It’s the model in the making


Growing up it was a dream for some kids to be able to do the impossible. Seeing movies like Star Wars that take place in space with special effects filled them with joy, allowing fans to be in different worlds. John Eblan, not only enjoyed these movies, but helped create those beloved worlds.
Last Sunday on Sept. 23, Eblan spoke at the Appleton Museum of Art about the work he’s done throughout his life. Eblan works as a model maker, which involves designing anything ranging from cars, houses, to even space ships in the movies.

Studying architecture when he was younger, Eblan was always paying attention to the tiniest detail of an object he created. Despite all the current success, he spoke to the audience about a certain high school teacher who claimed he wouldn’t make any money from putting that much detail into work. The audience loved this story; little did the teacher know that Eblan would continue on in life helping create movies.
Among the many attendees, there was one by the name of Bobbie Lee Tackett. Having finished her shift at work as a manager, she decided to attend his talk to learn more about model making.
“Being someone who builds large scale props, his talk had really hit my interest,” said Tackett, who frequently likes to the visit the Appleton. “It made me want to go home and start working on something to build.”
Tackett saw the speech as really inspiring, especially as someone who enjoys activities very similar to model making. She hopes to one day make a career out of it just like Eblan.
Eblan showed various clips throughout the talk, showing how models he built appeared on screen compared to in person. For the movie ‘Indian Jones and the Crystal Skull’, he showed model cars he had built that were in the movie. But explaining more, within the movie they enlarged the model cars in size through special effects, adding in sizes that scale.
Trisha Hoos, one of the many audience members, enjoyed being able to listen to him about the many background stories behind the props.
“I definitely want to learn more about how model making is used in movies,” said Hoos. “I was really interested in how they took smaller models and made them appear to be larger on the movie screen.”
Eblan does enjoy working on large films throughout his career, so much as he took model making to a different approach. At some point, he decided to start his own model making company called the “Fx Company” in the town of Ocala, Fl. .
Staying Local, Eblan explained to the audience that there was plenty of perks and benefits to being local working within Ocala.
“It keeps us from having to be pulled into the politics of the industry,” said Eblan. “We get to do art and all the fun aspects ourself. We get to do our art and leave all the stuff we aren’t good at to someone else.”
The last point he had to make about the way to get where he was, his advice was committing to what the audience is trying to achieve. Find something that they love to do, mix that with something they’re good at and try to make a living out of that passion.


Story and photo by Anthony Humenik