Battles With Bits of Rubber

Stuart Bray

Stuart Bray and Todd Debreceni talk about the craft of 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', 'Game of Thrones' and 'Dr Strange'. Email us at stuartandtodd@gmail.com

All Episodes

Figurative sculptor Amelia Rowcroft lives in the lovely Sussex town of Lewes on the South East Coast of England, which dates back to 961AD. She was kind enough to invite us into her studio in a building that once housed a brewery in the 1600s, and that’s where we recorded this episode of BWBoR. Amelia has been sculpting practically, working in clay for over 20 years, creating primarily fine art portraits and figurative sculptures, though she has also worked within the film industry, and for the world’s leading wax figure museums including Madame Tussaud’s, and we talked about it all. She studied at Central St Martins, and the Florence Academy in Florence, Italy, and interestingly enough, was also a student at Wimbledon School of Art where Stuart attended, though a few years behind him. As fate would have it, another of our upcoming podcast guest artists, ZBrush Master Madeleine Scott Spencer, also studied at the Florence Academy and remembers Amelia, but we’ll save that for later. We chatted for a good hour and a half and covered a variety of sculpture-related topics, such as why isn’t there a Museum of Crap Renaissance Sculpture so we can see the failures of the Masters – because there had to be some - and creating a likeness sculpture vs. creating a caricature of a subject. We also chatted about sculpting digitally vs. pushing actual clay around. Amelia was kind enough – incredibly generous is more like it – to allow us to explore her online sculpture course, and it is jaw-dropping in content and ‘lightbulb’ moments. We urge you to at least look at the sample video lessons on Amelia’s website www.sculptingmasterclass.com/collections. We suspect you’ll want to enrol to take advantage of the instruction offered by this incredible sculptor. Whether you sculpt practically or digitally, this information is invaluable and transferable between mediums. -------------------------------------- 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

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Nov 24

1 hr 5 min

Click Here For Blog Post Of This Episode Paul Savage is a returning guest on the show. We caught up with him at the Prosthetics Event in Coventry. Merging medical knowledge with movie makeup, he aims to bring more realism to training scenarios.  Raising the bar in simulation can help to save actual lives. It is quite often that makeup students will work with a local emergency service and offer up their skills to make up casualties for training first responders and combat medics. As makeup artists, we often let the dramatic effect take the reins, however, it is easy to inadvertently misdirect a clinical field assessment with incorrectly applied makeup that has been applied for dramatic effect rather than clinical accuracy. It is important to use primary references of genuine trauma rather than copying trauma makeup that isn't necessarily accurate. By copying even good makeup, we can also reproduce their errors unintentionally. We talk about the merits of using the right material, the right amount of blood and setting the scene. Even though it is a simulation, seasoned first responders will take their cues from what they see rather than what they have been told. So it better look right! Regarding the mastectomy makeup mentioned in the episode, it was for the ITV Drama 'The Walk' (2005). The makeup designer was Caroline Noble and made for Millennium FX. It was applied on location by Rob Trenton. Click Here For Blog Post Of This Episode  

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Nov 20

39 min 46 sec

This episode is in two parts. The first part is the generally good news of the increase in film industry activity which sees many people run off their feet with work. After a year of lockdowns and closed up shops, this is good news indeed. Film and TV productions are picking up because of the build-up of work owing to shelved ideas, and owing to the massive amount of free time folks have had to consume box sets and start to want the next season. --------------------------------------------- Incidentally, it was Gorezone #9 which had the awesome Evil Dead 2 stuff I mentioned. -------------------------------------------- Breaking pieces down (unnecessarily)   We also discuss the breaking down of pieces when moving from the sculpting to the moulding stage. Covered at length in a piece we did a while back (link below), it was worth a good chat about why this may even be necessary. Why do we break pieces down at all? No two makeups break down the same. Usually in thinnest area of sculpt. http://www.learnmakeupeffects.com/floating-pieces/ Extra work and time/materials/cost involved Design and purpose of makeup decides what needs to be broken down and why. Collapsible cores vs flaring out/overlapping pieces. For amazing mould work (plus great craft generally), I highly recommend these two excellent artists: https://instagram.com/carl_lyon_ https://instagram.com/rob_freitas_ Check out the podcast website https://battleswithbitsofrubber.com  

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Oct 18

1 hr 15 min

We covered cutting edges in episode #61 but this one is specifically about cutting edges on flat moulds. Cutting edges on appliance moulds do the work of separating the fine appliance edge from the flashing and excess, allowing the mould to close properly and achieve the feather thin edge you have sculpted. The exact width of the distance between the cutting edge and the sculpted edge varies between artists and techniques, preferences and materials. I have seen many sculpts where folk have had a massive distance between the cutting edge and the sculpt, and this is what prompted this episode. The book I was reading which mentioned 'Stereo Type' with regards to printing was The Village Carpenter: The Classic Memoir of the Life of a Victorian Craftsman by Walter Rose, published originally in 1937. Check out the Stereotype process on the Wikipedia page. See what books are freely available at Project Gutenberg https://www.gutenberg.org/. 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

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Jul 20

52 min 1 sec

In episode #74 we talk about running lots of foam latex and overcoming the things that can go wrong with foam latex. Despite silicone being the material most go to first, it is a very real material that needs to be kept in mind for certain projects. We also chat about how 3D scanning and printing has had a tangible benefit on some jobs we had this year, and how using this technology has enabled things that would not have otherwise been possible. Many thanks for listening! -Stuart & Todd Email the show on stuartandtodd@gmail.com Leave us a voice message straight from our website.  

