Travis Pike's Outstanding Long-Grin Production Staff
      By 1984, J. Bond Johnson, president of Cine-Media International was confident that Travis was fully-qualified to co-produce and direct Long-Grin, but venture capitalists were naturally hesitant to risk investing in a first-time producer-director working for an independent production company, with no "bankable" stars attached. Travis held the three top above-the-line positions (writer, producer and director), and realized it was imperative that his production staff and department heads had confidence in him, and credentials in their specialties that would make their signatures on departmental budgets and letters of intent stand up to scrutiny.

     When Travis was directing, he'd need a Unit Production Manager / Line Producer to oversee everyday production, and who better than Britt Lomond Somewhere in Time (1980), who'd mentored Travis through script breakdowns, budgeting and scheduling on two proposed Cine-Media International properties, The Seventh Gate and Hostage of the Golden Hands. Britt, in turn, brought Casting Director Claire Newell to the table, reasoning that Travis' multi-million dollar production package would eventually need bankable stars and a top-flight supporting cast attached to secure the funding needed.
     Peter Anderson, Director of Photography and Visual Effects Supervisor on Disney's ground-breaking TRON (1982), said Long-Grin was ambitious, but possible and within the scope of his experience, but warned that the costs of the dragon's action props and operations, some requiring as many as a half-dozen dragon limbs to complete a single movement, because they can only move so far before they tear, and Long-Grin's heads would need skulls inside, where servos could be installed and remotely operated by teams of puppeteers who would have to work in harmony to create the dragon's life-like facial expressions.
     Doug Beswick's mechanical effects unit built working models in several sizes for the T-Rex in My Science Project 1984.. This photo shows what Peter described to Travis and Britt about the number and complexity of action props and coordination required of its puppeteers. Note the exposed rod and cable mechanisms that move the creature. Long-Grin is more complex, but many of the dragon's basic mechanics were proven in the My Science Project (1985) T-Rex.
(Photo courtesy Doug Beswick (mechanical Effects) and Peter Anderson, who photographed the miniature action sequence and was Visual Effects Supervisor on the Disney production.)
     Doug Beswick's puppeteers pose at their controls (with the miniature T-Rex in the miniature gym set in the background) for Disney's My Science Project. Seated, left to right: Tim Lawrence, Tom Hester, Shawn McEnroe, with whom Travis had worked on The Galactic Connection (that 1st AD Travis calls "Monkybiz" in this website), then Phil Nataro, Mark Wilson, and standing, behind Mark, is Doug Beswick.
(Photo courtesy Doug Beswick, (Mechanical Effects), and Peter Anderson, who photographed the miniature action sequence for My Science Project).
     As the production staff came together, Britt gave Art Director George Costello The Sword and the Sorcerer 1982 and Terminator 1984, a copy of Travis' Long-Grin screenplay. George was impressed and brought two art department staff members who'd worked with him on the medieval adventure The Sword and the Sorcerer 1982. John Carter (center) was his set special effets coordinator, and Jay Burkhart (left) was his medieval set dresser for that production, but had also worked set construction in Beastmaster 1982. The screenplay brought him to the table, but George said it was Travis' unbridled enthusiasm that sealed the deal.