Special Effects Makeup Artist Jobs

Special Effects is a world of its own: Bruises, gashes, aging, ghouls, monsters, earthly creatures, fantasy creatures, prosthetics, blood, body suits – all encompassing the world superseding reality.

A makeup artist that does Special Effects has to have limitless vision and a broad scope of what is possible. Training will be the distinguishing factor in a makeup artist specializing in special effects. While there is a lot of technical training required, the only way to really master special effects is to just get your hands dirty and do it. If you’re lucky you will have an amazing mentor that will give you range and freedom to really explore the depths of your imagination and in doing so, you will be prepared to do whatever is asked of you. Rarely will anyone begin in film and be in charge of a department so if you’re hoping to run the show, you will be sorely disappointed. Like every avenue of film, special effects is a department that will continually push your abilities and demand that you create a vision that may not be yours. If a screenplay calls for a bloodbath or a gruesome crime scene, you have to know that you will be placed with a team of people who know how to do that and it is a great advantage to watch and learn and go for it whenever you can.

In the words of Stan Winston, most notably known for his work on Terminator, “As an artist for arts sake, I have my own sculptures that I do for myself that I can spend as much time as I want on. Part of the creative challenge of this business, is to go, you know what, I’ve got this much money and this much time to do this job. I will do the best I can within those parameters.

That’s what being a professional is. That’s not art for art’s sake. This is the motion picture business. If you only do stuff that you have all the time and money to do, you would never work in this business.”

Imagine watching Lord of the Rings: Trilogy and the Hobbits were missing their strangely hairy and clumsy feet or the point of an ear. If not for those details and prosthetics, somehow they would be less endearing, less real. Or imagine if you were to go back and watch The Wizard of Oz and the Cowardly Lion just had on a painted nose and not a molded one or even an innovative film such as The Nutty Professor – without the techniques and imagination of Rick Baker, none of those characters would have been possible. It just wouldn’t be the same story. In the same breath special effects can be even subtler like the nose created for Nicole Kidman playing Virginia Woolf in The Hours. The simple creation of Nicole Kidman’s prosthetic nose allowed the audience to really see someone else; someone lost and torn and suffering. It’s important to remember that nothing in film is unintentional. Everything from lighting to camera angles to makeup and wardrobe lend to telling the story.

Special Effects are impressive and strangely intriguing. The key is you have got to be willing to get your hands dirty and take direction – and take it well. Special Effects only relates to makeup, however, and not Set Design or blowing things up. Special Effects Makeup is time consuming and absolutely incredible. When hired to do special effects, know that you will be asked to put in a tremendous amount of time and effort because in truth, applying effects and prosthetics can be a daunting task. But much like anything in film, the hard work most always pays off. When you create a creature or a look and you see the finished results on film and see how pivotal your work was in telling a story there is great pride in that.

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