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Battles With Bits of Rubber

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Stuart Bray and Todd Debreceni talk makeup effects and prosthetics. If you like rubber monsters, prosthetics and gore then you can listen, learn and suggest new episode subjects. Todd is author of 'Special Makeup Effects For Stage And Screen', what many consider to be the modern makeup FX bible.Stuart Bray is a working makeup FX artist with many years experienc. Credits include 'Saving Private Ryan', 'Shaun of the Dead', 'Dr Who' and more recently 'Game of Thrones' and 'Dr Strange'.Email us at stuartandtodd@gmail.com

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Stuart Bray and Todd Debreceni talk makeup effects and prosthetics. If you like rubber monsters, prosthetics and gore then you can listen, learn and suggest new episode subjects. Todd is author of 'Special Makeup Effects For Stage And Screen', what many consider to be the modern makeup FX bible.Stuart Bray is a working makeup FX artist with many years experienc. Credits include 'Saving Private Ryan', 'Shaun of the Dead', 'Dr Who' and more recently 'Game of Thrones' and 'Dr Strange'.Email us at stuartandtodd@gmail.com

iTunes Ratings

28 Ratings
Average Ratings
28
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Real World Makeup F/X Talk

By CeSculpture - Apr 04 2020
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The absolute BEST makeup and effects related podcast ever produced! Stuart and Todd are industry veterans with their thumbs on the pulse of the makeup/prosthetics world who, along with other industry professionals, talk about the realities and nuts-and-bolts of what it is to be a working professional makeup artist in the film and television business today. Regardless if you’re an aspiring artist or just a fan of special effects, you will find inspiring people and subjects to learn from, done in an entertaining and interesting way!

Educational!

By Mark BBB - Nov 16 2016
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Where has this podcast been all my life? So good.

iTunes Ratings

28 Ratings
Average Ratings
28
0
0
0
0

Real World Makeup F/X Talk

By CeSculpture - Apr 04 2020
Read more
The absolute BEST makeup and effects related podcast ever produced! Stuart and Todd are industry veterans with their thumbs on the pulse of the makeup/prosthetics world who, along with other industry professionals, talk about the realities and nuts-and-bolts of what it is to be a working professional makeup artist in the film and television business today. Regardless if you’re an aspiring artist or just a fan of special effects, you will find inspiring people and subjects to learn from, done in an entertaining and interesting way!

Educational!

By Mark BBB - Nov 16 2016
Read more
Where has this podcast been all my life? So good.
Cover image of Battles With Bits of Rubber

Battles With Bits of Rubber

Latest release on Aug 27, 2020

Read more

Stuart Bray and Todd Debreceni talk makeup effects and prosthetics. If you like rubber monsters, prosthetics and gore then you can listen, learn and suggest new episode subjects. Todd is author of 'Special Makeup Effects For Stage And Screen', what many consider to be the modern makeup FX bible.Stuart Bray is a working makeup FX artist with many years experienc. Credits include 'Saving Private Ryan', 'Shaun of the Dead', 'Dr Who' and more recently 'Game of Thrones' and 'Dr Strange'.Email us at stuartandtodd@gmail.com

Rank #1: #59 - Mark Donovan

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Here is a little treat - an additional little episode that checks in with Mark Donovan who played The Hulking Zombie in Shaun Of The Dead.

We talked through the difficulties involved in getting ready to be attacked with records and cricket bats, shovels and the heat whilst caked in blood.

Also, as you'll hear, some very cool comic book related stuff which was an exciting discovery. You may recall in the bumper podcast episode #55 that Stuart Conran mentioned the back story to the Hulking Zombie, how he came to be a zombie and why he was there with Mary.

I mentioned this to Mark and not only was he aware of it but he has the actual original panels framed at his home!

Check pics in the accompanying blog post here.

Many thanks for listening.

-Stuart & Todd

May 17 2020

30mins

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Rank #2: #5 - Colour theory In Practice

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Colour theory is a crucial part of makeup, especially if you are in the business of trying make a portion of the face out of rubber and make it look like it belongs there and is the same as the real skin which surrounds it.

This podcast accompanies the article we wrote for Neill Gortons 'Prosthetics' magazine, jam packed with tutorials and great behind the scenes goodies for all things prosthetic!

This is especially true when mixing your skin tone into your appliance material in the case of silicone or gelatine appliances.

The materials are different, but the principles of colour theory and how to create skin tones remain the same. This colour is IN the pieces rather than ON them.

We have gone on a fair bit in the past about the importance of colour and colour theory in posts about using photoshop to match skin tones, and  7 tips for painting skin tones. The reason...?  Because it really matters and it's actually rather simple.

It's important to get the base tone of your appliances right, as you don't want to make things harder for yourself later by creating an appliance which fights you all the way because of poor base tinting.

It's very frustrating to have to use the makeup to 'correct' a badly or inappropriately coloured appliance when you can get the base tone to do most of the work for you.

Check out the blog post which has video and a podcast download for this episode right here...

....and email your questions and feedback to us at stuartandtodd@gmail.com.

Mar 31 2016

57mins

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Rank #3: #3 - Shooting at Meat. No, really.

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Read the blog post to accompay this podcast: www.learnmakeupeffects.com/shooting-guns-at-meat

This time we take an interesting approach to capturing the tissue damage caused by gunshots and being able to safely recreate the three dimensional effects by moulding the results.

It's a novel way of testing out some theories. All we need is some sides of meat, a range of firearms, some privacy and an afternoon in the Colorado woodlands. All in the name of FX reference. Fun times!

Got an idea for a podcast episode for us?  stuartandtodd@gmail.com

Mar 16 2016

19mins

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Rank #4: #4 - Appsolute fools

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Todd and I have been chatting, as we both let the blogging slip because of work - so we are back with a plan to do more podcasts to give responses to email questions on a regular basis.

So, we caught up in this podcast to get the ball rolling again - listen or download it from here. It was recorded on Friday 13th....so it isn't about the movie Friday the 13th, so sorry to the Michael Myers fans.....this time we're talking plaster heads and master moulds, plastiline and apps to help design.

Check out the blogpost on it here: http://www.learnmakeupeffects.com/appsolute-idiot/

We sure do love a good question too so please ask your techy FX questions to us at our email stuartandtodd@gmail.com

Mar 27 2016

34mins

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Rank #5: #58 - Air Bubbles

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Air bubbles of one kind or another are inevitable if you deal with materials which start out life as a liquid and then later solidify such as plaster, latex, silicone and resin. Let’s take a look at what can happen, why, and what to do about it.

Blog post accompanying this post: https://battleswithbitsofrubber.com/58-airbubbles/

May 17 2020

53mins

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Rank #6: #10 - Foam Latex: It's Smelly But Good!

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Podcast #10 - Foam Latex: It's Smelly But Good!

Foam Latex was the main material appliances and pretty much anything skin-like was made of for long time. It is only relatively recently that silicone has taken it's place, and with good reason.

There are a lot of benefits to silicone as an appliance material, and because of these reasons it may be that if you're new to makeup effects, you may not have yet laid hands on foam pieces.

It may be that you'll never want or need to run foam latex yourself, but will apply a premade piece and we will look at that in another podcast, as this area deserves some thorough discussion. However, if you are keen to know more about foam latex then this podcast is for you. Check out some astoundingly good ready made pieces from Roland Blancaflor's RBFX studio. Anyhow, check out and download our latest podcast on this from soundcloud or iTunes:

My first ever job was as a foam runner, and I spent three months mixing and running foam latex in the 'Animated Extras' foam room in Shepperton Studios in the summer of 1994. It was a smelly and messy job, but it taught me a lot about materials, moulds and how it all fits into the pipeline.

I cut my teeth on making and applying the opaque material, and when we started using silicone instead for the majority of pieces, it was a revelation to start with a translucent material. Painting foam latex requires a different approach, as the piece needs to be the correct colour but the real challenge is to create the appearance of translucency. Thomas Surprenant knows a thing or two about painting foam latex too - he has an excellent range of PAX paints for painting latex and foam latex pieces. Check them out here. We'll delve more into this later!

To help you along with this, check out these free resources you can download: Download Todds notes. Download Stuarts notes. In product news, it's well worth checking out the new cap plastic beads from Neills Materials. Check them out here.

Essentially, cap plastic was always sold as a liquid and this made it a 'hazardous' item as far as air freight was concerned should the container leak. It was never an issue for us in the UK where we had things sent by road, but air freight made it a different issue.

However, by selling the raw plastic bead with no solvents, you can now more easily get the beads shipped to you are then melt them in acetone you obtain more locally to make up your own cap plastic.

Also check out the new adhesives, PRO-KEY acrylic adhesive and SIL-KEY silicone adhesive with thinners. I've used these myself and tried them out on a few makeups and can vouch for their quality!

If you enjoy this and want to help support us, please consider these three easy (and free) gestures which would help us a lot:

1. Subscribe to us on iTunes or your favorite podcast app (for example Sound Cloud).

2. Leave a review on iTunes - it doesn't need to be a lengthy paragraph....just a few words to say if you enjoy it is fine! It just lets iTunes know the audience are engaged, and tells would be subscribers what real people actually think of us. This kind soul did:

3. Tell someone else about the podcast! Sharing is caring.

The blog post on this is here: http://www.learnmakeupeffects.com/foam-latex-its-smelly-but-good/

Thanks for listening!

Stuart & Todd

stuartandtodd@gmail.com

Jul 22 2016

1hr

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Rank #7: #17 - All Aboard The Freit Train part 1

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Rob Freitas is one of the best-known mould makers in the industry and has a phenomenal reputation.

Not only is he incredibly skilled at making moulds but he has a passion for the provenance of the techniques which he uses and cares deeply to help interested parties understand so they can be better too.

He also will redirect much of the attention he gets to his predecessors and those peers whom he feels deserve more attention. It's a very generous attitude which I believe is born out of an unabashed passion for the subject and a desire to fan those flames in others.

It comes from a very pure place and it's not often you meet someone with that much knowledge, skill and wisdom and who also is phenomenally approachable and easy to talk to. He'll no doubt blush to read these words.

We hooked up at a pub near the Millennium FX in Aylesbury where he was teaching a class that week, and a few of us slunk off to the lobby of Rob's hotel to talk bronze age axe heads, seamlines and technology.

Full blog post here: http://www.learnmakeupeffects.com/all-aboard-the-freit-train-part-1/

Rob, me, Ivan Bellew and Nat Reynolds. Good times!

