(photo by:Owen Roizman ASC)
Bill Taylor, ASC Bio
A lifetime fascination with illusions led to Bill Taylor’s first industry job at the Ray Mercer Co. in Hollywood, an optical effects company with roots in silent films. In 11 years at Mercer, Bill shot opticals, titles, and product shots on thousands of commercials, and trailers. He learned Petro Vlahos’ Color Difference Blue Screen System at a USC night class taught by the inventor.
After a year of free-lance camera work, including a stint with his earliest mentor, Linwod Dunn ASC, at Film Effects of Hollywood, Taylor was hired to work at Universal Studios by another longtime mentor, matte artist Albert Whitlock.
Bill worked on nearly 100 films with Whitlock at Universal until the latter retired in 1985. Taylor and a colleague, matte artist Syd Dutton, then founded Illusion Arts Inc., where they supervised and executed visual effects for nearly 200 films. Among Billl’s favorites are Tom Shadyac’s BRUCE ALMIGHTY and Lasse Hallstrom’s CASANOVA.
Since Illusion Arts wound up its 26-year run, Taylor credits as Visual Effects Supervisor include John Hillcoat’s LAWLESS, (2012), and Brandon Hess’ FIRST IN FLIGHT (2013). He’s currently at work on FRONTMAN and OLIVE, two AFI Thesis films.
Bill is the co-author with Petro Vlahos of the chapters on blue-screen and green-screen compositing in both the “American Cinematographer Manual” and the “Visual Effects Society Handbook”.
Taylor is serving his sixth term as a Motion Picture Academy Governor representing the Visual Effects Branch. He was the founding co-chair of the Academy Science and Technology Council.
Bill has won an Emmy and an Academy Science and Technology award. He is an Honorary Life Member and 2012 Fellow of the Visual Effects Society, and the recipient of the Society’s Founder’s Award. Both Bill and his Illusion Arts partner Syd Dutton were granted honorary “Doctor of Humane Letters” degrees from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. In 2011 Syd and Bill received the “Creative Imagery” award from the Art Directors’ Guild. Bill was awarded the John Bonner Medal by the Motion Picture Academy in March 2013.
Bill will always be grateful to the three late mentors who made everything possible: Petro Vlahos, Lin Dunn ASC, and Al Whitlock.