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Jun 21

1 hr 10 min

Rod Maxwell is a bit of a Renaissance man, and the more we talked the more you can see how wearing many hats has informed his approach. Of late, Rod has become known for his fusion of digital techniques with practical outcomes. Looking at his Instagram, you can see trailblazing work with 3D printed moulds, scanning lifecasts and moulds and using that data to create things impossible to do any other way. Overlaying lifecasts done years apart to animate the changes in features displaying the effects of aging? Yes please! Rod created a short movie, The Wishing Well, in which he created and wore 26 makeups to play the various characters...all self applied. Check it out on Amazon Prime and see this behind the scenes video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PYJmW3KYtTw He was on Syfy's Face Off season 3, which he took as an opportunity to take full advantage of the opportunity to make something with an amazing facility at his disposal. He created an app to help artists improve their colour theory skills, called Flesh Master. There is also a corresponding Skin Illustrator 'Rescue On Set' palette to then use those techniques to correct appliance colours to better match skin. Taking it all in, it's a great insight into the work that goes into acquiring the skills and experience which make an accomplished person. We think you'll get a kick out of this one. Check out Rods Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/rodmaxwell/ --------------- 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

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Feb 20

2 hr 29 min

Adam has become well known for his miniature and smaller-scale work which has both great expression as well as high levels of detail, and even developed a material which allowed such tight detail for miniatures called Cx5. The man has done a lot of things and has worked many jobs - let's be clear his feet are on the ground and he knows what hard work is.  He also has cultivated a very positive and effective mindset which is infectious and inspiring to behold and makes you want to try harder as you see that he walks the walk himself. There is a great body of work to be seen online, so check out his Instagram, (www.instagram.com/adambeanecreates) so you see what we are talking about. Adam also teaches so check out his website www.adambeane.com and his Patreon at www.patreon.com/AdamBeaneCreates. It's new at the time of writing, so go give the man a hand and check him out. ------------------------------------- Links The study Adam mentions (by Aude Oliva, Antonio Torralba & Philippe. G. Schyns) with the hybrid images is worth checking out here: https://studylib.net/doc/14424564/hybrid-images-aude-oliva-antonio-torralba-philippe.-g.-sc... Adam mentions Sight-Size as a technique in drawing, which is an arrangement of the artist, subject and artwork that allows the artist to see their subject and artwork one-to-one. See more on this here: https://www.sightsize.com/ Also, Persistence Of Vision is mentioned: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Persistence_of_vision Adam mentions Generative Adversarial Network, which I must confess I had not heard of before. Check it out here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Generative_adversarial_network Also seeing this example, an automatic realistic person generator: https://www.thispersondoesnotexist.com/ We mentioned the awesome creature designer and artist Carlos Huante, and his stuff is well worth checking out: http://www.carlos-huante-monstruo.com/ ------------------------------------- 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

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Feb 10

1 hr 53 min

Daniel was the first professional prosthetic professional to look at my portfolio. That stuff sticks with you. That was back in 1994, and there was still a lot of Frankenstein stuff kicking about in the workshop from the previous year. I learned a lot being in that workshop, and got to see a makeup test on Ian McKellan for Richard III in my time there. Daniel has recently been praised for his work as makeup and hair designer on The Queens Gambit (Netflix) and Chernobyl (HBO). He has an extensive range of credits spanning 37 years, including Zero Dark Thirty, The Hurt Locker, Band Of Brothers, Frankenstein (Academy Award nominee) Empire Of The Sun, Cloud Atlas, Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves and Enemy Mine. In this conversation, we talked about how often simple techniques and good paintwork can do so much and using appliances wisely. It is very easy for an artist to fall in love with the processes and things they have learned, and to decide to inflict themselves as extensively as possible on anything they do. Instead, the aim is to see the full picture and work with the raw material of the performer and make only the correct changes for the character. Daniel also is a director at his temporary Tattoo company, TattooedNow! which he runs with Serbian artists Igor Strangliczky and Nikola Prijic. ---------------------------------- 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  

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Jan 8

2 hr 21 min

In this second and final part of the chat with Dominic, we look at his art and discuss the drawing and sculptures. As usual, this podcast episode is a tale of two stories. Todd and I talk about the difficult work involved in lifecasting the deceased, which can be much trickier than dealing with the living. Then the chat with Dom, looking at his processes for creating artwork, using traditional and digital media and how they can work off each other. ZBrush has become such an integral part of many design processes and is a powerful tool with a terrifying interface which puts many people off. It's a good chat, and it pleased us greatly that the feet-on-the-ground attitude Dom has, despite being such an accomplished designer, was an inspiration. It's the kind of thing you need to hear if you are intimidated by good work. ---------------------------- This past month has seen us produce some new videos for the channel. It's been a while since we have made some video tutorials, and so we present a couple on using cap plastic - one comparing the methods of application using an airbrush and a conventional brush: https://youtu.be/A71eYQF-Ot4 Todd also made a cool video showing some alternative methods of applying cap plastic as a spray if you are not in possession of an airbrush: https://youtu.be/YSKcDClVZ8s Finally, a video of a mould Stuart did with makeup effects artist Helen McKenna. Helen had sculpted a neat cyclops bust on a Don Lanning workshop and had kept it under plastic for almost a year. She wanted to mould it but wasn't sure how to go about it. We decided the best way to help would be to mould it in the workshop and video the process: https://youtu.be/KatTvV8dOrU ---------------------------- 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  

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Dec 2020

1 hr 24 min

In this episode (and the next), we have a chat with artist Dominic Hailstone.  He works extensively with visual effects and has a background in makeup effects and practical effects which inform his approach. Being an early adopter of visual effects and using computers places him in a unique position of seeing both sides and is well versed in the processes and business in film making. As you will hear, his intimate understanding of film making as a storyteller and a designer gives him a good insight into the business. Necro Deathmort Album Cover Art Check out Dominic's website https://www.dominichailstone.com/ where you can see his work as a director in The Eel, artist, sculptor and visual effects reels. The variety and range of mediums and styles is fantastic, and you really have to see this stuff to appreciate what he is capable of.  We think you'll get a kick out of it. Dom is also on YouTube and Instagram @dominic_hailstone_ In this first part, the areas we cover include: Management meddling with effects and design choices. Being responsible for more than just effects, creating your own work. The struggle between old school & new tech. What is special now, and the insubstantial nature of the internet ------------------------------------- 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

