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Finding Aid of the Rick Carter Collection 2289
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Conditions Governing Access
  • Biographical Note
  • Scope and Content
  • Organization
  • Conditions Governing Use

  • Title: Rick Carter Collection
    Collection number: 2289
    Contributing Institution: USC Libraries Cinematic Arts Library
    Language of Material: English
    Physical Description: 300.0 Linear feet 261 boxes
    Date (inclusive): 1976-2005
    Abstract: Collection contains the papers of production designer Rick Carter (b. 1952), who frequently works with directors Robert Zemeckis and Steven Spielberg. Movies represented in this collection include Jurassic Park and Forrest Gump.
    creator: Bell, John, 1951-
    creator: Carter, Rick, 1950-
    creator: Fangorn
    creator: Hargreaves, Sean
    creator: Lowery, David, 1959-
    creator: Manser, Warren, (Warren Christopher)
    creator: Teegarden, Jim
    creator: Verreaux, Edward

    Conditions Governing Access

    COLLECTION STORED OFF-SITE. Advance notice required for access.

    Biographical Note

    Rick Carter was born in California on March 24, 1950. He graduated from the University of California, Santa Cruz, in 1974 with a degree in sociology and art. His career started in mid-1970s, when he worked as an art director or illustrator on various feature films and TV mini-series, including Bound For Glory, The Postman Always Rings Twice and The Winds of War. In 1982, he was the Production Designer for Disney's 3D film Magic Journeys, which played at Walt Disney World in Florida until 1993 and at Disneyland until 1986. Carter first worked with Steven Spielberg when he served as the Art Director for the movie The Goonies, which was written by Spielberg, in 1984. The next year, Spielberg hired Carter to be the Production Designer for his TV series Amazing Stories, which is the only TV series Carter has ever worked on.
    While working on Amazing Stories, Carter worked for the first time with Robert Zemeckis, who directed two of the series' episodes. For the next twenty-five years, Carter worked almost exclusively on movies being directed by either Spielberg or Zemeckis. These movies included Back to the Future II and III, Jurassic Park, The Lost World, War of the Worlds, Munich and Forrest Gump. Carter was nominated for the Best Art Direction-Set Direction Academy Award in 1995 for his work on Forrest Gump. In 2010, Carter won the Academy Award for Best Achievement in Art Direction for his work for James Cameron on Avatar.

    Scope and Content

    This collection contains the papers created and maintained by Rick Carter while working as a production designer on a variety of films and one television show, including Back to the Future II and III, Jurassic Park, The Lost World, War of the Worlds, Munich, Polar Express, and Forrest Gump. These papers include storyboards, photographs, negatives, set designs and plans, production notes and memoranda, scripts, film treatments, artwork and concept art. Also included in this collection are records that document that early production stages of works that were never actually produced, including Bad Trout, Interface Helen of Troy: EXO, and The Diamond as Big as the Ritz. Also included in this collection are DVDs, VHS and laserdisc recordings of completed film.
    Please see the scope and content notes for individual series for more information.


    The Rick Carter Collection is organized into 26 series, most of which have been further organized into subseries. Each series that consists solely of papers from an individual movie (Series 1-26) has been organized into the following subseries (depending on what papers are present in the series): Production Files, Scripts, Research Files, Location Files, Set & Prop Design, Character (or Creature) Design, Storyboards, Press & Publicity, Merchandise & Memorabilia, Negatives, Photographs, Digital Media, Analog Media, Oversized Art. The series Miscellaneous Projects and Unproduced Projects are organized into subseries based on movie or project. Oversized materials are organized in boxes by size; it is assumed that a researcher will be able to tell the difference between the various films within a box. However, to avoid confusion, artwork and plans from Jurassic Park and The Lost World are not found in the same box without identification. Photographs and the negatives from which they were produced have been assigned reel numbers in the absence of other identifying information (indicated by square brackets).
    The arrangement scheme for the collection refined the original order of the collection (which was based loosely on movie).
    1. Magic Journeys
    2. The Adventures of Buckaroo Bonzai Across the Eighth Dimension
    3. Goonies
    4. Amazing Stories
    5. Talking Walls
    6. Empire of the Sun
    7. Rain Man
    8. Three Fugitives
    9. Back to the Future II
    10. Back to the Future III
    11. Death Becomes Her
    12. What Lies Beneath
    13. Jurassic Park
    14. Forrest Gump
    15. The Lost World: Jurassic Park
    16. Contact
    17. Amistad
    18. Cast Away
    19. Artificial Intelligence: A.I.
    20. Polar Express
    21. War of the Worlds
    22. Munich
    23. Miscellaneous Projects
    24. Unproduced Projects
    25. Personal Papers
    26. Dreamworks SKG

    Conditions Governing Use

    All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Cinematic Arts Librarian. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Cinematic Arts Library as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Baker, Chris, 1960- -- Archives
    Bell, John, 1951- -- Archives
    Carter, Rick, 1950- -- Archives
    Dreamworks Pictures. -- Archives
    Fangorn -- Archives
    Hargreaves, Sean -- Archives
    Industrial Light and Magic. (Studio) -- Archives
    Lowery, David, 1959- -- Archives
    Manser, Warren, (Warren Christopher) -- Archives
    Spielberg, Steven, 1946- -- Archives
    Teegarden, Jim -- Archives
    Verreaux, Edward -- Archives
    Zemeckis, Robert, 1952- -- Archives
    A. I. artificial intelligence (Motion picture)
    Action and adventure films--Archival resources
    Amistad (Motion picture) Back to the future part II (Motion picture) Back to the future part III (Motion picture)
    Cast away (Motion picture)
    Cinematography--Special effects--Archival resources
    Computer animation--Archival resources
    Computer drawing--Special effects--Archival resources
    Costume design--Archival resources
    Dinosaurs in motion pictures--Archival resources
    Feature films--Archival resources
    Film adaptations--United States--Archival resources
    Forrest Gump (Motion picture)
    Future in motion pictures--Archival resources
    Hard drives
    Historical films--Archival resources
    Jurassic Park (Motion picture) Lost world, Jurassic Park (Motion picture)
    Motion picture art directors--Archival resources
    Motion picture locations--Archival resources
    Motion picture set designers--California--Los Angeles--Archival resources
    Motion picture studios--Archival resources
    Motion pictures (visual works)
    Motion pictures and architecture--Archival resources
    Motion pictures--Setting and scenery--Archival resources
    Munich (Motion picture)
    Negatives (photographic)
    Polar Express (Motion picture) Rain man (Motion picture)
    Robots in motion pictures--Archival resources
    Science fiction films--United States--Archival resources
    Science fiction television programs--United States--Archival resources
    Science fiction--Film adaptations--Archival resources
    Slides (photographs)
    Unbuilt architectural projects--Archival resources