A Jericho4Kids Interview with
J.D. does the special effects on Jericho and he makes them look sooooooo real!! Thanks to J.D. for taking the time to do this interview with me
First of all, thank you for taking the time to answer my questions! You job has to be one of the kcoolest!! :-)
When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
The first career I wanted to become was an inventor.
When did you know that you wanted to work with special effects?
As a boy from a small Midwestern town (Eureka Missouri, about an hour east of St..Louis ) I never thought Working in Hollywood in special effects was a possibility. I started working in Junior high school theatre and photography for the newspaper and yearbook.
Can you tell me a little bit about what you have to do for your job?
Special Effects (mechanical or practical) involves the weather effects: wind rain snow fire etc. We also make things or people do things that they would not normally do. For example making an actor or actress fly. Or making a building explode and catch fire safely and repeat ably with actors and crew near by.
Do you have to go to school to do your job?
Most people learn this job by an informal apprenticeship. Due to the vast variety of skills to learn, on the job training is the most practical way to learn. This apprenticeship takes many years. In my case, I put my self through college and received a bachelors degree in electrical engineering by working as a grip and electrician in the film industry.
How did you get your job working on Jericho?
I had worked with the producer Jack Clements on several other projects.
What is your favorite part about your job? What is the hardest part?
I love solving a seemingly impossible problem safely and in a way that makes people wonder how it is possible. The Hardest part is the Politics and trying to anticipate any changes that may be requested.
Okay, I have to ask this question, are you one of the guys that wore the kilts? And what made you decide to start wearing them on Friday's?
About ten years ago a friend of mine (and most of my crew, got married on the Queen Mary in a formal Scottish dress ceremony. We had all rented kilts for the occasion. As a gag we wore them to work . they went over so well we found some ‘work kilts” and started wearing them on Fridays. (as opposed to the normal Hawaiian shirt Fridays.)
Did anyone play any practical jokes on you on the set of Jericho? :-)
There is always some. I do not remember any particularly.
Given the nature of the show with guns and pyrotechnics we do not mess around when we are working with those items ..
Did you work with Loomer and Booty a lot on the set of Jericho?
Yes, we worked closely with them everyday. We had to get props to rig from Booty and we had to work with minimizing damage to the sets that Loomer was responsible for up keeping.
That HUGE fire explosion at the beginning of the first episode of Season two was super awesome! Did you help make that happen? Did you have to have firemen around when you did it? What laws do you have to follow when you make such a big explosion of fire?
We are very proud of the ‘napalm run’ . Any time we have any fire on set, we must contact the fire department and get a permit. The permit explains to the fire department what we want to do, how we plan to do it, what are our plans for safety of both people and property.
To pull the permit you need to licenses. One from the federal government (bureau of alcohol tobacco and firearms BATF) and another from the California State Fire Marshall. These are not easy to get and they usually take over ten years to get a first class license.
What is the kcoolest special effect that you have ever done?
There are many ‘gags’ that I am proud of. There are favorites in different ways, fire, explosions weather, snow.
Are you in any of the episodes of Jericho?
I have been a townie during a Halloween episode (look for a nun in the background)
I have also been the pyrotechnition setting of the fireworks when the marines arrive in the first season
What character on Jericho is most like J.D. Streett? And why?
There are parts of many characters. I tend to lead and have strong opinions like Johnston(you could probably include stubborn too) but I also thinks about solving problems non traditionally like Jake.
If you could trade jobs with anyone on the set of Jericho, who would it be and why?
I cannot think of any one I would like to trade jobs with. I would consider trading paychecks with a few people…:)
What other shows have you worked on? Any new projects?
Since Jericho, I have worked on Cane, Entourage, October Road. Big Love, My sisters Keeper. Cleaner. Raising the Bar and a few others
What do you think about the fans fighting to save Jericho again?
I love the show and I loved working on it. Nothing would make me happier than to see it come back.
I ask everyone this question, What makes Jericho a family show?
I think the diversity of the characters.
Did you teach Shoshannah/Bonnie how to shoot the shotgun? If so, why did Bonnie "shoot from the hip?"
The property department worked with her as they handle the guns. We handle what the guns do when they shoot something.
(she did seem like a ‘natural’)
Krista O. from Boca Raton Middle School had two questions:
When there are bombs and people standing there, how do they not get hurt?
Part of my job and training is to make things look as dangerous as possible with out hurting anyone. This comes with years of experience and testing. There are many tricks at our disposal including camera placement, materials we use and editing that can make events look more exciting and dangerous.
About how many hours do you work a day?
On set typically 13 and then another 2-3 hours at the shop or in my office.
Tegan M. from Boca Raton Middle Schools asked:
What is the fake blood made of?
Most fake blood is based on corn syrup with food coloring.
Khurazze W. from Boca Raton Middle School asked:
Do you have to pay for the damages that you do in parts of the city or state?
No. if we have any damages (expected of not) the production company pays for them as I am an employee of the production company doing what I am requested to do.
Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions and some fan questions!