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Dec 2020

1 hr 31 min

This episode is a catch up on some emails and questions we had over the last couple of weeks. We have some great questions this time around, so many thanks for getting in touch! We talk about epoxy surfaced moulds, crinkly edges, and dodgy makeup course practices. Books mentioned in this episode: Silicone Art - Silicone As An Art Material By Tom McLaughlin V1.3 Fundamentals of Facial Prosthetics By Robert E McKinstry Products mentioned: MAC Matte Cream or 'Crème Matifiante' A quick shout out to Thomas Tuohey for making this awesome mixer head available on Thingiverse: https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:4648372 This fantastic materials calculator: https://www.fxcalc.monster/ 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

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Nov 2020

1 hr 16 min

Brian Kinney is a primetime Emmy-nominated makeup artist and a Journeyman in IATSE Hollywood Local 706 Make-up Artists and Hairstylists Guild, where he serves as Makeup Craft President and Executive Board Member. His work can be seen in feature films and television shows, such as Fear The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, Westworld, Purge: Anarchy and CSI. Check out his extensive IMDb page to see the hefty list of credits. Brian came to my workshop just after Christmas 2019 and we had a great afternoon catching up and recording a chat. It seems funny to remember when you could just be in a room with other people normally and not wear masks... Anyhoo, we started our chat with the time Brian visited the workshops of Stuart Freeborn (original Star Wars trilogy, 2001, The Bridge Over The River Kwai) which is eye-watering nostalgic. Brian has a fantastic manner, combining the makeup artists skills with exquisite etiquette (plus a great voice for radio as you'll hear!). We chat about being responsible for things on set, how bosses may allocate tasks to their freelancers, case-hardening skills learned in makeup school in the real world and being available to help others. Check his website out here. He is on Instagram @bekinney. --------------------------------     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

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Nov 2020

1 hr 26 min

Lars is a generous self-taught artist from Sweden. He works in film, TV and theatre productions often using new technology to scan and print items for practical effects. We wanted to chat theatre stuff, as that is not something we have spoken much about on the podcast. It's an area which may well be more available for people starting out, as many sizes of theatre and regional playhouses have small scale productions offering great opportunities for creative people starting out. In this episode, we talk scanning, printing and sculpting in virtual reality, trouble with new LED lighting in theatres, making mistakes and having the courage to say YES to things in order to figure out how to do them. We also chat about the famous airbrush splatter nozzles which Lars came up with and freely shares on his website. Check out Lars' website, shop and in particular, the tutorials which cover so many important areas in makeup effects, from sculpting, moulding, painting and of course, hair punching. Of particular note is the excellent silicone calculator on there too! Lars is on Instagram @makeupfx. We mention the Effects Lab, which was a big deal in the early days of the internet before everything became a massive echo chamber. It is currently being overhauled and upgraded, but much of it is accessible here. Well worth checking out if you haven't already. 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

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Nov 2020

1 hr 39 min

https://battleswithbitsofrubber.com/ It’s Halloween. A Saturday! A full moon! Also not happening because of Covid. Boo. It’s a damn shame, but I imagine around the world, a lot more horror movies will be watched. I can only hope such mass consumption will drive production to make more stuff as we burn through the back catalogue of shows with a worldwide captive audience. Cutting Edges On appliances, a cutting edge is often employed to mark the boundary of where appliance stops and real skin should begin. With foam and gelatine, the end of the piece was the end of the piece. With silicone appliances, we usually have a cap plastic barrier which extends beyond the silicone edge to provide that nice, melt-to-nothing transition. However, on a lot of flat moulds, we have seen varying takes on how far away a cutting edge should be from the sculpt. We chat about that! Cap Plastic On The Back Of A Piece We also chat about cap plastic on the back of pieces. Usually necessary when a mould and a core is involved, but there are some reasons why it is desirable to not have cap plastic on the back of a piece. For one, often when removing the appliance, the cap plastic will stick better to the skin because of the glue than it does to the back of the appliance. This ‘delamination’ means it takes longer to clean up and can be a pain. Why cap plastic the back at all? Usually two reasons. One reason is deadened/softened silicone is very sticky, so the barrier makes it possible to handle the piece during demoulding. The other is to allow ‘cheaper’ water-based adhesives (as opposed to the more expensive silicone adhesives) to bond better to the piece. Let’s not forget that silicone is a material much used for moulds precisely because not much sticks to it. Including most glues and makeup. By having a barrier on the surface which is not actually silicone at all, but cap plastic, suddenly a whole world of things can be used on the makeup and blendable edges are possible. The sheer joy! So, when running flat pieces, now I don’t bother with cap plastic on the back. I did it, like many do, out of habit and seeing it down without really asking myself why it was necessary. By spraying more cap plastic on the back, we essentially double the edge thickness and it’s an extra step in the job. We talk through some notions of why it can be a problem, and how one might get around it. Podcast recommendation Check out a great podcast I just discovered via Kiana ‘Freakmo’ Jones called Red Carpet Rookies. In particular, episode #5 with Bill Corso talking about digital makeup. It’s a great show done by someone who cares about the subject, and I’d add it to your podcast subscriptions if you dig film chat. So, getting the horror on with audio books to keep us spooked during the workshop hours…Salem’s Lot and the The Exorcist was a double bill which put me in the right mood for some Halloween Horror Movies this weekend. Sculpting a vampire face whilst listening to William Peter Blatty read Regan’s tirades at Father Karras felt like a peak moment of Halloween fun. --------------------------------------------------- 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 https://battleswithbitsofrubber.com/    

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Oct 2020

49 min 44 sec

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  

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Aug 2020

1 hr 19 min

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. ------------------------------- 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/ ------------------------------ 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  

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Aug 2020

1 hr 11 min

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.  ----------------------------------------     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

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Jun 2020

1 hr 5 min

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

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Jun 2020

1 hr 11 min

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? ---------------------- 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

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May 2020

44 min 28 sec

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 2020

30 min 6 sec

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

E

May 2020

1 hr 42 min

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 2020

53 min 55 sec

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/

E

Apr 2020

50 min 12 sec

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  

E

Apr 2020

1 hr 25 min

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

E

Apr 2020

1 hr 19 min

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

E

Apr 2020

1 hr 36 min

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.