The audio is clear, but there is some background noise owing to the nature of a public space. It was around 10pm when we started and we kept at it until around 0130…that's how interesting it was. Just a magical few hours and I'm really pleased we could synch schedules to be able to sit down and talk.

In this first of two parts, we talk about
  • Learning lessons through failure.
  • The importance of looking at the past and knowing on whose shoulders we stand.
  • Shortened timescales and managing expectations of people who seek to learn and gain skill (it is my belief the relatively short duration of courses as compared with time-served apprenticeships) can rob people of valuable lessons acquired through error and repetition).
  • Caring about the right things in order to be better.
Axe Heads and Allies

The reason I brought that axe head was to show Rob the seams in it - evidence of moulds which have been used to make essential life sustaining tools and weapons. Moulds have been aroud for so long, and it gave me a bit of thrill to be able to have a modern day master mould maker touch a casting from an ancient mould and admire their handiwork 2500 years on.

(Incidentally, this estimation is based on a bit of research I did into bronze age artefacts. This particular head is a palstave, check out http://www.antiques-info.co.uk/new/pdf/July02/1.pdf).

The

Videos

We mention a couple of videos that are on YouTube which show skills at work - hand making globes from 1955 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4RWcWSN4HhI) and a Disney video explaining the different types of rivet (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IDbTUt3OG9s). This was something Disney did to help the war effort, when training many civilians to make military equipment like aircraft required detailed explanations of manufacturing processes such as these. How better to explain these intricate and involved processes than with an animation, condensing time and showing materials in cross section.

Look out for part 2 coming very soon, and subscribe to use on iTunes, Stitcher, iHeart Radio and Google Play Music to name but a few! Thanks,

Stuart

Mar 05 2017

1hr 12mins

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Rank #8: #9 - Symmetry, Schools & Fools

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#9 - Symmetry, Schools & Fools  

Symmetry in sculpting appliances

Whilst teaching a class recently, a student was hung up on getting the nose perfectly symmetrical. I explained as I often do that the human face isn't symmetrical, so going for complete mirror image reflection necessary.

That said, asymmetry owing to sloppy work isn't good either - the fact that there is little perfect symmetry in nature doesn't let you off the hook!

I remember at college sculpting a full size head and a full size figure from life and using a plumb line - basically a piece of string with a lead weight on the end to keep a straight line. That helps you keep on target with the centre line, and you can use callipers to measure and plot common points to sketch out boundaries like where the eye corners start and finish, where the mouth is in relation to the nose etc.

This sounds like a video to be honest - again comment, write and let us know what you think.  stuartandtodd@gmail.com

…also check out our facebook page!

Folio

Whilst at UMAE last week, I got to speaking with a lot of people starting out who wanted me to take a look at their folios. I like to talk people through what I see, and I know that when I was starting out that I really appreciated good advice from people that took the time to look through my stuff.

Shows like this are good but they can be intense, with groups of people all descending at once when they notice a folio show. There were some good pieces and I will be straight with people regarding the work, and although there are many approaches to folio layout, there are a few solid consistent aspects to a folio that I think remain regardless.

  1. Good clear and large images

With digital cameras, there's little excuse for blurry or badly exposed images. If images are taken on set where there is low level light, it's fair enough that on occasion the pics would be less than perfect, but if you are responsible for building something, there is plenty of opportunity to take good clear images.

Opt for professional prints - online print developers like Snapfish and Photobox for example will send you great 10x8's (A4 ish) sized photos. You may have a great printer but often this works out more expensive than buying prints, and they rarely weather well over time.

  1. Not too many and not too long

Viewer fatigue is not the intended result of an extensive folio, but I think it's fair to say that after a while, your brain can't take in new things with equal enthusiasm.

If you have extensively documented the manufacture process of something, you need to edit that down to a few choice images unless there is a specific reason to dwell on that aspect. It may be worth keeping your main 'general' folio streamlined with a few selected images from each project, and then keep to hand additional more in-depth folios which drill deeper into things should that be necessary.

  1. Easy to handle

If a folio keeps dropping leaves or sheets slide around or can't fold over easy then it becomes a bit of a chore to handle. Make sure you handle a folio and turn the pages yourself before committing to buy. If it annoys you to handle, then chances are it will annoy others too.

It's a tragedy for your good work to not be noticed as the viewer is tasked with wrangling the sleeves or relocating misaligned punched holes.

UMAE 2016

The UMAe stand for United Makeup Artists expo. It is a smaller UK trade show, but perfectly formed. I had a great time but it was exhausting. There were loads of demos going on all day, and this year I had my own stand, spoke to a lot of people, did a demo makeup and a presentation on the stage for blood rig effects.

I wanted to do a thing on blood rigs as I have done quite a few for shows over the years, and plenty on gags for Game of Thrones, and NDA's stop me from showing anyone how I actually do them, so I decided to do a demo of my own so I could show the process from start to finish without showing anything from the show. 

I had a couple of cool people helping me out too - Alice Pinney and Jess Heath who applied loads of pieces I made, so thanks for the help guys. You worked hard!

Also thanks to Leanne Hicks who helped me out loads as well as patiently modelling for my makeup demo, a creepy kind of stern looking businesswoman was the idea, but it kind of ended up looking like an evil politician. I called her Angular Merkel, but we settled on The Wicked Which of the Westminster.

I'll do this as a blog post if anyone is interested - please get in touch and leave comments under this blog post or podcast

Show was nice feel to it - you can actually go up to the people and speak to them. There isn't a stadium sized crowd to navigate so it's not a huge task to speak to the people you want to talk to.  Nor are there tanning booths, teeth whitening or champagne and strawberry bars.

Said hey to Richard Redlefsen, and I gave him a few sculpting tools I had made which was a nice touch - I made a bunch of tools for a makeup school called The Iver based at Pinewood for which I did a class at the week before.  I knew he would be at the show so I made a few extra, and I got a kick out of giving them to him - nice guy and very talented makeup artist. He did a Phantom of the Opera makeup, and it was pretty cool.

Also Dan Gilbert was demoing for PPI, and I needed some PAX. He dashed up to his room to grab me some which he had, which I thought was rather dashing of him so thank you for that Dan. True gent!

Makeup School Observations

There are some things I noticed about work I saw from makeup schools, and I think it needs bringing up. Essentially, I saw work from someone who had travelled to LA from the UK to attend a makeup school for some months.

There were pictures of work in there which seemed both extensive in size but poor in quality. Now I know students are by definition learning, and there is going to be mixed ability but there seems to be an irresponsible approach when allowing large scale sculpting to take place when there are some fundamental areas which need addressing.

Makeup schools are a business so it's only right they charge for their service, but I have heard and seen many examples of people who travelled far and spent a lot and when you see what they have taken away from it then you wonder if it is a fair exchange.

As with any business, there are some sharp practitioners and some outstanding examples. I think it would be a good idea to run this checklist over when considering a makeup school.

  1. Check who the tutors are
  2. Look at previous students work
  3. Speak to previous students
  4. Is there a screening process or do they take anyone who can pay?

Faceoff

I've met a few of the contestants from the show, and to be honest they seem pretty cool - they need to have ability and character to get selected for sure. Hoever, the show is largely concerned with ratings (it's a TV show after all) and less concerned with processes which is what I care about. 

We riff a little about the effects of the show, and how annoying it is that people whose only exposure to the industry is watching a few episodes feel qualified to comment on what we may be doing wrong.  "It didn't look that hard on Faceoff..."!

Face casting disasters

We’ve all heard of the anecdotal face casts that went hideously wrong – the result of phenomenally terrible practice on the part of people doing it. Things like using bare plaster all over the face, bears and eyebrows becoming stuck or undercuts locking heads – it’s common sense mostly but that is not as common as you’d imagine.

Anyhow, check out these howlers, and if you know of any outrageous lfecasting videos which are not here, please do get in touch and send us a link so we can share it!  Let’s show everyone how NOT to do it!

https://vimeo.com/21710023

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sVUHlDou6cQ&feature=youtu.be&app=desktop

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=09rUbu33Z1E

http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=077_1462827743

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/law-and-order/6311398/Schoolgirl-16-lost-eight-fingers-in-plaster-of-Paris-accident-during-art-lesson.html

Incidentally, this video collaboration I did with Klaire de Lys shows a way to lifecast safely without taking insane risks: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2NyF5bKlkT0

Stay creative!

Stuart & Todd

May 18 2016

53mins

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Rank #9: #37 - The Mighty Don Lanning part 1

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If you have any sculpting ambition or love for any monster movies made in the last twenty years, then you should know the name Don Lanning.

Not only is he a gifted craftsman who has worked hard for his place, but he is also a gifted teacher who can help make others better, and he is damn fine fella the whole time he is doing it.

Don has been working away on productions for years as a hired gun on well know movies such as Hollow Man, Ghosts of Mars, Vanilla Sky, Hellboy, AVP, Silent Hill, The Avengers, and Aquman as well as TV shows such as The X Files, Nip/Tuck, Star Trek, The Strain, and Bright.

Possibly though, the pivotal moment which brought his method into the limelight was the Stan Winston School For Character Arts videos such as Sculpture Techniques and Character Design.

We weren't just treated to a 'how?' class, but also a 'why?' class and looking at the feelings on experiences whilst sculpting.

I often think sculpting classes are among the hardest to instruct largely becasue it is a slow, deliberate act which allows the brain to open up and weep out all the negative things everyone has ever said about you or that you imagined of yourself. It's all bullshit of course, and it takes someone to help you snap out of it and keep focus

Don Lanning's love of the Wizard of Oz is made real with these series of outstanding character studies. Check out the Facebook page to see more.

Simply put, you CAN do it if you want to. Maybe you feel like you're not great yet, but if you enjoy doing it then you WILL improve. If that matters to you, then to hell with all the naysaying. After all, people often say things about themselves that they would never say to another person - and looking at what you can actually do to overcome and improve your shortcomings is what Don does best, especially when you are face to face with the man.

"I was born with no talent whatsoever - I had to fight hard to get everything I got."

Todd and I took a trip down to his studio to talk with the man himself, and we got into so much dense material, we decided we had to split this one into two parts. In part 1 we talked to Don about:

  • How to actually start sculpting
  • Dealing with a blank canvas
  • Channeling nervous energy
  • Looking for what makes good art
  • Getting better
  • Making the changes for clients
  • Looking for what feels 'right'
  • Pivotal moments
  • Looking out for scam internships

You'll also see a love of magic and magic stores crops up again!

