(written from a Production point of view)
John Charles Dyksta, ASC (born 3 June 1947; age 68) is a visual effects (VFX) artist who served as (what was then still called) Special Photographic Effects Supervisor on Star Trek: The Motion Picture, garnering an Academy Award nomination and a Saturn Award win for "Best Special Effects."
An Industrial Design graduate of the California State University, Dykstra started out in the motion picture industry in Douglas Trumbull's VFX film crew on the production of Silent Running (1972), filming studio model effects. Afterwards, he worked for a short spell at Robert Abel & Associates on their visually groundbreaking commercials. However, he first acquired fame for his photographic effects work at Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) on the original Star Wars, having been brought to the attention of George Lucas by Trumbull, and for which he won an Academy Award in 1978. He also earned a special Scientific and Engineering Award from the Academy that same year for his development of the first computer-controlled camera system, known as "Dykstraflex", an influential piece of VFX filming equipment, as it became the basis of modern motion control photography.
After Star Wars, he left ILM, and worked for Universal Studios on the pilot episode of the original Battlestar Galactica series in 1978, winning him an Emmy Award. Later that year, he founded his own company, Apogee, Inc., which he operated for fourteen years. It was Apogee, Inc., that Trumbull turned to, in order to help out with the troublesome production of The Motion Picture.
While operating his company Dykstra has worked on productions like Caddyshack (1980, with Ted Knight), Firefox (1982), Lifeforce (1985, with Patrick Stewart), and My Stepmother is an Alien (1988, with Tony Jay, Suzie Plakson, Earl Boen and cinematography by Richard H. Kline). In th closing months of 1992, Dykstra closed down his company, turning some of its inventory and the lease of the property over to long-time associate Grant McCune, and started working again on personal title.
Since then Dykstra has worked on the VFX for Batman Forever (1995, with Rene Auberjonois and Ed Begley, Jr.), and Batman & Robin (1997, with John Glover), Stuart Little (1999) and two Spider-Man films (2002 and 2004, both starring Kirsten Dunst and the second featuring Donna Murphy and Daniel Dae Kim), earning Academy Award nominations for all three. After these productions Dykstra changed career direction from producing/supervising VFX to designing them, and as such has garnered more recent credits that included, Hancock (2008), the Quentin Tarentino feature Inglourious Basterds (2009), X-Men: First Class (2011) as well as a second Tarentino movie, Django Unchained (2012).
Star Trek awards
Dykstra has received the following awards and nominations in the various Special/Visual Effects categories:
- 1980 Academy Award nomination for Star Trek: The Motion Picture, shared with Douglas Trumbull, Richard Yuricich, Robert Swarthe, David K. Stewart, and Grant McCune
- 1980 Saturn Award win for Star Trek: The Motion Picture, shared with Douglas Trumbull, and Richard Yuricich
- "The Very Special Effects For Star Trek The Motion Picture" (interview), Herb A. Lightman, American Cinematographer, February 1980, pp. 144-145, 174-175, 193-197
- "Star Trekking at Apogee with John Dykstra", Don Shay, Cinefex, issue 2, August 1980, pp. 50-71