KU News Release


Sept. 21, 2009
Contact: Kristi Henderson, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, (785) 864-3663

KU film alumnus wins Emmy award

Chris Martin calls his mom to tell her he's won an Emmy


LAWRENCE — As far as career highlights go, Chris Martin thinks it’s tough to top an Emmy.

The 2003 University of Kansas film graduate, along with his colleagues, picked up one of those coveted golden statues last week for outstanding special effects work on the television series “Heroes.” It’s an accomplishment that enhances an already impressive list of credits.

“I’ve had a relatively short career, but it has been an amazing roller coaster ride,” Martin said.

Although this is the most prestigious award he’s received, Martin is no stranger to receiving recognition for projects he’s been involved with. Before he won the Emmy this year, he and colleagues had been nominated for the award three times before, in addition to nominations from the Visual Effects Society and the Hollywood Post Alliance. As a KU student, he also received three awards from the Kansas Association of Broadcasters.

Martin works for Stargate Studios in Pasadena, Calif. It was there that he landed his first gig, a two-week stint, when he moved to Hollywood from Lawrence.

“My career in L.A. has been a classic case of being in the right place at the right time,” Martin said. “I clicked with the crew and the company right away, and after two weeks they offered me a full-time job working in the office.”

He has gained a variety of special effects skills through successive roles there, most recently serving as compositing supervisor.

Martin describes his job as “Photoshop in motion, at 24 frames per second.” That involves combining multiple images and other graphics into one final image that results in effects like the computer-generated super powers of “Heroes” characters.

In addition to working on “Heroes,” Martin has worked on several other top TV shows, including “24,” Grey’s Anatomy” and “The Office.”

As much as on-the-job training, Martin credits his education at KU for his career success. The skills and theory he learned through courses and the opportunities to produce projects in and outside the classroom have served him well in his career in Los Angeles, he said. In fact, his career in visual effects can be traced to one of his KU projects.

Martin created two informational videos for the KU Libraries, “Library:Revolutions” and “Lord of the Libraries,” spoofing “The Matrix” and “Lord of the Rings.” In order to mimic those films, he had to learn about visual effects.

“Those movies were a lot of fun, and I give a lot of credit to the awesome people at the KU Libraries for giving us the opportunity to make something cool,” Martin said. “I’ve obviously gotten a lot better since then, but I think my experience with visual effects in college really prepared me for a career in this field.”

Martin also served as an officer in KU Filmworks, the student-run production club sponsored by the Department of Film, and produced a television series on KUJH that screened local films.


The University of Kansas is a major comprehensive research and teaching university. University Relations is the central public relations office for KU's Lawrence campus.

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