Visual effects artist Andre Bustanoby knows that if the shoe fits, wear it.
When Bustanoby was starting out in Hollywood, he designed a foot extension to create a werewolf for the 1991 film “The Howling 6.” No actor had been cast at the time, so he calculated the dimensions to fit his shoe size. “I got good at walking around in the (extensions), and they said, ‘Why don’t you just play the wolf?’” he said.
Bustanoby was unrecognizable after being transformed through makeup and prosthetics. “The only thing that was me was the whites of my eyes,” he said.
After his short-lived acting career, he went back to working behind the scenes on visual effects. That career most recently landed him in the role of visual effects supervisor at Mastersfx. The Arleta character–effects company has done projects for productions including HBO vampire series “True Blood,” Fox’s sci-fi action show “Fringe” and summer blockbuster “Twilight: New Moon.”
Bustanoby supervises visual effects specialists and instructs them in the newest digital tools, such as the latest versions of Maya and After Effects. “The thought here is to commit to a division that will bring to bear the most recent sort of tools,” he said.
His favorite movies integrate special effects seamlessly with older techniques like miniatures or clay sculpturing, citing the work on Academy Award winner “No Country for Old Men.” “You don’t even notice the special effects, except that there’s no other way you could realize (some scenes) without a visual effect,” he explained.
Bustanoby’s current gig is just another step in a 30-year collaboration with the founder of Mastersfx, Todd Masters. The two film buffs grew up together in Bellevue, Wash., where they experimented with stop-motion and clay animation projects shot on 16 mm and super 8 film. After high school, Masters headed to Hollywood to work in the movies and Bustanoby attended Washington State University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering.
Bustanoby, 45, lives in Culver City with his wife, Maija Beeton, and his daughter. He has a black belt in karate, and loves to travel and paint.
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