Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Our Own YouTube Video Tuesday: Don Anderson (1965-2009)

It's depressing enough to do obituaries for people I just knew from their work, but for people I knew in person since before we even worked together... well, that's a real bummer, and it's why I've dragged my feet on it. Ironically, when an Arthur C. Clarke or a Philip José Farmer dies, I can put something together fairly rapidly from facts I remember or can quickly look up. When it's someone I knew, suddenly I can't think of where to start.

So I'll just say that Don Anderson was a great artist and a nice person. He never let his difficulties getting around get him down... or indeed, keep him from getting around.

He was a member of the Hamptons Round Table that Crystal Ann Taylor mentioned in her article on Star Trek: Phase II in Thrilling Wonder Stories, Volume 2. As I recall the story, Don had communicated with filmmaker Guillermo del Toro via email, but hadn't had an opportunity to meet in person. So he made one. He flew out to Prague, where del Toro was filming the first Hellboy. For the Table, "Go to Prague" became shorthand for cutting through your own fear and the difficulties in your own way, real or imagined, and just up and doing something. I only wish I had that kind of oomph.

Don Anderson was a vital part of the two most fulfilling creative experiences of my life so far: the award-winning short film I wrote and executive-produced, A Can of Paint; and the two volumes of Thrilling Wonder Stories.

Here are two features of Don's work that I assembled for the DVD of A Can of Paint. The first is a series of concept illustrations for Kilgour's spaceship, set to Gordy Haab's wonderful music. The second matches up Don's storyboards with extracts from the final movie audio (again featuring Gordy Haab's music, plus the voices of Aaron Robson as Kilgour and Jean Franzblau as the computer, and sound design by Brett Hinton and Gordy Haab).

Don's work for Thrilling Wonder Stories, Volume 2 appeared here in Thursday Previews for "A Gift Though Small," by Melinda M. Snodgrass, and "Palladium," by Diane Duane. I also used the latter on the back cover.

For Volume 1, Don illustrated Isaac Asimov's "The Portable Star" (shown at the upper left), imparting a lot of menace to what are essentially lumps of rock.

He also worked for clients a lot more high-profile than I will ever be, like Dreamworks, NBC/Universal, and Disney. You can see more of his work on his website, and think about all the world will never have a chance to see now. Think about what we lose when any talented person dies long before their time, and you can get good and depressed.

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