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Dan Curry
Dan Curry
Birth name: Daniel Francis Myles Curry
Gender: Male
Date of birth: 1946
Place of birth: USA
Awards for Trek: 7 Emmy Awards, 12 nominations
1 International Monitor Award
1 VES Award, 1 nomination
Roles: Prop and Model Maker, VFX Supervisor/Producer, Director, Production Illustrator/Designer, Star Trek cover artist
...recording a new audio commentary for the Enterprise Blu-ray release in 2013
...recording a new audio commentary for the Enterprise Blu-ray release in 2013
...with longtime friend and colleague Ronald B. Moore (l), and something that can be construed as menacing
...with longtime friend and colleague Ronald B. Moore (l), and something that can be construed as menacing
Dekon Elig Chessarro
Curry as Dekon Elig
...and as Ches'sarro Seeto
"Dan Curry is one of Star Trek's heroes. He's an amazingly genius."
– Michael Okuda, Senior Scenic Artist, 4 April 2002 (TNG Season 5 DVD-special feature, "Departmental Briefing Year Five: Visual Effects")

Daniel "Dan" Francis Myles Curry (born 1946), universally credited as "Dan Curry", was a senior member of the special and visual effects (VFX) team and served as visual effects supervisor on Star Trek: The Next Generation, and as visual effects producer on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Star Trek: Voyager and Star Trek: Enterprise. Curry was also the second unit director for all of the Star Trek spin-offs. However, he was also given the opportunity to flex his muscles as first unit director, and has directed one episode of The Next Generation, sixth season's "Birthright, Part II". While Curry is usually associated with his VFX work for the television franchise, his very first Star Trek credit was actually for the movie Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, for which he designed the titles as graphics artist, his profession by trade. Apart from this movie, he later made a small uncredited contribution to Star Trek V: The Final Frontier with his friend Ronald B. Moore, when they supervised the VFX of a single effects scene (Flying Starships, p. 77), and revisited his graphic design origins by designing the titles for Star Trek Generations.

As VFX supervisor, the first Star Trek staffer to hold the title, Dan Curry was brought in around the turn of 1987-1988 as the final senior VFX staffer, after both the senior VFX staff, consisting at the time of Gary Hutzel, Robert Legato and Ronald B. Moore, and the producers realized that the new Star Trek: The Next Generation show was the most VFX laden television production of its day, much like its illustrious predecessor, Star Trek: The Original Series was in its. A fourth senior VFX staffer was deemed necessary to alleviate work pressure, and Dan Curry was brought in, partly on recommendation by his friend Moore. The title "Visual Effects Supervisor" was introduced in the television franchise on that occasion. In order to streamline and increase production efficiency, the four were paired in two teams to work on alternating episodes, Curry being paired with his friend. Joining the Star Trek franchise halfway through the first season, the 16th episode, "Too Short a Season", was the first episode Curry and Moore worked upon as a team. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion, 3rd ed., p. 31) The format worked so well, that it has remained in use for almost the entire subsequent run of the Star Trek television franchise, though the set boundaries in the two-team format became a lot more fluid during the later seasons of Deep Space Nine, Voyager and Enterprise.

After Deep Space Nine went into production, an extra management layer was necessary to oversee and coordinate the efforts of the now two-production VFX teams, and it was Dan Curry who was promoted into the newly conceived position of VFX producer, a position he held for the remainder of the Star Trek television franchise, and the only television Star Trek VFX staffer to ever hold the title. His elevation into this position was all the more remarkable as Curry, unlike most of his colleagues, did not sport a formal background in cinematography or photography, but rather one in the artistic direction, graphics and design.

In the Star Trek franchise, it was customary from the very beginning, when more than one production was simultaneously in development at any given time (starting with The Final Frontier), to avoid cross-over work being done by staffers assigned to different productions, though there, "(...) was no good reason for this that we could perceive", a slightly chagrined Doug Drexler once noted. [X]wbm To this end studio staffers, once assigned to, and contracted for one production, were legally forbidden to work on any of the others. The legal proviso however, did not extend to outside vendors, such as Image G and CGI companies like Digital Muse and Foundation Imaging, though the original intent was to keep the work of the latter two as separate as possible. Likewise Mike Okuda's Scenic Art Department and Michael Westmore's Make-Up Department were exempt from the proviso for the obvious reason to maintain visual consistency within the franchise, though the exemption only applied to them, and not their staff. For equally obvious reasons, this did not held true for the very highest management echelons either, and Curry's position as VFX producer was counted amongst them. In 1994, for example, Dan Curry worked concurrently on all three television series, The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine and Voyager, while his VFX staff of supervisors and coordinators, whose work he oversaw and coordinated, at first strictly adhered to their assigned productions. As producer, Curry was therefore one of the very few, if not the only one, VFX staffers to have worked on all seasons of the Star Trek spin-off television properties. Practical considerations made the format untenable for his teams during the later seasons of Deep Space Nine and Voyager, forcing the studio to relax the legal proviso for them to become "swing"-teams, as VFX Supervisor David Takemura has once put it. [1]

Dan Curry has also made in-universe Deep Space Nine appearances as the image of Dekon Elig in the episode "Babel" and Ches'sarro Seeto in the episode "Necessary Evil".

