoretical implications of
special/visual effects and technology on texts; or they may concentrate
on neglected historical and aesthetic values of effects development.
Possible papers or panels might include the following:
-- An investigation of the terms â€œSpecial Effectâ€ and â€œVisual Effect,â€
what they constitute, and how their definitions have been delineated and
complicated by changing technologies.
-- Special/visual effects â€œstarsâ€ such as (Keynote Speaker) Stan Winston,
Douglas Trumbull, or Richard Edlund, and their impact on the construction
and application of visual effects images for mainstream/non-mainstream
-- The changing relationship between visual effects technologies and pre-
production, i.e. looking at â€œpreviz,â€ at the development of
films â€œaroundâ€ their effects sequences, or at the use of physical
materials such as maquettes as templates for eventual CG elements.
-- How contemporary visual-effects practitioners negotiate and
incorporate real world â€œphysicsâ€ into their design of digital characters
(â€œsynthespiansâ€) and environments.
-- How visual effects contribute to the formation of
complete â€œenvironmentsâ€ on screen, how they are incorporated into
narratives, and how meaning is affected when a physical environment is
--The implementation of special/visual effects by costume and motion-
capture â€œartistsâ€ and actors, and how studies of these practices can
offer insight into classic and contemporary working relationships between
effects practitioners, actors and crew.
-- The Visual Effects Society and its impact on the industry and
filmmaking throughout the organizationâ€™s history.
-- How directors or other creative personalities use physical and digital
effects in their projects (e.g., Robert Zemeckisâ€™ application of digital
technologies or Guillermo Del Toroâ€™s proclaimed interest in keeping a
50/50 balance between physical and digital effects).
Please send your 200-word proposal by May 1, 2008 to the area chairs:
Michael S. Duffy, Bob Rehak, Area Chairs, â€œThe â€˜Scienceâ€™ of Special
Email: michael.s.duffy_at_googlemail.com, brehak1_at_swarthmore.edu
Panel proposals for up to four presenters are also welcome, but each
presenter must submit his or her own paper proposal. Deadline for
proposals: May 1, 2008.
This area, comprising multiple panels, is a part of the 2008 biennial
Film & History Conference, sponsored by The Center for the Study of Film
and History. Speakers will include founder John Oâ€™Connor and editor Peter
C. Rollins (in a ceremony to celebrate the transfer to the University of
Wisconsin Oshkosh); Wheeler Winston Dixon, author of Visions of the
Apocalypse, Disaster and Memory, and Lost in the Fifties: Recovering
Phantom Hollywood; Sidney Perkowitz, Charles Howard Candler Professor of
Physics at Emory University and author of Hollywood Science: Movies,
Science, & the End of the World; and special-effects legend Stan Winston,
our Keynote Speaker. For updates and registration information about the
upcoming meeting, see the Film & History website
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Received on Tue Mar 25 2008 - 16:24:55 EST