Friday, 3 January 2014

In the middle of the night...

The past few days I've been struggling to sleep. Whether it's because I'm worried about my current situation with having no job and worrying that I'll run out of money or that I just can't stop my mind from racing I don't know. Last night was particularly bad so after over an hour waiting for sleep to embrace me I got up and went to my workshop.

I decided to sculpt. Nothing in particular, and I had no plan or idea about what I wanted to do. No reference pictures or anything - which hasn't yielded the best results. I have a polystyrene head (the type that look a bit like a mannequin's head and shoulders) that I coated with Le Beau Touche. I just need to build it up into something. Then the plan is to cast it. This isn't for a project or anything in particular, just for practice for sculpting.

Well, anyway I didn't do much, just added an angry / demon type brow, made the nose bigger and hooked, added lips and made the chin more defined and pointed. After that I went back to bed and was able to get a bit more sleep.

Maybe creativity is the cure for insomnia?

Tuesday, 31 December 2013

2013 - A Rollercoaster

Well, 2013 is reaching it's twilight and the sun of opportunity is setting so it's about time for a review of the past 12 months.
It's gone very quickly to say the least and it feels like only yesterday (excuse the enormous cliché) that I was scribbling down my hopes for 2013.

It's been a tough couple of months as I was made redundant in October and although I found a temp to perm role a couple of days later, that didn't work out and so I found myself unemployed 2 weeks before Christmas. In fact I'm currently writing this whilst sat, waiting to sign on at the Job centre - good times...

Also, the world has lost some brilliant souls this year. Firstly my lovely partner's (Dave) Uncle Keith who was such a great person and a joy to know - taken so suddenly. Also, an old friend of mine,  Roger Holyoake. Although sad that he has gone he went the way I want to, relaxed and having a good time on holiday. He was also one of the few people who was kind to me as I was growing up in foster care. May you both rest peacefully wherever you have gone now.          

But while the past few months haven't been the best, I have accomplished quite a lot this year and I probably could have accomplished more if I had tried harder. Ahhh my good friend hindsight...

Firstly I had the honour to work with the brilliant Millennium FX twice this year both for Bloody Cuts' short films. First on 'Don't Move' (watch here) then on the example film for their short film competition 'Dare' (again watch here)

I also had the pleasure of working with the immensely talented James Moran (of Doctor Who - The Fires of Pompeii and Severance writery fame) on one of his shorts and also a music video.

In fact I have worked on 7 shorts this year. Mostly with Dave Scullion and Dave Puckridge unless previously stated. The others are:

Yep, lots of 'S' names! Also 'The Summoning' won the Frightfest ident competition.

I made my first silicone prosthetics this year and have since made many more.

I attended my first IMATS this year and made some amazing friends all across the UK and the World of which I continue to be inspired and proud of their incredible talent. I hope that these are people realise how incredible they are.

This year I also did a zombie makeup workshop for high school kids which was a great experience and made up some zombies for the Timeout Halloween party. I've also been paid for doing makeup which helps to validate that I'm at a level where my work is worth paying for.

 Now I'm sure that I've missed out some of my achievements but in some ways I think that that's a good thing as this is getting pretty rambly. 
I'm sure you don't want to hear about my holiday to Rhodes in September or the awesome Christmas I've had (literally the whole holiday period has been the best Christmas ever - from our annual Horrormas - Christmas horror film watching party on the 21st to now really) either so I think I'll wrap it up here.

I hope you have all had a successful and enjoyable 2013 and that 2014 presents the opportunity for you all to achieve and strive for more.

Happy New Year!


Sunday, 22 September 2013

Zombie Cheek

Today I did the below test makeup – not for a particular project but for practice – practice makes perfect as they always say! I sculpted and moulded the prosthetic a month or so ago, but haven’t had the time to apply it. It’s supposed to be a kind of ripped cheek thing for a zombie character.

The appliance is Platsil Gel 10 encapsulated in Super Baldiez and painted with Skin Illustrator.

Due to the fiddly raised bits, the piece was a bitch to get out of the mould and I have to admit that I almost gave up altogether, especially when some of the Baldiez bits started to tear because I was trying to pull the piece out too hard. Lesson: use slightly more release agent!

I used Pros Aide to adhere the prosthetic to Dave’s lovely face – no problems there. Then when I started to stick around the nose I realised I’d “made a huge mistake” and that the edges were going to look awful.

I persevered and have come to the conclusion that it doesn’t actually look that bad. I mean it’s not great, but considering I haven’t tried a piece like this before I think it’s not too shabby. I can’t decide whether it looks better with or without blood… you decide!

Friday, 10 May 2013

Outsider Makeup Test

On bank holiday Monday we did the first make up test for the short film me, Dave and friends of ours will be making this coming weekend.
I have to say I was quite happy with how it turned out. I made 2 new prosthetics for the test (only my second time making any prosthetics) and they came out pretty well, the only issues were the edges which was down to the cap plastic which tore slightly when I was trying to put a frame on them.

