Derek Frederickson has extensive experience in graphic design, 2D and 3D animation, interactive media, motion graphics, music composition & production, video production, compositing, web programming and design. He has worked on many feature films and television shows, including Independence Day: Resurgence (2016), The Space Between Us (2016), Geostorm (2017), Scorpion (CBS), The Librarians (TNT), Empire (FOX), Chicago PD (NBC), Chicago Med (NBC), Angie Tribeca (USA). Derek created on-set computer graphics for all episodes of “Leverage” (TNT), post-apocalyptic computer interfaces for “Divergent” (2014), animated baby fetuses for “The Unborn”, graphics for “A Dolphin Tale” (2012), “Torchwood: Miracle Day” (BBC), and vfx work on “Blank Slate”.
Q & A
If the world you created in your film became a reality, is that a world you would want to live in?
This is a story about finding yourself. In this case it took an older, perhaps wiser (“Gramps”) being to make our main character (“Chip”) realize he had what it took all along.
Is there a Sci-Fi world you’d buy a one-way ticket to?
Good Sci-Fi shows us worlds that don’t have the rules the ‘real’ one does, I like the ones that get a little closer to utopia. People (or beings) being just a little better to one another. That being said, good stories always have antagonists, so I’m hesitant to switch worlds. I kinda like the one I live in…and there’s always a trade off!
Name a Sci-Fi character you relate to on a spiritual level? Who is your Sci-Fi spirit animal/spirit alien?
Anything that flies. Staying on the ground is so…human.
Friend or Foe: humanoid robots with advanced artificial intelligence? What if robots start making their own Sci-Fi films? Will you support them in their endeavors?
I support any kind of intelligence. While we’re quite far away from an actual AI, I suppose it’d be much like art from humans. If it’s good, I support it! And good sometimes just means it comes from the heart. Do ai’s have those?
In 1996, Bugs Bunny recruited Michael Jordan and Bill Murray to form the greatest basketball squad of all-time, the Tune Squad; you’re Bugs, who’s on your Sci-Fi Tune Squad?
I’m working on a short form comedy series now that answers just that question…tune in to Space Shuttle when it comes out for the answer!
You’ve gotta go through some bad ideas to get to the good ones. Tell us one of your bad ideas. How do you get past the bad ones to find your spark?
One recent ‘bad idea’ was that I could learn and teach at the same time, during the making of Critical Component as a matter of fact. I have a graphics, animation and visuals effects firm (Twisted Media). At first it seemed exciting to have a team working with me on a different kind of project (the quarantine lockdown ended our ‘real’ work for a while). But really I needed to find my own way through bringing the story to life, and what my part in that needed to be. It ended up being easier to do what I needed to do, and once I understood my journey, that helped me understand what I needed from the team…which was way less than I might have thought. In certain circumstances, I’m a one-man band. In others I’m quite collaborative. Turns out a very personal story required me to do most of it, and I’m happy I did. Learned a lot both technically and about myself.
Do you consider yourself part of a sci-fi community? Or when your brain is in the future and your body’s in the present, is that isolating?
I’ve been very lucky in the past decade or so to have worked on some interesting sci-fi movies and TV shows, including Independence Day: Resurgence, Geostorm, The Space Between Us, The First, Westworld, Star Trek Picard…and more. While my design contribution added to someone else’s vision/script/production, it was always rewarding to see something I created as a part of that. That’s work, in my spare time I read, enjoy other shows & movies, and have like-minded friends in my circle. In my head, always thinking about what’s next…but grounded in what’s happening right now.
Do you consider yourself more of an analog or digital person? What kind of balance do strike between the two? Is there a disconnect between the technology you make films about and the technology that you make films with?
I’m super digital but also like to be outside, run, camp, be in nature, and center/find balance which rarely happens looking at a screen. The good stories always find the heart, which is within.
When you’re creating the props and sets that make a new world, where do you look for inspiration? How do you create objects that are relatable but unfamiliar?
All around; I like a lot of detail that’s found in nature, even the way things rust. Fascinating!
Lightning round: Star Wars or Star Trek? Philip K. Dick or William S. Burroughs? Practical or CGI? Dystopia or Utopia? Post Apocalypse or Pre Apocalypse?
I like both but if I had to pick just one, Trek because of the evolution of humanity. Sometimes. Dick. So much good stuff there. Depends on what you’re going for. Utopia. Pre.