Thanks again for listening, and if you would like to support us, as ever there is one thing you can do that helps more than anything - tell someone else about the podcast! Share this on social media and tell us how we are doing!

We appreciate your attention!

- Stuart & Todd      

Nov 26 2018

1hr 4mins

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Rank #10: #31 - Steve Wang

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One of the great things about Monsterpalooza, and other makeup FX heavy trade shows is you get to meet the people who make a life around doing the work, and who care enough to help others do it too.

For my money, this chat with sculpting and creature legend Steve Wang was the most potent use of 20 minutes anyone could have. Steve was in high demand, but Todd managed to get him for a short timeslot on the mic and we jumped straight in with the sculpting talk.

I wanted to get a grasp on why ZBrush was still a mystery to me (and many others) and there is some golden wisdom in here which is worth hearing if you have been left blinking at the apparant dearted ship of digital creativity.

If you feel like you are on the dockside, waving sadly at a ship of endless creativity disappearing into the distance and cursing yourself for missing the boarding window, then you need to it down, listen up and dry those tears!

Putting this together and listening to it put me right back there and fired me up, so get stuck in and listen. Steve has such economy of explanation, he doesn't waste time or fluff around - he gets straight to the point and lands that info sqare in the part of your brain that is ready to go!

Check out Steve's instagram @stevewangcreaturecreator and alliance studio and elitecreature.com.

Thanks for listening. You can email the show at stuartandtodd@gmail.com, visit the facebook page and join us there. -Stuart & Todd

May 19 2018

30mins

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Rank #11: #15 - Rob Smith, Master Of Blood: Part 1

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Blood ! Podcast #15! It's something gets thrown around a lot in film, TV and theatre. There's bad blood, good blood, mudbloods, blood thicker than water and blood brothers. 

This episode we're talking about blood, and our guest this time is Rob Smith, blood master as well as an all-around effects bod. He also runs a lot of foam, and makes exquisite soft foam appliances which you really need to feel to appreciate.

He makes his own pieces but runs a lot of foam for other people, and you'll certainly have seen his work if you've been to the cinema in the last few years!

Blood needs to be a number of things:

  • The right colour
  • The right opacity
  • The right viscosity

It also needs to be:

  • Safe to use (skin, mouth and costume)
  • Easy to clean up

As a product, there are lots of different kinds of things which can be classified as blood. For example, blood as a real biological product does things - like clot, dry, separate, form scabs and flake once dry.

One of these blood drops is real!

An artificial blood won't do that, so to create all these different possibilities, there are blood effects products like the standard liquid, flowable blood that comes directly out from an opening in the skin to 'clotted' blood, scab, wound fillers and pastes.

Often these are made from the same sugar or corn syrup base, thinned with water or thickened and then coloured with food grade pigments to an appropriate shade. However, as convenient and mouth safe as that may be, it attracts flies especially when shooting in warm climates.  Sugarless bloods, drying bloods which are alcohol based and even specialist bloods for use in eyes and mouth are available for use where appropriate.

All this means, of course, a large amount of product range, which we touch on a bit with Rob, who makes a lot of blood, but focusses mainly on the flowable blood which gets used in rigs to pump and splash around on set.

Blood Gags

I've done a fair few blood gags (a lot of necks, weirdly), that is makeup effects which use blood that gets pumped on cue, and thinning blood so it flows right under pressure means a fair bit of effort and testing to ensure it looks right.

The thing about a blood gag is figuring out what kind of tubing to use and where to put it - we could do a whole podcast just on the ins and outs of blood gags - but there's all that stuff under the piece which needs to be right, and then the appliance over the top is just to hide that plumbing job underneath.

If blood is too thin and translucent then it doesn't look right, and if it is too thick then it won't move and spray correctly.  The fact it needs to travel under pressure, through various different tubes and connectors etc.  All that changes the way the blood flows, so knowing this and doing lots of tests to make sure you have a good idea about how that particular gag is going to work is important.

Interview with Rob Smith

Anyhow, listen to some bloody wisdom from Rob Smith, which we recorded in his home.

It's worth pointing out the guitar you're going to hear is Rob, plucking away just for fun as he showed me his guitar collection hanging from the walls in the lounge.

Pretty cool stuff.

We chatted for a long while so I've split this up into two hour-long chats, and we shall release part 2 within the week.

Rob makes a great blood for use on silicone appliances which flows and smears realistically and which doesn't 'bead' up on oily surfaces which can happen with many water and syrup based blood. You can see which is which in this comparison!

Teaching & Learning Makeup FX

Being in Belfast this week teaching at Titanic Creative Management made me reflect on the various kinds of learning environments I see so I talk a bit about some of the issues I see in colleges, namely that the institutes often fail the tutors. They squeeze the goodwill and best efforts of many tutors and some don't even appreciate the requirements of a course leaving tutors woefully unsupported.  I think many of the tutors do a good job despite their faculty rather than because of  it.

I have said before that makeup is often underestimated,  people may attend a makeup course because they themselves wear makeup so...how hard can it be,  right?

The majority of people I've met at colleges really do care about being there,  and some are outstanding. However, I've been to other places which fell like it was a crèche for big 20-year-old kids and you know that shit wouldn't  truck if they were an apprentice.

I care about the craft side of things and I don't want to see people wasting their time.  When college attendance is ruled by 'do you have the money' rather than 'look, this is hard work...do you really want to do this?'

College makeup school tutors, I salute you.

There are people who just won't turn up on time and who skip entire weeks, suddenly to return at the last minute as assessments rear their head. Then that poor tutor has to give up endless extra hours to mend that as best they can because the college took on someone that frankly doesn't want to be there. If that was a freelance apprenticeship, I can just fire you for being shit.

If you've paid to be there, it shifts the power so the relationship between the learner and the teacher is transactional rather than one of mutual reliance. Read that original blog post here:  http://www.learnmakeupeffects.com/what-is-the-best-way-to-learn-makeup-effects/

There is of course nothing wrong to pay to learn, I myself pay to learn things and am glad I can do so. However, the people taking the money at colleges and universities are not directly responsible for dealing with the learners on a day to day basis. Private makeup schools, however, usually have a closer relationship with their attendees, and as such, I have seen a marked difference in attitude - they are there for a short time and really want to be there. I suppose also college is the first logical step after school, so many are attending fresh from a school education and are younger. I know I did!

This is what goes through my head when I get asked three times a week which college is best etc. or whether they should go private. It seems a college will provide an academic qualification, and that is the appeal to do that over a private course.

However, If a large portion of the course is endless theory which is not required on a set, you can become 'qualified' whilst being utterly useless. If you pump out thousands of students like that, that serves nobody except the facility which charged you a small fortune for the privilege.

Will Digital Kill The Practical?

Lots of people ask this question, and the changes are new relatively speaking so a thorough understanding of the future effect of it is not something any one person has a full explanation for.  The truth is it isn't going away, it isn't taking over everything and it isn't something that you can't take part in.

Lots of people are getting in touch and asking for survey responses, so it's clearly a hot topic. It even made it to the editorial of the latest Prosthetics Magazine (well worth it by the way, I'd recommend it. Get yours here in print and digital: https://www.prostheticsmagazine.co.uk/ )

Transferable skills needed in both digital and practical work remain good basic abilities: good design, ability to render and understand anatomy, and using reference to constantly upgrade what you know. The computer doesn't do it all for you - there is a skilled person behind the keyboard. You could be one of them.

There are a lot of areas which come under the digital umbrella, and the trick is to find a way in if you are interested. If you like sculpting then check out the digital sculpting programs and photo retouching is usually done in Photoshop. This is a paid for programme but you can still get CS2, an old version for free here: https://www.adobe.com/support/downloads/detail.jsp?ftpID=3466

Also check out the free image editing software from GIMP: https://www.gimp.org/

Digital Sculpting

Digital sculpting is changing a lot of things slowly, and programmes like Zbrush and Mudbox make it possible to apply the same editing qualities of a Word document to a sculpture. Clay is great and I recommend using it - you don't need to choose just digital or just clay, I think using both is important. However, for no money at all, you can introduce yourself to the digital sculpting

To check out and download Sculptris: http://www.learnmakeupeffects.com/what-is-the-best-way-to-learn-makeup-effects/

The stripped down version of ZBrush is called Zbrush Core, so check that out here: http://store.pixologic.com/ZBrushCore/.

Keep on trucking! Remember you can get in touch through email on stuartandtodd@gmail.com, through our Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/stuartandtodd/ or comment on the blog post, http://www.learnmakeupeffects.com/rob_smith_pt1/

  • Stuart & Todd

Dec 04 2016

2hr 5mins

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Rank #12: #20 - All About Cap Plastic

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Cap plastic is big....and it's not just for bald caps. Cap plastic is so called as it was originally pretty much used only for making bald caps, so those with hair could temporarily be without it. Over the last ten years or so, it's used much more widely as an encapsulant or barrier in a mould so that when silicone gel appliances are cast into it, they come out of the mould with that cap plastic as a surface. This allows glue and makeup to remain attached to it - after all, silicone is at its best a mould material because almost nothing sticks to it!

Chek out the blog post that supports this episode of the podcast.

OOOh, and if you enjoyed this then tell a friend, give us a shout out on social media or just say hi on our Facebook page! We love talking to you!

-Stuart & Todd.

Apr 03 2017

1hr 5mins

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Rank #13: #14 - Scanners & Schoonraads

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A little look at the influence of digital technology on the practical effects workflow.

Bear in mind the problems we try to overcome - namely to create an illusion which appears real such as a decapitation, an injury taking place or some kind of transformation - these issues are the reason that we strive for new and better methods. That desire to create is the wind in the sails, and we have always used the best available to get that.

Digital has affected everything, every industry and we have changed along with it. Despite that, it's a tool and one that many of the practical FX side view either with suspicion or glee. We wanted to chat about that and start a conversation about what it means and how we can work with it rather than against it. After all, I think that's the ultimate fear, and I think it doesn't need to be that way at all!

I talk with Steve Johnson briefly about his upcoming volume Rubberhead, Todd reveals his pixelated past and John and Tristan Schoonraad of Lifecast at Elstree studios chat about their 3D scanning work!

Email us stuartandtodd@gmail.com or drop us a comment on our Facebook page! Look us up under Battles With Bits Of Rubber!

