Special Effects: Alex in
Mike McGee & Alexandra McGee
From an early age Mike was a tremendous fan of movies. The late 60's
and early 70's was an exciting time! Planet of the Apes and 2001 a Space
Odyssey respectively were very influential on him. Astounded by these
otherworldly visions, Mike's older brother eventually convinced him with
some difficulty (he was after all five) that the amazing visuals he was
experiencing on the big screen were in fact special effects. Mike was
hooked. He began to research. At first he canvassed the elementary school
library, later all of the high school libraries and book fairs.
Ultimately by age
ten he had scoured the local college library. (His mother was a teacher so
this gave him unusual access.) His mother's profession would prove to be a
boon in other ways; Mike's first experiences in casting, molding,
sculpting and life casting were done in her summer camp art classes. It
was also during summer camp that his mother had Movie Day once a week.
This was before videotape, 16mm film was the distribution format of
choice. His mother rented films from the National Film Exchange. The films
ranged from silent classics to the most recent Disney releases. He enjoyed
them all! It was after one such foray into the world of celluloid that
Mike was inspired by a GIANT of a film star KING KONG. He spent days
trying to recreate Kong 's immortal adventures on Skull Island. At ten
years old one has few resources to mount such a daunting task. Gathering
everything at hand including a generous dose of courage inspired by his
Mother and Fathers; own strong work ethic. They have always told him
"You can do any thing you set your mind to." Also it doesn't
hurt that they own a BELL & HOWELL 8MM Camera. Many days of arduous
labor passed. Mysteriously, this happened to coincide with the
disappearance of his mothers' coats fur collar. At last Mike had fashioned
a pair of King Kong feet. Drafting his 3-year-old brother to be cameraman.
Mike set up location in a huge pile of construction sand near his house.
This would double nicely for the shifting sands of the Sahara desert. Mike
was ready to begin filming his first epic " KING KONG VS THE GERMAN
ARMYMEN" Although it only consisted of a few shots and is now lost to
the sands of time. KK VS THE G-MEN as it is more commonly known to its
audience, Mike's family. The film still elicits many fond memories from
the McGee family, although more for Mike's spanking (the fur coat collar)
than for his cinematic imagery.
Throughout high school, the army and college Mike never lost sight of
his dream to make movies. For the last 16 years Mike has worked
professionally in many capacities (producer, director, cinematographer,
effects artist) in the film and television industry. Whether as volunteer
on the set of Dirty Dancing or as special effects artist on Minority
Report, Mike always brings the same degree of dedication, professionalism
and enthusiasm to every project.
Alexandra began exploring her artistic interests at an early age. By
age six she was already impressing family and friends with her intricate
painted renderings. As a teenager Alexandra was studying painting,
drawing, ceramics as well as photography with a passion. During this time
she also began to show her work at local Los Angeles galleries and club
fashion shows. Often using her sisters and friends as fashion "guinea
pigs". Upon entering college she was already the recipient of
numerous awards for fashion design.
Alexandra received an Associate of Arts degree in Fashion Design from
Brooks College and a Bachelor of Science Degree, also in Fashion Design
from Woodbury University. While in college she began to pursue another
lifelong interest, make-up. Throughout those years she earned extra money
working as a freelance make-up artist.
Although she always loved fashion design, Alexandra would soon discover
a new area of design that would cause a profound change in her
In order to earn her degree she had to intern for a professional
company or individual. By a stroke of luck she had the opportunity to
complete her internship at a costume company called Custom Characters.
Alexandra immediately realized she had a knack for this new discipline and
soon developed a passion for specialty costume fabrication. She began to
develop her skill in the areas of dyeing, airbrushing, foam sculpting and
character "pod" creation. Finally Alexandra had found the
culmination of her artistic pursuits. At Custom Characters she also had
the good fortune of working under tight dead lines and uncompromising
quality control for clients such as the Walt Disney and its many
satellites in Anaheim, Orlando, Japan and Europe. Other clients include;
Universal Studios, DIC, Hanna Barbera, Seaworld, Dole, the NFL and many
more. Their stringent standards established the high standards that she
Alexandra later went on to work at Shafton, Inc. as Head Designer,
pattern maker, figure finisher and painter. There she has further
perfected her character-suit-making skills, having the responsibility to
complete each new project from a concept drawing to a fully animated
"character costume". As always she enjoys the challenge of
working with prestigious clients like; Dreamworks, Legoland, Sony, Sesame
Street Workshop, Universal Studios Hollywood, Florida, and Japan, as well
as many others.
Presently, Alexandra has been freelancing at various Special effects
companies, independent film and television productions, utilizing her
supervisory skills in specialty costume design and foam fabrication, as
well as special make-up effects.