|Grimm (2011) "Billy" by Jerad S. Marantz|
Jerad S. Marantz (I Am Legend, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, The Amazing Spider-Man) has worked on some of the biggest movies in Hollywood as a creature designer. He also teaches at the Gnomon School of Visual FX, and the Concept Design Academy.
I talked to him about working on the hit TV show Grimm and what its like to be a concept artist, even when you're working on a bad movie.
As always, click on the images to enlarge.
Q: What's It Like When You Look Up At The Screen And See Your Designs Come To Life, And They're Mostly Yours?
It’s incredible. It’s why every concept artist does it. It’s what you hope happens throughout the entire process. Of course it’s a team effort and we're all working towards the same goal which is to get something on the screen that makes everyone happy. But, it's an added plus if what’s up on that screen is yours.
Q: American Horror Story Is Nominated For An Emmy. You Worked On The Show. Tell Us About It.
American Horror Story is created by Ryan Murphy. It’s really well written with amazing story arcs. Last season I designed the Frankenstein baby (Infantata), burnt man and the twins.
|American Horror Story "Burnt Man" (2011) by Jerad S. Merantz|
Q: Every Movie Can’t Be A Blockbuster. What’s It Like Working On A Bad Movie?
That’s a tough question. There are ways around working on a movie that you think isn't going to be good. As a concept artist I think the guys that last the longest are the ones who are just in love with the process. If the film is great it's an added benefit. I've designed for quite a few films that haven't done well, but I've had so much fun working on them.
|Dragonball: Evolution (2009) "Picallo" by Jerad S. Marantz|
|Dragonball: Evolution (2009) "Assassins" by Jerad S. Marantz|
Q: Grimm Came Out This Week And You're One Of The Concept Artists On The Film. What's The Biggest Challenge Of Working On Grimm?
Grimm is a great show and I love working on it. I’m so happy it’s doing well. As a child I loved watching the X-Files and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It’s always been an ambition of mine to work on a TV show that introduces a new monster every week and it’s about time creatures made their way back to network television.
I get my assignments from Steve Oster (producer). I really like working with him. As a designer you want a client that gives solid feedback and propels the design process forward.
It's a fun challenge in every episode to capture what animal each creature is based on while maintaining the actor’s character in a subtle balance. I’m fortunate to be designing these creatures with my good friend Constantine Sekeris. We compare notes on the show all the time and we are motivated by each other’s work. Constantine has been designing in the industry for a long time and it’s truly inspiring working with him.
|Grimm (2011) "Rhino" by Jerad S. Marantz|
Q: When You're Working On A Design For Grimm, Do You Take Into Account The Fact That It Might Be CGI Or Practical?
I’m never sure how the creature design will be executed on screen. At this point I just have to make sure the design can work as a practical makeup and as a visual effect. It’s always exciting to see how they end up using the designs. Either way we have great artists that bring these designs to life.
|Grimm (2011) "Gator Man" by Jerad S. Marantz|
Barney Burman at B2FX has done the majority of the makeups for season 1 and the work’s been incredible. Every now and then I’ll be in touch with Barney and he’ll tell me how the makeups are going. For the first episode of season 2 I designed a Saber-tooth Tiger man. I was talking to Barney about it and was so excited he was able to flock the makeup and get those teeth top work practically.
Edward Irastorza is the shows Visual FX supervisor. Ed’s in charge of making sure the creatures look their best in CG. He’s done a great job on the show. Grimm is incredibly ambitious with regards to visual FX. I think if people really knew how much work goes into the transformations of these creatures it would blow their minds. Ed was the guy that recommended me for the show and I’ll always be grateful to him for that.
Q: What Led You to Become A teacher?
I teach because I was very fortunate to have teachers myself. Many have been very gerous with imparting knowledge, like Constantine Sekeris, who nutured younger artists and wasn't afraid to share their tricks. They like me, recognize that concept artists are part of a group working to achieve the same goal. Plus, teaching helps keep my skills sharp. It allows an artists to hold onto techniques that they may not otherwise use. A director may say, "I want a sketch" and it keeps my skills sharp in these areas.
I always get very excited when I come across an artist that I think may have a real shot at making it in the industry.
Here are some more concept designs from the television show Grimm.
See more of Jerad S. Marantz' portfolio at jeradsmarantz.blogspot.com.
Make sure you tune in for Grimm on NBC on Mondays and check out the official site http://www.nbc.com/grimm.
What do you think of his illustrations? Did you learn anything from the interview? Can you name which episode each comes from?
@ Copyright 2011 GK Productions, Hazy Mills Productions, Universal TV, Jerad S. Merantz. All rights reserved