Brainfood: We'd love that job - Special FX designer - Jez Clarke, Hothouse FX

What do you do?

by
Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

I design effects for commercials, film and TV. This could be anything from bomb blasts and bullet hits for BBC war dramas, to exploding space shuttles and teeth-flossing dogs. The best call I had was from Audi saying: 'We need to get an A2 inside the London Eye.' That was a fantastic logistical nightmare, but those are the best ones, especially when people don't believe you did it for real.

How did you get the job?

I saw Star Wars at 13 and said: 'I have to do that as a job.' I did an HND in model-making, worked in a few companies and then rented a workshop in Finland making things like dragons' heads for theme parks. I did whatever I could to learn the craft, from toy design to Harrods' shop windows.

The big break was making 90 giant props, including a 15ft Action Man for the film The Borrowers.

Does reality match the dream?

Yes and no. I love it, but the commercial reality makes it hard work.

You have pressing deadlines, and it's all bespoke, so there's always a huge risk of being unable to deliver. You put your heart and soul into something, working long hours that screw up your social life for a commercial that will only be on for a matter of seconds, over a couple of weeks.

I'd really like to have a piece of sculpture somewhere in London, something a bit more longstanding.

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