UNC English department hosts “Making the Hollywood Blockbuster” event

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Flyer courtesy of UNC English program.

On Oct. 7, the University of Northern Colorado’s English department’s film program hosted a campus-wide talk, “Making the Hollywood Blockbuster,” with Eric Torres, the vice president of visual effects at Sony Pictures Entertainment.

Torres supervised the films “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” “Spider-Man: Far From Home,” Stephen King’s “The Dark Tower” and the “Goosebumps” franchise.

Torres attended the University of Southern California Film School, where he double-majored in English, with an emphasis in creative writing and film studies. Torres was studying the critical studies track, the study of film as an art. Torres said he was studying English and film because he thought he wanted to be a writer at one point.

Torres said he found interest in visual effects while interning at Warner Brothers. He worked with the production executive, who ended up taking over in the company and created the studio’s first version of a stand-alone visual effects department. The executive offered Torres an opportunity to stick around while he was nearing the end of his internship.

Since then, Torres has worked with visual effects for about 15 years.

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Torres said it’s really interesting to work on multiple projects, collaborate and work with multiple filmmakers at the same time through his job as an executive at Sony. When he worked in freelance, he worked on one movie at a time for about two years. 

Torres said it’s hard to come up with one favorite project he has worked on over the course of his career.

“Well it’s really hard to come up with one favorite project because over the course of my career, I’ll have a project that I have fond memories of for one reason, like that the crew was great,” Torres said. “Generally, what I like about projects is you work with the people who are involved and there are so many really amazing people that you get to work with, so I think it’s really hard to pick one. Working with small movies like ‘Beautiful Lady in the Neighborhood’ is so interesting, there’s such a great group of filmmakers and the way they approach that movie and the passion they have for it, that was great, and working on Spider-Man was also an amazing experience, too. Working with the Marvel team is a unique experience and just a movie of that size.”

During the campus-wide talk, Torres discussed the process and involvement of the visual effects department has within a film. 

Torres showed clips from several movies, including never-before-seen footage from the new “Spider-Man: Far From Home,” film directed by Jon Watts.

At the end of the talk, students from UNC asked Torres several questions about how closely he works with the directors and producers in a film, and whether there were any internships offered at Sony. Torres answered there are internships, which can be found online at https://www.sonypicturesjobs.com/internships.

Torres’ advice for anyone interested in this field is to not be afraid to ask questions. He said although there are some mean people out there, there are plenty of people who want to help.

The event was sponsored by the Neal Cross Fund.

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