With audiences praising franchise game-changer Captain America: Civil War and gory smash hit Deadpool, it seems the superhero genre is only becoming more popular. To work on one film would be any fan’s dream, but for Curtin alumnus and visual effects sequence supervisor Brendan Seals, it’s part and parcel of his daily job.
Employed at Luma Pictures, a world-class visual effects studio with offices in Melbourne and Los Angeles, Brendan supervises work from multiple departments in film sequences and then crafts them together with Luma’s senior visual effects supervisor.
Through his current and previous jobs at Luma, he has had the opportunity to work on a number of blockbusters including Captain America: Civil War, Deadpool, Ant-Man, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Guardians of the Galaxy and Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
Unfortunately, this interview, which was conducted before Captain America: Civil War was released, meant that Brendan couldn’t talk too heavily about his involvement in the film.
“We finished Captain America: Civil War in March,” he says.
“I can’t say much, but we worked on the shot where a glove jumps out of Robert Downey Jr.’s watch. I’m really excited to see it.”
Something that Brendan can talk about, however, is his involvement in Deadpool, the highest-grossing R-rated movie (rated MA15+ in Australia) worldwide, which was released in February this year.
Remember when Deadpool’s hand regenerates while talking with Blind Al, or the end fight between Deadpool and Ajax? Luma worked on those scenes.
“Deadpool was an awesome film to work on and such a surprise at the cinema. I really enjoyed some of the gory scenes, because it’s not something you get to do often: disembowelments and decapitations. It’s almost stained in my mind right now,” he jokes.
“Part of the end sequence was done in Melbourne and I was lucky enough to supervise that. A lot of the time, these actors aren’t holding the weapons they’re swinging around. The clashing, the sparks, the dents, the bullet trails, the explosions – it’s all fabricated in visual effects.”
Ant-Man was another film where Brendan got the opportunity to showcase his creativity. Because Luma was brought in as a primary vendor for the film, Brendan was able to help design a number of macro environments from scratch.
“I really enjoyed Ant-Man. We did the water pipe scene, where Ant-Man surfs the ants down the grungy pipe. We did the Pym Tech heist, where they try to break Ant-Man out of the big glass magnifier. We’re talking fully computer-generated sequences,” he says.
The humble West Australian has come a long way since studying a multimedia design degree at Curtin, where he took away the importance of applying critical thinking in his artistry.
“You can teach knobs, values and software, but at the end of the day, if you can’t use that software with a critical mind and a creative mind, you’re just a technician,” Brendan says.
After graduating, Brendan interned and worked full-time at Perth video production company, Boogie Monster, and was a visual effects artist on the Australian thriller film, Sororal. It was then he heard of a job at Luma, and was hired after submitting his showreel.
While his job isn’t always easy – all Luma employees work a minimum 50 hours per week – a fun office environment and the thrill of his work makes it more than worthwhile.
“When I started out, I just wanted to get one film under my belt and then I would have my dream come true. I didn’t appreciate at the time what Luma offered. Seeing your name roll down the credits is an incredible experience,” Brendan says.
Make sure you check out Captain America: Civil War, and stay tuned for Brendan’s upcoming work in Doctor Strange, Marvel’s new psychedelic mystical superhero film, and Underworld: Blood Wars, the fifth entry in the action horror series.