THANKS FOR ALL THE GREAT QUESTIONS REDDIT!! My short bio: ---- i'm Phil Tippett - animator, director, vfx supervisor. Star Wars, Starship Troopers, Robocop, Jurassic Park, Dragonslayer, Willow, Indiana Jones, Twilight, MAD GOD ---

Comments: 197 • Responses: 62  • Date: 

BlueJayAggie118 karma

At what point during Jurassic Park filming did you realize that the dinosaurs were completely beyond your level of supervision?

PhilTippett_Dino_Sup155 karma

--- when they became digital --

mistersavage74 karma

As a lifelong animator, always sectioning a particular reality down into portions of a second, do you ever find yourself breaking down actual reality into its component parts?

PhilTippett_Dino_Sup46 karma

  • ALL THE TIME --- we heavily reference things that are close physically to whatever it is we're doing --- developing a project w New York artist lucy raven that is more abstract than what u usually see from me ---

suaveitguy42 karma

Do you agree with the argument that practical effects are generally more interesting to watch than pure CGI?

PhilTippett_Dino_Sup50 karma

--- yes

artsyfartsy-fosho27 karma

Hi Phil, I'm a fellow bay area artist in the vfx industry. While other companies gave expanded into Canada and only retaining a tiny bit of work stateside, I'm glad that you do what you can to keep your studio around. I have worked with artists who are currently employed there and they only have great things to say about their experience. Hopefully I can join the ranks one day.

My question is: Did you hide any fun things in your AT-AT sequences the same way a shoe and potato were used as asteroids in Empire?

PhilTippett_Dino_Sup43 karma

--- snow was baking soda ---

Yunners20 karma

How well behaved were the AT-ATs between shots?

PhilTippett_Dino_Sup44 karma

--- very quiet --- we did not call them at - ats at the time, we just called them walkers --

mattreyu20 karma

So we've all seen the "dinosaur supervisor" joke, but what kind of work does that actually consist of?

PhilTippett_Dino_Sup35 karma

-- good question ! --- working w the animators, making sure when background plates on location are shot properly so they will be useable later ---

Mudron16 karma

Lifelong Star Wars nerd and VFX nut here - I just wanted to throw out a sincere "thank you" for all the hard work you've socked into all the big films you helped make famous, your own stuff like Mad God and all the outreach you've been doing with fans over the recent years.

How does it feel to be considered one of the top three Hollywood stop-motion/VFX animators of all time, alongside Willis O'Brien and Harryhausen?

PhilTippett_Dino_Sup21 karma

-- its what i dreamed of as a child, & I am honored.

suaveitguy11 karma

What is the best effect that you ever had to macgyver together in a pinch?

PhilTippett_Dino_Sup35 karma

--- WAMPA from empire, & snakey things tjhat hatch from the eggs in willow

suaveitguy11 karma

There's a lot of talk the last few years about SFX houses paying their CGI animators next to nothing and only giving them short contracts - where it was a lucrative career for them 15 years ago. Did stop-action animators have an equivalent problem when it was the main method used?

PhilTippett_Dino_Sup20 karma

--- no, there were relatively few of us --- skilled craftsmen get paid well --

razorbackgeek10 karma

How would you have designed Jar Jar Binks?

PhilTippett_Dino_Sup30 karma

-- i would've listened to what george was looking for, & attempt to imagine something. on rtj, for instance, joe johnston, nilo rodis, ralph mcquarry & I did a number of designs for jabba & george wasn't quite happy so I asked him if he could choose any actor, who would play jabba? -- he thought for a bit & said 'sydney greenstreet' - & light went off in my head & i did a little maquette which he chose. in fact jabba originally had a fez but it was nixed

GottaTakeaTrump10 karma

Which actor/actress provided your most memorable moment on a set and which movie was it?

PhilTippett_Dino_Sup21 karma

--- peter weller & i had fun going to dinner & talkin art --

British_Monarchy9 karma

This is something that I wonder about every person involved with stuff that happens on screen. Was there anything that you were involved in during the filming that gave you post film release remorse?

PhilTippett_Dino_Sup23 karma

--- whenever i wrap a film i put it behind me & don't think of it anymore --- like the victim of a violent crime --

razorbackgeek8 karma

Mr. Tippet, I am a huge fan. At one time I was going to follow in your footsteps and become a magic maker like yourself. Being 40 years old and in a completely different field (IT) how would you recommend I get back into it? Also any news regarding Mad God?

