Daniel Rathaus, Veteran of the US Army, landed a prestigious job in the film and vfx industry within a month of graduating with an Associate of Science Degree in Film from The Los Angeles Film School. Daniel comes from a family of filmmakers and even has an Oscar-winning grandfather, producer Phillip D’Antoni (The French Connection). While Daniel was touring Israel after graduation, his parents attended a dinner at which the manager of Stargate mentioned he was looking to hire a film school grad. Daniel was recommended and after submitting his resume, was selected out of over 20 film school grads for the position. When Daniel got to the job, he learned that another LAFS grad from his cohort, Patrick Gleason- also a vet- secured the only other open job at Stargate through a job lead from the school’s Career Development Department.
While deployed to Iraq for one year and Afghanistan for another year, Daniel was working on computer systems as a network administrator. After returning from the Army, he and a fellow soldier were watching some behind-the-scenes footage and got inspired. They decided to make their own green screen and proceeded to paint his friend’s room green so they could incorporate and experiment with special effects into their films using After Effects. Most recently, the short film that he, fellow vet and grad Casey McBeath, and LAFS grad Joseph Ruggieri shot for the 24 Hour Film Race, Lucky, won the international audience favorite. Lucky is a three-minute short film that was filmed in 10 hours within the parameters set by the 24 Hour Film Race. Casey McBeath and his brother Joseph will travel to Brooklyn’s Galapagos Art Space for a Gala Screening and Awards Ceremony in mid-September.
You can watch Lucky here on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/htcusa/app_383113661745785
Dan enjoys working with visual effects and the compositing process, and aspires to a career as a visual effects supervisor. In the near future, as the demand for Stargate’s services grows, so will the need for more technicians. At Stargate Studios, Daniel is one of only ten people in the world who can operate a Previzion system, made by Light Craft. This new visual effects technology system is somewhat similar to that used in developing the movie Avatar. The Walking Dead is one of the most prominent shows currently using this Previzion system.”One great aspect of Previzion is that it can be used anywhere and is very versatile. The other great aspect is that while you’re shooting and looking into the monitor, you see this imaginary world behind the actors, like a forest or mountains…but then look up and it’s just two people in front of a green screen.” Daniel explains. “It’s like magic.” Given his ground-floor opportunity, Dan is in line to lead the way and train others here in California as well as Berlin, Toronto, Abu Dabi and any of the other internationally established locations.
Advice he would give to current students or those looking to a career in entertainment?
Do it. Even if you have an iPhone and one friend, just do it. Watch behind-the-scenes footage to get an idea of the process and how it’s done. Reverse engineer something you can’t figure out. If you wonder how it’s done, the answer will come to you. If you want to make films, don’t get so wrapped up in your own film and making and promoting your film. It’s more about the people you meet along the way. It’s not so much about the films you make as the people you meet. Also, know there is a support system out there for you. It’s everyone’s responsibility to help each other succeed.
See Daniel’s grandfather accepting his Academy Award for The French Connection here: http://youtu.be/X5Rx074UTUc