In my experience, you can count on several different demographics to have a poor grasp on technology (Internet, computers, gadgets, and video games). One of those groups are celebrities. For the most part, every single time I hear an actor or actress profess that they indeed play video games, I have a hard time believing it. Playing the default pre-loaded game on your cell phone does not count as being a “gamer”. There are exceptions of course, notable Vin Diesel, who reportedly has a pretty good WoW character.

The other group that seems to be bad with technology are senior citizens. I think we’ve all had the experience with teaching either our parents or grandparents on how to use a computer. I’m still quite surprised my own mother knows how to e-mail. Recently, she’s started to watch her “stories” with streaming video. For the most part though, you’ll be hard pressed to find a senior who can handle his or her way around a computer.

So imagine if you will, the odds of an older celebrity being tech savvy. It’s probably pretty low, which would be a safe guess. There is at least one exception, which I found to my surprise. Did you know at the age of 83, actor Dick Van Dyke is a big fan of computer graphics and animation, and has dabbled in the industry himself? Apparently, he became fascinated with CG many years ago and decided to try it himself. To give you an idea of how far back he goes, Van Dyke used an Amiga to craft some of his work. It’s weird to think that Dick Van Dyke and myself have been using computers for almost the same amount of time.

For Van Dyke, the hobby turned into a real paying job when he was working on his long running show Diagnosis: Murder. For one episode, the budget fell short for a real, practical special effect. Van Dyke, in an effort to make the episode better, filmed some background plate and then went home to work on the CG himself. The shot wound up being a CG motorcycle crashing spectacularly. He was paid $200 for his effort.

Van Dyke has attended the CG conference SIGGRAPH and continues visit various CG-related trade shows. You can read more about his CG stories here and here.

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