Luckily the edges were quite easy to disguise and the finished look was one that even me (the perfectionist) was happy with.

So *all* I have to do for this weekend is make 2 more prosthetics from those same moulds, sculpt and cast a head wound, sculpt and cast a face wound and do all of the makeup and effects for this film this weekend. I’m pretty excited and rather annoyed that my normal day job is getting in the way of me working on all these things. I’m also sorting out catering, namely in the way of making numerous cupcakes and sandwiches.

So busy weekend ahead! But I’m loving every moment of it – even if I’m slightly scared about screwing something up.

I don’t want to spoiler anything so I’ll leave you with this picture of me doing the test makeup on Dave Puckridge AKA The Outsider

Thursday, 25 April 2013

A year of firsts

So far this year, I have achieved 3 personal firsts:

1) Did my first life cast - so it may have only of been of a hand and my plaster mix was a bit thin and therefore it fell apart a bit but still... First life cast.

2) Got my first workshop!! I know it's a bit pretentious to call it a workshop but what the hell!? And it may not look like much but everyone had to start somewhere and I am determined to create masterpieces here:

3) First prosthetic - I am currently in the process of making my first ever flat mould prosthetic and thus first ever prosthetic. It's currently in the last stage before application and I am eagerly awaiting the curing of my silicone. I'm scared it's going to turn out pretty shitty but also incredibly excited! I truly can't wait!

Ok, so there have been other firsts this year so far, such as my first (and hopefully not last) time working with the amazing Millennium FX, getting my first make-up credit on IMDB (for ‘Don't Move')… and other stuff I've done but probably forgotten about! Anyway, I'm a fan of threes and that's why my list was so short!

Obviously it's only April so who knows where the next two thirds of the year will take me - bring it on!

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Hitchcock and workshops

We've moved house! OK, so we've been living in our new place for 11 days now so it's not a massively new thing but still, new house!

The new place is in Leytonstone, literally the other side of London to where we used to live (North Acton) and is the birthplace of the mighty Hitchcock, which means there are cool mosaics of him and his films in the tube station (photos to follow) and a hotel named after him. On the way here when we were in the hired van with the hired man (men with ven anyone?) we got stuck in traffic for an hour and a half so it wasn't the most pleasant experience! Not to the mention the cavalcade of awfulness the move came with...including filthy flat, lack of promised furniture and a toxic, chemical stench.

All problems aside we are finally settling into our new home which has a garden and a shed and most excitingly a big spare room which me and my lovely man, Dave are going to turn in to a study / workshop - so I will finally have somewhere to do makeup other than my kitchen !!! Now just have to find a decent workbench...

Saturday, 9 February 2013

Thoughts and Thank yous

This time last week I was on the set of Bloody Cuts' latest instalment "Don't Move". While I still can't tell you too much for fear of spoiling anything, I thought I'd tell you a bit about the experience.

I was there as "special effects make up assistant" and was assisting the amazing and talented Millennium FX team - truly a dream come true (yes, I know how cheesy and childish that sounds.). I was also ecstatic when I saw that I was on the call sheet - a first for me.

The Millennium FX team consisted of Kate Walshe, Cliff Wallace, Tim Quinton and Simone McDonald. All of them went out of their way to make me feel welcome and part of the team and it truly was a great experience working with all of them. I honestly can't thank them enough for agreeing to let me help out and also for being 4 of the nicest people I have ever met.

Although I let Kate know in advance about my experience (which is not 'substantial'...!) I found myself mucking in wherever I could and learnt so much about the industry in such a short time, from some fantastically experienced people. I do hope that they found me helpful (and that I didn't get in their way too much!!) because it was genuinely brilliant being part of "Don't Move".

The rest of the Bloody Cuts team were absolutely top notch as well and I truly think that "Don't Move" is going to be a brilliant short. Both the Barrett and Franklin families deserve a special mention  for their amazing hospitality, even for me - the crazy, inconvenient vegetarian!

On a serious note, everyone involved was absolutely brilliant and deserved a good drink afterwards. They were also some of the nicest people ever.

So I've been back at my normal office job for four days and to say that I've found it hard to adjust is a massive understatement. Made ever so slightly harder when I found some fake blood on my shoe as I wore my set shoes to work and was hit with a nostalgic pang.

"Don't Move" has been such a great experience and was honoured to be a part of it. It has always been my worry that I'd spend so much time on make up supplies, books and DVDs only to work on the set of a film and not like it - unlikely I know but still could happen. However I had a brilliant time and was comforted in the knowledge that I'm on the right track. Already the highlight of 2013. I really can't wait to be on set again - hence why it's been very difficult going back to the office.

This post has turned into a rambling mess of thoughts and thank yous - kinda like an Oscar acceptance speech - I can only apologise but will only finish with one last thank you - thank you to everyone involved in the Bloody Cuts family / machine - please stay awesome!