E

Apr 2020

1 hr 35 min

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: 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. 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. 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

E

Mar 2020

2 hr 5 min

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.

E

Jan 2020

1 hr 7 min

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.

E

Dec 2019

1 hr 38 min

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

E

Dec 2019

58 min 11 sec

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

E

Nov 2019

1 hr 2 min

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. ----------------------- 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!  

E

Nov 2019

1 hr 27 min

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: Sazen Lee: https://www.instagram.com/sazenlee/ Toi Ogunyoku: https://www.toiogunyokuart.com/ Amelia Rowcroft: https://www.ameliarowcroft.com/ 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

E

Sep 2019

1 hr 17 min

It’s been a while since Todd & I have podcasted, so apologies for the slow return to form. It’s been a brutal few months, mainly as I have been on the new Netflix/BBC version of Dracula which has kept my hands red and my days long and busy.  Naturally, NDA’s prevent me from divulging what’s what but rest assured, fans of the Hammer style will enjoy the perfect casting of Danish actor Claes Bang in the lead role. Dave and Lou Elsey ran the Prosthetics department, and the small crew we had was kept busy. Makeup dept head Marcus Whitney and his crew did some amazing work and as it has been penned by the Sherlock team of Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss, you can be sure of some exciting storylines. Totally stoked to have been involved!   --------------- In this podcast, we chatted outside in Todd’s back yard about our endeavours over the previous couple of days, making ears. We had used epoxy and as I have used so much polyester resin with fibreglass over the years, talk fell mainly to comparing the two materials and the pros and cons of each. We covered: Polyester resin v Epoxy. Block moulds v Shell moulds. Mould closure - Bolted v strap/weight. Discussing the position of a clamp (centre for small mould) or multiple if larger moulds. Designing moulds to have flat, parallel clamping faces or indentations to retain straps so they don’t slide off. Blocks also to keep strap pulling taught. Size of moulds, what determines the best mould material and type? Moulds built to withstand the forces of repeated opening, closing, clamping etc. Why ‘Derry Girls’ may be the best thing on TV. Laying fibreglass over harsh angles and air bubbles. Heat issues on mould halves getting hot, can damage plastiline sculpt as well as warp. Keeping a logbook/record of size of item moulded, amounts of resin/cat used, temp and humidity, how much was left over/waste. Polyester resin used in construction so old school plasterers would use the fibreglass and so would know the material and make moulds with it, but not necessarily from prosthetic sympathy. Collapsible cores v flared out cores and why you’d go there. Plaster Gypsum in US v UK resin/marine industry. Below is a picture demonstrating one of the main issues I have with fibreglassing over keys. The raised bumps create a sharp angle which can cause air bubbles in certain moulding materials, such as epoxy an the glass matting that is often used. One lazy way I have started using nowadays is to fill the deepest recesses with a paste made up of a little of the laminating resin with either industrial talc or, Polyfibres/Urefil, a lightweight particulate which is used for just such a purpose. Picture below or on blog page http://www.learnmakeupeffects.com/colorado2019/ Rest assured the next podcast is coming up soon. We have a few in the can and I am editing again this week! As soon as I can, I’ll upload the finished item. Keep at it! Stuart

E

Aug 2019

40 min 58 sec

"Paul walked into a Lifeboat station on his 17th birthday and never left, initially volunteering at Poole and now at Tower Lifeboat in London. So far he has been a Search and Rescue Volunteer with the RNLI (Royal National Lifeboat Institution) and HM Coastguard for 31 years." So reads the write-up for the honours listing of Pauls OBE, a high honour of recognition for sterling work which he continues to do within maritime medicine and emergency response. Training those who deal with emergency and pre-hospital medicine is no mean feat, and making sure casualty makeup used in training medical personnel is both accurate and hard wearing is a key part of that. It was because of this shared interest that Paul and Stuart crossed paths, and led to this episode of the podcast. Casualty simulation is often an avenue makeup artists will get involved in as they can obviously add a great deal of realism to training scenarios with good makeup. Anyone who has done a first-aid at work course will no doubt be familiar with a biro mark or lip pencil line as a substitute wound. Pauls experience teaching casualty simulation revealed to him how a lack of correct reference, appropriate anatomical awareness and poor technique meant sometimes makeup being done was not helping the simulation! This can be both from an aesthetic point of view (it doesn't actually look very good or realistic) and from a medical diagnostic point of view if a 'bruise' looks more like a burn and then is treated as such. He set about to change that with the training he does with his company Saviour Medical. We are used to seeing wounds portrayed on TV and they are often overdone for dramatic effect and not realistic, with big blood sprays etc. There is a difference between the drama of a compelling story requiring larger than life effects and correct representation of real trauma. Realistic Medical Moulage for simulation purposes This podcast episode hopes to deal directly with that, focussing on what is important with some real insight into how best to approach. Paul made a brief list of key elements which we cover in depth in the podcast, such as: Correct Wound: - Looks accurate – often less is more - Bleeds the right amount - Skin tones accurate - Right location, need for some surface anatomy knowledge - Right materials used – must survive contact with the responder – no wax or tissue paper Actor Compliance: - Pre brief the simulation – care of any sensitive issues - Pre brief wound location and ascertain actor is ok with that – we all have bits of us we don’t like! - Pre-brief if trauma 'cut downs' to nearly nude / underwear - Need to gain consent for the treatment interventions - Explain symptoms that should be displayed and progression of symptoms based upon correct or incorrect interventions - Supply safe word to actor and treatment team - Freshly shaved where appropriate - Bring old clothes and a spare set to go home! Scene: - Supply appropriate props (inhalers etc) - Dress scene to make the mechanism of injury realistic - Ascertain real impact on actor (hot / cold / wet etc) The Black Knight Always Triumphs. Even though his wounds may bleed a little too much. We mention a few books, and the ones I really like are The Sick Rose: Disease and the Art of Medical Illustration by Richard Barnnett and Special Effects Guide Of Real Human Wounds and Injuries by Benito Garcia. We also mention a previous episode of our podcast where real carcasses of pigs (supplied by a butcher) were shot with different guns, allowing Todd to make casts of the resulting damage - many of which he then used to make appliances with accurate trauma effect! Listen here to find out more on the episode 'Shooting Guns At Meat'. As ever, we are so grateful to you for listening and giving us your time. If you enjoy this podcast then please mention and link it in your favourite social media platform. It really helps us grow the podcast, secure guests and bring you bigger and better shows. ------------------------------------------- IMATS LONDON 2019 PROMO CODE Looks like there will be some podcast action at London IMATS 2019, so come and say hi! Maybe handing out some swag too! I'll bring some audio gear and record some bits there, and those fine folks at Makeup Artist Magazine have given us a PROMO CODE to get a DISCOUNT on show tickets. When prompted at paytime, simply use the coupon code Bray to get £20 off a ticket! Till next time! -Stuart & Todd

