By Jocelyn Colbert |Staff Writer|
“My favorite part was the ‘mice’ running around people’s feet. Did you know it was weed whackers under the seats to simulate mice? So much fun!” said Randal Kleiser in response to his contribution to the Disneyland attraction “Honey, I Shrunk the Audience”.
Kleiser, the director of the 1978 musical film, “Grease”, “The Blue Lagoon”, and “Honey, I Blew Up the Kid”, spoke about film and digital media at the Santos Manuel Student Union Theater on Wednesday, Feb. 11.
“Rod Metts asked me to be here tonight, so here I am,” said Kleiser.
“This is our first ever, inaugural, key note address, ever at CSUSB Arts and Letters Week!” said Dr. Rod Metts, CSUSB communications professor.
Metts and Kleiser have gotten together in the past to collaborate on a possible digital film-making workshop, which finally happened. In the summer of 2012 and 2013, the International Digital Cinema Workshop was held.
Metts served as production coordinator and International Digital Cinema Workshop instructor.
“People thought studying film was equivalent to basket weaving,” said Kleiser. “They thought it was easy. It’s a lot of fun but a lot of work.”
Working in 70 mm 3-D, Kleisser directed “Honey, I Shrunk the Audience”, which ran for well over a decade at the Disney Parks in Anaheim, Orlando, Tokyo, and Paris.
“The great thing now is you can do anything you want with visual effects,” said Kleiser. “The world is opening up so filmmakers can do amazing things.”
His simulated work with Disneyland, led to the U.S. Government signing him to develop a 360 degree hi-def simulator to train soldiers to deal with Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) in the war in Afghanistan.
“I’m a peaceful guy and I would never work for the army if it wasn’t for a peaceful reason,” said Kleiser.
In hopes of saving lives, Kleiser chose to work with the U.S. Government in developing the simulator.
“I created a war simulation for soldiers so they could simulate IED explosions, to better prepare them for war,” added Kleiser. “To help them, like Jurassic Park: The Ride, soliders are in a humvee. The humvee moves and jerks when there is a simulated explosion. Smoke, noise, and everything!”
This has been used now for several years and helps soldiers react more calmly.
“Soldiers touring in Afghanistan have came back and told me how much my simulator helped them better prepare for combat,” said Kleiser.
A student asked Kleiser, “What was your favorite thing to work on?”
“‘Getting it Right’ was shot in England and I was the only American on set. I enjoyed ‘It’s My Party’ because it was a true story of a guy who discovered he had AIDS,” said Kleiser.
Kleiser is a life-long friend of director George Lucas, whom he met in USC film school.
With Lucas, he produced “The Nina Foch Course for Filmmakers and Actors”, an educational video that compiles more than 200 hours of lessons by his USC teacher and mentor, Nina Foch.
“I learned everything from her,” said Kleiser. “She’s a huge inspiration to a plethora of actors and directors.”
Klesier encouraged students perusing a career in film to view Fouch’s teachings.
Kleiser said, “‘The Nina Fouch Course’ is essential for anyone in film,” added Kleiser. “You can get it at NinaFochProject.com.”
The course’s information can also be found on his website, RandalKleiser.com.
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