Dale Pretorius is a self-taught businessman who has been nominated for various awards and has recently won a Realscreen award for visual effects (VFX) production. He has become the go-to guy when it comes to animation, with many international companies seeking out his expertise when they need something unique.
“I watched a movie called The Lawnmower Man when I was young and it was one of the first I had seen to really introduce 3D and CGI as a workable medium,” says Pretorius. “Although the movie itself wasn’t that great, it opened up what was visually possible. The possibility of creating literally whatever was in your head and giving it its own world was something that really drew me in and kept me going ever since.”
Pretorius has been inspired by a number of films and directors from Ray Harryhausen, the godfather of modern-day compositing, to Steven Spielberg. He finds any director who has pushed the craft of digital or special effects inspirational, and loves the industry because of its constant challenges.
“Every day we are problem solving things which, at the start, seem to not always have a clear direction,” he says. “It’s really about perfecting the craft at the end of the day. The playing field in our industry is forever changing and we’re always finding newer and faster ways to do what we love, and do it better each time.”
Pretorius’s plans for the future are exactly what he is doing right now, today. He wants to take on bigger work each year and to keep on pushing boundaries.
“Our best shot is the very last one we work on,” he concludes. “It is the culmination of every bit of knowledge, skill, talent and creativity of the whole team, every single time. I do see a lot of growth in the industry, especially here in South Africa. The way we do things and think about the work has certainly matured a lot. Even though we’re still considered quite ‘young’ when it comes to the film industry, I think the drive and passion of the people and companies here keep knocking down misconceptions that we’re not serious contenders.” — Tamsin Oxford