Monday, November 25, 2013

Gary Goddard Update

It's with a great, great pleasure that I welcome today Gary Goddard, CEO and founder of the Goddard Group (GGE), and before GGE, of Landmark Entertainment. Gary Goddard began his career at The Walt Disney Company in 1974, as the co-director (with Larry Billman) of the original WDW College Workshop production of The Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue at Walt Disney World Resort's Fort Wilderness. When the college workshop cast members returned to their respective Universities at summer’s end, Gary was asked to stay on and cast, direct, and produced the “Professional Cast” version of the show, which he did. He was soon hired by Marc Davis and became a Show Designer at Walt Disney Imagineering, where he worked directly with Marc and with other Disney Legends including Herb Ryman, John Hench, Collin Cambell, X Atentio, Bill Justice, Al Bertino and many others -- developing concepts for EPCOT, The World Showcase,Tokyo Disneyland, and River Country, among others. 

Gary Goddard Productions, Goddard's first company, was formed in 1980, which became Landmark Entertainment Group in 1985. Goddard exited Landmark Entertainment Group in 2002 to start his new company, Gary Goddard Entertainment (now "The Goddard Group"). Thanks to Gary Goddard and his team we enjoyed among the years fantastic attractions whether it is Jurassic Park The Ride or Terminator 2/3D at Universal Studios, or the exceptionally great Amazing Adventures of Spiderman ride at Islands of Adventure, or the incredible Star Trek: The Experience at the Hilton Hotel in Las Vegas.
Gary kindly agreed to be a regular contributor for Disney and more with new updates each month (and maybe even more frequent) in which Gary will talk not only about the development of current projects of the Goddard Group but also about unrealized attractions, all this with gorgeous artworks, and God knows how much we love great artworks here at DIsney and more, don't we? Gary Goddard's Group also have a Facebook page where you can follow him HERE.

And now, I hand over to Gary who will start by a great new project that was created and designed by Goddard Group and which is currently being built in China! 

I am pleased to provide some artwork and insight into the design process for followers of this fantastic site. That being said, Alain Littaye asked me to provide “various projects” to start, so I have pulled together a few recent and past projects in no particular order. 
The first one, as noted above, is in China. This project is called "Shanghaî Bund Movie Studio & Movie Park" and is now being built in Hengdian, China as part of the larger Hengdian Studios, a very successful movie studio. The first thing to know is this is a working movie studio, where films will be shot throughout the year. The studio’s largest standing set is based on the famous waterfront district in Shanghai called "The Bund". Despite the immense demand to film period movies and television shows on the real Bund, it has only been fully shut down once- for Steven Spielberg's 1987 film, Empire of the Sun. Because of this, Hengdian Film World engaged us to create an exact recreation of the Bund as it existed between in the years prior to 1950. While the Bund is the largest single standing set here, there are many other areas include “Old Shanghai”, and “Nanjing Road” and many more such areas. But in addition to the backlot and shooting sets, the new project will function both seamlessly as a theme park and as a working studio, allowing production to take place while simultaneously visitors enjoy the park. Within some of the large sound stages will be exciting and dynamic attractions that are based upon the history and part films of and about Shanghai.

Here's a first look at one of the signature attractions in our upcoming SHANGHAI BUND theme park coming to Hengdian, China. The SHANGHAI TROLLEY will take guests on a behind-the-scenes tour of the working studio, as well as of the public backlot. Interspersed throughout the experience are several special effect experiences, including the typhoon sequence depicted here.

Shanghaî Bund will also include incredible rides like the "Shanghaî Triad Chase". The ride, inspired by the movies based upon the infamous chinese triads will take guests in a wild adventure through Shanghaî's dark underworld".  

I'd like now to showcase one of Goddard Group's great artists, Christopher Smith. Chris joined the Goddard team in 2011 after over 15 years of service as a Principal Concept Designer at Walt Disney Imagineering where he helped craft many of the company's most beloved projects. Prior to working for Disney, Chris also worked at Goddard’s first company, Landmark Entertainment. The illustration below was done for the SIX FLAGS DUBAILAND project. Because of the region's extreme heat, the Welcome Center (Ticketing & Guest Services) was to have been fully-enclosed within this grand pavilion. Behind the ticketing desks, giant panoramic windows looked out into the park, and the REVOLUTION roller coaster would have careened through a heartline roll right above the turnstiles. While this concept never came to fruition, the idea for an upscale ticketing zone lived on, and is under construction right now at South Korea's Lotte World.

Also for the SIX FLAGS DUBAILAND project the illustrations below depict what visitors would have seen as they arrived at SIX FLAGS DUBAILAND, and as they left the park as well. The first illustration shows the view as guests depart the elevated ticketing zone discovering (from the higher level) a grand panoramic vista of the park and its signature coasters and attractions.  As a happy byproduct, as guests left in the evening, or later in the day, they wouldremain at ground level and pass straight under the ticketing building to discover the park's main merchandise venue which also forms the exit path from the park.