Nov 26 2016

1hr 51mins

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Rank #14: #21 - Allen Hopps: Scaremaster

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Allen Hopps is the director of Dark Hour, a huge haunt attraction in Plano, Texas.

I wanted to take a tour and chat with Allen about what it takes to keep people scared and the business of running a haunt all year round.

When people think about creating makeup effects, masks and prosthetics, its usually associated with film and TV shows. In the US, Halloween is pretty big and getting bigger every year.

I went for a tour of the huge show floor, and got to see behind the scenes where all the in-house stuff gets made - from sets, costumes, masks, prosthetics and props. The level of the thought and detail that goes into setting up a new show (there are several original new shows a year) is incredible. The team work year round updating and thinking up new ways to keep the screams coming.

There are a few absolute wisdom bombs in this podcast episode which many makers would do well to listen to.

  • If you've ever been guilty of having great ideas which seem to expand ever bigger, only to burst and fade away then this episode of the podcast is for you!
  • If you've been trapped in a cycle of indecision, dithering and not wanting to grasp the nettle of your creative masterpieces then this episode is for you.
  • If you think that movies are the ultimate end-game for creating creatures and masks and that if you can't make that coveted position then what's the point...? Then this episode is for you!

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Aug 20 2017

1hr 35mins

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Rank #15: #23 - 5 THINGS YOU’D LIKE TO KNOW (OR WOULD HAVE LIKED TO HAVE KNOWN) WHEN LEARNING PROSTHETIC MAKEUP

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5 THINGS YOU'D LIKE TO KNOW (OR WOULD HAVE LIKED TO HAVE KNOWN) WHEN LEARNING PROSTHETIC MAKEUP

I'm still learning every day. I still make mistakes and I am still worried that every job I am about to start will go wrong. That feeling has never gone away and I suspect it never will. The trick is to get used to the sensation, understand that it isn't abnormal and to get on with the job anyway.

There are many things which often get taught again and again at makeup school, but along the way there are also things I noticed which are vital and yet which never seem to get the same level of spotlight.

In this podcast, Todd and I discuss 5 of the big ones which deserve looking at in some depth. We gave this subject as a talk at IMATS LA 2017, but this is a recording done recently (Nov 2017) so we're up to date and happy to hear your thoughts. Our email is stuartandtodd@gmail.com.

1. It's hard to be subtle. 2. There Are Other Important Qualities To Recreating Skin Other Than Shape and Colour. 3. Believe in primary colours

Check out our posts on use of colour Colour Theory In Practice and 7 Tips For Painting Skin Tones.

4. 90% of what you do won't get noticed (Hopefully) 5. Failure: when things don't go to plan, it's easy to beat yourself up thinking you're no good.

Feel free to get in touch on our facebook page or email us at stuartandtodd@gmail.com --- Til next time

Stuart & Todd

Nov 23 2017

1hr 13mins

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Rank #16: #18 - All Aboard The Freit Train part 2

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In part 2 of our discussion, Rob Freitas talks about the value of knowing about the unknowns.

He sheds some light on the importance of knowing to look at what was before and honours great artists like Gil Liberto (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0508847/) who does incredible work for the likes of at Joel Harlow (Star Trek, anyone?).

Check out this Vanity Fair article about the makeup work on Star Trek: http://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2017/02/star-trek-beyond-makeup.

The blog post for this one is here: http://www.learnmakeupeffects.com/all-aboard-the-freit-train-part-2/

When going to trade shows and being asked to speak, Rob likes to share what he has known but he is there to be fed knowledge as well as to feed others. He doesn’t want to be the subject - rather he cares about the craft and wants you to care too.

Thinking about provenance and what went before is a humbling way of uncovering the history of your subject matter, and is utterly fascinating. When you think about the makeups from the original Wizard Of Oz from 1939, the list of makeup crew reads like a who's who of the makeup industry - Jack Dawn, Max Factor, Cecil Holland, Robert Schiffer, William Tuttle, Charles Schram... 

Two more names that pop up are the perhaps little know Josef Norin (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0635364/?ref_=ttfc_fc_cr33) and his son Gustaf ('Gus') Norin (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0635362/?ref_=ttfc_fc_cr32) who were Swiss artists who brought their talents over from a background in sculpting and moulding small moulds for jewellery. Gustaf was father of John and Robert Norin, both makeup artists with an impressive line-up of screen credits.

Another aspect we touch on is how many of us working can count on the lack of distractions we had from the internet. Whilst it is fair to say that the internet brings untold knowledge to our fingertips, it also means we need to learn how to focus and channel what is important, rather than allow meaningless information to steal our time away. Social media makes people aware of what others may think of them or their beliefs…this wasn't something we grew up with in the pre-internet age. It is certainly shaping how people learn, and it's important to identify what really matters so one can harness that information and power into a tangible benefit rather than an endless distraction.

Rob mentions a number of artists work, and links are provided below: Thanks again for checking this out! If you enjoyed this podcast, please support us if you can by:
  1. Sharing the podcast on Social Media
  2. Subscribing to the podcast on iTunes or Stitcher
  3. Review us to let others know it's worth their time!

Mar 09 2017

1hr 34mins

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Rank #17: #16 - Rob Smith Master Of Blood: Part 2

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Rob Smith continues his chat with me about foam latex, blood and other FX related goodies. Also, Todd and I talk about our favorite podcasts, and whether or not the word 'mustard' is actually an expression.

Todd and I will be at IMATS 2017, 13th-15th Jan 2017. How about that.

Email us at the usual address, stuartandtodd@gmail.com

Dec 27 2016

1hr 33mins

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Rank #18: #25 - Chris Dombos: 3D Prince

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3D printing is having an effect on the way things are made. This episode talks about what those things are, how it benefits us all and how you can get involved.

Chris Dombos knows a thing or two about 3D printing, and he is also a massive FX nerd so we got on rather well. Having met him first at LA IMATS in Jan 2017 (I discovered he had some of the original Lost Boys moulds), it made sense to catch up when he came over to London recently. Of course, I figured bring the mic and make a podcast out of it.

We recorded in a cemetery in London, so there are background noises. The whole gamut of life - cars, sirens, passing people, kids, birds in the sky, aircraft, wind – it’s all there in a place of the dead. It's all background, our audio is clear and we chatted about a number of great topics which matter to anyone who makes things. This includes:

  • There have been a number of auctions as big FX shops started scaling down! This means that the larger shops have all but disappeared but more smaller operations opening up.
  • Props Store London https://propstore.com/
  • Importance of design and the danger of generic, the process informing the look.
  • Occulus Medium: https://www.oculus.com/medium/
  • Cost of CAD programs - the free and the fortunes.
  • Digital sculpting revealing an artists lack of anatomical understanding, and how an understanding of form is essential to good sculpture regardless of the medium – clay or pixels.
  • Costs or materials v digital process. It exists as a process, will only get better.
  • The increased incident of joined up thinking, and how digital FX uses a team to create what would have been the job of one person, teams fitting together. For practical FX this wider collaboration is a new thing.

We also mention some great artists. These include:

Software and websites to help include:

Hope you enjoy this episode - It's exciting and scary at the same time for me.

Check us out on Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/stuartandtodd/ or email us direct at stuartandtodd@gmail.com!

- Stuart & Todd

Dec 27 2017

1hr 41mins

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Rank #19: #24 - Eryn Krueger Mekash.mp3

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This podcast was a lot of fun to do.

I met up with the Mekashes (Eryn and Mike) at their hotel as they were over for The Prosthetics Event here in the UK.

I was lucky enough to squeeze in a face to face interview and had a frankly wonderful time chatting with a couple of lovely people who also are amazing artists and FX nerds. Listen here, or on Apple Podcasts/iTunes. Soundcloud or whatever podcatcher you like to use.

Her credits include TV shows Glee, Nip/Tuck & Movies such as Flags of our Fathers, Letters from Iwo Jima, My Sisters Keeper. As per her IMDb bio:

Eryn Krueger Mekash has 30 years of television and film industry experience as a makeup artist and is diversified in beauty, makeup effects and design. Her credits cover a wide range of productions. Eryn started her career in the special makeup effects field in Los Angeles. Eryn has won 6 Emmys and 6 Artisan awards and well as 29 Emmy Nominations for outstanding makeup, prosthetic and non-prosthetic. She is the department head for FX's anthology, American Horror Story (2011), and can still make a nice mold in a pinch.

Listen here, or on Apple Podcasts/iTunes. Soundcloud or whatever podcatcher you like to use. It's a hefty one, almost 2 hours so get stuck in!

We are also now on Spotify, so check us out there too!

We talk about the great book Leading Ladies of Makeup Effects in which Eryn features, being a department head for FX heavy shows like American Horror Story, how much fun Halloween is at Rick Bakers place and recreating The Lost Boys thirty years on using pieces from the original moulds.

Todd was printing a head of himself to make 'Chocolate Todds' so that's the sound you can hear in the background. Todd discusses the finishing up of his third edition to the well-known FX bible Special Makeup Effects for Stage And Screen! Hear all about the goodies in store there in the podcast.

Incidentally, the antler in question which frankly I think looks like something which needs batteries is this: I think this looks suspect. Is it just me...?

WINNER!

The winner of the Steve Wang Sculpting Tool Set is Darren Pastor - well done fella. These will be on their way to you soon!

As ever, get in touch on our Facebook page, comment here or email us stuartandtodd@gmail.com.

My sincerest thanks for the Mekashes for giving up their time so generously and for all the beer and pudding!

Until next time!

---

Stuart & Todd

Dec 19 2017

1hr 52mins

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Rank #20: Ep #32 - Allan Apone & Brad Look Respect The Craft!

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Todd and I had a great morning chatting with Allan A. Apone and Brad Look at MEL headquarters (Makeup Effects Lab) based up in North Hollywood.

MEL now occupies a huge area of workshops and produces effects for shows as well as products used by artists in the industry, including PAX paints, baldcaps and appliances. Starting out as a small lab in 1978, it now boasts some 18000 square feet of facility.

Their website is MEL Products USA and is worth checking out!

Our tour took us from machine shop to foam room, silicone lab and woodshop, all surrounded by a million artefacts from jobs in the past.

We sat and talked about the recent Monsterpalooza weekend, as well as the business of makeup and what really counts. As seasoned makeup artists with many years experience on set, Allan and Brad made this episode of the podcast a gold-loaded listen for makeup artists.

Like Brad says, "If you don't know highlight and shadow, it doesn't matter what you are putting on - it won't look right!". Despite the noise of competing companies vying for our attention and wallets, this really is the key message. Know your subject, know yourself and above all, respect the craft!