PhilTippett_Dino_Sup10 karma

--- that would be really rough --- your level of skill will determine re-entry --

Chtorrr8 karma

What is the very best dessert?

PhilTippett_Dino_Sup19 karma

--- if i had to eat a dessert it would be choc. cake --- don't like sweets

burritomeat7 karma

Hi Phil

Where do you think VFX are heading in the foreseeable?

PhilTippett_Dino_Sup18 karma

--- they will all be taken over by AI & we'll all be out of work --

krystynlo5 karma

Did you keep any "souvenirs" from your film history?

PhilTippett_Dino_Sup13 karma

--- yes --- LOTS

matthewbellah5 karma

my friend just finished Dune--i live in Port Townsend, WA--do you think it's ok to go drink a beer outside Frank Herbert's old house?

PhilTippett_Dino_Sup9 karma

-- I WOULD! --

xadriancalim5 karma

Are you happy with more movies doing practical effects or are you satisfied with what CG has done for films/TV?

PhilTippett_Dino_Sup22 karma

--- model work in blade runner was exemplary ---

IM3dpenguin4 karma

Did you really only have one job on Jurassic Park?

PhilTippett_Dino_Sup10 karma

--- it was a large job! -- u wear a lot of different hats from pre-production to production to post-production ---

suaveitguy4 karma

Without armatures, models and other physical things - what will be the movie memorabilia for collectors from today's films?

PhilTippett_Dino_Sup11 karma

--- people are still making props & artifacts ---

Terry_Carlton674 karma

Which one is better, Godfather 1 or Godfather 2?

PhilTippett_Dino_Sup12 karma

-- both

Zaccagnini783 karma

First of all, it’s a pleasure to get in touch with You. I watch videos of Your works every given day. Then, can we hope to see one day a book about Your body of works, which me and many others would love to own?Thanks, Saverio

PhilTippett_Dino_Sup13 karma

--- a book is on its way in the next 2 yrs ---

haloskulls1173 karma

In terms of animation, what have you usually taken into mind the most while working on a project, stylistic or realistic movements?

PhilTippett_Dino_Sup3 karma

--- depends on what is required from director/script --

suaveitguy3 karma

Jim Henson or Walt Disney?

PhilTippett_Dino_Sup16 karma

--- not disney --

suaveitguy3 karma

Any particular effect that bugs you that you had to compromise because it wasn't working and you had no more time/money?

PhilTippett_Dino_Sup5 karma

--- no, not really --

AnunnakiRamb03 karma

Hi, how was make twilight wolfs? And you think if they were made today, would it be more easier or same?

PhilTippett_Dino_Sup9 karma

  • all were made in computer --- easier now, but always difficult --

suaveitguy3 karma

Which is more important for an animator to study, music or visual art?

PhilTippett_Dino_Sup10 karma

--- neither & both -- best to use moving reference or study living things --

SickleClaw3 karma

So what would you say is the most challenging project you've ever worked on in your career?

PhilTippett_Dino_Sup10 karma

-- troopers

Terry_Carlton673 karma

How do I get my animation pilot animated for under a billion dollars? Seriously though.

PhilTippett_Dino_Sup22 karma

--- do it yourself ? --

coryrenton3 karma

what's the most amazing recent practical effect you've seen that everyone thinks is CG?

PhilTippett_Dino_Sup13 karma

--- dunkirk was impressive -- also the new blade runner -- miniatures

matthewbellah3 karma

hi phil! any idea when we will be able to buy MAD GOD Part 3?

PhilTippett_Dino_Sup4 karma

-- toward end of year / beginning of next ---

Digitizit3 karma

Hi Phil! I'm the archivist for Steve Johnson and I maintain all the photos and videos from his 30+ year career. Did you keep extensive photos or video and, if so, do you plan on releasing or publishing any of it?

PhilTippett_Dino_Sup7 karma

--- yes -- i have released a fair amount of it ---

matthewbellah2 karma

in the beginning of Part Two, The Assassin comes upon a room with theory was that these are the originals Lords of this mad world, who are now dead, having committed suicide in shame of their own horrors, and now nobody is running the show...were you thinking anything like that when coming up with the story?

