Special Effects Collaborative

When it comes to student-run special interest clubs, SFUAD hits the mark. Tenacious students volunteer their time and efforts to create a friendly, peer-driven environment, and Joshua Berman is no exception. Berman, a film major only in his second semester, has already founded an all new club for the spring of 2016: the Special Effects Collaborative.

Joshua Berman is the founder of the Special Effects Collaborative. Photo by Richard Sweeting

Joshua Berman is the founder of the Special Effects Collaborative. Photo by Richard Sweeting

The Special Effects Collaborative will focus on the digital aspect of effects in film, such as CG elements, creating fantasy realms and more. “I’ve always been interested in special effects,” Berman says. “and I wanted to create an opportunity that brings that out here at the school.” At SFUAD, underclassmen courses for special and visual effects are sparse. For incoming students who may have already taken an interest in this sort of work, it is a long wait until they have the chance to enroll in these classes.

Tre Bracey, film major and co-founder of the Special Effects Collaborative, agrees. “Special effects are not really capitalized at this school,” Bracey says. It became a concern to the club founders that those who enjoy more elaborate post production might have limited outlets, whereas the Film school is abundant with guidance in narrative, filming and directing.

The intention of this new club is to “have a place to collaborate and learn from each other,” according to Berman. He describes an open, informal space with occasional presentations, workshops and demonstrations for attendees. Anyone in the club is encouraged to bring forward a presentation on any topic. “We want an intellectual melting pot,” Berman says. “We accept all skill levels, regardless if [they] have never touched a computer in [their] life or have been doing special effects for years.”

Trey Bracey is the cofounder of the Special Effects Collaborative. Photo by Richard Sweeting

Trey Bracey is the co-founder of the Special Effects Collaborative. Photo by Richard Sweeting

Berman and Bracey hope to the let wide range of skill sets set the foundation of the club. “Anyone can get whatever they want out of it,” Berman says. The projects, both small and large, will be designed to accommodate anyone. “It will be less of everyone doing the same thing at different speeds and more of everyone doing different things together.”

Bracey himself is still only beginner in the world of digital effects. “I’m new to introducing special effects to my filmmaking style,” Bracey says. “I usually like to do my own [effects], but there are some things that you just can’t do. I think Josh is well-versed enough to aid anyone of any skillset.”

As the Special Effects Collaborative gains its footing, the founders intend it to be flexible in nature. The club will become what will benefit its members the most. “That’s what’s going to make it interesting,” Berman says. “Dynamic.”

While the effects in blockbuster films may seem unattainable, the Special Effects Collaborative intends to open the door for SFUAD students. “Everyone can do it,” Bracey says. “Nothing’s stopping [us].” From rendering fire to science fiction facial reconstruction, Berman and Bracey are prepared to explore a digital world of possibilities with their peers.

The Special Effects Collaborative will be meeting 5:45 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Thursdays in the Alexis Mac lab.