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Motion pictures consultant Barbara Townsend is next speaker in R-TV Professional-in-Residence series


JONESBORO, AR – Barbara Nellis Townsend, a motion pictures and film consultant and contractor will be on the Arkansas State campus Oct. 11-13 to speak to student groups as part of the Radio-Television Professional-in-Residence series.

A 1982 graduate of ASU’s radio-television program, Townsend currently works as an independent motion pictures and film consultant and contractor.  In this role, she provides technical directorial expertise to independent and studio film producers on all aspects of visual, computer-generated and animated effects. 

Townsend spent 11 years in various capacities at Industrial Light + Magic (ILM), a company owned by legendary film director, George Lucas.  ILM has a reputation as the leading effects facility in the world, serving the motion picture, communication production and attraction industries.  She was the technical director, technical director and sequence supervisor visual effects in 17 major motion pictures, including The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl 3-D, xXx: State of the Union, Van Helsing, Men in Black II, Pearl Harbor, Magnolia, Jack Frost, Speed 2: Cruise Control, Mars Attack, The Mask, and the Baby’s Day Out

She created signature shots for Jumanji, Twister and Mars Attacks, as well as leading teams on several other shows. Her work has appeared on the covers of Cinefex and Millimeter magazines. She was the lighting designer for the Hulk advertising campaign in 2003, as well as being a key artist in developing the look for the Hulk.

Prior to ILM, Townsend worked as editor/motion graphics specialist at the broadcast network, NBC.  She was editor for news programs and documentaries and video editor for NBC Nightly News, Today Show and Sunday Today. She trained editors and artists in new technology and digital effects for NBC News, designed and animated the original show opening for Dateline NBC, created and animated the original Tonight Show with Jay Leno show opening, as well as elections and specials for NBC News and NBC Sports. She was graphic designer and animator for commercials and post production, created motion graphics and worked as a technical director on the live broadcast for the Today Show, producing graphics for over 20 hours of live network television a week.

Upon graduation, she began working motion 3D graphics in 1985, after mostly learning the skills herself.  “What I’m doing now didn’t exist as a profession when I graduated from ASU,” she says.  “To do this kind of work now you have to have a computer science background in computer art.”  However, she credits ASU, particularly former RTV chairs, Richard Carvell and Charles Rasberry, for imbuing her with the creativity and work ethic that has earned her success. Carvell, she said, “fostered free thinking.  He helped me think outside the box and was a big influence on me along with Charles Rasberry.”

Townsend has earned over 350 hours in Anusara yoga immersions and trainings.  She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her sons, a black cat named Itchy, a black dog named  Mitchy, and a pet snake named Doug.