PhilTippett_Dino_Sup3 karma

-- i wasn't thinking THAT but that's a good one! --

HipsterXTurtle2 karma

Over the course of your entire career is there any movie or project in particular that you worked on that you find memorable? (if it was difficult or you just liked the project as a whole)

Also I'm a huge fan of your work and watched many of the projects you worked on when I was a kid so thank you for that too!

PhilTippett_Dino_Sup9 karma

--- original 3 sw, robocop, troopers & jurassic were memorable

merczoidberg2 karma

If you could have any obscure, relatively mediocre superpower, what would it be?

PhilTippett_Dino_Sup10 karma

--- control over all aspects of time --

matthewbellah2 karma

and am i correct in thinking that the mutated man's body is stripped down to basically just the lungs, which grow to a giant size, pushing pistons, which turn the turbines and gears of the shit man factory?

PhilTippett_Dino_Sup3 karma


matthewbellah2 karma

do you think that the Master behind the magnetic eye and TV screens is using those metallic blocks to build some kind of fortress?

PhilTippett_Dino_Sup3 karma

-- nope

Higgs-B2 karma

We all know and love many of the projects you have been a part of, but is there one particular SFX project you wish you were a part of but wasn't? And is there something on that project you would have done differently? Thanks!

PhilTippett_Dino_Sup6 karma

--- metropolis & the orig king kong --

LitchedSwetters2 karma

Hi Phil! How did you end up working in the animation field? Is it still the same after the introduction of digital cgi?

PhilTippett_Dino_Sup5 karma

-- i started as a kid working w 8 mm in my bedroom, & everything DID change w computer graphics -

gg_duce2 karma

Mr. Tippet - I'm a big fan of you and your work! I grew-up with your movies. My question is: do you as the artist have any say in what goes into a shot? I'm thinking of ED-209 in Robocop when it's trying to navigate the stairs, falls, and kicks and screams like a baby. Is that sort of thing what you're told to do or can you improv a little if the mood strikes you? edit: typo

PhilTippett_Dino_Sup2 karma

-- one example is the introduction of ED-209 -- bc of budgetary constraints i proposed that we build a fullscale prop that when ED shuts down, ronnie cox could do dialogue over - we would keep the presence of the character alive with a pedal-tone bass sound effect -- paul agreed --

thoawaydatrash2 karma

What practical effects/scenes are you most proud of? I grew up watching the minecart scene from Temple of Doom, and it still stands out for me as one of the best scenes in the entire Indiana Jones franchise.

PhilTippett_Dino_Sup7 karma

-- the tauntauns & walkers, ED209 & the Cain robot from robo2.

YummyPepperjack2 karma

Could you name a moment in a film that you didn't work on that the VFX in particular had you impressed or intrigued?

PhilTippett_Dino_Sup5 karma

dennis muren's work on War of the Worlds & the new blade runner

girraween2 karma

I’m a huge fan of the Tremors movies and I see that you worked on the second one.

What was your time like on that movie?

Any cool stories?

PhilTippett_Dino_Sup3 karma

-- that was interesting bc we reconfigured some of the DID (dinosaur input device) technology & used it to figure out ways to generate shots more quickly w multiple characters

TomSpinaDesigns2 karma

Hey Phil! Any memories of the late Laine Liska? Love the stuff you, Laine, Jon, Rob and Doug did with Rick on Star Wars.

PhilTippett_Dino_Sup3 karma

-- lane was a really great guy. very talented puppet/model maker & animator

MehPsh2 karma

What are the major differences you've seen in big budgets compared to smaller ones (Besides the check). Which is easier, which would you prefer?

PhilTippett_Dino_Sup4 karma

-- most of the projects I've worked on were pretty sizeable & had relatively good budgets -- bigger budgets give u more resources, more to play with -- i haven't really worked on any super low budget movies since pirhana .. or house 2

nyrdcast2 karma

Have you ever been on a podcast to talk about your work?

PhilTippett_Dino_Sup3 karma

  • yep, a number of em --

nyrdcast3 karma

Do you happen to remember which ones you've been on? I'd love to give them a listen. I also have a podcast and would love to talk with you sometime about your career.

