"We are dealing with an innovative process that is both new and unique to television, involving designs and techniques in optics, scale and set units that must be evolved and sophisticated enough to be considered a part of the technology of 2800 AD," emphasized Jack McAdam, Art Director for the Glen-Warren &endash; CTV Production "The Starlost", an original science fiction series premiering this Fall on CTV.
Jack McAdam has earned a formidable reputation as a scenic artist, special effects technician, set designer, consultant and lecturer in television, motion pictures and theatre. At the end of that list, he still has time for what he calls "pastimes" which are skydiving, kite flying, Japanese cooking, Sumi brushwork and an avid dedication to the outdoors.
Early in the ten-year period he spent with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, he developed new roller and transfer techniques for scenic painting. Later, while working for their special effects department he used his extensive knowledge of ballistics, flame, fire control, model building and rain and water effects for innumerable dramas and special features. He also invented a new vacuum-form press for a variety of molds and miniatures. As the youngest contract designer with the CBC, he developed concepts for children's shows, news ("W5") and public affairs programs, drama, opera, ballet, ice shows and pageants ("Miss Canada Pageant"). His variety shows starred such luminaries as Andy Williams, Al Hirt, Bobby Darin, Sonny & Cher, Barbara McNair, Bobbie Gentry, George Kirby and Lou Rawls.
During those years, McAdam's talents as prop builder, painter, lighting technician and costume designer were employed in more than a hundred stage productions in various summer theatres in the United States and Canada, and covered a full range of dramas, ballets and comedies.
After resigning from the CBC, he founded Design Service Associates, a sound stage and scenic design facility in Toronto devoted to the production of feature films and film series.
For Twentieth Century-fox, McAdam recently completed work on "The Neptune Factor," an underwater adventure film featuring the most technically complex effects ever produced in Canada. Now his task as Art Director for 'The Starlost' will be a sequel to his film venture.
As Director he has to design and execute a massive amount of equipment, interiors, exteriors and scenery.
"We have a totally moving studio," Jack said. "We've scheduled, so that the studio is a meeting place where we will record the different special effects. One day we might be shooting a forest sequence that is followed by filming a sequence where we need to create a flying effect either in space or in the ship. We are working with an incredible amount of technical facilities and we've modified some ideas in order to engineer effects that are near miraculous.
"Most important of all," he added, "we look for critical detailing, not cleverness and aim at believable and plausible ideas and concepts."
Today, his own Jack McAdam Associates, Ltd. operates out of two studios on the three acres of land he calls 'home.' He and his wife Carol, have three children: Christopher, Samara and Meagan.