A highly respected professional by his peers, Dan Curry has won seven Emmy Awards for his work on Star Trek, an additional twelve nominations (the majority of them shared with close friend and collaborator Ron Moore), supplemented with one International Monitor Award and one Visual Effects Society Award with an additional nomination to boot, in the process becoming one of the most honored Star Trek production staffers, only surpassed by Michael Westmore, though Curry has more actual wins. 1999 in particular was a fruitful year for Curry when he was nominated no less than four times for an Emmy, winning one of them. His Star Trek origins as a title designer was reflected in his only non-VFX award nomination, when he was (co-)nominated for a graphics design Emmy for the title design of Voyager in 1995.

As a master of Tai chi, Dan Curry choreographed the Klingon fighting technique Mok'bara and has designed the famous Klingon weapon for it, the bat'leth. Apart from the Klingon weaponry, Curry has, besides his regular duties as VFX supervisor, on occasion pitched in as a designer/production illustrator (using his artistic background) and model maker and has designed for example the D'Arsay archive for The Next Generation, as well as the two Kazon starship classes, the Hanonian land eel and the Borg unicomplex for Voyager. For Deep Space Nine's sixth season episode "A Time to Stand", he built the kit-bash studio model USS Curry, which was named for him. His very first contribution as such however, already upon being hired, was his kit-bash build of the shuttle drone, seen in the Next Generation first season episode, "11001001", the episode directly preceding his first VFX assignment, hard on the heels followed by his more prominent design and build of the Echo Papa 607 weapons system, seen in "The Arsenal of Freedom", and which on-screen movements he also choreographed in person, already utilizing his Tai chi skills. (Flying Starships, p. 52)

Curry had a reputation for his practical and down-to-earth approach, when it came to creating physical VFX elements, by using whatever mondain object that crossed his path to construct these elements, explaining in a 2012 vidcast interview for Trekland, "Well, I think somebody said, "How low-tech can you go?", but I really didn't care what it was I used; I really cared that a spaceship might be a shampoo bottle with two toy submarines crewed to it, and if it looked right that was what it was. So, I was kind of not really given much thought to what it was originally, as opposed to what it actually looked liked.", further elaborating that the ship was actually built this way for intended use in the second season episode, "Loud As A Whisper", though it was ultimately not featured there. Scenic Artist Mike Okuda was one of the Star Trek staffers, who has expressed his admiration for Curry's improvisation talents, "He delights in finding different solutions to things. Where the proper way to do something might be a very hi-tech solution, he'll say "Oh, why don't we try filming a silver pom-pom?" And he's right, it looks good." (TNG Season 5 DVD-special feature, "Departmental Briefing Year Five: Visual Effects") The pom-pom was used to create the USS Enterprise-D's forcefield, lighting up when the Crystalline Entity approaches the ship in "Datalore".

In a nineteen-minute interview with Dan Curry on the TNG Season 6 DVD disc 7 entitled "Dan Curry Profile", he talks about how some of his props were conceived and how his experience with martial arts informed much of the Klingon style of battle. The special also revealed that Curry has retained a considerable amount of Star Trek production items as his personal collection, but also that he is a collector of Star Trek merchandise.

Like so many of his production staff colleagues, Dan Curry was a Star Trek: The Original Series fan, but has always kept it professionally under wraps, due to the studio's policy of not hiring fans. Nevertheless, him being a fan, was exceptionally useful when it came to producing The Next Generation's sixth season homage episode "Relics", as it was Curry who remembered the Original Series footage of the empty bridge, that was eventually used in the scene where Scotty entered the holodeck. Not only that, but "We used the original Star Trek transporter sparkle [note: aboard the USS Jenolen]. I used to work at Cinema Research [note: one of the Original Series VFX companies], and I remembered that in the bowls of their stock footage storage room was an old box labeled "Star Trek Transporter Sparkle". We blew the cobwebs off, dug through, pulled out the strip of film, and discovered it was in perfect condition.", Curry recalled. (Star Trek: The Next Generation 365, p. 274)

Aside from the various live-action Star Trek productions, Dan Curry has also painted the cover for DC Comics TOS Special 2, released in late 1994, portraying the USS Enterprise-A and the USS Defiant.