You can subscribe to our podcast, Battles With Bits Of Rubber on iTunes, Spotify, Soundcloud and pretty much all podcatcher apps or platforms.

Thanks for listening! You can contact us at our Facebook page or email direct stuartandtodd@gmail.com with suggestions, feedback, or just to say hi. 

The blogpost for this episode can be found at http://www.learnmakeupeffects.com/32respectthecraft/ .

Til next time

-Stuart & Todd

May 27 2018

1hr 16mins

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#64 - Danny Marie Elias

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Danny has done some interesting things with prosthetics, leading with fashion and high concept looks and bringing appliance work into the mix.

Most demonstrations at trade shows involving appliances are showing just the tail end of a much longer hidden process which perhaps isn't at all evident in the final piece. It's nice to hear about what happens in the lead up to such a thing.

As with many artists sealed tight with Non-Disclosure Agreements on professional projects, trade shows offer a real opportunity to try something new and experiment with ideas and processes without the risk of shooting days or high-stakes schedules.

We chat with Danny about her influences, approach and work ethic and get into some pretty useful stuff. For example, Danny keeps records of makeup applications and lists what was used, including techniques, materials and products as well as notes on what well and what didn't.

The result after a number of years is a great resource which will supply a record of a journey, as well as a very practical guide to your own best practice for similar jobs in the future.

It takes a deal of humility to acknowledge what didn't work and address those shortcomings. It is also good practice to acknowledge what did work and take note of what went well.

It is easy to become automatically self-critical as a default position, but the ability to have genuine regard for your own work, objectively seeing good and bad and using them both as a guide to improvement is a useful tool.

It was a great chat and we got fired up as you'll hear.

Links to things mentioned in this episode

The Dip by Seth Godin:

(summary: Every new project (or career or relationship) starts out exciting and fun. Then it gets harder and less fun until it hits a low point - really hard, really not fun. At this point, you might be in a Dip, which will get better if you keep pushing, or a Cul-de-Sac, which will never get better no matter how hard you try. The hard part is knowing the difference and acting on it.)

Science Kits for kids: https://www.robocube.co.uk/collections/stem-kits

We mention a popular chain of hardware stores in the UK called B&Q, the name is an acronym of the original owners' names, Block and Quayle.

In the US, Home Depot would be an equivalent. If you have been on the hunt for unusual uses for conventional materials, then you may be familiar with the odd looks when responding to enquiries.

Check out Dannys' work on her website and instagram.

Many thanks as always for your time checking the stuff out. You can email us direct at stuartandtodd@gmail.com or leave us a voice message directly on our site.

If you enjoy this podcast and got something out of it, would you do us a solid and tell just one more person about us? Send them a link and help us grow!

-Stuart & Todd

Aug 27 2020

1hr 19mins

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#63 - Things That Go Wrong

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We have all spotted things in shows which were never meant to be there. Scars swapping sides, hair up one minute and then down the next, blood which moves shot to shot or an errant edge which can't be hidden.

Those are the things which you notice, and maybe take great pleasure in spotting and shaming those unfortunate artists who were 'responsible'.

However, there are many things which you didn't spot which could have been issues if they were not overcome before the cameras started rolling.

We go through some of these hidden problems which are not so rare, and which will tax the creative minds of those on whose shoulders these things fall.

We have had a long lay-off and been quiet coping with one thing and another, so apologies for the radio silence. We have a few new toys which will mean things are going to be more regular on the podcast front.

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Links to things we mention in this episode

Nomad sculpting app: https://nomadsculpt.com/ Procreate art app: https://procreate.art/ Infinite painter: https://www.infinitestudio.art/discover.php Forger sculpting app: https://forgerapp.com/ ZBrush (all bells and whistles): https://pixologic.com/ Zbrush Core (stripped down, lighter version): https://store.pixologic.com/zbrushcore-2020/ ZBrush Core Mini (even more stripped down and free): https://zbrushcore.com/mini/# Sculptris (free sculpting app): https://pixologic.com/sculptris/

What we do in the shadows (excellent TV show): https://www.imdb.com/title/tt7908628/

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Many thanks as always for your time checking the stuff out. You can email us direct at stuartandtodd@gmail.com or leave us a voice message directly on our site.

If you enjoy this podcast and got something out of it, would you do us a solid and tell just one more person about us? Send them a link and help us grow!

-Stuart & Todd

Aug 19 2020

1hr 11mins

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#62 - Mould Closure

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Closing moulds correctly is vital to get good casts out of them. There seems little point in making a good mould and then getting bad casts out of it.

In this episode we chat about things to consider when looking at ‘mould closure’. Essentially, a mould other than a flat or open mould will usually need to be attached or fitted to another component to produce a cast.

This could be another part of the mould if a ‘multi-piece’ mould is made and/or a core which will be placed into the mould to create the interior.

These pieces need to remain securely in position, and may be required to exert a lot of force if the cast piece needs to have thin seams which are more easily repaired.

That has cost implications - think about having to repair bad seams of fifty casts out of a mould which wasn’t closed correctly!

Small block moulds are often clamped together for speed and convenience, but what happens if the mould is huge, such as a full body or a dinosaur?

This episode has another hefty set of notes to help make sense of it all. It is picture heavy and goes deeper into what to look out for.  Get them here or the blog post for this episode

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Many thanks as always for your time checking the stuff out. You can email us direct at stuartandtodd@gmail.com or leave us a voice message directly on our site.

If you enjoy this podcast and got something out of it, would you do us a solid and tell just one more person about us? Send them a link and help us grow!

-Stuart & Todd

Jun 21 2020

1hr 5mins

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#61 - Cutting Edges

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Cutting edges are the point at which a core meets the mould, and is crucial in creating a fine edge for many appliances.

In flat moulds, there can be something similar even though a core isn’t involved, as it establishes where the appliance actually stops and the skin begins.

A cutting edge and overflow are critical in foam appliances, especially where a mould has foam latex added and a core is pushed into it. A gap between the core and the mould face would ensure the excess foam could escape, and the contact point where the mould meets the core would be decided carefully and precisely.

Go to our website to get the free booklet supporting this episode, or go here.

This principle has carried on with silicone, although usually excess waste is minimised owing to the fact silicone isn't mostly made of air, as is the case with foam latex.

Wherever the core meets or touches the mould - be it keys, the cutting edge or an unintentional, is known as a touchdown. Getting great edges is important in making pieces which will blend into the skin and appear as part of it, rather than exhibiting a clear boundary where the fake stops and the real begins.

Many thanks as always for your time checking the stuff out. You can email us direct at stuartandtodd@gmail.com or leave us a voice message directly on our site.

If you enjoy this podcast and got something out of it, would you do us a solid and tell just one more person about us?

Send them a link and help us grow!

-Stuart & Todd

Jun 11 2020

1hr 11mins

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#60 - Tim Baggaley

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Blog Post for this episode here.

Tim Baggaley played the one-armed zombie in Shaun of the Dead. He's a damn nice fella, an actor, talented graphic designer and a fabulous dancer.

In this episode, we chat about his experience on set and his recollections of being among the undead.

As we chatted, he reminded me of a few other things we had worked on together and we get into the nitty-gritty of whether or not we should see the genitals of monsters. Sounds like a fun tangent, but it is a serious consideration when making creature suits.

After all, their absence may be as strange as whatever freakishly upsetting creature-junk one may wish to design in their place. Who wants to write that back story?

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Many thanks as always for your time checking the stuff out. You can email us direct at stuartandtodd@gmail.com or leave us a voice message directly on our site.

If you enjoy this podcast and got something out of it, would you do us a solid and tell just one more person about us? Send them a link and help us grow to the right people!

–Stuart & Todd

May 17 2020

44mins

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#59 - Mark Donovan

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Here is a little treat - an additional little episode that checks in with Mark Donovan who played The Hulking Zombie in Shaun Of The Dead.

We talked through the difficulties involved in getting ready to be attacked with records and cricket bats, shovels and the heat whilst caked in blood.

Also, as you'll hear, some very cool comic book related stuff which was an exciting discovery. You may recall in the bumper podcast episode #55 that Stuart Conran mentioned the back story to the Hulking Zombie, how he came to be a zombie and why he was there with Mary.

I mentioned this to Mark and not only was he aware of it but he has the actual original panels framed at his home!

Check pics in the accompanying blog post here.

Many thanks for listening.

-Stuart & Todd

May 17 2020

30mins

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#57 - 'Little John' Cormican

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It was a great pleasure to chat with John face to face (before lockdown, I hasten to add) back in December of 2019.

John is a well known FX artist who has since gone on to work at Tussauds and is a freelance artist.

I think you will get a real kick out of hearing his take, a perfect attitude to how to feel when creating. We chat about what it means to sculpt, that internal dialogue we all have when creating something new,

Fact checking bellend: In this, I mistakenly assign Constantin Brâncuși as the artist behind 'Nude Descending a Staircase (No. 2)' which of course it wasn't - it was Marcel Duchamp.

Links to things we mentioned.

The Barclays Bank commercial directed by Ridley Scott. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JnVyANe0ZnE

John Schoonraad Episode: https://battleswithbitsofrubber.com/14-scanners-schoonraads/

Neill Gorton Episode: https://battleswithbitsofrubber.com/51-neill-gorton/

Kris Costa: https://www.instagram.com/theantropus/

Olya Anufrieva: https://www.instagram.com/he77ga/

Follow John on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jcormican/

Johns website: https://johncormican.co.uk/

Some of John's work

Nightbreed at Image Animation, Pinewood Studios.

Vasty Moses sculpt in progress.

The Judge Dredd wall panels for the movie.

Many thanks. Don't forget you can get in touch by leaving us a voice message or email stuartandtodd@gmail.com.

- Stuart & Todd

May 17 2020

1hr 42mins

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#58 - Air Bubbles

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Air bubbles of one kind or another are inevitable if you deal with materials which start out life as a liquid and then later solidify such as plaster, latex, silicone and resin. Let’s take a look at what can happen, why, and what to do about it.

Blog post accompanying this post: https://battleswithbitsofrubber.com/58-airbubbles/

May 17 2020

53mins

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#56 - Q & A

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This episode of the podcast, we catch up with some questions left on our answerphone, emails and comments.

Clay issues, alcohol colours, and a nice message from sculpting master Amelia Rowcroft. Cheers to those been in touch, and leaving messages. You can get in touch by email at stuartandtodd@gmail.com or leave a voicemail here.

