Posted July 18th, 2011
By now you've no doubt heard about the Pimp My Broom Free Broom Giveaway? Did you know that the broom being given away was made without any magic? It wasn't even made by a wizard.
Well, not a wizard in the proper sense of the word.
Clark Schaffer works in the non-magical world, creating miniatures, models, props and other kinds of visual effects for non-wizard movies. A visual effect is a non-wizard way of making things appear that are not actually there, and not possible without the use of spells and charms.
Clark Schaffer is a visual effects supervisor. And he is in charge of approximating magic. Non-wizards have large imaginations but limited abilities in terms of magic. So when they come up with an idea that they cannot create in reality, Schaffer finds a way to replicate what the actual thing would be like in order to reproduce the same effect.
Schaffer has to go to some pretty extreme measures to do what we in the wizarding world could accomplish with a few simple spells. Recently in order to make a non-wizard actor look like someone else he had to take a mold of the actors face, design a new face, create features from a material known as latex (a rubber based material that can be formed into various shapes and glued onto their faces). Attaching the faux face, which would have taken any schoolyard prankster only a matter of seconds and a well-aimed Mimicatus jinx, took Schaffer more than 2 hours.
Schaffer, whose boundless energy and continuously smile make you wonder if he doesn't have a touch of wizard in him, has worked with all of the major non-wizard production companies and has performed his magic on more than 40 feature films including Iron Man, Batmans Forever and Returns, Die Hard, Mortal Kombat and U-571. While most of you who have not pursued advanced non-wizarding studies will no doubt be unfamiliar with these works, we have been assured that to other non-wizards, being associated with these films is actually rather impressive.
So how does a non-magical movie magician get paired up with a magic broom company?
When Winston Hadley, Founder and CEO of Pimp My Broom and his team of Winkers (wizarding thinkers) set out to design a broom that would redefine the market, they felt they needed some non-traditional inspiration. "With broom making as with anything sometimes you have to think out of the box. Way out of the box," remarked Hadley in a recent press conference, referring in part to the original inspiration behind their Expedius line of brooms.
Having clearly defined the box outside of which they were to think, Hadley and co set out to find inspiration. Specialists in every field imaginable were consulted. Excursions to far off, mystical lands were undertaken. Creativity potions were ingested in possibly dangerous quantities. And in the end, the answer came when they weren't even looking for it.
It was Tobias Flint, Pimp My Broom's COO, who chanced upon Clark Schaffer. Flint's son was working on a paper on Comic Books and the difference between super powers in the non-wizarding world and real magic. To help his son out Flint took him to see Iron Man, the story of a rich man who suffers a severe chest injury and builds a magical suit that gives him powers, like the ability to fly.
"I remember being really impressed by the whole process of the machine, and set out to learn more about it," said Flint, who originally majored in non-wizarding studies before pursuing his doctorate in wizarding operations. Flints search led him to Clark Schaffer and Schaffer Studio.
"Tobias showed up at my studio one day and asked me to design a flying broom," Schaffer commented. At first I wasn't sure if he was asking for an actual broom or just a prop, and then I was really surprised when he refused to give me a phone number or email address. But hey, a gig's a gig." Schaffer took the little information he was given and went to work.
It only took Schaffer three days to come up with a design and build a broom from scratch. Without a background in magic lore or broom manufacturing Schaffer was able to attack the problem without any preconceptions. Typically any change you make to one part of a magic broom has to be balanced out somewhere else. If you make the handle a different size you have to adjust the tail and change the size and positioning of the comfort charm. Clark was able to conceive of the whole broom from scratch," Hadley remarked, "He came up with an approach to building that was holistic, all parts and processes informed by the final product."
The process used by Clark Schaffer in his prototype broom were eventually developed and refined into Pimp My Broom's unique unibody enchantment approach to magic broom manufacturing.
And now you have a chance to win this one of a kind creation by the special effects magician Clark Schaffer. All you have to do is customize a broom and share it on one of your social networks and you will be automatically entered into a random drawing.