Biography for Valerie Johnson-Redrow
Producer
King Kong 360-3D

"You have to be well-rounded in the new media world. Our business works with the biggest images (King Kong 360-3D is about the size of 3 IMAX screens) down to the smallest (mobile) images."

Valerie Johnson-Redrow is one of the pioneering special venue members of the PGA New Media Council. She was a successful producer in the theme park industry when interactivity invaded the business and carried her along with it.

Her early career focus was animal behavior. She began by writing shows and training animals in theme parks, including Six Flags and the Bronx Zoo. After traveling to Europe to work on film projects, she moved back to California in 1987 to pitch her brand of productions to Hollywood. She's been there ever since.

Her first traditional production job was with Ralph Andrews at his game show production company. Johnson-Redrow supplemented her on-the-job training with UCLA courses, which led to a production coordinator position for Columbia Pictures. "I have 2 mentors: Producer David Brown taught me volumes about film production. He referred me to Irwin Winkler- who I worked with in Paris and New York on 'Round Midnight', for which Dexter Gordon was nominated for an Oscar."

Shortly after arriving in LA, she took a job at Disney. "I was at Disney when the personal computer took over. I soon heard about Imagineers and how much fun they had. I applied and was hired on the team for the Disney/MGM studios in Florida. They needed interactive media producers that knew about traditional media. I was hired as a Show Producer."

For her first project there, she developed an interactive show called 'Superstar Television'. The venue married a live feed of guests on stage being videotaped with playback from a laser disk for the canned part of the show. The live action was composited with the feed. For example, they incorporated guests appearing in 'I Love Lucy'. Johnson-Redrow had fun at this new career, that's for sure, even altering existing show footage and shooting new footage for 'Golden Girls' for one of the experiences.

Her last film compositing project for Disney was 'Body Wars', a simulator ride where the guest was shrunk to participate - similar to the environment in 'Fantastic Voyage'. For this project, she produced content with ILM.

She left Disney in 1995 to be a media producer for Metreon, where she produced location-based entertainment for Sony Development. "I seem to prefer the science projects. I produced a 3D film with David McCauley about his hugely successful 'The Way Things Work" combining film, cell animation and CG - 3 screens with 3-D in the middle! I was thrilled to work with Maurice Sendak to re-envision 'Where The Wild Things Are'. I also produced the pre-show for an interactive game called 'Quaternia'."

Johnson-Redrow went back to Disney in 2005 and produced a prototype that used handheld devices at the theme parks.

"Since then, I've worked with WETA Digital to produce Peter Jackson's 'King Kong 360 3D' experience for Universal Studios. It opened 2 years ago and was my last theme park project. It was supposed to be a redo of the original animatronic attraction, but at Universal's suggestion, Peter loved the idea of making it an all media experience. He was in agreement that digital media was ahead of animatronics. We created a 3D attraction made entirely from WETA digital media. My favorite experience was smuggling vials of scent to New Zealand for a review with Peter. Jennifer Sauer (the Creative Director) and I met with Peter so that he could make a decision on what the jungle and the dinosaur breath should smell like!"

In 2012, Johnson-Redrow was the VFX producer for MacGillivray Freeman Films' "The Arctic", and she's currently a producer working on attractions for a theme park in China.