Monday, March 21, 2011

The Devil is an Awkward Creation

A little while back I was contacted to do the effects make-up on a short film titled REGIFT DEMON by director Adam Brown for Yellowline Pictures. The basic storyline is that a recently separated couple must decide who will take the responsibility of their pet Demon. The director wanted a classic fire engine red demon, the iconic representation of Hell. Adam wanted some exaggerations to the human form, but still have the characteristics of the actor (played by Adam's father) to shine through. It was to be a unique challenge, but one that proved to be quite fun.

 Here's my setup - I got a nice bottle of bright red bodypaint that was really easy to work with, applied with a paint brush. I knew that cream based make-up would be the way to blend this project and forge ahead. The appliance pieces I had were to be used as a means to enhance the look, not stand as the look itself. The bane of it all was that damn hair. It's stage hair that I colored with black hair spray you find just about everywhere come Halloween. I would use the K-Y Jelly as snot for added effect.

 I started with a foam latex facial appliance. It was initially a full face piece I picked up for a Witch, but the look of it was great enough with plenty of room for interpretation. The director wanted it to be more about the actor so I cut off everything south of the nose bridge and somewhat improvised from there.

 I ended up using another spare Witch's nose I had in my kit from before. This one was a lot more subtle, but still with a distinct look. The ears I chose to use are actually Werewolf ears as I wanted something more exaggerated than just Elf or Vampire ears. I bridged the gaps from the appliance and the nose with a bit of liquid latex. I had two sets of horns for the director to choose from, his choice being shorter more fawn like of my offerings. His idea was definitely for a more comical version of the Underworld. It helped a lot that my actor was bald as I placed the horns further up his head than if I would have just attached them on at the forehead. This was all about combining several elements into one cohesive delivery.

 Here you can see a side view of the foundations I'm applying. You can see how these slight alterations to his profile are what I will build on.

 All the appliances were adhered with Pros Aide which sticks a bit stronger than just liquid latex. I wanted to make sure with the physical performance my work would stay in place.

 For the face I used red cream based make-up as I wanted more control over it rather than just the body paint. I applied my base coat and would go back in later for shadow, blending, and finishing touches.

 Here you can see the make-up in the first steps of coming alive and the features of the actor as they begin to transform.

 The body paint was easy enough to apply, just simply brushed on. It glided on and dried within about five minutes per section.

 Here's the Demon's make-up about mid-way through. I started the blending with more brown cream paint rather than just simply black to offset the color. The shadows would come from the minimal lighting on set (they used a lot of natural daylight), I just wanted to push it in the direction I wanted. I would do this on the actor's neck, chest, arms, and hands.

 The make-up even included my actor's feet which I would further blend after this. They were done with the red body paint and brown cream paint. I then glued down some of that hair with some liquid latex, but then finally Pros Aide. It was like nailing Jell-O to a tree, but I managed and got it on.

 Here you can see the actor really getting into his character thanks to the make-up. The director wanted the Demon hairy as well. This meant gluing hair to the shoulders, the armpits, chest and even crafting a uni-brow to be glued on to the forehead appliance.

 Here's a closer look. I particularly like how the uni-brow is like a mirror to my actor's mustache that I colored in black. Distinctly you're not quite sure how old this guy is and he totally let himself get lost in the make-up.

Here's some screen shots from the short film itself.

All in all, it was a fun flick to work on and the actor really brought the make-up to life as an extension of his character. Ideally this was an odd version of the Devil to pull off, but it was an interesting take on a classic look.

Here's my favorite photo of the session.

The film is currently on its way around the festival circuit so be sure to keep an eye out. I'll post any details of upcoming screenings.

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