Outside the official Star Trek framework, Dan Curry has worked in 2007, as VFX consultant for James Cawley's fan-made internet series Star Trek: New Voyages episode "World Enough and Time", which featured fellow Star Trek alumni George Takei, Grace Lee Whitney, Majel Barrett Roddenberry, John Carrigan, Jeffery Quinn, writer and director Marc Scott Zicree, writer Michael Reaves, Doug Drexler, Iain McCaig, James Van Over, Michael Okuda, Daren Dochterman, Pierre Drolet, Sam Mendoza, Ronald B. Moore, Lee Stringer, Gregory Jein, Philip Kim, Leslie Hoffman, and Tom Morga.

Career outside Star TrekEdit

Hailing from the East Coast, Curry graduated with a degree in Fine Arts at the Middlebury College in Vermont and subsequently with a degree in Fine Arts in Film and Theatre at the Humboldt State University in California, before joining the US Peace Corps in Thailand, where he learned to speak fluent Thai and Lao, aside from meeting his future wife as well, and became a martial arts expert, among others in Tai chi. Upon his return to the United States, Curry first worked as a teacher giving lessons in painting, drawing, graphic design, set design and fabrication, perspective drawing, and rendering until 1979 when he started to work in the motion picture industry, at first as title designer, the 1982 movie Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid being his first recorded credit as such.

In the years 1982-1983 Curry worked for Modern Film Effects working on the titles of the 1983 movies Triumphs of a Man Called Horse and Stayin Alive. It was at Modern Film Effects that he met and befriended newcomer and future Star Trek co-worker, Ron B. Moore. (Incidentally, Modern Film Effects, was one of the very few, if not only visual effects house in existence at the time, not being hired to work on Star Trek: The Original Series) During the 1980s he did the title designs for a large number of additional productions, including some blockbusters like The Right Stuff (1983), Top Gun (1986, while employed at the by him mentioned Cinema Research) and Beverly Hills Cop II (1987), eventually leading up to The Voyage Home. Even after he was hired on Star Trek, he continued to do so up to 1999 on productions such as Fatal Attraction (1987), Days of Thunder (1990), Wayne's World (1992, and its sequel in 1993) or Superstar (1999), when production of The Next Generation was in hiatus, until his duties on the franchise required his full attention, due to the proliferation of Star Trek productions, starting with Deep Space Nine. Credits he accumulated as matte painting artist before he joined the Star Trek franchise were among others the movies Caveman (1981) and Creepshow (1982) as well as the documentary The Jupiter Menace (1984, working for David Stipes Productions).

After his tenure at Star Trek, Curry worked as VFX supervisor on the fantasy horror series Moonlight (2007-2008), the comedy series Chuck (2008 while employed at Eden FX, co-starring Bonita Friedericy and Tony Todd, and produced and occasionally directed by former Voyager cast member Robert Duncan McNeill), with the television drama series Cult (2013) being his more recent work.

That Dan Curry is highly respected by his peers, is reflected in the fact of his membership of several motion picture organizations like the Directors Guild of America, The American Society of Cinematographers (ASC), The Producers Guild of America, The Visual Effects Society (responsible for the VES Awards), as well as being a founding member of the International CG Society. Aside from this he has served as governor of The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences' Visual Effects Peer Group (responsible for the VFX Emmy awards). [2]

Curry has concurrently lent his talents to "The Overview Institute", an non-profit organization, founded in 2008 and made up of real world space specialists like astronauts, scientists and authors, dedicated to "research and educate both the space community and the general public on the nature and psycho/social impact of directly experiencing space". [3] As consultant he is member of "The Overview Effect" team, the part of the organization, responsible for visualizing the work of the institute by producing documentaries and the like. In the team he has been joined by former Star Trek alumni Douglas Trumbull and John Eaves. [4]

Together with his wife Ubolvan and son Devin, Curry operates his own small, Bell Canyon, California based, independent production company "Evergreen Productions, LLC" [5], producing predominantly short drama features, among others Eviction (2004), Hired Guns (2011), and the recent The Chronicles of Elijah Sincere (2012)

Star Trek credits Edit

(This list is currently incomplete.)

Star Trek interviews Edit

Star Trek awards Edit

Art Codron, Dan Curry, Ron Moore and Liz Castro winning their Emmys in 2002
Curry (2nd left) winning his 2002 Emmy Award with colleagues (l-r) Codron, Moore and Castro

As the second all-time highest honored, but most award winning, Star Trek staffer, Dan Curry received the following award wins and nominations:

External links Edit

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