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By Tammye McDuff and Brian Hews
Artesia High teacher Brian Rodriguez has run the Video Production Program Department at Artesia High School for the past two years. “I had an opportunity through the school’s principal Sergio Garcia, and one of his Hollywood contacts, to have a professional special effects person visit the campus and speak to students about jobs in the industry,” said Rodriquez. “I jumped at the opportunity.”
Rodriguez was talking about Emmy nominated special effects mastermind David Alexander who held Artesia High School students captivated with his presentation in early September.
Alexander is a Computer Graphics (CG) Supervisor and Lead 3D Artist at EntityFX.com. He is a Visual Effects Society (VES) Award-winning visual effects artist and supervisor with credits spanning television, commercials, and feature film.
Across his career, Alexander has contributed to a wide range of productions including Michael Jackson’s This Is It, Law Abiding Citizen, Eastwick, Smallville, and The X-Files.
He has also worked on Ghosts of Mars, Donnie Darko, Swordfish, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, The Terminal, The Cat in the Hat, and Monarch of the Moon. David received a VES nomination in 2008 for his work on Smallville.
He’s also the nephew of Dr. Alexander Khananashvili, founder of Activate Hawaiian Gardens program.
“To me, Rodriguez said, “as a teacher I just thought this would be an important opportunity for my students to get some real life information.”
This was the first in a series of presentations that Rodriquez says will offer invaluable insight to interested students.
“I decided I wanted to start giving back to the next generation of artists and creators,” said Rodriquez, “I tell them all the time, we live in the back yard of Hollywood only 20 miles away and they have an amazing opportunity to capitalize on that and so I am trying to push them to the next level.”
Stressing a good work ethic during his lecture, Alexander told the students that it is really all about putting in the work. “I started in visual effects in high school, got involved early on with computers and enjoyed the whole process.”
He was earnest in his speech, noting that it takes time, dedication and many years to become a success.
He says he was actually traveling abroad when he received word that he had been nominated for an Emmy.
“I was in Italy when one of the producers sent me an email, saying congratulations.”
The Emmy nomination was for The Walking Dead, Best Supporting Visual Effects, episode “No Way Out.” Alexander was the CG Supervisor.
The popular AMC series received two wins and 15 nominations. This was his first Emmy nomination, receiving his first award from the VES for his work on Smallville.
Alexander was accompanied to the awards ceremony by his mother and his cousin.
“The entire evening was really all for my Mom, she of course was really proud. But to tell you the truth the whole segment went by so fast, I can hardly remember the moment. Unfortunately I did not win.”
The Creative Emmys were broadcast September 11, 2016. The ceremony is presented in recognition of creative, technical, visual, and other similar achievements in American television programming, including voice-over and guest acting roles.
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