Tim McGovern – Chief Creative Officer and Writer/Director

Tim McGovern has been doing award-winning, groundbreaking work in the visual effects and computer animation industry for more than twenty years. In addition to an Academy Award in 1990 for Visual Effects in the movie, Total Recall, Tim garnered five Clios, a Hugo and a Mobius, and grew Sony Picture Imagework’s from eight to 250 employees. A testament to Tim’s eye for talent is that among the employees he has hired, 4 went on to win Academy Awards.

His career began at ABC, where he was recognized for his work in animation and on-air graphic design. He joined the legendary Robert Abel & Associates to work with computer-controlled cameras and computer-generated imagery and within six months, was working with a team of four to create a fifty-five second sequence of computer animation for Walt Disney’s Tron.  During this time, Tim won five Clios, one for a ground-breaking TV commercial called Sexy Robot. It aired during the Super Bowl in 1985. Sexy Robot was the first time human motion had ever been applied to a computer generated character for television or motion pictures and it created a sensation with the Super Bowl TV audience.

In 1987, Tim joined MetroLight Studios as a founding member and Head of Production. He spent five years with MetroLight as a Visual Effects Supervisor where he worked with directors James Cameron, David Lynch and Paul Verhoeven.

In 1989, Tim directed the computer animated Skeleton Sequence for Carolco Pictures’ Total Recall. This work featured fluid and realistic motion of nine humans and one dog. His work won the 1990 Academy Award For Visual Effects. Tim was the first Visual Effects Supervisor with a CG or digital background to have his work recognized with an Academy Award.

In 1992, Tim became a founding member, Senior V.P. of Creative and Technical Affairs, and Senior Visual Effects supervisor at Sony Pictures Imageworks.  He grew the company from eight employees to over two hundred and fifty, contributing to over fifty successful feature films, including SpeedThe NetWolfIn The Line Of FireJames and the Giant Peach and Johnny Mnemonic. Tim personally supervised Last Action HeroHideawayVirtuosityMoney TrainThe Ghost And The Darkness and As Good As It Gets. While at Sony, Tim also contributed heavily to the creative development of several pictures including Swat, with producer Joe Caracciolo.

Since leaving Sony, Tim has worked as an independent Visual Effects Supervisor for, among others, directors Peter Hyams, Kurt Wimmer and Rupert Wainwright. He has also developed several live action and animation screenplays as co-writer and/or writer/director, including Johnny Mnemonic 2 with producer Neil Canton at Screen Gems, a division of Sony Pictures Entertainment.

In December 2007, Tim was appointed to the Steering Committee for the visual effects branch of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, the organization that awards the Oscars. Tim has been an elected member of the Board of Directors for the Visual Effects Society (VES – an honorary society with more than 2200 members worldwide) for nine of the last eleven years. In January 2007, Tim was elected Vice-Chair of the Board of Directors for the VES. Previously, he was co-chair of the VES Awards Committee for five years. He also produced and hosted the Fourth Annual VES Awards Show, which was televised on HD Net in April 2006. In 2010 he was appointed Chair of the VES Committee for Outreach to Developing Regions. Additionally, he is a member of the Advisory Board to the President of the San Francisco Academy of Art University and serves on the Advisory Board for the Image College of Art, Animation, and Technology (ICAAT). ICAAT is located in Chennai, Tamilnadu, India.

Tim has given more than forty talks in the US, Japan, Europe, and India on visual effects and animation topics. He has also served as an expert witness in legal proceedings regarding visual effects patent issues.


Credits—Motion Pictures and Visual Effects

A Sound of Thunder — Warner Bros.

Feardotcom — Columbia Pictures

Trapped — Sony Pictures

Equilibrium — Miramax

Down — First Floor Features

Supernova — MGM/UA

Stigmata — MGM/UA

As Good As It Gets — TriStar Pictures

The Ghost And The Darkness — Paramount

Money Train — Columbia Pictures

Virtuosity — Paramount Pictures

Hideaway — TriStar Pictures

I Believe — Test for Tristar Television

Look Who’s Talking Now — Tristar Pictures

So I Married An Axe Murderer — Tristar

Last Action Hero — Columbia Pictures

Total Recall — TriStar Winner of the 1990 ACADEMY AWARD For Special Visual Effects

Tron — Walt Disney Pictures



1990   ACADEMY AWARD Total Recall – Special Achievement in Visual Effects

1988   CLIO   Hawaiian Punch – US TV / Cinema – Animation, Computer

1987   CLIO Benson & Hedges Gold POWER – Int’l TV/Cinema, Best Graphics

1985   HUGO   Sexy Robot – Chicago International Film Festival, Best Special Effects

1985   MOBIUS  Sexy Robot – US TV & Radio Commercial, Best of Festival

1985   CLIO Sexy Robot – US TV / CINEMA, Best Animation-Computer

1983   CLIO 7-Up Pacman – International TV / Cinema, Best Beverages

1983   CLIO 7-Up Pacman – International TV / Cinema, Best Graphics

1981   CLIO NBC Sunday Night at the Movies – US TV/Cinema Finalist


Memberships in Associations

Academy Motion Picture Arts & Sciences Member

Steering Committee of AMPAS Visual Effects Branch

Visual Effects Society Member

VES Board of Directors Member

Vice-chair, Co-chair of VES Awards Committee

Member of VES Strategic Planning Committee

Chair VES Committee for Outreach to Developing Regions



Doctorate of Humane Letters (Honorary) – San Francisco Academy of Art University

University of Illinois at Chicago – Bachelor of Arts

Double Major in Graphic Design and Photography with a Minor in Art History – Suma Cum Laude


Recent Speaking Engagements

2012  DICON – Keynote Address, Seoul, South Korea

2012   International Institute of Film Financing, LA, CA – Kicking It Up a Notch: Crowdfunding a $100 Million Animated Feature Film

2010   FICCI FRAMES Mumbai, India – Animation & VFX in the Box Office

2010   Animazing Spotlight Festival, LA, CA – The Magic of Robert Abel & Associates

2009   5D Conference on Immersive Design, Cal State University Long Beach – Fast & Fantastic – 3D Visual Effects

2008   FICCI US-India Investment Seminar & Business Expo, LA, CA – The Global Business of Animation & VFX

2007   VES Tour of India, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Chennai – What India Needs Now

2006   VES 4th Annual Awards Dinner, Master of Ceremonies, Hollywood – How We Got Here

2005   VEC Launch, Chennai, India – The History of CG VFX in Film

2005   FRAMES 2005, Mumbai, India – The History of CG VFX in Film

2004   ICAAT Chennai, Trichur, Hydrabad, Bangalore, Chennai India – The History of CG VFX in Film

2002   ACADEMY of ART University, San Francisco, CA – The History of CG VFX in Film