“At first thought no, I would have thought more academic,” reflects Hal Couzens as to whether he comes from an artistic family. “Now that I think about it there were several very good writers in the family [his father and brother] and that is artistic and certainly creative.” The chosen profession was initially accidental for the graduate of University of the Witwatersrand located in Johannesburg, South Africa. “I got into visual effects as a visual effects producer and then it became clear that it was possible for me to become a visual effects supervisor.” Great visual effects assist the narrative of a movie. “I love visual effects that dazzle, surprise, and startle their reality, and also those that slip by barely noticed while the story is driven forward. For example, Fight Club’s  impossible camera moves and some of the photographic work; they’re extraordinary in helping to tell a story. They were visually appealing and ground-breaking at the time.” Couzens believes, “You can’t tell the story of Apollo 13  without a rocket getting launched. I like those [types of visual effects]. The face replacement work in Social Network  I never spotted it. The only time I knew about it was when the movie was nominated for an Oscar. It was great work. It didn’t take me out. They needed to do that and they did.” To be a successful visual effects supervisor one needs to be organized, well prepared, creative, diplomatic and decisive. “Often directors and producers come up with radical solutions to situations that the film finds itself in. You need to have your answers ready and be willing to stick your neck out.”
Many thanks to Hal Couzens for taking the time for this interview and be sure to visit his blog Dr Lobsters Guide to Equalibrium in the Innerverse.
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Trevor Hogg is a freelance video editor and writer who currently resides in Canada.