Saturday, November 28, 2009
When she heard about the classes I was taking she thought she'd ask me for some costume advice with her husband. I detailed several low cost tips and techniques to produce the effect that I thought they were going for and where they would be able to obtain it all.
Unfortunately, their efforts didn't produce a blood splattered couple of epic proportions like I was hoping. They ultimately abandoned the idea due to lack of supplies and timing. But there's always next year!
What follows is a FaceBook conversation that details all the necessary steps to successfully produce the effect yourself, in theory. I think it also plays well if you put it into the hypothetical perspective of her being a Producer and Halloween being a movie, and what I can provide in a limited time frame with a limited budget. Same process, but should you expect the same results? If anyone feels up to utilizing this advice, I would love to post pictures of your results.
Here's the question that sparked it all...
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Here's the appliance piece ready to peel.
Remember to blend and stipple beyond the piece and your stippled latex. This helps blend the rest of the skin to the effect.
After laying a dark brown, I then began applying a brighter red to give the look a depth thanks to the duality of color.
I applied a darker purple and blue to create my bruising, but to cut the deep look of it I then applied the base coat of my skin tone to feather out the edges. This crafted a nice, under the skin kinda look for the bruising.
Another student did a festering bullet wound. I particularly like the vein work she painted on that extended past the applied piece.
This claw scratch from another student was amazing in its application. The edges are so faint that it truly looked believable.
Next week we'll pour a gelatin prosthetic of our molds to show how different materials can yield different results from the same mold. Only 3 more classes left to go...
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Free is my favorite four letter word.
Make sure your "keyholes" (the small dime sized circles) are clean and clear. These give your mold depth to settle in rather than just floating on top of your clay. Think of it as the one connection between your base and your casting material.
Saturday, November 14, 2009
David was more than helpful with tips about schools and the latest in a wide range of products I never knew existed. I asked if he would show me a few things since I was unable to afford the the cost or long term commitment to schooling at M.U.D. or Empire, two institutions of cosmetology in New York. He was gracious enough to endure my pestering questions and invited me to his home where he showed me a proper make-up kit and the necessities of the trade.
David even indulged me further. One day he called me and asked to assist him at the 2009 Robin Hood Gala Fundraiser. This event was to be hosted by Jon Stewart and include guests like Anna Hathaway, Eli Manning, and performances by Aretha Franklin and The Black Eyed Peas. I was flabbergasted. What would I be "assisting" with?
The Challenge: Transform
Comedian Jon Benjamin .........................................TO....................................................Bernie Madoff
I was a bit nervous to say the least. I felt a bit out of my element, but David assured me that it would be a learning experience that could not be duplicated in his apartment or a classroom.
To age Jon's face, we used a combination of applying liquid latex to to his face, mainly his jowls and mouth line to give that ragged hound dog look and to over-exaggerate his crows feet at his eyes. This is done by stretching the areas of the skin, applying a few layers of liquid latex and allowing to dry while the skin is stretched. Once it is dry, release your grip on the skin. The skin will bounce back with a wrinkled look that adds years to a person's face.
David blended darker tones along the cheekbones, temples, and neckline to add to the older look of sagging skin tissue. This accentuated the cheeks and forehead. Following this a lace front wig was applied that seemed to match the hairline seamlessly. Additional strands of like colored hair were adhered to the top point of the forehead to match Madoff's dramatic widow peak's.
Adding Bernie's signature eye-wear and a red velvet smoking jacket with his prison number from our friends in Wardrobe and we had recreated America's Public Enemy #1.
David and Jon had previously worked together on Demetri Martin's show Important Things with Demitri Martin which made the experience a lot more comfortable. Jon Benjamin was a true gentleman and a treat to work with. Being a HUGE fan of HOME MOVIES (he's the voice of McGuirk) and his other works, it's refreshing to witness how fun, vibrant and down to Earth he really is as a performer.
Jon's turn as Bernie Madoff was a huge hit, as he phoned in the benefit "live" via satellite. Many in pre-production felt that his skit opposite Jon Stewart would fall flat, with Bernie's legal troubles unfolding daily in the news. Nothing quite like watching a man that ripped off millions help raise funds for charity. Hilarity conquered all as our Bernie regaled the crowd with his current predicaments while incarcerated and Jon Stewart steered the ship to a port of absurd gut busting laughs.