E

Apr 2019

1 hr 56 min

In this podcast we talk about art, what it means to be an artist, why we do it, and the challenges we face in trying to make a living doing this. This was mostly brought about because of the fantastic conversation I had with my first ever boss when I started working in effects in 1994. Pauline and business partner, Nik Williams run Animated Extras, an effects company specialising in prosthetics, animatronics, puppets, creature suits, fake bodies and many animals from elephants, bats, sharks...you name it. In their own words... "From singing sloths to the putrefying corpses of Hollywood A-listers, Animated Extras have been creating all kinds of weird and wonderful things for the Film, TV, and advertising industry since 1986." Pauline was the first person I ever saw take a lump of clay and make it look like a real person when she made a fake head of Michael Gambon for the film 'Mary Reilly'. It was to me complete and total magic, and it was an absolute delight and honour to sit with her and talk frankly about the task of sculpting. We recorded this interview at Animated Extras workshop in Shepperton Studios. Things we cover in the chat include: Finite existence Having a brief set by industry v personal jobs Working in bronze Scans v sculpt and the life looks fake but feels real etc. Types of sculpting and sculptors Get the feel early rather than struggle on with wrong and try and make it right. Watching different sculptors work when you run a company. Photography       The Three Sisters Pauline sculpted in Monster Clay before being cast in bronze. (Pauline hated plastilines before, so this was a significant development) Todd and I get stuck into some deep dives about art, and how it's a joy to have a craft but also a largely unappreciated career path. It doesn't save lives or risk that of the artist by putting them in harm's way. It often serves the artist more than the community around it, and may be seen as a selfish, luxury position and an unnecessary way to spend a life. See what you think and maybe drop us a line at stuartandtodd@gmail.com with your thoughts and experiences about that. I mention a great podcast I listened to by Seth Godin, (the podcast is called 'Akimbo and this was from series 2, episode 9 called 'Distribution and cultural destiny') and in it he talks about how the distribution of media changed the media it distributed. From cinemas, to TV, to Home Vidoe, DVD and now streaming, each new development has reduced costs and democratised the medium. Such access means more making and consumption, but often this can also mean a watering down of quality. Is that a fair trade off or an inevitable side effect? See what you think, I'd reccommend it. Seth is a very influential thinker and I listen to almost everything he puts out. Listen here ------------------------------------------ Lastly, here is the letter to Agnes De Mille Todd mentioned. There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. If you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is, nor how valuable it is, nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep open and aware directly to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open. No artist is ever pleased. There is no satisfaction whatever at any time. There is only a queer, divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others. -Martha Graham ------------------------------------------ We'd appreciate it if you'd share this podcast with friends or colleagues who you think would get a kick out of it. Thank you for sticking with us! -Stuart & Todd

E

Feb 2019

1 hr 41 min

Richard Redlefsen is someone I saw for the first time a few years back at the UMAE where he was applying his demo makeup on the PPI stand. What was of note for me was how particular and precise everything was. Care was taken at every turn, and it struck me that the amount of effort that takes must come from a deep well. So it was a great pleasure to sit and chat with the man himself, and I could ask if he thought of this about himself and if we could pick apart where that comes from. As you'll hear, Richard had a career as a dancer before he embarked on makeup, and his training was thorough. I think that experience and also working for a makeup brand such as Lancôme meant his work doesn't start and stop with bits of rubber! Follow Richard on his Instagram to see just how versatile this chap is. Check out a brief selection of the range Richard covers. A Devil mask sculpt completed recently for Immortal Masks.   Claudia Alta (Lady 'Bird' Johnson) wrap-around prosthetic sculpt ready to mould.   Zombie makeup on Eva Minaeva for TUSH magazine.   Phantom makeup from Monsterpalooza 2016.   A 1920s beauty makeup on Sarah Sokolovic from the NBC show Timeless. Sarah plays Grace Humiston (the first female Special Assistant United States Attorney). Makeup was usually done by Peter DeOliveira, and Richard filled in on this day. It's quite a responsibility to fill in seamlessly on a show with established looks.   Another beauty makeup on Bianca Lopez from NBC show Timeless. Makeup by Richard Redlefsen. Debbie Zoller makeup dept head. We are on the lookout for your stories of people wanted way too much of something for a whole lot of nothing. We chat about a Facebook post which got a lot of people's back up, as a freelancer or anyone with a creative spark, you may have been approached to do something which gradually expands into a lot of somethings, and payment is strangely far from the table. Email us with your stories, screenshots or anything regarding that. We'd love to do a post focussing on that and read some of the best ones out, and formulate an appropriate response to arm you if you find yourself in that position of feeling bad for wanting fair compensation. Email us direct at stuartandtodd@gmail.com Facebook page at Battles With Bits Of Rubber If you enjoy this, PLEASE help us grow by telling someone about us and posting on social media! We had a lovely message from Charlotte Annice Spruch who mentioned the formula for finding your worth from a few episodes back on a Facebook group. Cheers Charlotte! That kind of sharing is what helps us grow, and we get heard by the people who would be glad to find us! Till next time! - Stuart & Todd

