MR. WINKLE THE CLIENT
client, Mr. Winkle played a cameo role in the HBO Series "
Sex in the City"
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RAMIREZ: Despite her childhood conviction that she wasn't 'interested',
as a native born Southern Californian, Olivia nevertheless gravitated
quite naturally toward her home town's major industry. FILMS.
entry into the Motion Picture Industry was so subtle that she
has no real recollection of how it happened, or for that matter
exactly when it began, or even why? Olivia's grandfather was an
artist and obviously her talent has a genetic link. She managed
to blend her artistic nature, sensitivity and traditional art
training into a comfortable career of Model and Prop Making.
Making is a field not noted for its female participants. It often
requires heavy lifting. For example the huge skyscrapers in New
York scenes weighed a ton and are difficult to move around. And
Ms. Ramirez is petite. However, she laughs, "I specialize
earliest memory of growing up in Los Angeles, was going to grade
school with spoiled children of celebrities. This Introduction
to the film industry, left me with a bad taste in my mouth. So
with no interest in a film career, I entered college as an art
student and worked part time at a small ad agency. I had an almost
guaranteed career in advertising and marketing, or so I thought.
Twenty some years later, I look back, trying to figure out how
I detoured from a 4.0 art student and became a Model Maker and
"My first job of any notoriety, was Flight of the Navigator;
I was just a 'grunt'. I did everything from making patterns for
vacuum forming to gluing on detail for spaceship interior. Through
model making, I eventually crossed over into other jobs for theme
parks, album covers, prototypes, print work, you have it, but
it always came back to film. I think of myself as a film person.
films I sometimes go back into advertising. My favorite project
is the Mr. Winkle line. Winkle is a toy dog. He's one heck of
an actor. He's photographed in various costumes and sets, I've
created especially for him. I enjoy fabricating costumes and sets
for this little critter. I've done literally thousands of costumes
and sets for him and my work can be seen in his many calendars
and greeting cards, and his book: "A Time in Winkle World".
Films are my passion. My most memorable were: Fifth Element, From
the Earth to the Moon, T2-3D, and I guess the most exciting was,
The Passion of the Christ.
had turned down the opportunity to work on the Titanic to be on
Fifth Element. I was the 'model lead' for the miniature Brooklyn
and New York Cityscapes. My reason to go with the Fifth Element
was based on the fact that I wanted to work with a visual effects
supervisor, and a visual effects art director I knew and that
I had worked with several times before. King Kong Lives. for one.
HBO's ~ From the Earth to the Moon, I wasn't hired to build the
models from scratch, but instead was asked to modify models, already
built, to make them historically accurate. (Apollo Space Missions).
And the work had to be done right on the set. That was very challenging.
Very demanding. But very exciting too.
for Universal's Theme Park Ride's movie T2-3D: It was the crew
once again that helped synch the deal. They made the project memorable.
The chemistry between us all was perfect. Very professional. Very
expert. Very friendly. I had wanted to work with the Producer/Director
and Visual Effects Supervisor Chuck Comisky. The crew was great.
Work associations turned into deep friendships, and those friendships
continue to this day. Although I must say that most of the crew
has not seen very much of Arnold these days.
must say that most of the crew has not seen very much of Arnold
I guess I have to say that the one film that sort of topped all
of them for many reasons, was The Passion of the Christ. It combined
all the very best elements of working on a film along with something
else. A very unusual certain something else. We all felt it.
of "Passion" was in the makeup effects, and so the part
that I worked on (miniature effects) was an extremely minute part
of the movie. However, this part took several weeks of labor.
It was a very tough assignment. And it only lasted a few seconds
on screen. Still it was a thrill.
miniature effects were built and filmed in a relatively small
shop, just outside of the suburbs of Los Angeles County. (North
Hollywood) The job was an adventure. And with all its many usual
obstacles (all highly publicized) the end result was very rewarding.
My work is seen in the scene where Christ on the cross on the
mount draws his last breath.
takes place when the camera cuts to the temple full of the Jewish
elders that turned him in. God's hand smites the temple, the floor
trembles like an earthquake and splits open all the way to the
altar. We built a complete miniature of the interior of temple
in our workshop in North Hollywood, and later it was then combined
with live action in Italy.
a project as dynamic as this one, I wouldn't want to have changed
anything. It was perfect. The crew was dedicated.
films that I've listed are just a few that I've worked on, but
they were each memorable in their own way. They are projects where
I may have worked the hardest, but of which I am the most proud.
in the movies is not always glamorous. In the last two decades,
most jobs I've done are not worth mentioning. There were lots
of “B” movies and commercials, that no one would remember
(some even I don't remember). The film business is an industry
of World-Wide proportions. It has thousands of workers who do
tasks not all be know to the general public (Neither the tasks
not the 'experts'.) But the pay is extraordinary. I'm definitely
not one of those who worked on a “Star Wars”, or side
by side with Jim Cameron on the “Titanic". And Dino
de Laurentiis wouldn't consider flying me to London to work on
Flash Gordon. But I've had fun.
are so many variables that go into making a movie, that just because
it's the latest “Batman”, and you happen to be hired
to do the special effects, it still doesn't make it the best film
you've ever worked on. With the demands of extremely tight schedules,
unfinished scripts and changes that occur on a project daily or
minute by minute, you need the best possible team work. The crew
I have had a couple of doubts about my decision to work in films.
Or did I? Sometimes I've wondered if I should have stuck with
advertising and marketing. Clients like Winkle are fun. But, then
there are the people I've met in the movie business and all the
special projects, where everything is perfect, and the world gets
excited over it and I know I wouldn't want to change anything
I like where I am. "
in films is a job where every ounce of creativity is called to
the surface. A film involves every part of you. You have
to focus. .
like the work and I like the people. It's never been boring."
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