Geoff Scott Interview: Orphan Black

GEOFF SCOTT:

“My greatest accomplishment with this show is that nobody has really noticed our work.”

Geoff Scott has a pretty rad job as a VFX Supervisor at Intelligent Creatures here in Toronto. He also has a pretty rad dog who helped out the show Orphan Black by letting them use her (to make a fake dead dog look more realistic) in episode 1 of Season 5 (his dog isn’t actually dead, they’re just really good at their job). Here’s some pictures showing what it looked like before and after they applied the visual effects. At the end is a picture of Geoff with his adorable pup!

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Geoff: Technically I’ve been working with Orphan Black for 6 years.

Me: How would you describe the show to somebody who’s never watched it?

Geoff: How would I describe the show to someone who’s never watched it? I would describe it as the story of a young drifter who finds out that she’s part of a large ongoing conspiracy about the implications of genetic copyrights and patents and ownership.

Me: Would you say it’s more technical or artistic or elements of both?

Geoff: One of the greatest aspects of the job is the beginning, working with the actors and directors to help design the sequences and the scenes with very little to start. So that sort of feels like a massive artistic component that I need in my life. By the end of it I have to make sure it looks so real from a technical perspective that hopefully nobody notices that I’ve done anything. So it’s both. It’s both art and craftsmanship.

Me: When you look back at some of the earlier episodes, can you see the improvements?

Geoff: Absolutely. Not so much from a technical perspective, I still feel very happy and confident with the quality of visual effects from 5 years ago which is saying something. But where you see the massive technical leaps in purely a level of complexity. Every season we end with something that at the beginning of the season, I didn’t think was possible.  And then the next season we’d start at that level of complexity. And only build more and more. It got more complex.

Me: How would you describe your first few years working on Orphan Black?

Geoff: The first year I knew we had something great. My fear was…nobody else would see it. That a lot of people would just dismiss it as… “Canadian Television”. And the first few years with any project there’s always this sort of uncertainty whether or not you’re gonna be asked back. Between seasons 1 & 2 we had a meeting, we had a post mortem in the beginning of season 2 where they wanted to see if we could do anything better and so I looked at the shots and we delivered something insane like, almost 300 shots. And there were two that I was “mehh could be a bit better” but 99.4 % happy, that’s amazing! That’s a win!  It was good… it was good, it was a bit unnerving at first, until you sort of realize how much excellent work had been done.

Me: Who is your favorite out of all the clones and why?

Geoff: I don’t have a favorite clone, I can tell you who my least favorite clone is. That’s Helena, that’s because Tatiana, up until Season 3… she would stay in character. So you know Sarah’s cool, you feel like you can go for a pint with Sarah. Alison reminds me of, you know, my mom…kind of. Cosima is the cool hippy chick that I could use to score… But Helena would just kill you and I really did not like working with Helena. And it was like working with a completely different person. Yeah it was not cool. Like there was a point where I’m just like… I’m gonna get stabbed if I get too close to this person. But completely different! It was… unnerving. So yes my least favorite is Helena because I was worried about my physical health.

Me: What has been your favorite moment or episode of the series so far that you’ve worked on?

Geoff: My favorite episode… I really liked 4.10 which was the last episode of last season cause we gotta have two clones beat the living snot out of each other. And any episode with Donnie, Kristian Bruun is one of the funniest people.

Me: What about visual effects or design work on the show do you find most interesting or fun?

Geoff: The funnest is actually designing the sequences or was designing as we’re in the last days of the last episode. Designing the clones scenes with the directors from the beginning is the most exciting part of it. Planning it out, you know, running it through with Tatiana and Aaron Morton the cinematographer…tweaking it, refining it. The part I like least is the doing it after the fact. The guys here are really good at the laborious amount of work that goes into it… my heart goes out to them. They put that much work into it here.

 Me:  What has inspired you personally as a visual effects artist?

