Updated on May 22, 2017
Frankenstein, Edward Scissor Hands, and Dracula have one thing in common. In the big-screen, they were created by makeup artists who specialize in special effects makeup. The techniques and makeup training they used to create these characters brought them to life for millions of viewers around the world. Today, more than ever before, Hollywood movies feature monsters, zombies, and all types of characters that can only be created by skilled special effects makeup artists. Indeed, Hollywood is hungry for makeup artists who specialize in special effects makeup. Here’s a look at this interesting and exciting occupation and how to get there.
While everyone wants to be a star, Hollywood is not the only industry that relies on special effects makeup technicians. Makeup artists are being employed in special makeup effects labs for the design, construction, and application of prosthetic appliances for theater, toy design, game design, and even haunted houses. Still, if Hollywood does call your name, it’s possible to achieve acclaim on TV and in films. It’s even possible to receive an Oscar for the work that you do in the film and on television.
Becoming a Special Effects Makeup Technician
How does a person become a special effects makeup artist? First of all, you don’t have to be a makeup artist. The special effect industry is attracting not just makeup artists with a flair for creating monsters and zombies. Career changers from all sorts of industries are also becoming special effects makeup technicians.
Becoming a special effects makeup artist requires the right education, a great portfolio, and networking — all of which can be learned at an accredited special FX makeup school. The U.S. is home to a wide range of institutions that teach special effects makeup, from beauty schools and community colleges to makeup studios and schools of makeup artistry. The latter is perhaps the best route towards becoming a special effects technician simply because students receive a well-rounded education along with classes on how to create a winning portfolio and land the job you want.
A job in special effects makeup might include using silicone, gelatin, and foam latex materials. It might entail designing, creating, and applying prosthetics or dental appliances. It might require conceptualizing, life casting, sculpting, molding, and applying various techniques. A special effects job might require blood delivery. Employees in this field might also get to work with three dimensional characters, which means they must know how to design, construct, and mold an advanced three dimensional sculpted character. Technicians must be well versed in the aforementioned techniques and methodologies.