The Spotlight Shines on Joseph Lawson

Joe Lawson is the master of visual effects averaging between a dozen to twenty films a year and has done every possible effect in all genres.  Whether he’s the VFX supervisor or directing, each film is special and unique to him.  Producer, Director, Writer Bill Dever praises Lawson’s work, “Joe is a passionate filmmaker, his vision, focus and sense of cinema is top notch.  Joe has a unique sense of story and structure which firmly transcends his low budget roots.”

bloodlakeLawson’s team provided the terrifying killer lampreys in James Cullen Bressack’s Blood Lake, “Joe is a super talented filmmaker that truly cares about the end product. On Blood Lake Joe was one of my greatest friends and allies. He really helped ensure we had the coolest final product. His knowledge of VFX is invaluable. I have a lot of love for him,” Bressack shared.

 MEGASHARK4_largeHere’s just a sample of Lawson’s upcoming or recently released films.

 Mega Shark vs. Kolossus
Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No!
San Andreas Quake
They Want Dick Dickster
Jurassic City
Zombie Killers: Elephant’s Graveyard


 GRIMMJeremy Inman directed and wrote Avengers Grimm and was fortunate to have the Lawson SFX team on board as Inman tells, “Joe is great. I’ve only been able to work with him directly on Avengers Grimm but both he and his team were extremely helpful and encouraging. Glenn Campbell and Sandell Stangl were especially helpful on Grimm. They know how to get these movies done in a pinch and they’re always ready with an idea to make something doable by boiling it down to what the story needs to keep going. And he’s just a super nice guy. He’s always got time for a question or joke. I can’t wait to work with him again.”

ARDENNES_largeLawson was extremely considerate to provide highlights of his career, films, and motivation.

Over the past five years Joe Lawson has been the visual effects supervisor at The Global Asylum leading a team on almost 100 visual effects films… everything from Rise of the Zombies and the Megashark movies to the cultural smash hit Sharknado films on Syfy where Joe’s visual effects kill numerous celebrities including the beheading of George R.R. Martin in Sharknado 3. He also provides visual effects through his own business, Lawson Digital Arts, to independent film makers such as Fred Olen Ray (Spidora and Abner, The Invisible Dog), Chris Olen Ray (Silicon Assassin and They Want Dick Dickster), Sean Cain (Jurassic City) and Harrison Smith (Zombie Killers: Elephant’s Graveyard) along with upcoming films Lavalantula, Stormageddon, Like A Bat Outta Hell and Terror Birds. Joe has worked at such industry luminaries as Digital Domain, Rhythm & Hues, Foundation Imaging (Roughnecks), Eden FX (Enterprise), Zoic, Radical 3D (Animal Armageddon and Brace for Impact: The Sully Sullenberger Story) and Universal (Caprica)

In addition Joe has followed his own directing muse on Asylum films Nazis at the Center of the Earth, Clash of the Empires, Age of Dinosaurs, Alone for Christmas and the World War 2 film Ardennes Fury which he pitched the original story for.  The shoot for Clash involved over a month David Lean-like in Cambodia braving monsoons, wildlife and more.

His interests are wide ranging (art,writing, travel and, of course, watching movies) as are his influences citing directors from Steven Spielberg to John Carpenter, Peter Jackson to Stanley Kubrick, David Lean to Robert Rodriguez.  He is currently writing several films including a children’s movie in-production “The Golden Panda”.


Before moving to California for Roughnecks: The Starship Trooper Chronicles (where he rose from being an animator to CG directing an episode) Joe lived in Montana running the KRTV-3 television production department in addition to operating his own interactive touchscreen and animation business, being a radio DJ and appearing on local television as the number one rated weather announcer for nearly ten years. 

His other claim to fame is that while working at Rhythm and Hues he had the privilege of one shot on The Return of the King:  doing what one special edition disc commentator said everyone else wanted to do:  “Kill the director!”…  which Joe did by animating an arrow into Peter Jackson’s heart.

Along with this busy schedule he lives in Southern California with his beautiful and patient bride Kelly, daughter Michayla and son Joey who at 15 is following in his Dad’s footsteps having already done his own short films and VFX on several productions including Sharknado 3.

Thanks again to Mr. Lawson for providing all that amazing information.