Today’s Special


Don Levy: A Cinematic Journey Through Visual Effects (TED)

It’s been 110 years since Georges Méliès sent a spaceship slamming into the eye of the man on the moon. So how far have visual effects come since then? Working closely with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Don Levy takes us on a visual journey through special effects, from the fakery of early technology to the seamless marvels of modern filmmaking.

Don Levy has served on the frontlines of the digital transformation of entertainment. For 17 years, he led the communications efforts for top visual effects and digital animation studio, Sony Pictures Imageworks. He is fascinated by the magic of movies.

Don Levy joined Sony Pictures Imageworks when it was “just 40 people and a dream” in 1995. Starting as an awards campaign consultant, he helped the studio grow in both size and reputation, beginning with its first Academy Award for the animated short “The ChubbChubbs” in 2003 and continuing with the 2005 Academy Award for Best Visual Effects for “Spider-Man 2.” As the senior vice president of marketing and communications for Sony Pictures, he directed corporate communications, marketing and public relations for Sony Pictures Imageworks, Sony Pictures Digital Entertainment, as well as for Sony Pictures Animation and Sony Online Entertainment.

Levy left Sony Pictures in June of 2012 to develop a new family entertainment venture and found Smith Brook Farm, a media, entertainement and tech consultancy. At the same time, he is a visiting scholar at the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts’ Entertainment Technology Center and is teaching entertainment marketing at Boston University’s Los Angeles Internship Program.

Levy is also member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, on its feature animation nominating committee. The Academy helped tremendously in crafting the video montage in his talk, an exclusive for TED.