I mentioned working at the BBC Visual FX department, and I was reminded that I have a book about it -

BBC Vfx: The History of the BBC Visual Effects Department 2010 by Mat Irvine (Author), Mike Tucker (Author) ISBN-10: 1845135563 ISBN-13: 978-1845135560

I mentioned 'enjoy the suck' and it was, of course, 'embrace the suck', and it's meaning is as follows:

(military, slang) To consciously accept or appreciate something that is extremely unpleasant but unavoidable.

Quite appropriate right now.

Check our podcast website here: https://battleswithbitsofrubber.com/

Apr 28 2020

50mins

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#55 - Shaun Of The Dead: An Appreciation

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The Shaun Of The Dead prosthetic team reunites and talk through the movie effects shots.

Blog post for this episode here

I thought it would be fun to chat with Stuart Conran and Dan Frye, two FX buddies who I have known and worked with for many years on many projects. I rewatched the movie to refresh my memory and listed the effects in chronological order.

Make sure to download the free booklet which accompanies this episode.

This little nod of appreciation comes from that place which still makes me warm and fuzzy when I flick through old Fangoria and Gorezone magazines.

You can easily get in touch with the show by leaving us a voicemail on our website here or emailing us at the usual address, stuartandtodd@gmail.com.

Thanks for listening.

-Stuart & Todd

Apr 25 2020

1hr 25mins

Play

#54 - Approaching Workshops

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Blog Post link: https://battleswithbitsofrubber.com/54-approaching-workshops/ Folio under your arm, at some point you may wish to appeal to those who could give you a job.

It's nervewracking to be judged, but your folio is maybe pages of your heart and soul now made visible for others to assess and rate.

The main way anyone gets work is simply by having a portfolio of good work and then show that to someone who pays for people like that to solve a problem they have. There isn't a single path or trick to game the system. You are not likely to be given a job you are wholly unsuited to - the work is too precious to those who are looking to hire, and there is a pretty robust system of hiring.

Here we discuss some main points to help you get your head straight. Think through what you could mean to them rather than what they can do for you. Listen to the podcast for the full monty, but the key points are listed below!

1.        How much to charge.

  • Know your worth       
  • Know how much it costs you to stand still for a day and do nothing.    
  • How much do people get paid? Check with trade union pay rates for your region to compare and see what is current.

2.        The film industry isn't looking to take you on and train you. It doesn't need another mouth to feed.

  • The machine which is the film industry isn’t looking to take on someone, spend time training them only to have them up sticks and work for someone else. The ‘industry’ isn’t a single entity, so much a mass of small companies, individuals and private interests.
  • For anyone to take a chance on someone unknown, share their contacts, processes and the inner circle is quite a thing to undertake. The risk is you could take that and use what you have learned to help a competitor, so it’s a peculiar situation to be in.

3.        Waiting to be picked.      

  • Someone waiting to be picked V an independent self-starter.        
  • Evidence of motivated and talent.    
  • Show evidence of your desire to do the work. A chef doesn’t require a fully fitted kitchen before making their first omelette – make what you can when you can to the best of your ability. Doing so will give you practice and display your journey to an interested party. The people you are trying to work for are like that and they know their own.  If you want to do it for a living then you should be doing it whatever.

4.        Awareness of the state of the industry.        

  • Do you know about the industry? About current artists names, credits and back story?    We have taught at many places where students didn’t know the masters or even watch films to have an awareness of what went before. This is something your potential employers will notice as they DO know and care about it.
  • How good are those currently working and do you measure up?   
  • What can you do to improve?           
  • What do people pay for? ... People pay to have their problems solved.

Whose problems do you solve?

  • Do you know the industry well enough to know that and how you can fit in to it?       
  • What can you provide and where do you fit in the workflow?        

5.        Actual ability levels.        

  • Are you an asset or a burden? Are you asking to help them or are you asking them to help you. Conisder their needs first, and how it will shape your approach.         
  • Does your folio show examples of what problems the employer will need you to solve?        

6.        How Busy is the film industry right now?     

  • The industry sweeps between crazy busy and deathly quiet.
  • Are they too busy to see your folio?         
  • Not busy means they may have time but they are not hiring either.
  • How can you find out and what questions should you ask?
  • It is easier to turn down an email than a phone call. Hard copy letter is something not too many do so maybe that is an option. You can’t game the system – good work and a good attitude will win.
  • Some will hire because of the right attitude and whether you can fit into the organisation as it currently stands. They will pay for someone who is competent enough to do what is asked.
  • Chances are they already have their key players in place, so they are not looking for a Jedi Master. They need enthusiastic and capable people they can slot into an existing framework and who will do what they are asked to do.

7.        How close do I live near the work?     If you don't, consider the following points.

  • Travel costs    
  • Accommodation costs           
  • Loss of income from previous job you may leave     
  • See it from employers’ point of view
  • Language/visa/immigration issues to consider        

8.        Luck.

  • Right place, right time.
  • The harder I work, the more good luck I seem to have.       
  • You can't control your employers or their desire to hire.

9.        People hate 'dear Sir/Madam'          

  • It displays a lack of awareness and disinterest, and laziness. Starting with ‘Hey everyone’ or ‘Dear Sir/Madam’ just smacks of cut and paste, and nobody wants evidence that you have cut as many corners as possible as to not even check to see how your enquiry is coming across. When I read this, I am not 'everyone'. Remember, a single person is reading this at any one time so address them as such.
  • Don’t show your employer that you are lazy in the very first contact. Research who you are writing to.

10.      Offering to work for free.

  • You are going up against people trying to make a living so few of your colleagues will think well of that strategy. Endless supply of newbies who think it’s a viable strategy but the essence is to get free training and opportunities in exchange for no pay.
  • The cost to the employer is babysitting fees and stress, so not always a good deal for them. If you have competence then you should get paid for that. If you have no competence then maybe you shouldn’t be there.
  • Taking work for no fee v covering material costs. Not to subsidise/finance the production. Working for free in order to gain experience and et something out of it, going in knowing this and not being taken advantage of.
  • Maybe good experience and folio building but limit these jobs, and be wary of taking a paying job from someone by offering to work for free.

11.      Security, NDA's and outsider risk.       

  • Relatively new phenomena which didn't affect those running shops when they started out.        Stolen phones, inadvertent plot spoilers, production protecting their investment.
  • Can you be trusted or do you have a history of revealing every facet of your life online which may deter an employer.     If you seem to blab about every injustice you have perceived then as someone who may have to tell you to get stuff done, I am going to wonder if you will hate on me publicly and so that’s not a good quality to have in someone who I will need to have my back. Discretion is a desirable quality.

12.      Unions.       

  • Does a union control the work and are you permitted?      
  • BECTU in the UK. The IATSE in North America is more effective as a union. Unions protect workers and maintain pay and conditions but the trade off is it isn’t an easy path or an open door. The flip side is an unregulated workforce in which good people wouldn’t stand out in a listing.

13.      Look out for cons and being taken advantage of.  

  • Paid/subscriptions/services to find work      
  • Non-payment and getting ripped off. Starting out, eager to please but don’t agree to unreasonable. If you are not experienced enough to know what reasonable is then maybe you are too green to be taking commissions. Work for someone else and earn your chops.  

14.      So what should I do to get my work seen?

  • Do good work and present good, clear images.
  • Digital folios are essential but consider a hard copy. These are people who sculpt after all, and like tactile objects.  
  • Keep a list of who you contacted, when, who you spoke to and what was said. Follow up on any advice or information.
  • Be on time.
  • Try and meet people at trade shows and events such as The Prosthetics Event, IMATS and other gatherings related to your area f interest.
  • Remember, you can't trick your way into work. You either have the chops or you don't. Good work gets seen and noticed. If you need to improve, then sink your energy into that rather than aggressive campaigns of hustling.
  • Keep a professional social media profile and post good work regularly.
  • Be persistent and polite.

Once again, thank for listening. Consider leaving us a voice message to ask a question, say hi or to leave us an intro for the next episode! Tap the 'Send A Voicemail' tab on the right, or go to the contact page.

Email is stuartandtodd@gmail.com.

Please consider sharing this podcast with one person whom you think may enjoy it! We want to grow and with your help, we can!

-Stuart & Todd

1.        How much to charge.

  • Know your worth       
  • Know how much it costs you to stand still for a day and do nothing.    
  • How much do people get paid? Check with trade union pay rates for your region to compare and see what is current.

2.        The film industry isn't looking to take you on and train you. It doesn't need another mouth to feed.

  • The machine which is the film industry isn’t looking to take on someone, spend time training them only to have them up sticks and work for someone else. The ‘industry’ isn’t a single entity, so much a mass of small companies, individuals and private interests.
  • For anyone to take a chance on someone unknown, share their contacts, processes and the inner circle is quite a thing to undertake. The risk is you could take that and use what you have learned to help a competitor, so it’s a peculiar situation to be in.

3.        Waiting to be picked.      

  • Someone waiting to be picked V an independent self-starter.        
  • Evidence of motivated and talent.    
  • Show evidence of your desire to do the work. A chef doesn’t require a fully fitted kitchen before making their first omelette – make what you can when you can to the best of your ability. Doing so will give you practice and display your journey to an interested party. The people you are trying to work for are like that and they know their own.  If you want to do it for a living then you should be doing it whatever.

4.        Awareness of the state of the industry.        

  • Do you know about the industry? About current artists names, credits and back story?    We have taught at many places where students didn’t know the masters or even watch films to have an awareness of what went before. This is something your potential employers will notice as they DO know and care about it.
  • How good are those currently working and do you measure up?   
  • What can you do to improve?           
  • What do people pay for? ... People pay to have their problems solved.

Whose problems do you solve?

  • Do you know the industry well enough to know that and how you can fit in to it?       
  • What can you provide and where do you fit in the workflow?        

5.        Actual ability levels.        

  • Are you an asset or a burden? Are you asking to help them or are you asking them to help you. Conisder their needs first, and how it will shape your approach.         
  • Does your folio show examples of what problems the employer will need you to solve?        

