AMBER LOVE 21-FEB-2012 Hear the incredible journey of STEVE WANG who immigrated to the United States from Taiwan when he was only nine years old to go on to be one of entertainment’s happiest success stories. Besides movies, Steve does a great amount of work for gaming companies like Blizzard.
Download on iTunes or listen here. Skype had a pretty bad connection an there’s echoes and feedback in this one.
Steve shared his family stories about the influences of his brother who liked to draw. Then when Steve experienced his first American Halloween he was already engrossed by the supernatural genre. Before the internet, Steve had to do old fashioned research with books and magazines like FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND. Now there’s YouTube and Steve encourages anyone curious about props to go there first.
He cautions potential creature designers to have something to fall back on. All the big companies are falling apart and some filing bankruptcy. Although Steve is a firm believer in doing what you love. You can hear it as he talks about his work. He loves every minute of it. He even explains his perspective in why I preferred being an employee than starting his own studio. His time with Stan Winston Studio gave him tremendous opportunities when he had virtually no experience at all. Steve also worked for the other legendary special effects shop, Rick Baker and contemporaries like Patrick Tatopoulous from SyFy’s FACE-OFF.
“Invest in something more viable as a career than makeup effects. It’s hurting out here.” ~SW
Steve just completed work on Christophe Gans new feature adaptation of BEAUTY AND THE BEAST which filmed in France. You may remember Gans work from SILENT HILL and BROTHER OF THE WOLF. They’re incorporating performance capture into the characters like AVATAR and WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE. Steve said this version will be good for kids utilizing a romantic story between Belle and the Beast.
“You really need to stop sometimes and just take in everything you’ve done. And if you think you’ve done a good job, you should just enjoy it, ya know, take the compliment. Feel good about your work and then move on and keep building from there.” ~Stan Winston’s advice to Steve Wang
He says that by taking the pressure and fears of failure off yourself, you will then be able to grow as an artist. Steve passes that advice on to his children. Worry and panic aren’t nurturing. He says you have to believe in what you’re doing and if you fail, you learned an amazing lesson in life.
As I looked through Steve’s galleries on Facebook, I was fooled time and again thinking that there were photos of people in makeup and props – sometimes they are, but others are astonishing sculptures where the skin is made from silicone.
Of all the characters Steve has helped bring to life, the Predator is the most often he’s seen cosplayed mainly because people on Facebook tag him relentlessly. He worked on the creature for three months is quite certain that the fans know more about it than he does.
“Some of them are really, really good. They’re very well made. These people could be working in the film industry. They just have to have the discipline.” ~SW
Steve finds himself creating back stories for creatures that might not be in the scripts in order to get a well rounded character.
When he worked for Matt Rose, he had created the Abe Sapien character for HELLBOY. Steve took someone’s concept and then made whatever modifications necessary to make everyone involved happy. As Steve and I discussed how characters change when adapting from comics to screen, we talked about DC’s iconic Trinity: Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman, and whether there’s anyway to appease the fans. Steve is simply not a purist. He wants to see variety. He looks forward to new ideas since he’s already experienced old ideas. The original versions aren’t going to be erased from existence because there’s a new version out there. SUPERMAN: THE MOVIE is Steve’s all-time favorite movie. One of his partners, Eddie Yang, worked on this new version of Superman — the version without the red briefs.
“I want to leave behind as much art before I die.” ~SW
Steve Wang & Eddie Yang’s business at Alliance Studio