Phenomenal VFX Artist Nikola Todorovic, originally from Sombor, Serbia, is wowing Hollywood bigwigs and audiences around the world with his incredible movie magic one project at a time. Todorovic, who began refining his skills in the field at the young age of 13, is an the integral behind the scenes film stud who’s work often goes unnoticed, but in the end that is the case and point of why he is so highly regarded in the industry. If the work of a VFX artist is easily identified then the truth is, he just isn’t that good. But that will never be the case when considering the work of Nikola Todorovic, a skilled magician who has taken films like the upcoming star-studded feature Little Boy, the award-winning When Kings Battle, and the Italian zombie thriller Living Dead Night of Horrors, from looking utterly farfetched to the realistic finished products we know and love. Read below to finds out more about this multi-talented movie magician.
PL: What projects do you have coming up?
NT: I can't say too much about it right now since it hasn’t been released yet, but its aim is to raise awareness on the broken healthcare system in the U.S.
PL: Do you have a “favorite” kind of film or project?
NT: I prefer working on projects that have a deeper message than just solely serving as entertainment. That’s why I am excited about my upcoming TV show, because it is trying to raise public awareness about problems affecting people’s lives. I guess that’s why I ended up in this industry in the first place. Film is a very powerful tool to speak up and make a contribution to society. I know it sounds naïve, but I truly believe it.
PL: How and when did you first get into doing visual effects work?
NT: I was always very intrigued by the entire filmmaking process as a kid. When I got my first computer at the age of 13 I started playing around with some basic visual effects programs. I guess it got under my skin back then. I remember my father always telling me to stop wasting my time at the computer. Now that it is paying the bills, I think he changed his mind about it.
PL: What inspired you to pursue this profession?
NT: Growing up during the civil war got me inspired to pursue storytelling. I feel telling stories is very important in our society. We get too busy with everyday life and all out problems, and sometimes we need to hear inspiring stories to remind us that life is not that bad after all.
PL: Are there any particular artists that inspire you?
NT: I am very nostalgic by nature so I will have to say Georges Melies. Without him there would be no VFX as we know it today.
PL: What is your specialty in the field?
NT: My specialty would definitely be “seamless visual effects”. Those are the subtle but important visual effects that aren’t supposed to be noticed. If audience members don’t notice any VFX, it means you did a good job. People are usually astonished when I show them the amount of seamless VFX in any film, commercial or a television show.
PL: I’ve heard people say a VFX artist can be sitting at their computer for up to 14 hours a day working on something minute. How do you stay focused?
NT: Sometimes even more. I remember working on Little Boy and I had 24 shots I had to finish with a crazy deadline. I think I slept 4 hours a day, but I loved it. My body on the other hand didn’t really love me after that.
A lot of coffee and Red Bull, but I think you stay focused just because you can’t give up once you encounter a problem. That’s in the blood of every VFX artist.
PL: I know you recently worked on a film where you were required to remove a large bruise from the face of an Academy Award nominated actor using visual effects. How did you do it?
NT: They are so-called beauty shots. Basically what you do is find a part of their skin that is not bruised and clone it to the spot where the bruise is. Since he moves and the camera moves, the hard part is to track the spot and make is seamless so the audience can’t notice it.
PL: What has been your favorite project so far and why?
NT: I would have to say Little Boy, the new Kevin James and Emily Watson movie. Working alongside Alejandro Monteverde was a great learning experience. He is truly an amazing director. Also some of the shots were gorgeous.
PL: What is your advice to other aspiring artists?
NT: My advice to other aspiring artist would be just to keep educating themselves as much as they can about VFX. The only way to become an artist is to spend a lot of time doing it. If you can’t afford expensive software, get an internship at a VFX company and use their computers after hours. All the VFX companies would let you do that, actually they love seeing aspiring artists like that. Audiences are spoiled by VFX today, so don’t expect your first steps to look like the latest Hollywood blockbuster. All the people that are in the VFX industry today started by doing some crappy home video that they are embarrassed to talk about.