PhilTippett_Dino_Sup4 karma

-- lets see --- reel nerds - jurassiccast - why its great -- starwars insider -- vice -- jurassic legacy -- VHS -- beyond the box office -- voice of the republic --

matthewbellah2 karma

in MAD GOD part one, are the monkey creatures in the cages animation or actors?

PhilTippett_Dino_Sup11 karma

--- they are children --- in cages ...

RunDNA2 karma

G'day Phil,

First there was Stop Motion. Then there was Go Motion (which you helped create).

Have there been any important new non-CGI developments in techniques for animating models since then that make the movement seem even more realistic?

PhilTippett_Dino_Sup5 karma

-- dragonframe technology is a big help ---

matthewbellah2 karma

my theory about the beings being electroctuted to produce the shit men is, that they are the crew of a crashed/captured alien spacecraft, whose excrement causes mutation in humans, so they are tortured to produce it, funneling it down into a man whose body has been stripped away and replaced with mechanical parts for basic life functions. is this close to what you were thinking?

PhilTippett_Dino_Sup4 karma

--- that is an ok idea !! -- run with it ---

suaveitguy2 karma

Do you think that inexpensive digital tools removing barriers to entry is a net good for filmmaking?

PhilTippett_Dino_Sup4 karma

--- yea, certian digital tools allow more freedom & flexibility --

EonofAeon1 karma

If you could choose any one movie, be it past, recent, or future (known future) to take part in...what would it be and why?

This could be a movie that already had VFX/Animation/etc. in it, or maybe one you felt would've benefited more from your expertise/style...or maybe an old timey one you think could've been AMAZING with your modern day knowledge of VFX n such.

PhilTippett_Dino_Sup2 karma

-- maybe the original king kong? -- but maybe not

Jookay921 karma

With all the knowledge you have gained through the years in this business, which film would you go back and improve on if you could, using what you know now that you didn't then?

PhilTippett_Dino_Sup2 karma

--- i try not to look back -- forward ho

suaveitguy1 karma

Is CGI cheaper or more efficient than on-set practical effects? I saw the new Thor movie and it was minutes of end credits just for effects people, I wonder if the old analog methods wouldn't be better all around in a lot of cases.

PhilTippett_Dino_Sup5 karma

--- it completely depends on the context & what needs to happen --

GameboyPATH1 karma

Is there a general guideline for when computer-generated effects versus physical props, sets, and models are appropriate?

PhilTippett_Dino_Sup2 karma

it's totally contingent on the needs of the script & the director (& the budget) ---

MarlaTheTumor1 karma

Mr. Tippett,

Did you have different aspirations in mind when considering your career path in the industry? Or did you simply follow the opportunities presented to you?

Either way, you've been a huge presence and influence in modern film-making and I'd like to thank you heartily for being a part of my childhood (and adult life).

PhilTippett_Dino_Sup3 karma

-- i was lucky in the beginning, bc there weren't that many people doing that kind of work, so i got hired frequently

elojej1 karma

I'm worried I might be too impatient for animation. Do you have any tips for how to keep up your motivation on projects that take a lot of time?

PhilTippett_Dino_Sup6 karma

--- all stop mo takes a lot of time --- if patience isn't ur thing, it's gonna be rough --

TncsTurtlJAH1 karma

Would you rather work with modern CGI technology or practical effects from the early 90's (first JP era)?

PhilTippett_Dino_Sup3 karma


BertKalaktigor304451 karma

Any advice for inexpensive ways to practice stop motion? Cheap ways to build armatures, etc?

PhilTippett_Dino_Sup2 karma

-- wire armatures rather than machined --- much cheaper

ChuckEye1 karma

When will we see Mad God 3? (and I love Dan Wool's sound design on the first two parts…)

PhilTippett_Dino_Sup3 karma

-- me too --- Dan Wool is the composer, Richard Beggs is sound design --

Cakebaker9001 karma

So, any news about the release of the Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom trailer?

PhilTippett_Dino_Sup9 karma

--- nope --- that is someone else's JOB ---

RoarZach1 karma

Watched a great mini-doc about your career on a flight once, really enjoyed it. About your 2 part film "Mad God" what is the message that you hope people could take away from it? With a title such as Mad God, is it in any way reflecting on what the world is like? How chaotic things seem to be today? Is there even a message or is it just good creative fun?

PhilTippett_Dino_Sup5 karma

--- its a very broad reflection of a world after mankind, inhabited by its ghost --