Make Small Things Well
We'd recommend making small things well, and then expand sophistication and scale once you gain confidence. Wounds and casualty effects are a good way to begin, because if you do make pieces to stick on, and things go a little wrong, you can smother a bit of blood or bruising over the offending edge or error. Then, as you get better, try to step away gradually from gore and try to hide your efforts less behind the red stuff.
Noses are great things to do, and if you can do a flawless nose which looks great, the scale up to noses and eyebags. Then cheeks, chin and a neck. If the nose isn’t right, then figure that first. Nobody worth their salt is impressed with huge full body appliances painted badly or with terrible edges if it doesn't display a high level of skill. So get that skill by not spreading yourself too thin on big makeup jobs.
Looking at the work of the current masters of the trade is a great way to be inspired (and sometimes a little upset by how good the work can be) and then being able to place yourself more accurately on a continuum - where do you sit on the scale? It’s well worth checking these artists out if you haven’t yet seen any of their stuff. This is by no means a complete list - no doubt I will be blasted for the glaring omissions but it serves to start you off.
Cap plastic (not ‘cat plastic’ as some have misheard) is a flexible plastic usually supplied as a concentrated thick liquid, and thinned down with solvents for use either by conventional brushing or with an airbrush. Naturally, for airbrushing it needs to be thinned considerably to avoid blocking the fine nozzle. Clean the airbrush out after with the appropriate solvent.
Traditionally, bald cap plastic was acetone based and used to pretty much just make bald caps (although latex can also be used very successfully for bald caps), and the edges could be melted with acetone.
As silicone appliances began to use bald cap plastic as an encapsulant, so it was that more cap plastic was being used on the face instead of just as bald caps. The notion of a bald cap material which could be thinned with alcohol came about as a much less aggressive solvent to use on the skin.
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In the second and final part of the interview with Geoff Portass, we talk more Ken Russel, Pinhead and FX stories plus some insights into the right way to go about learning some of this crazy stuff.
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Check out Stuart's Pinewood Studios workshops this year - dates on the website: http://www.learnmakeupeffects.com/workshops/
Hey folks, it’s just me today as Todd is pretty sick with a bad cold, so get well soon Todd. Hope you get fixed up and back on track soon.
We’ve got a great interview with someone who was the first person I ever got in touch with. Geoff Portass started Image Animation with business partner Bob Keen, and the company worked on some iconic genre movies and shows in the late 80’s and early 90’s. They also spawned the careers of some of the best known fx artists working today.
I still have my letters from 1990 when Geoff replied to my questions when I was 16! I sent foam samples of foam latex I had made at home and asked about the makeup they used and replied every time. Check the blog post to see these
I also remember meeting Nick Dudman at my college in 1993, when I basically cornered him for half an hour and asked him all these questions that nobody else could answer – pre Goole etc. I then went on to work for Nick on a few Harry Potter and Mummy movies.
Anyhow, I drove up to Geoff’s place and we chatted for a good few hours and I had to split this into two podcasts, as there was so much material and it seemed to fall into two logical topics – the film stuff and the teaching stuff. So, this is part 1 which looks at the film stuff and the next episode will be looking at the teaching stuff too.
Just a quick mention of some new workshops coming up at Pinewood studios in the next few months, keep an eye out for announcements and dates on the workshop page of the website:
Also, just to remind you that we’d love to hear from you. Feedback is always welcome and as we normally look at solutions to problems (hence the podcast being called Battles with bits of Rubber).
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Finally, if you like the podcast please consider leaving a review on iTunes. It's the best way you can help us out, after all if you enjoy it then hopefully kindred spirits will.