Brian Wyvill

Brina Wyvill.[1]

Brian Wyvill, nicknamed "Blob", designed graphics for Alien (1979) and, as he included his nickname in one of the graphics he designed, he was the only person from System Simulation to have his name appear in the film.[2]



Main article: Alien (film)

After his one year post-doc, he got married and proceeded to take off on a climbing expedition with his wife and several months later, he returned to the UK looking for work. The owner of System Simulation, George Mallen (Wyvill's boss and the person who ran the company), contacted him and said that the company had a big contract to make some sequences for a Hollywood movie. Wyvill though that "the money was good, seven pounds an hour," which, for Wyvill, was "a fortune for [him] at that time." He promptly set off for the Atlas lab, where Colin Emmett (an artist and one of Wyvill's colleagues) was having a very hard time making his software, FROLIC, behave well enough to finish the required sequences which were notably late. Wyvill settled down to help out, debugging Colin's code and adding new features to the system. The reason that they used the Atlas lab was that they had an FR80, a very high resolution vector film plotter that would output 35mm film. Colin showed Wyvill the storyboard for Alien, which Wyvill thought "looked pretty far fetched" and that "there was a definite hominess about the waking astronauts and their cat which [he] didn't think Science Fiction fans would buy".[2]

Eventually, their part of the movie was just about done. The Nostromo receives a distress call and the computers wake everybody up and show on the screens a simulation of the orbit around the planet which sent out the message. Their part was making the simulated orbit. George Mallen asked Wyvill to go with him to meet the director, Ridley Scott, and show him the rushes, to see if all met with his approval. He kept them waiting three or four hours, which he didn't mind as he was being paid seven pounds an hour. However, George was "not so pleased."[2]

Meeting Ridley Scott[]

When he eventually showed up, Ridley Scott (who Wyvill thought had mid-Atlantic accent, despite being British) was accompanied by an entourage of "movie people" and even had somebody carrying the traditional canvas backed chair. Wyvill seems to remember that he was not very pleased with them since their part of the project was late. Ridley spoke through members of his entourage, rather than directly to them, which made them feel very uncomfortable. The director's speech was punctuated with words such as "logisitcs" and "status", the latter word he pronounced as in the American fashion (short 'a'). He looked at the rushes a couple of times and eventually spoke to Wyvill directly and said word to the effect of, "We have not reached the final status with this project, ah, I want to see something busier, some computer output which makes the status of the computer orbit logistics clear to the viewer. Savvy ?" Wyvill nodded his head, overawed by "the great man," and rushed off to his duties at the Atlas lab.[2]

"A Question of Credits"[]

BLOB Mention-A1

The appearance of Brian Wyvill's nickname "Blob" in the film.[2]

After a discussion with George, Wyvill had learned that System Simulation would receive a credit, but it seemed unlikely that workers on the "factory floor" like Wyvill would get any mention in the movie. So Wyvill set about complying with Ridley Scott's request, as well as to get himself a mention on the screen. He built a vertical and horizontal message area around the computer display of the Nostromo's orbit (as can be seen in the frame to the right, one of the few Wyvill managed to preserve). Where it says "DEORBITAL DESCENT", there is a lower box which reads "SYSTEM :BL: 76.75 :OB:" The numbers change rapidly, but the "BL: :OB" remain on the screen; Blob was Wyvill's nickname, so, in a way, he had got myself a small credit on the movie. Ironically, System Simulation did not get their credit, so Wyvill was the only one of the group that had his name on the screen.[2]

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