I’ve never met John Knoll but we exchanged e-mail a decade ago when I was finishing school. His father, Glenn Knoll, served as Interim Dean of the College of Engineering at the University of Michigan. As President of the University of Michigan Engineering Council, I interacted with him regularly and I also served on the Dean Search Advisory Committee to find a new dean for the college. Glenn Knoll was kind enough to introduce me to his son via email, knowing I was working at the time on directing and co-producing a play I wrote, “Invasion of Cyberspace”. John was at ILM at the time, working on “Mission: Impossible” and he had just finished up “Star Trek: Generations”.
Fast forward to tonight and John received the Oscar for Achievement in Visual Effects for “Pirates of the Carribbean: Dead Man’s Chest”. His other credits as Visual Effects Supervisor or Assistant Supervisor include “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine”, “Hunt for the Red October”, “Hudson Hawk”, “Mission to Mars”, “Deep Blue Sea” and all 3 “Star Wars” prequels. As a computer graphics designer and animation camera operator, he worked on “The Abyss”, “Willow”, “Innerspace” and “The Golden Child”. According to IMDB, he also worked on early versions of Photoshop. He was also nominated for “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl”, “Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace” and “Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones”.