6.        How Busy is the film industry right now?     

  • The industry sweeps between crazy busy and deathly quiet.
  • Are they too busy to see your folio?         
  • Not busy means they may have time but they are not hiring either.
  • How can you find out and what questions should you ask?
  • It is easier to turn down an email than a phone call. Hard copy letter is something not too many do so maybe that is an option. You can’t game the system – good work and a good attitude will win.
  • Some will hire because of the right attitude and whether you can fit into the organisation as it currently stands. They will pay for someone who is competent enough to do what is asked.
  • Chances are they already have their key players in place, so they are not looking for a Jedi Master. They need enthusiastic and capable people they can slot into an existing framework and who will do what they are asked to do.

7.        How close do I live near the work?     If you don't, consider the following points.

  • Travel costs    
  • Accommodation costs           
  • Loss of income from previous job you may leave     
  • See it from employers’ point of view
  • Language/visa/immigration issues to consider        

8.        Luck.

  • Right place, right time.
  • The harder I work, the more good luck I seem to have.       
  • You can't control your employers or their desire to hire.

9.        People hate 'dear Sir/Madam'          

  • It displays a lack of awareness and disinterest, and laziness. Starting with ‘Hey everyone’ or ‘Dear Sir/Madam’ just smacks of cut and paste, and nobody wants evidence that you have cut as many corners as possible as to not even check to see how your enquiry is coming across. When I read this, I am not 'everyone'. Remember, a single person is reading this at any one time so address them as such.
  • Don’t show your employer that you are lazy in the very first contact. Research who you are writing to.

10.      Offering to work for free.

  • You are going up against people trying to make a living so few of your colleagues will think well of that strategy. Endless supply of newbies who think it’s a viable strategy but the essence is to get free training and opportunities in exchange for no pay.
  • The cost to the employer is babysitting fees and stress, so not always a good deal for them. If you have competence then you should get paid for that. If you have no competence then maybe you shouldn’t be there.
  • Taking work for no fee v covering material costs. Not to subsidise/finance the production. Working for free in order to gain experience and et something out of it, going in knowing this and not being taken advantage of.
  • Maybe good experience and folio building but limit these jobs, and be wary of taking a paying job from someone by offering to work for free.

11.      Security, NDA's and outsider risk.       

  • Relatively new phenomena which didn't affect those running shops when they started out.        Stolen phones, inadvertent plot spoilers, production protecting their investment.
  • Can you be trusted or do you have a history of revealing every facet of your life online which may deter an employer.     If you seem to blab about every injustice you have perceived then as someone who may have to tell you to get stuff done, I am going to wonder if you will hate on me publicly and so that’s not a good quality to have in someone who I will need to have my back. Discretion is a desirable quality.

12.      Unions.       

  • Does a union control the work and are you permitted?      
  • BECTU in the UK. The IATSE in North America is more effective as a union. Unions protect workers and maintain pay and conditions but the trade off is it isn’t an easy path or an open door. The flip side is an unregulated workforce in which good people wouldn’t stand out in a listing.

13.      Look out for cons and being taken advantage of.  

  • Paid/subscriptions/services to find work      
  • Non-payment and getting ripped off. Starting out, eager to please but don’t agree to unreasonable. If you are not experienced enough to know what reasonable is then maybe you are too green to be taking commissions. Work for someone else and earn your chops.  

14.      So what should I do to get my work seen?

  • Do good work and present good, clear images.
  • Digital folios are essential but consider a hard copy. These are people who sculpt after all, and like tactile objects.  
  • Keep a list of who you contacted, when, who you spoke to and what was said. Follow up on any advice or information.
  • Be on time.
  • Try and meet people at trade shows and events such as The Prosthetics Event, IMATS and other gatherings related to your area f interest.
  • Remember, you can't trick your way into work. You either have the chops or you don't. Good work gets seen and noticed. If you need to improve, then sink your energy into that rather than aggressive campaigns of hustling.
  • Keep a professional social media profile and post good work regularly.
  • Be persistent and polite.

Once again, thank for listening. Consider leaving us a voice message to ask a question, say hi or to leave us an intro for the next episode! Tap the 'Send A Voicemail' tab on the contact page.

Email is stuartandtodd@gmail.com.

Please consider sharing this podcast with one person whom you think may enjoy it! We want to grow and with your help, we can!

-Stuart & Todd

Apr 17 2020

1hr 19mins

Play

#53 - 5 Big Questions Commonly Asked

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Read more

There are often a number of questions about prosthetic makeup that get asked often. We put together the top 5 that keep cropping up and do a deep dive into our responses.

1. How do I match an appliance to a person's skin tone?

2. How do I ensure a good edge on an appliance?

3. How can I create good work without spending a fortune on materials?

4. How do I get work?

5. Will computers take over the work of makeup artists?

Check out the blog post with extensive notes (and a downloadable booklet) by tapping here.

Also, you can leave a voice message directly on our website through our 'Speak Pipe' feature. Check it here. -Stuart & Todd

Apr 12 2020

1hr 36mins

Play

#52 - Brandon & Jacquie Ryan

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Todd talks with his good friends and fellow artists, Jacquie & Brandon Ryan.

This episode looks at how people teach, learn, and maybe don't learn. We all need a motivation to learn, and many of us will require different styles of learning such as visual, auditory, practical hands-on tasks or live demonstration to get started.

One simple rule to remember is this: Sucking is learning. Making mistakes is when you learn. Learn how to make mistakes and pick yourself up. Nobody likes failing, but using that as fuel is worthwhile. As the military put it - 'Pain retains!'

Check our blog post with extensive notes here.

Apr 02 2020

1hr 35mins

Play

#51- Neill Gorton

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I first met Neill with a folio tucked under my arm for my interview I had managed to arrange at Ealing Studios in 1995.

My first job with him was making oversized Casio watches, which were fibreglassed out of silicone moulds to make G-Shock watch display units.

---------------------------------

Check out our new website: Battles With Bits Of Rubber Dot Com

---------------------------------

One thing I have always noticed about Neill is that he has a seemingly fearless approach to problem-solving. He will go directly to the source and grab whatever is the root of the issue in order to overcome it.

This seems to me to be the single best approach to fixing things which go wrong and thus continue on to better results. It is so easy for us to protect ourselves from the pain of that difficulty that it needs constant motivation and reminding to break through that in-built resistance.

The film industry is couched in problem-solving, each situation unique and usually high pressured. It is an attractive career and it rewards those involved with decent pay and pride, at the cost of many long hours and the weight of responsibility.

When things are done well by competent practitioners, it often looks like not much has been done at all - as if the ease with which something has been accomplished has been the result of something requiring little skill. The truth is, people who are highly skilled make it look easy, and it is interesting to discuss this with people who are successful and well connected to their efforts which made them so.

It does nobody any service to imply that great success is easy, yet there is no shortage of 'get rich quick' schemes online, dangling the carrot of instant fame at the touch of a recording button.

Truth is, people pay for what they value and solving problems is a valuable commodity. The job of all of us I think is to figure out whose problems you can solve, and how to be of service whilst building a body of work you can be proud of.

In this episode, Neill & Stuart dig into the behind the scenes stuff about what is hard and how to address the weaknesses. We also come up with three very practical ways to get started, which don't involve massive expense or commitment:

  1. Sculpt self-portraits with clay, spending just 30 mins a day and reuse the clay to practice sculpting. Mirror, lamp and you. Do this for 30 days. Take a photo each day of what you did in the time, and rip the clay up and reuse it the next day. Repeat.
  2. Sculpt a face or creature face onto a board. Make a plaster mould of this and make a latex face mask. Avoid expensive silicone in the first instance, just stick to the basic materials.
  3. Highlight and shadow makeups. The cornerstone of everything, modifying forms with just highlight and shadow using a few brushes and a makeup palette such as the 12 colour 'Supracolour' B Palette from Kryolan.

Neill also talks about his interest in psychology and how it can best affect how we see to sculpt.

We do so many things automatically without actively noticing, so learning to do new things makes you meet those difficulties. That is the blockage when you start learning new things. There is no immediate reward, no endorphin rush of doing something you are competent at.

When starting out, most people are awful, few people are 'natural born sculptors'. It takes repetition and powering through the crap stuff, like purging the spout of a half-used tube of glue, getting the crust out of the way so the fresh stuff can get out.

I'm a better sculptor because of how I break things down into simpler forms. Complexity is just repeated layers of simplicity. Sculpting is difficult because you have a low-resolution version of things - you can't have a high-resolution version of all things in the world, it is too much information to retain and recall so we become adept at glossing over most things most of the time.

When called to reproduce and generate something which is believable, it helps to have a clear idea of how to break down a given subject so it can be approached and digested systematically in smaller, simpler chunks, arranged in the right order.

Asked to draw a horse from memory, most of us will realise what we don't have stored as we have instead an 'icon' of what a horse is rather than a detailed, accurate schematic. You know what constitutes a horse so you can recognise one when you see it, but recreating one will require more resolution than you have, so feed that when needed by studying reference material

Lastly, a few words about social media enterprises.

YouTube sells the idea that it's easy, but there is a lot of unseen work, effort and equipment which needs to be used correctly.

The illusion of social media platforms is that they make you think of them as accessible. In the entire history of entertainment until recently, TV and media used up on a pedestal, that which was on a screen wasn't interacted with. Now the platform has been democratised.

However, you can't own an audience. You cannot control a following.

To be of value, have something first, and once you have something to offer, THEN use the social media outlet to promote it. After all, you don't buy a shop and then wonder what to sell in it.

In this episode we mention a few things, so here are the details regarding them.

The 'Corson book' is a classic and has just come out with the 11th edition. It also has a lot of cool stuff in by a friend of the show Matthew Mungle so we recommend that:

Stage Makeup Richard Corson (author), James Glavan (author), Beverly Gore Norcross (author)

Psychology book recommendations:

Your Deceptive Mind: A Scientific Guide To Critical Thinking Skills By Steve Novella

Black Box Thinking By Matthew Syed

Radical Candor: How to Get What You Want by Saying What You Mean By Kim Scott

Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win By Jocko Willink & Leif Babin

VANESSA DAVIS - THE SKULLTRESS™ - @skulltressbeauty

Many thanks for listening! Give us a share on the socials and maybe check our merch store here and our Teespring Store to show your support!

Check out the awesome podcast pin badge. It's made from metal and everything! -Stuart & Todd

Mar 19 2020

2hr 5mins

Play

#50 - Richard McEvoy Crompton

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At IMATS London 2019, I sat and had a great chat with Rick from Bolton University. For those that may not be aware, a breif Rick bio:

"Richard is a senior lecturer and Programme Leader of the Special Effects for Film and TV degree at the University of Bolton. He’s been teaching at the university for several years and specialises in character work, in both the prosthetic make-up effects and model-making fields. "

In the episode, we talk about the massive effect 3D printing and technology is having on what was previously a traditional skills area. What is cool is that new blood is coming in, taking on board the new tech and learning old skills for the first time in equal measure, making something new and quite special as a result. He is an interesting chap and has, I think you will agree, a very good voice for radio! Give us a listen and let us know what you think.

