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Harry Marks is considered by many to be the godfather of broadcast design. More than any other individual, he changed television by doing things with graphics that had never been attempted before. Not only did he pioneer the use of emerging imaging technologies, but he did so with style and reason. His pioneering work in the field of CGI brought him into collaboration with many other industry pioneers, including Douglas Trumbull, Robert Abel, Carl Rosendahl (whose company evolved into DreamWorks Animation), and Dale Herigstad. In the early '80s, Harry had the idea of bringing together people who work in the disparate fields of technology, entertainment, and design, so he partnered with Richard Saul Wurman and the TED Conference was born. This installment of Creative Inspirations takes viewers on a historic journey through the extraordinary career of Harry Marks.
Harry Marks: It is very, very easy to work in a vacuum. You have to just sit in your room or your space and just shut the wall off and do it. Sometimes that's brought about by economic constraints. You can't promise everything, but I was fortunate enough to be able to hire people that I really believed in.
Before we are able to visualize on the Macintosh, we had to do storyboards, and we were working in 3D. We really didn't know what we were going to get. So our guys had to imagine this 3D and what we might be able to get, and we'd have to sell this and then hope for the best.
Dale Herigstad, I'm sure this is one of Dale's boards, had this really -- he really understood what I was trying to do when I would tell him "and the thing comes in and the pictures go out." He was able to draw, create frames that were out of the box. What was really there that the audience wouldn't see but they would imagine. The drawings he did were just beautiful. I mean, he really had it. I don't remember how Dale Herigstad came along. I just was amazed at how he could translate something that I'd be waving my hands and saying, "this --" some choreography thing, and he'd just take it away and it would come back better.
I mean, he could just take that nut and just polish it into a gem. There are a few people like that. Robert Able also. In fact, someone told me this that Lou Dorfsman went to Able because Able was doing my stuff and he said, I want you to do stuff like you're doing for Harry. Bob said, okay, so what have you got? He said no, I want you to do the work. He said, well, no.
Harry comes in with a grid sheet and says this is what I want to achieve and then we figure out how to achieve it, but he just does that. Someone gives us a plan, a guide of what's in his mind. You're coming in here with nothing; you're saying, make me look like ABC. That's basically what he was saying. I think it's a terrible mistake not to collaborate, because the work can only get better. I think it's a terrible mistake and unfortunately this does happen, not to recognize your collaborators, not to push them up on the stage to get the award, because that's-- I mean, it doesn't cost you anything.
Nobody does this alone, you can't. You can, but I think the end result is not going to be as good as a solid collaboration, and I think we had that in the office.
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