Geoff: Ahh Star Wars! I was 4 years old when I saw Star Wars, I went through a brief phase where I thought I wanted  to be an actor because I thought you got to play with monsters and aliens. I thought they were real. And then one of my parents said “no, no it’s uh Special Effects”, it was special effects then, it’s now visual effects. “If you wanna do that, you know you gotta do this.” Okay Boom Done. That was it. So yeah… 40 years ago. F*ck. Yeah 40 years ago almost to the day…. Sh*t that’s weird. Yeah 40 years ago almost to the day is when I decided I wanted to do this.

Me: Are you sad that season 5 is going to be the last season?

Geoff: Yes…No, I am saddened not just because of the quality of it, but because of the quality of the crew and the quality of the cast and the quality of the team here. And the lack of ego’s and it’s just been an absolute gift, and I’ve been working in visual effects for 20 years and it is rare to find that in a cast and crew. I am incredibly happy because they’re ending really strong, as opposed to ending very um… where they do that thing where they tack on another two seasons just to make money and drag out a story line that isn’t there. So I’m happy that John and Graeme have stuck to their guns and are making a very concise strong story.

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I hope you enjoyed reading today’s post, comment if you have any questions or just want to add something 🙂

-Jazzy Jazz

Season 5 of Orphan Black airs at 10:00 P.M Saturdays on BBC

 

 

Orphan Black, Wynonna Earp & Wonder Woman: Bad-Ass Female Roles

Isn’t it such a cool thing, the fact that we can dream up pretty much any scenario up in our heads and then come back down to earth and recreate it? I mean, how awesome is that?! I’ve always been a fan of art: paintings, music, books, tattoos, movies- you name it. And man I can tell you that Orphan Black is a work of art. It’s sad that after season 5 there will be no more #CloneClub… except for the little clone that’s in all of us. It has been such a great show with a strong and talented female lead with amazing acting skills (and DAMN those visual effects are UNBELIEVABLE!!). And we need more movies and TV shows like that… We need more female lead roles to inspire us into being the strong, intelligent, creative and powerful women that we all have the capability of becoming.

My aunt had taken me to see the movie Wonder Woman a couple weekends ago and I was inspired and in awe of Gal Gadot and how brilliantly she played Wonder Woman. I was surprised at all the hype it was getting, as most super hero movies aren’t something that EVERYBODY talks about… but EVERYONE is talking about Wonder Woman. Talk about a strong influential lead female role. I had doubts before going to see this movie, based on the over-sexualization that female superhero characters often portray, and although there was still the skimpy super woman outfit, and although yes the men in the movie made passes at her, her look wasn’t the thing that made her powerful or made people listen to her.

She was exciting and brilliant and she was different. She didn’t care about the opinions of others, even the man she was falling in love with. She forced people to listen to her in order to do what was right, and when they didn’t she took matters into her own hands no matter how scary the situation ahead of her seemed. She didn’t listen when anyone told her no. She stood up with her head held high and did whatever was necessary to save the human race from the GOD OF WAR. And that’s what we need, more movies that can empower women and show that we can do whatever necessary to save the world, with or without any man. Although yes, Chris Pine looked hella fine and did do a really brave and noble act at the end.

Like Orphan Black, Wynonna Earp is another TV series that I find demonstrates how powerful a woman can be. And hallelujah season two has finally begun. If you haven’t seen Season One yet, it’s pretty much the female version of the show Supernatural and It. Is. Bad. Ass. Instead of Sam and Dean it’s Wynonna and Waverly, and I can’t believe I’m saying this (I used to be just a little bit obsessed with Supernatural, those boys are FIIIINE) but I think I might actually like them better than their male counterparts. Not only does this show teach young women to be strong, confident, independent and fierce … it’s also got amazing visual effects. Everything about this show is awesome and you’ll regret it if you don’t check it out.. that’s a promise.

*Thanks for reading my first post, I’m also going to start making YouTube videos VERY soon. If you’ve watched either TV shows let me know what you think of them 🙂

-Jazzy Jazz