E

Jan 2019

1 hr 35 min

Rick Baker knows a thing or two about making stuff in rubber. It's also fair to say he knows a thing or two about the digital world too, as he has been mixing the two for a while. In 2015, when it was announced that Rick was to close his shop, the FX world was stunned and the bell tolled once again for the end of all practical effects as people speculated the end of live-action anything. There was a Vice article at the time which claimed (again) the 'CGI was killing the industry' which, if you were knee deep in rubber and working crazy hours trying to get stuff done for a show like I and many others were was hard to take seriously. Now the dust has settled, I was so stoked to get a chance to sit and talk to the man himself and see what he was doing with himself now he was out of the industry. He was after possibly the most well known and most respected inspirations working at the time, so what were we to do now he had hung up his makeup brushes? The answer? Keep on making things. Simply put, what has happened since Rick retired is that he is still working and still developing. He has worked on things he wanted to work on make them the way he wanted to make them. He has pushed into mixing up practical and digital techniques in both digital sculpting and 3D printing, post production elements as well as being able to indulge in some of the funnest Halloween makeups we have seen so far. Following Rick on Instagram (therickbaker), you will see a man working harder than ever but this time, he only has to please himself rather than juggle a board of producers. No budget fights or sudden changes of direction to steal away the efforts so far. It is, frankly, amazing. If you have been inspired by the Rick Baker of Thriller, American Werewolf and Nutty Professor, then I am pleased to say your inspiration is still there better than ever. Rick has been working on a scale model scene from the 1932 Frankenstein movie. It really is very cool. I particularly wanted to talk to Rick about this move into the newer technologies. We all love to talk about American Werewolf of course, but that ground has been covered before, and I wanted to talk to him about what is going on now. As you'll hear, Rick was an early adopter so it really isn't that 'new' after all. As therapy for me, it totally settled my own fears on digital work and I am happy to say I am flying along with ZBrush, CAD and 3D printing now myself. I finally lost the fear and found the love for it. Only took me ten years. Thanks, Rick! Blog post link. 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! You can email us here direct at stuartandtodd@gmail.com We appreciate your attention! - Stuart & Todd

E

Dec 2018

1 hr 31 min

Something that Don talked about passionately in our interview was how (mostly) young, creative people can be in a position to get taken advantage of. When working starting out, you are not likely to be handed a position of massive responsibility with large sums of money and heavy hitting clients. So it stands to reason when the phone first rings, it’s likely to be a smaller production with little or no budget looking for some help and played right it can be a wonderful place to start. In this episode, we chat about this with a word of warning and a method of understanding your worth so that if you find yourself in this position, you can check yourself and your fluctuating emotions against the empirical gauge of common sense. Halloween Horrors We also wax lyrical about plain dangerous Halloween makeups which we have seen. Every year, a plethora of inappropriate objects are attached to eyes and noses in an attempt to get likes and attention. There isn't anything wrong with that unless of course, actual harm can come about from doing so. Using sharp things on the skin is a no-no. In the latest Prosthetics Event and Prosthetics Magazine, Todd and I covered a safe way of doing one such gag. Claire Golby kindly lent me face so I could slam a screwdriver into her eye. Kind of. No Claires were harmed in the making of this demo. Yes, it is time-consuming and takes effort. I realise it may not have looked that hard the on the gameshow 'Face Off'.  Also, not many people are looking to hire someone who is always seeking to do the bare minimum either, so if that upsets you, best keep walking, buttercup. The prosthetics Event 2018 I had a great time, with four different stage spots throughout the day. One such highlight was chatting to Christopher Nelson who headed up the small team for the new Halloween movie. We chatted a lot about the act of making, how it feels to fail and how to address those sensations in order to keep going. We also talked about smashing in faces and bleeding gags, just your usual prosthetic get together chit-chat! I also got to talk lenses with the team from Cantor Nissel who make lenses and eyes for both medical and theatrical uses. It was a real education, and something we will look into more in upcoming episodes. Next year the show will be even bigger and better! New Cap Plastic Thanks to the Motion Picture FX guys for sending me a sample of their new BALDFX "CHIPS". I tried it and loved it - so soft and flexible, it makes a great encapsulant for appliances as well as for bald caps. ________________________________________ Ok, so you're new to this. Maybe you have just left makeup school/a different career path or job/ made a new life for yourself but now the first opportunity comes along and you have nothing to compare yourself against to know what is expected of you. You don't want to appear too harsh in case you scare them off, nor do you want to be a pushover. Understand that we all must get by. Life costs money. Standing still and doing nothing costs you money. A great exercise is to sit down with a calculator, tot up all your outgoings for a year. Add up your rent/mortagage payments, car, fuel, food, utilities, phone, computer, insurances and whatever else allows you to function for any given year. Add it all up and divide that number by 365. That number it gives you is how much it costs to stand still for one day. You need to make at least that each day to break even and to be able to afford to come back tomorrow. You presumably need to make a profit, so that when you are sick, older or want a better set of circumstances, you will have accumulated enough to tide you over. Using this is the starting point you can see that your time really shouldn't ever be free. How much you can charge for your time depends on what you can offer the client. Remember, a client will only pay for the problems that you can solve for them. Listen to the podcast for more on this!   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! You can email us here direct at stuartandtodd@gmail.com We appreciate your attention! - Stuart & Todd  

