"Many things have drawn me to do what I do most of them stemming from childhood interests."\n\n\n\nCreative director & CEO of Creature Technology Co., Sonny Tilders\u2019 career has spanned some 25 years in which he has designed and built creatures and contraptions, models and special effects for the film and theatrical industries.\n\n\n\nFrom its theatrical roots Creature Technology Co. has evolved and expanded over its first 12 years, bringing its technologically advanced animatronic creature and puppet design to a variety of entertainment fields.\n\n\n\nIn 2014, Creature Technology Co. successfully designed and built 3 giant animatronic mascots for the opening and closing ceremonies of the Sochi Winter Olympics, witnessed by billions. \n\n\n\nMore recently the company has commenced a significant collaboration with Universal Creative to bring their remarkable creations to theme parks around the world \n\n\n\nWhat motivated you to do what you do today?\n\n\n\nMany things have drawn me to do what I do most of them stemming from childhood interests. \n\n\n\nNatural history, magic and the art of illusion, mechanical contraptions \u2013 these things have always held a fascination for me. \n\n\n\nI have a natural curiosity for how things work whether they be living or man-made. \n\n\n\nMy job combines all these with an adult found passion for design and making. \n\n\n\nThe idea that in a workshop with a few materials and tools one can conjure up the illusion of life is a very compelling one for me.\n\n\n\nHow do you create creatures that appeal to both adults and children?\n\n\n\nI think creatures can appeal to both equally \u2013 that is to say an adult never loses their childhood attraction to puppets \u2013 the willingness to suspend disbelief and see life in animated creatures is one that most adults freely give in to. \n\n\n\n\n\n\n\nWhat is the creative process that passes from the idea to its realisation? What are the main stages and challenges?\n\n\n\nThe process of creating animatronic creatures demands that the creative and technical process are heavily intertwined from the the very first stages through to completion. \n\n\n\nPuppetry is a physical medium and unlike our friends in digital animation the laws of physics govern what is possible and practical. \n\n\n\nCreativity needs to work within these constraints at the same time pushing the boundary\u2019s of what is possible to ensure the illusion is powerful and compelling.\n\n\n\nDo you\nimagine a time when your creations will move freely in the streets or parks,\nlike in Jurassic Park? I think, for example, of the progress made by the robots\nof Boston Dynamics. Do you see similarities with what you do?\n\n\n\nYes the work Boston Dynamics do is astounding. \n\n\n\nIt\u2019s important to distinguish the work they do from that of Creature Technology. \n\n\n\nIt may look similar but we are motivated by totally different objectives. \n\n\n\nWe are driven to create the illusion of life.\n\n\n\nOur objective is not to fool the guest but to draw them in by subtle and sublime movement and the qualities of character and emotion to allow them to suspend disbelief and use their imagination to see life in our creations.\n\n\n\nThe techniques we use could be complex and technical but they could equally be simple and low tech \u2013 it doesn\u2019t matter \u2013 as long as they support the illusion.\n\n\n\nBoston Dynamics, by imitating the movement of living creatures are seeking to create new modes of transportation and mechanical aptitude.\n\n\n\nThe driver for them it seems is technology and its practical application. \n\n\n\nThe illusion of life is a by-product rather than a goal.\n\n\n\nThe worlds will no doubt collide in the future but cost will be a key factor in just how quickly this may happen. \n\n\n\nWhilst there\u2019s money in entertainment it\u2019s nothing compared to the deep pockets of the military.\n\n\n\nWhat are the characteristics you are looking for in a young designer who would like to work at Creature Technology Co.?\n\n\n\nWe have many design roles at CTC from technical and creative disciplines.\n\n\n\nWhat I look for in designers from either end of the spectrum is a willingness to crossover from one to the other. \n\n\n\nIn other words, the best technicians for us are ones that think creatively and the best creative artists are the ones that have the ability to think technically. \n\n\n\nIt is the combination of these mindsets that makes the best integrated designs.\n\n\n\nHow do you\nthink BODW can foster the change and dialogue of Asia\u2019s design industry?\n\n\n\nI don\u2019t know that much about the design industry in Asia but what I can say is that I found BODW to be an exciting and engaging forum for all sorts of design disciplines. \n\n\n\nI was energised by what I saw and by the people I met. \n\n\n\nOutlets for creative energy such as this are key if you want to foster a healthy design industry. \n\n\n\nCreativity can have a wonderful snow ball effect \u2013 one person\u2019s idea builds on another and so on, but this can only happen if people are willing to share not only their work but also their process, their challenges and at least some of their secrets.