Incidentally, all the lecturers at Bolton have been doing great work there for years, making a real impact on the quality of work and competence the students leave with. The lecturers and support crew in all the courses at Bolton have been so generous and supportive, they really do deserve a shout out.

We recently collaborated with various mentors to support their recent Island of Dr Moreau project which was filmed this past week.

More on this exciting collaboration with Matt Winston from the incredible Stan Winston Character School of Character Arts here.

In it, we discuss various things, and I mention a He-Man and a Skeletor suit made for a Money Supermarket commercial built by Legacy FX.

Check out the cool behind the scenes video of David Monzingo, Brian Best and Myself wrangling suits for the commercial shoot in London here. I was lucky enough to help out just for a day - David and the Legacy FX team handled the build and full shoot days - it was a blast!

Todd and I chatted about safer mould materials, which is great for anyone with limited workshop access, open spaces and extraction. This led to an interesting discussion about comparing plaster and resin use in the UK and USA for mould making.

The materials we mentioned were acrylic polymers to be used with Gypsum, and sound similar in regards to mixing and properties:

Jesmonite by Jesomite

Acrylic Plaster Polymer by Alec Tiranti

Forton MG by Smooth-On

Acrylic One by Active Composite Technologies

We also discuss the workspaces used by students in makeup schools and colleges, measuring accuracy in CAD and ZBrush and the amazing work of Landon Meier. If you haven't seen his stuff, it really is incredible and you can do a lot worse for entertainment than check out his stuff here: http://www.hyperflesh.com/

This article is also entertaining: https://www.greatbigstory.com/stories/this-guy-makes-the-world-s-most-convincing-masks

His Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/hyperfleshdude/

His YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/disgustedbaby

Correction - In the podcast at 19:03 it was Monsterpalooza 2018 we did the Bela Lugosi application - not IMATS as I said. D'oh!

Have a splendid week! We shall return soon.

Kind regards

---

Stuart & Todd.

Jan 16 2020

1hr 7mins

Play

#49 - Matthew Mungle

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In this episode, I got to chat with Matthew Mungle & visit his jail cell!

Matthew and his company, WM Creations have been responsible for makeup effects on scores of shows and racked up a lot of awards and nominations in the process - for a deep dive into that, check out Matthews IMDb profile.

The actual real-life holding cell in the studio, now decked out with suitably spooky decorations and effects! So much fun.

Todd and I also wax lyrical about the joys of epoxy and plaster, silicones we like for flat moulds and release agents for Pros-Aide transfers. We both like a firmer silicone as there is naturally some pressure that goes on when pressing a scraper over the back of the mould - so a soft silicone mould will compress too much and underfill if you are not careful!

One of the sculpting areas in Matthews studio.

Matthew talked at length about the process of taking a script, breaking it down and assigning it into a series of tasks - details which you don't often hear people talk about. He always wanted to do his own thing, and so he learned how to please a crew and producers before being a freelancer - getting the priorities right:

  • Learning how to delegate and let things go whilst still controlling quality.
  • How a job gets from words on a page to a series of jobs, and then pieces of rubber on a set.
  • How a TV show is like a train that leaves the station that doesn't stop until it gets to the end of the line.
  • Deciding what will be practical or visual fx.
  • Will an effect be suitable for the target audience to keep director, producer and network happy.
  • Discussing the effect with the appropriate crew like DOP and what to prep for.
We are also on Spotify, iTunes, Soundcloud and YouTube ... basically, wherever you get podcasts!

Subscribe to make sure you don't miss the latest episodes!

  • The video tutorial I mentioned on Freeform Sculpt and Freeform Air is here. (It was a squirrel - not a duck as I mentioned).
  • WM Creations have a range of FX materials such as Soft Sealer, Old Age Stipple and Alcohol Colours, and are available from good retailers such as BITY in the US and The Makeup Armoury in the UK.

There are endless rows of lifecasts all over the studio - talk about reference material!

Thanks for listening! If you enjoyed this podcast, please consider letting everyone know - tell a friend, share this episode on the socials and leave a comment or review on iTunes if you feel moved to do so!

You can email us directly at stuartandtodd@gmail.com

Till next time

-Stuart & Todd

Click to visit the Blog Post Episode to go with this episode.

Dec 18 2019

1hr 38mins

Play

#48 - Neil Morrill

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In this episode, Neill Morrill joins me in the workshop as we hit up Todd in Colorado and chat about our collaborated efforts on the makeup we did for The Prosthetics Event 2019.

Neil is originally from the UK but moved to Toronto in the early 2000s and has worked on a number of high profile shows over the years such as 300, The Strain, Suicide Squad, Hereditary, It, Shazam! and the What We Do In The Shadows series.

It was an absolute joy working with Neil on our homage to Rick Bakers' 'Reverend Brown' makeup on Arsenio Hall from 1988 classic Coming To America.

Neil had the idea when chatting to our makeup sponsor Sian Richards when bouncing ideas around. The upcoming sequel recently finished shooting, and so Neil picked that as a good contender as a challenge for us to do - separated as we are by 3, 500 miles of Atlantic ocean.

British Rapper and DJ Normski agreed to be our victim, and so we set about hatching the plan. Obviously distance like that adds tricky elements to a physical process such as sculpting and moulding pieces, so we worked out a share of labour which was as follows.

Some video was shot and we will edit together the whole thing as a complete tutorial in more detail, so check the blog post for an abridged version of the first part of the process: http://www.learnmakeupeffects.com/48-neil-morrill/

Thanks for checking in!

-Stuart & Todd

Email the show direct at stuartandtodd@gmail.com

Dec 12 2019

58mins

Play

#47 - Kate Benton

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In this episode, Todd and Stu talk about our week making moulds with epoxy, dropping sculpts and moulage effects for first responder training.

Earlier in 2019, Stu got to sit and chat with some fine folks at IMATS London and a chat with makeup designer Kate Benton kicks off the first of these finally edited up after a crazy industry year.

This is the sculpt I was detailing and then dropped. Doh!

As you may know, this podcast is a side hustle for us which has been on the backburner for a while as the industry rocked the makeup case hard.

Now as things ease up, the Prosthetics Event is almost upon us and a season of podcast editing is happening and winding down for the end of the year. Deep joy!

Find out more about Kate on her website: http://www.katebenton.com/

The Heidi Klum Halloween makeups we mentioned can be seen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sp390WQaXY

Check out the amazing artistry of Mike Marino and Prosthetic Rennaisance (Proren) here: https://www.prorenfx.com/ and on Insta @prorenfx

We sure appreciate your ears and attention. If you would like to help support us, then please share this episode with someone who you think would get something out of it.

Get in touch at stuartandtodd@gmail.com to ask fx related questions and to suggest your ideas for a future episode. OK, back to the workshop for us.

Speak soon.

-Stuart & Todd

Nov 18 2019

1hr 2mins

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#46 - Makeup Education

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Starting Education In Makeup Effects & Prosthetics

This episode is prompted by seeing a few questions on forums about how best to learn about makeup FX and prosthetics. Where to go and what to learn?

Depending on what you want to be able to do, let's also draw a distinction between a makeup artist who sometimes will apply a prosthetic v someone who specialises in creating and applying more complex pieces.

Some people want to exist in the workshop only and have no interest in being on set all day. It takes all types but understands there is a profession which specialises in making and one in makeup, they don't always cross over, and you don't need to be able to do everything.

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There are some great colleges out there with tutors doing sterling work. There are also some not so great. We think that is worth mentioning and discussing.

In this episode, I mention some institutions off the top of my head which I reckon do a great job, and I have had the privilege of visiting many more and speaking with the students there.

In the podcast recording, I didn't supply an exhaustive list, and to those which I neglected to mention I apologise. The result of memory oversight. I have been overwhelmed recently by the kindness and generosity of the tutors who make huge efforts to deliver good education.

Thank you for what you do.

There are a few different paths to go down if looking to get schooling. Nowadays it essentially boils down to three main categories of training. Education systems vary across the world, but the essence of these categories remain the same.

1. Academic or ‘certified’ qualification level (usually longer term)

2. Private courses & tuition (usually short term)

3. Self-taught through books, DVD’s and online sources (usually long term & ongoing)

The link to the blog post about training and apprentices we mentioned is here.

That free digital sculpting programme is called Sculptris and is available here: https://pixologic.com/sculptris/

The link to the blog post about training and apprentices we mentioned is here.

That free digital sculpting programme is called Sculptris and is available here: https://pixologic.com/sculptris/

Rick Bakers book, Metamorphosis is out now in good bookstores!

Nov 10 2019

1hr 27mins

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#45 - Jordu Schell

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Jordu Schell has been pushing clay around for a while and knows a thing or two about sculpting.

Creating concepts for characters and creatures, masks, makeups and beautifully crafted designs, he also teaches his craft all over the world and has recently released the first of a series of downloadable books The Professional Creature Design Handbook.

In this podcast we chat about:

  • The headspace of sculpting
  • The frustration of failing and why it matters
  • Using nature as inspiration and reference
  • The pitfalls of copying styles (Aping the style without understanding the deeper truth behind it)
  • Teaching and learning styles around the world

The other sculptors mentioned are:

The book Todd mentioned was by Uldis Zarins and Sandis Kondrats Anatomy For Sculptors: https://anatomy4sculptors.com/

Subscribe in your podcatcher to make sure you don't miss the latest episodes!

Thanks for listening

Stuart & Todd

Sep 10 2019

1hr 17mins

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iTunes Ratings

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Real World Makeup F/X Talk

By CeSculpture - Apr 04 2020
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The absolute BEST makeup and effects related podcast ever produced! Stuart and Todd are industry veterans with their thumbs on the pulse of the makeup/prosthetics world who, along with other industry professionals, talk about the realities and nuts-and-bolts of what it is to be a working professional makeup artist in the film and television business today. Regardless if you’re an aspiring artist or just a fan of special effects, you will find inspiring people and subjects to learn from, done in an entertaining and interesting way!

Educational!

By Mark BBB - Nov 16 2016
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Where has this podcast been all my life? So good.