This next artwork is one of his stunning illustrations for the unrealized SIX FLAGS QATAR project. Set on the coast of the Persian Gulf, the resort would have featured an upscale theme park anchored by the "SIROCCO" launch coaster.

Also by Christopher Smith, here's a breathtaking illustration of the JOURNEY TO PARADISE 3D boat ride proposed for the Tropicana in Las Vegas. This was to be the world’s 3D/4D boat ride. Staged in an Omnimax-style dome, this vista was to have been the ride's first major 3D moment as guests left the real world behind and started their journey through a hyper-real tropical world. Completing the scene would have been water-spray and rumbling audio effects that would have truly immersed guests in the moment.

Let's have a look now to one of four unrealized attractions starting by this ride concept from 2007 when we were in the process of creating blue-sky concepts for Universal Studios Singapore.The GGE concept for the MADAGASCAR ride was very different from the boat ride that was ultimately created. Our concept was built around a trackless AGV dark ride system that would have taken guests on a PHOTO SAFARI, using onboard augmented reality cameras to snap images of the film's characters amidst the most iconic settings. At the end of the ride, guests would have been able to purchase a photo book with not only the photos they shot, but candid photos of themselves taken at several key moments in the attraction! 

On a separate project, this one for Six Flags again, back when Mark Shapiro was still at the helm of Six Flags, he realized they needed a big idea to fill the vacant stunt show theaters found at several of the chain's largest parks. Perhaps the most exciting concept developed was for that of a MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE action stunt spectacular. This concept would have seen the theaters enclosed in temporary canvas tent structures to allow for lighting control, and would have immersed the audience in the most special effects-intensive stunt show ever created.
One of the coolest things about the show would have been the marketing- as the new attraction would have been heralded by "self destructing" billboards(each with their own digital “countdown clock”) that would have been “self-destructed” on the date the message expired, revealing a new message behind the “exploded” billboard noting MISSION IMPOSSIBLE was now in operation.

Back to the mid-90's when I was still running Landmark, we were engaged by Andrew Lloyd Webber's REALLY USEFUL GROUP and a major Las Vegas casino operator to create a PHANTOM OF THE OPERA resort right on the Las Vegas Strip. We created something truly spectacular for the resort hotel itself, along with several very unique attractions.

With a facade inspired by Charles Granier's famous cross-section of the Paris Opera House, the resort would have contained a boat ride through the catacombs under the theatre, as well as a super-sized version of the world's most popular musical. (While the resort never moved beyond concept due to financial constraints, a scaled-down version of the mega Phantom production did eventually open at the Venetian in 2006.)  

In addition to bringing "the inside to the outside" you will note a Gondola Boat RIde that moves beneath the main entrance (which as you can see, has the domed ceiling of the Paris Opera house acting as an immense Porte Cochere). The Boat Ride was an incredible telling of the tale of the love story but as seen from the point of view of the Phantom itself. The ride - created by The Phantom - was complete with clockwork "autumn figures" and "mechanical sets" as if the Phantom himself had created this life size music box tribute to the romance (as he saw it) between Christine and himself. The cool thing was that Andrew was going to score the entire ride based upon the themes of the incredible show. The world's first dark ride, based upon a great musical work, with an original score composed by the composer himself. It would have been world class.

We will end this first update by this stunning painting by renowned artist Dan Goozee. 
Back when the MGM GRAND was first being developed for Las Vegas, various show concepts were being explored- one of which was a TARZAN-themed concept, depicted here. On this one, Tony Christopher, my partner in Landmark, and I worked together on the show concept. Ultimately, they decided to go with another idea we developed for them, “EFX!” – a spectacular show which we created and which had a highly-successful 8-year run starting in 1995.

See you next week with a new great update!

All pictures: copyright Gary Goddard - Goddard Group


SWW said...

Great article. The Phantom Casino facade - a cutaway of the Opera House - what a unique and cool idea!

Look forward to seeing how the pre-war Bund reproduction turns out.

The key artwork is just plain awesome. Here is a gentleman who knows and hires the very best on the planet: Christopher Smith, Dan Goozee, John Horny, et al.

Can't wait for the next GGE article.

Anonymous said...

wow, these are impressive, i love to see how the concepts evolve, even if they do not always get made. i have been to the phantom show at the venetian and it was amazing. just looking at your phantom design sends it to another level.
I woule be very interested to know if you ever had any ideas for a he-man ride or themed land? it is what i always hoped for as a kid. if you never thought of it before do you have any current views as there is a plan for a new movie.

luke j