The first place that Lawrence Bender saw was the Bronx in New York City. Being born in such a rich cultural environment must have given him an extra dose of creativity, judging from his future endeavors. As he grew up in New Jersey, his parents, both of them educators, instilled in him a good work ethic and the desire to reach for excellence.

Lawrence’s grandfather was a civil engineer and he knew that he could have a lucrative career following in his granddad’s footsteps. He made the decision to do just that in high school and went on to graduate from the University of Maine with a degree in civil engineering in 1979. The direction of his life soon took a turn toward the entertainment industry, first as a ballet dancer then, after an injury, as an actor.

As time went by, Lawrence Bender became interested in being a producer of television fare as well as feature films. Several of the movies that he produced have been nominated for Academy Awards. Good Will Hunting, Inglourious Basterds, and Pulp Fiction are included in that group. An Inconvenient Truth, a documentary featuring former vice president Al Gore raising awareness about climate change, won the Academy Award for the Best Documentary Feature. My favorite movie produced by Lawrence Bender is Good Will Hunting. I am amazed by the way the therapist, played by Robin Williams, is able to help Matt Damon’s character, the young genius, work through his issues while dealing with the immeasurable pain of his own.

Lawrence Bender is active in political and social matters, fighting for causes that he believes in. One of the ways he helps is by fundraising. Because of his dedication, he has received the Torch of Liberty Award from the ACLU. He is on the board of The Creative Coalition as well as the Advisory Board for the ACLU Institute of the Environment and Sustainability.

Visual effects have been used in films for decades, though they have been vastly improved since their start. Slowly they started their leak into the music industry as well, the greatest amount used recently in the Billboard Music Awards in 2014 which brought Michael Jackson back to life for a live performance. Visual effects are anything but easy, even when they first began making their way into film as a normal occurrence. Now, computers play a major role in creating the special effects seen in action and horror movies. Even independent film makes have access to the technology, so you’ll see more and more aspiring filmmakers using their own self-made visual effects.

Most visual effects are done after the raw filming is finished and cut back into the already complete film. Although everything is carefully planned out before filming begins so that the process is simplified and the movie can make it out by its planned deadline. There are roughly four categories most effects can be grouped into; matte painting and stills, live action using green screens or blue screens, digital animation and digital effects like CGI. Many directors choose to use a variety of these types of effects to create a cinematic masterpiece for the public.

A wonderful example of the greatness that can come from visual effects done correctly is the Michael Jackson concert performed at the Billboard Music Awards. Pulse Executive Chairman John Textor watched the magic happen when the Jackson effect was created, claiming it was not a holograph but and illusion. Textor has been a well known name in the visual effects circle for years, having gotten his degree in 1987 and starting two entertainment companies in the 90s. In 2006 he became the CEO of Digital Domain whom are responsible for providing great visual effects to feature films like Transforms, Tron: Legacy, and Pirates of the Caribbean: At world’s end. Along with recreating Michael Jackson he has done the same imagery for Coachella where he recreated Tupak Shakur, and has also made illusions of Marilyn Monroe and Elvis Presley.

Visual effects provide the public with eye opening entrainment, jaw dropping explosions and terrifying ghosts and demons for a great Halloween movie night. It’s creation has brought legends back to life, even for just one night. As more artists come into the field, more dreams and fantasy worlds are able to be brought to life.