When you’re watching a movie do you ever notice what is false and what is real? If Russell Lloyd could have it his way, a viewer would never know the difference. If you weren’t absolutely immersed in the visual elements of the scene in question then it would be considered a complete failure.
“If Gravity does not win the majority of awards it received nominations for, especially for visual effects, it would be beyond a disappointment,” says Lloyd.
Lloyd is somebody that students enrolled in Salt Lake Community College’s Animation program will want to remember. As a recent addition to SLCC’s Visual Arts Department, Lloyd brings a wealth of unique real world experience that might surprise some.
Since graduating from BYU in 2007, he has worked in Los Angles and London on several big name projects including “Night at the Museum 2,” “The Incredible Hulk,” “The A-Team,” “John Carter,” “Gravity” and “47 Ronin.” With a list of credits that anybody who aspires to work in Hollywood would be jealous of, Lloyd’s lifelong dream might have been to be an effects artist, but he admitted that was not the case.
He had always thought he would figure out what he would do as a career while he was away on his mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but that wasn’t the case. When he got back, he was admitted to BYU and knew that limited him.
Lloyd printed out the majors that BYU offered and starting crossing things of the list. When he came to animation he thought, “Oh, that would be cool, but I’m not good enough,” and slashed it off the list.
Later, Lloyd received what he could only describe as direct revelation to apply to both the music and animation programs. As fate would have it, he was accepted into the animation program two weeks faster than the music program.
Lloyd’s life was forever shaped by that moment, and after experiencing the industry firsthand and proving his worth to studios such as FrameStore, where he worked on four films, Lloyd is happy with where his life has taken him.
“I think the one thing that tickles me to death more than anything is ‘Night at the Museum 2.’ I loved the first one, and the second is absolutely hysterical, and I would say that is the kind of film that I really enjoy. I like to have fun [with things] that everyone can enjoy that wasn’t over-the-top. That being said, ‘Gravity’ is one of those projects that I will always be able to look back and say, ‘I worked on that film’. That’s something that will probably forever get me jobs because of the superb quality of the work,” Lloyd says.
With “Gravity” expected to dominate the awards this year, audiences can view Lloyd’s latest work in “47 Ronin”, released nationwide on Christmas Day 2013. Lloyd worked on cloth and hair simulation for many scenes in the the samurai film starring Keanu Reeves.
Students interested in getting a real firsthand account of working on major film projects should enroll in Visual Art and Design courses at SLCC.
“Learn as much as you can; you can focus on one specialty, or you can become a generalist. There is a place for both. Ultimately, what’s really important is having a passion for what you do. It will drive you to continue to do it even when it is a pain in the butt. The industry only cares if you deliver and that what you deliver is good,” Lloyd says.