E

Dec 2018

1 hr 11 min

We are back with more Don! Even though I was there when we recorded, I still get a buzz hearing back what we spoke about. Simply put, Don will make you better and get you thinking about sculpting. In part 2 we spoke to Don about: - Ego - Looking for the positives - Music whilst sculpting - Using the same tool to get many results - Sculptures that want to come out - Deadlines - Chisel shape tipped rubber clay shapers Silicone-tipped Clay-Shapers The Kemper D9 that Don refers to as a very versatile tool. At the time of writing, Don had just finished his workshop in the week leading up to the Prosthetic Event 2018, which was fantastic. His stage spot was rammed, and it was great to see a live audience enraptured, although I shall always cherish this podcast opportunity where just the three of us got to share Don's space. Incidentally, Don posts the latest upcoming workshop dates on his Don Lanning's D3 Studio page. If you can get the chance to go to a class, I'd urge you to do so. He really is very good at making you better! Those classes fill up fast, so check on the latest dates.   The Prosthetics Event 2018 was a magical day! 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! You can email us here direct at stuartandtodd@gmail.com We appreciate your attention! - Stuart & Todd Prosthetics Magazine is THE magazine to check out if you are serious about learning more about making prosthetics. It only comes out 4 times a year, so each edition is packed with info, tutorials and up to the minute interviews with the folks who are doing this stuff for real! This latest edition, #13, looks at the creation of the new Mask from Halloween with Christopher Nelson and Vincent Van Dyke. There is also an article on how a prosthetic appliance was made (and applied with great success) using purely 3D printed moulds. The future is now! https://www.prostheticsmagazine.co.uk/

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Nov 2018

1 hr 8 min

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      

E

Nov 2018

1 hr 4 min

After the madness of Monsterpalooza 2018, we had the chance to grab the gang for a wind down chat to debrief about the trip and talk about what we got up to. It was a fun time, and I hope the warmth of a truly magical few days comes across, as Todd and I were truly humbled at the non-stop kindness and generosity we were liberally soaked with. Anticlockwise from bottom: Me, Sam Shuck, Adrian Rigby, Eryn Kreuger Mekash and Todd Debreceni hanging out in the magical trailer I stayed in. Adrian and I met in 1995 when we both travelled out to LA to take a look at the FX scene and see how it worked at the start of what we hoped to be our careers. It was so nice to be back out here 23 years later having been able to have those very careers we so badly wanted. I think that story needs it's own post, where we spent the day at Optic Nerve studios, on the set of Babylon 5 watching an episode shoot, and seeing the makeup touch ups happening with Greg Funk and Fionagh Cush working their magic. What a great time we had! Anyhow, Todd had this cool banner made up to celebrate, and I'm so excited to share the podcast with you. If you want to get in touch with us direct, email stuartandtodd@gmail.com and take a look at our Facebook page. Until next time, keep it bloody! Stuart & Todd

Nov 2018

1 hr 34 min

Steve LaPorte was a joy to speak with. For one thing, he is incredibly talented and has a fantastic body of work. That aside, he also recalls exactly how he got there and can track back the step by step process of how he got there. It’s a wonderful thing when someone can trace back their steps and know how they got to where they have and are keen to help others understand what is important. Steve talks about the importance of knowing how to make things work rather than always relying on an endlessly supplied workshop to solve every problem. Knowing how to pull things together on the spot is a great skill to have on set but ironically is how most people start out when they don’t have a lot of kit. Hearing who he has worked with is like a who’s who of the makeup effects world. Knowing good, solid makeup skills as well as using appliances and working in a workshop come together to make a very capable artist whose versatile skillset make for a great resume. We see again and again in these conversations with makeup artists how living a little life first and getting involved in the real world before settling on a career path can be so beneficial, as you can figure out who you are a little clearer before throwing yourself into an industry. Steve also goes a little into his interest in the circus and particularly clowning, and how learning from the people around you is important. It really helped set him up for working within the film industry and dealing with people and appeal to their better nature. Clowns nowadays are often seen more as scary tropes, like Pennywise from IT and Killer Clowns From Outer Space. Clowning was designed for fun and joy, to create laughter and cause people to drop their guard and experience joy, and Steve looks at how he wants to reclaim the clown for laughs rather than screams. Like he says (Steve credits Leonard Engleman with this maxim), "Retire to something rather than from something." He is a busy chap, and has plans to bring some very cool things into the business. Steve has such a pleasant manner and it really was a joy to speak with him. Todd and I were grateful that he gave up his time to chat to us so candidly. He mentions a book by Wayne W. Dyer - The Shift: Taking Your Life from Ambition to Meaning, and I link it here if you want to check it out. Many thanks for listening! Til next time - Stuart & Todd  

Sep 2018

52 min 32 sec

Michael Westmore has done battle with rubber for a few shows, it's fair to say. With a long career spanning every aspect of makeup, he comes from a several generation deep family which practically bleeds greasepaint. Many know of his work on Star Trek, but the breadth of his experience is quite something. To read more on the subject, check out a brief history of it here, on Wikipedia or track down a copy of 'The Westmores Of Hollywood'. Awared the Academy Award in 1985 for Mask, a moving story of Roy L. "Rocky" Dennis who suffered from Craniodiaphyseal dysplasia, Michael is well placed to comment on extreme prosthetic makeovers to subtle, undetectable straight makeup corrections. Michael has recently told his own story in 'Makeup Man', a memoir made up from a collection of stories charting his progression in the industry, and I would recommend it as a great read for anyone with an interest in makeup and how it works within the film industry! It's taken 14 years to assemble the stories, going from the 60's to the 2000's with loads of extra snippets. It really is a complete work covering the celebrities he worked with and doesn't shy away from the warts and all experences of a working makeup artist who deals with celebrity skin. A complete reliving of a career! Todd and I recently had the pleasure of sitting with the man himself at Monsterpalooza 2018, and chatting about: How practice is the key The increase of materials available How to get the best from time at makeup schools The importance of art and art schooling The new adhesives developed by Westmore Effects The amount of available talent now ---------------------------------------------- Michael Westmore Jr was present also, and as the force behind Westmore Effects (check the facebook group) he chatted to us later about the developments coming up and the new exciting materials he has developed to addess the issues those of us who stick rubber onto skin face on set. (Click here for retailer info nearest to you). We hope you enjoy listening to this one! Till next time -Stuart & Todd      

