He's worked with Alien director Ridley Scott and helped make the hit movie Aquaman come to life, but Katoomba's Matt Hatton will share his film-making insights in Springwood on Saturday, July 13.
The movie artist will take part in an hour-long panel exploring the world of sci-fi film-making at the pop culture event, HubCon.
It's a topic Hatton is more than qualified to wax lyrical about. With colleague Dane Hallett, he worked on the 2017 Ridley Scott film, Alien: Covenant, creating the drawings by David the android (played by Michael Fassbender).
"I think it was the hardest we've ever worked, but it was fun at the same time," he said of the experience.
Fan interest in the pair's intricate David drawings was so strong they released a two-volume publication featuring more than 200 of the artworks last year.
Hatton's Alien: Covenant experience saw him spend time on set with the famed director, Scott. The Oscar winner even took time out briefly to pose for a photo with the two artists.
"Professionally it was so lovely of him [to do that], and as fans since childhood, and growing up on the first Alien movie, we were sort of out of our skins. It was a pretty fantastic experience."
More recently, Hatton worked as a storyboard artist on the hit DC superhero movie, Aquaman. Aussie director James Wan, of Saw horror franchise fame, created a collaborative atmosphere on the movie, he said.
"James was really fantastic with all the [story]boarding guys. We had a great time."
The father-of three is currently working as a storyboard artist on a new big screen version of The Invisible Man, directed by Saw writer Leigh Whannell and starring Elizabeth Moss.
A Katoomba resident for more than 20 years, Hatton started his career in advertising before switching to movies. He credits Australian director Alex Proyas for giving him his break in the film industry when both men were working on television commercials. Hatton went on to work on the Proyas-helmed movies Garage Days, I, Robot, and Gods of Egypt.
"I'd always loved movies and animation and comics. It just took me a bit longer to segue into it," he said.
Growing up in Bankstown and later Narellan, Hatton's childhood pop culture influences included Jason and the Argonauts, Godzilla, and the work of Jim Henson. "And then when I was eight, Star Wars blew my mind," he said.
The comic fan graduated from John Therry Catholic High School in Year 10 to study graphic design at TAFE. While the industry has changed exponentially since then, he believes this grounding has stood him in good stead.
"Learning the absolute basics in an old school way and then applying them digitally is a great way to go," he said.
The rise of social media certainly wasn't an issue when Hatton left high school. He is strongly anti-spoiler ("Even with classic movies, there will always be a generation growing up that hasn't seen them") and wary of vitriolic "fans" wielding too much influence.
But Hatton is quick to praise social media for bringing benefits to fandom.
"One thing that's wonderful about social media is the sharing of information is open. When I started out, illustrators wouldn't tell you how they did something because it was their bread and butter and it took them 10 or 20 years to refine their style... That's why I Iike things like these cons because it's about sharing - and you're all there because you're enthusiastic about something and you love something."
Matt Hatton will be joined by Blue Mountains film-maker Tom Taylor (The Last Ark) in a panel conversation hosted by Stephanie Bendixsen at 6pm on Saturday, July 13. Titled "Exploring Other Worlds: The Art of Sci-fi Filmmaking", the panel will be held at the Blue Mountains Community Hub.