Fall 2009

[Alumni News]

Dan Curry

Trekkie Hero Learned Tricks at HSU

Hollywood special effects wizard Dan Curry (’79), winner of seven Emmy Awards for his Star Trek creations, once practiced ambushing audiences at Humboldt State.

Portrait of Dan Curry Dan Curry

Curry put together a one-act sci-fi production about an alien prison in which student members of the audience participated, playing the part of hydroponic plants.

“We had a shill in the audience with a dummy that had an exploding head,” Curry laughs, describing the prank. It instantly threw the set into confusion and bewilderment.

Curry, who received a Master of Fine Arts degree in Film and Theatre at HSU, fondly recalls being a painter on HSU theatrical productions.

Now he is world famous for his artistry with “Star Trek: the Next Generation,” “Deep Space Nine,” “Voyager,” and “Enterprise.” Currently he is visual effects supervisor for the Warner Brothers/NBC television series “Chuck.”

Curry has not forgotten what fun it was, and the opportunities he enjoyed, as an HSU student partnering with the Arcata community. “Suppose we wanted to do a shoot at nine in the morning in the Jambalaya restaurant. They couldn’t wait to help us. Or, if we were filming a scene downtown and needed a street closed off, the Arcata Police Department was right there to assist.”

Curry says his education equipped him to realize his talents to the fullest. “My professional career was really built on the foundation of the work I did here,” he says. “It was here that I got comfortable with cameras, sound mixing and editing, post-production. Even though the technology has changed, the aesthetic issues remain the same.”

Speaking at the 2009 Commencement ceremonies, exactly 30 years after he graduated, Curry told graduates, “You are the lead character in your own life. Find within yourself that person whose passion excites others and you will win allies eager for your success. Focus your energy on things that ignite your passion and you will never really work.”