Aug 2018

29 min 26 sec

Contact lenses are pretty easy to find nowadays. It wasn't always so, and the increased use of lenses has meant an increase in opportunities to have problems with eyes caused by them. We chatted to Cristina Patterson of Eye Ink FX about eye care and lenses, especially in the light of many people around us who had created characters for Monsterpalooza using lenses. Many conventions will have extensive makeup characters with lenses bought online or in costume stores for not a lot of money. These lenses may be available in stores, but is it wise to buy and use them? We also chatted to Bob Smithson, a lens tech with many years experience fitting lenses on set and dealing with the front line of lenses on a production. http://www.learnmakeupeffects.com/33lenses/    

E

Jul 2018

34 min 6 sec

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! Incidentally, MEL have a podcast called 'This Week In Makeup' which is worth checking out! 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  

E

May 2018

1 hr 16 min

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

E

May 2018

30 min 55 sec

Chris and Fangs FX is who we call when we need teeth, but there is a lot more to Fangs FX than just...well...fangs! This is the first of a series of interviews Todd and I did at Monsterpalooza 2018, a three-day event in Los Angeles which was busting at the seams with visitors, demos and vendors. It was amazing, and Todd and I applied my Bela Lugosi makeup for the Rick Baker Tribute on the enormous PPI Premiere Products Inc stand. Blogpost: http://www.learnmakeupeffects.com/fangsfx/ We grabbed Chris for a chat outside the venue as it was far quieter than inside, and talked teeth, drill bits in the mouth, loose teeth, missing teeth and how much hiding in plain sight takes place. Making and fitting teeth requires the use of some pretty serious chemicals and hardware, and putting these things into performers mouths is a serious responsibility as you will hear. Fangs FX was established in 1984, and has an outstanding list of credits. If you have never heard of Chris or his team, then you will certainly have seen their work. Check out their facebook page and Instagram @fangsfx. Richard Coyle from BBC TV show 'Strange' which maks use of swelling provided by a dental plumper rather than an appliance. Makeup by Jan Sewell. You know who wearing some makeup by Mark Coulier. Nose wiped out digitally, teeth made grim practically. Michael Rooker from Guardians of the Galaxy, makeup by David White.   Demo by Mark Coulier, reimagining the Nosferatu style Barlow from Salems Lot. Makeup demo by Stephen Murphy for PPI. Model Ben Palmer.   A Cure For Wellness featured some neat teeth gags.   Paul Kayes' teeth for Mutti Voosht in 'Pan'. The test makeup with teeth in place for Paul Kayes character Mutti Voosht for Pan, cut ultimately. Makeup by me.   Spencer Wilding wearing a Rick Baker wolfman makeup and some oustanding Fangs FX Dentures. Tim Vine comedy sketch show wth removable tooth gag.   Naomi Harris in drama series 'White Teeth' missing the front four teeth - a worst case scenario for a practical tooth gag if all real teeth are present.   Gags, where something has to happen, move and perform on cue is a tough thing to pull off... ] ... but even a moving drill bit appearing through teeth live in-camera is another day for Chris and the team. The stuff nightmares are made of! As ever, email us at stuartandtodd@gmail.com or drop us a comment our facebook page. Remember to floss regularly! - Stuart & Todd.

E

May 2018

29 min 25 sec

So, this is my turn at soloing for a brief episode of Battles with Bits of Rubber. And, depending on responses to my musings, perhaps Stuart and I can extend this into a longer broadcast with tips from you all on how to get rid of unwanted and no longer needed stuff. Hi. My name is Todd. And I’m a pack rat. (Hi, Todd!) Let’s face it, most of us have too much stuff. Stuff we don’t use, stuff we don’t need, and stuff we don’t even remember getting. So how do you get rid of it?! I can look around my office, shop and studio and wonder when the crew from Hoarders is arriving. Maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration, because at least I’m not navigating through canyons of stacked magazines and newspapers, but… it’s easy to lose sight of my office from certain vantage points because of props, molds and masks… I can be looking for something - and it can even be in plain view - but it will take me a bit to see it amidst everything else. I either need more space, or less stuff. The answer is less stuff. But how do you part with something you may need later? There’s a psychology to it… maybe even a pathology… I’ve been collecting and adding to bins of doodads and thingamabobs (I swear they even multiply by themselves!) for what seems like eons that I know I’ll find a cool use for someday. I need help. I’m never going to use that shit. Who do I think I’m kidding? 2018 may be the Year of the Dog for China, but for me it is The Year of the Purge. I started reading a book by Japanese author Marie Kondo called The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up - The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing. I haven’t finished it yet, but the gist of it is this: Figure out which items ‘spark joy’ and which don’t. The items that don’t, heave ho! I’m still trying to wrap my head around that, but I confess I am making headway. Perhaps I need to put in a call to American Pickers. It’s just that I’m in a business that requires stuff, and lots of it. There has to be a way to make do and do well with a leaner inventory and library of stuff. This is my start. Take a listen and let us know what you think. Cheers, Todd ---- For the blog post on this, check out http://www.learnmakeupeffects.com/packrat/

Feb 2018

6 min 27 sec