Written By: Nicki Legge
As technology advances, it seems like more and more films are using Visual Effects (VFX) and Motion Graphics to aid in the telling of a story. Filmmakers are doing amazing things with technology, building entire worlds on a computer. I have heard a lot of great things throughout the community about the talents of Logan Hennessy, but I had no idea how impressive his work is until I recently stumbled across his VFX/Motion Graphics demo reel on Facebook. I was absolutely blown away by the before and after shots throughout the reel and I immediately knew that I had to share his story by making him the Jump Ship Productions Filmmaker of the Week.
Logan is originally from Spokane, Washington. Before he moved to Arizona, he was attending a local community college, not particularly satisfied with the direction it was taking him. “One fateful night” as Logan says, he was watching the Appendices for the Lord of the Rings Trilogy and something clicked. Logan “always liked making videos with (his) friends, but it never really crossed (his) mind that you could do it for a living!… (he) became infatuated with the behind the scenes of a film set, and decided then and there (he) wanted to go to film school.” He decided that Phoenix would be a good place for film school, so he turned to the trusty internet to find schools in the Phoenix area. Logan “found (his) school, and moved across the country in a little less than three weeks from the night (he) watched those Appendices.” He says “it’s the greatest decision (he) has ever made.”
Logan began school in January 2010 and recently graduated “fluent with After Effects, Cinema 4D, 3DS Max, and Boujou.” He chose Collins College because “It had great facilities including two large sound stages and a massive green screen.” My favorite question to ask filmmakers is whether or not they believe film school is necessary. I think Logan hits the nail right on the head with his answer.
It is true that film school is completely unnecessary and the degree that you get from it will rarely get asked for. Peter Jackson, James Cameron, Ridley Scott, and David Fincher never went to film school, heck, Steven Spielberg was turned down from film school twice. The only thing anybody really cares about is if you are good. Really good. If you have an uncle that runs camera for Hollywood feature films, you can start from the bottom there and learn a massive amount… in a very short time.
The problem lies there. Not all of us have an uncle in the business, and we have literally no connections into Hollywood – THAT is where film school comes in. You essentially pay money to make connections. Yes, you learn some stuff in school, but you learn most of it on real sets. So that is the answer, you go to film school in an area that has a film community in order to meet like-minded individuals… building a network and learning all you can.
Logan was “drawn to visual effects and motion graphics because (he) does not want any barriers.” One of the biggest limitations for independent filmmakers is the lack of budget. Logan “decided (he) would not allow (himself) to have any restrictions if (he) didn’t have to. If (he) comes up with a story and needs the setting to be a post-apocalyptic wasteland, (he) can do that.” Logan says that it is difficult to choose a favorite project or graphic, every time he completes a project he immediately thinks of something bigger and better to do. Although if he had to pick one, Logan says “it would probably be one of the first difficult shots I ever did… on a video I co-created for a video game that was being released that year (“Battlefield 3 Live Action Gameplay Trailer“). The climax of the video is a first-person perspective and as the character looks up into the sky, two jets collide and explode, followed by one of the jets falling into the screen and on top of the character. It was two years ago, and I’ve learned so much and honed my craft a lot since then, but seeing people’s reaction to that shot for the first time still gives me goosebumps.”
As much as Logan loves VFX and Motion Graphics, his true passion is working hard on set. Logan says “I learned visual effects so I could have no boundaries, but I’m a filmmaker at heart, and there is nothing like being on a film set. I really like to direct my own films, but when working for others my favorite aspect is being behind camera. I like to be able to have an impact on the look of a film, and being a camera operator or Director of Photography is one of my biggest goals as a filmmaker.” Logan has completed four of his own videos, most of which can be seen on his Youtube channel, ENRELEM, but he has worked on countless other projects through school and with other filmmakers.
“The best recognition I ever got was when me and a buddy released our fan-made trailer for an upcoming videogame called “Battlefield 3″, and after the second day that it was on youtube the creators of the video game posted it to their twitter and facebook, and subsequently it started showing up on gaming websites all across the internet. It received a lot of praise and was the first time I really felt like this is the only thing I could be doing with my life. I’ve never felt so giddy in all my life than the morning I woke up and saw the video had jumped 40,000 views overnight and the top comments said they were sent by the game’s creators. I can’t wait to do it again!”
The absolutely most important aspect of filmmaking to Logan is simply telling an incredible story that captivates people and forces viewers to learn a little about themselves and grow with the characters on the screen. He strives to never stop learning and never stop improving so that he can be the best filmmaker he can be. Now that Logan has graduated college, he plans to pump out consistent short films with his longtime friend Nile Popchock for their youtube channel, ENRELEM. He says, “the internet is an incredibly powerful tool for filmmakers, and if we can consistently create jaw-dropping films I don’t think there is any better option to get exposure… Making films is a gift from me to the audience, a chance to bring them into a world I created that they could only imagine in their dreams. I really do believe that through continuous, excruciatingly hard work I’ve got a shot at doing just that.” Logan is active on Facebook, he can be reached at (509) 979 – 7015, or you can email him HERE!