All in all the benefit raised $56.5 million for New York charities and I was fortunate to work with funnyman Jon Benjamin and I got to meet Jon Stewart afterwards to thank us on a great job well done. All this on top of getting paid as a Make-Up Assistant! A true win-win scenario.
I can't begin to thank David enough for his integrity and good nature. He's a beacon in a fog of questions and doubt. If he's reading this I ask one thing; When's Salt coming out to play again?
David's IMDB film credits can be found here.
Thursday, November 12, 2009
1) Prepare your model. Wipe excess dirt and grime with a baby wipe. Apply moisturizer beforehand if they have sensitive skin that is susceptible to drying out.
2) Mix up your algaenate and pour.
3) Create your Mother Mold with Plaster Bandages.
4) Time for Pour Up. This is used with Ultracal 30 same as our previous Life Cast.
5) Set up Palette for Sculpting.
The step you don't see pictured before this is the mixing and application of our Algaenate. This is poured over the hand and smoothed on. Use gloves as it tends to get messy. You can also apply with Popsicle sticks or whatever's handy.
The algaenate should be the consistency of honey. The more water you add to your mix, the less time it will take to cure, meaning the less time you have to work with it. Since it will be runny, reapply any excess by applying back onto the hand. As it dries add texture by touching the outside of it with your fingers or stick or whatever. This texture will help the plaster strips grip to the algaenate in the following steps. A fingernail scratch test will let you know when the material is set and ready for the next step.
Once the Algaenate is dry, take about eight 12 inch strips of plaster bandages and dip them in water. Warmer water will cause the gypsum to activate faster speeding along the process. Make sure the water is wrung out thoroughly as you apply the bandages. This creates the mother-mold to your softer algaenate mold.
Take caution with your fingers as they have a tendency to break. When the casting material is still wet you can add small strips of wires as fortification. Cut your wire to fit and push into the fingers. Make sure there is room to cover them with additional plaster. Be sure you're doing this before the plaster starts to kick. You don't want to start digging wires into your mold as the material begins to set, leaving you with a hand casting that is unusable.
From this we pulled an almost exact double of our model's hand. It's important to remember the plot of MULTIPLICITY here. You're making a copy and from this copies of copies. Your best results will come from your very first pours. Consider it a generation of degradation.
Now on to sculpting. We used a simple 4 grade oil based clay. This can be found in any art supply story. The heat from rolling it in your hands makes the clay more pliable and easier to work with. Baby wipes take off any residue, so don't wipe it on your clothes since it can stain. You really only need a small amount. Notice the pen in this picture for scale.
The Steps are:
1) Rough out your clay and begin your pattern.
2) Smooth out your edges.
3) Feather your edges. Smooth. Repeat and repeat. Feathering consists of smoothing the clay to its thinnest possible consistency and removing the excess from the edges of your piece.
4) Create your wound. Take your time, this is the most important step. These are the same fundamentals as working with wax.
5) Texture. Stipple if needed, add depth. This will add believability when viewed on camera.
6) Wash. This is meant to remove fingerprints and smooth any imperfections. This is done with denatured alcohol. Use caution with this as it's a known irritant.
My idea was to cast a prosthetic that could yield to looks upon application and painting; a singed branding or a lacerated cut. It's important to remember when creating your sculptured wound what caused the injury in the first place. This will help with size, placement, and the overall direction of the piece.
I used a quarter-inch sculpting loop to smooth away the excess areas of clay and a Popsicle stick to edge out the lines of the design. I did stumble upon one huge problem when I thought I was complete. The design I sculpted went clean through to the casted base model. This meant that each individual piece would come out as a casting versus one solid piece. Not to worry, it's only clay. I smoothed out the piece, added more clay and started over.
Next week I will add a build-up of clay around the base of the hand, separated by a small reservoir. This additional clay build-up is designed to save in the amount of material used to cast the piece, meaning it will be just the piece I sculpted and not the entire hand that I sculpted it on as a base. I am very eager to cast it, but more excited to see it applied. Hopefully both instances (burn and cut) that is was designed for will produce the results I'm looking for.