after Graduating from ccad I worked at Unit 70 Studios in Columbus, Ohio. This job was gained through my senior capstone thesis film about the Practical Effects Industry. During my time at Unit 70, I cast both foam and latex heads and bodies, painting in liquid latex, and base coating and other dry brushing techniques. I molded and cast in both Silicone and ultracal molds. This work experience was a great COmplement to my formal schooling and after my employment at unit 70 studios i have used some of these techniques on personal projects.
Huzzah! My thesis film is finished. It's been a rough long semester, with over an estimated 70 odd plus hours on this film. It's taken me far, and I've met so many wonderful and humbling people that I've been given the opportunity to interview. This journey these last four years has been a true adventure, with many twists and turns, both good and bad. I'm so proud of my thesis film, with all of the people I've interviewed and the people that have helped me along the way to get it done.
Let's break down my thesis:
Over 15+ hours of footage
Over 50 hours of editing
5 hours of traveling to each destination
3.5 hours for multiple renderings
And 3.5 hours of organizing and archiving each clip and photo
An outstanding, over 77 plus hours (at some point I just lost track) of work and hard time put into my thesis: Makeup, Monsters, and Movies: a Look inside Practical Effects.
So FIRST AND FOREMOST I want to say thank you to:
Megan Chelf Fisher
Rich McKinley III
And an enormous thank you to Ron Saks for creating the inspiration for my thesis. And to so many more for helping me along the way.
I cannot begin to express my gratitude to each of you who helped create and put together a story, about the practical effects industry. This story spanning from newbies in the industry to those who have been grandfathered into it, making monsters and props for years, and even artists who work in the business side of the industry. From artists who have made their own shorts and helped with student films to those who have IMDB pages with their works listed for miles. I want to say thank you to each and every one of you. This couldn't have been possible without your help. I eagerly await my premiere at the senior screening on Sunday at the Gateway theater.
It's a bit of a surreal moment as I've realized that this is it. Four long years of being a Cinematics art student are finally over. It's a big emotional knowing that this IS and WILL be my lasting legacy here at the Columbus college of art and design. So many hours, long periods of time with little to no sleep, lots of coffee, tea and caffeinated drinks to keep me up through the night. Long nights editing next to friends. Long periods of napping in the different buildings during finals week(s). Lots of fun memories goofing off when I should have been doing homework. So many good things have come from these 4 years at Ccad. That being said there are certainly the cons from mistakes and experiences here. However I'm so proud of this film, it's the most work and the hardest project I've ever worked on in my life. So many long hours of driving by myself to meet my interviewees, late nights by myself editing, times where I wanted to quit. But I made it. Four long years are coming to an end.
Thank you all and God bless.
A couple of photos from The Studio in Crestline Ohio.
Today I took a trip up to Crestline Ohio to meet with Gary Jones a seasoned Director, Writer and Practical FX artist. I met with him at Robert Kurtzman's Creature Corps studio there in Crestline. When I got there Gary formally introduced himself and we went into the studio. Almost immediately I was filled with awe at the sight of so many iconic practical FX ranging from clay sculptures to full and film art ready creatures and props. Gary introduced me to Robert (Bob) Kurtzman, a highly regarded FX artist and director, well known for his work in The Rage, From Dusk Till Dawn, Army of Darkness, Pulp Fiction, Tusk, Yoga Hosers (and a LOT more). I was introduced to some of the other employees there who were working on a prop (which I am under embargo) for a movie, set in the near future. Through the conversation they realized that I was the student that had been trying to get in touch with them to come to the studio to meet Bob, which I thought was funny. Then Gary gave me a tour of the studio, which I had expected to be much much bigger.
Easily One of the coolest studios I think that I've ever been to in my life. There were so many iconic props scattered all over the place. The studio looked well worn, and I wondered what it looked like in its glory days. I got to see some props in action for future movies and a spray booth and a personal screening room that Ccad would kill to have. I sat down with Gary in Bob's screening room and spent almost an hour interviewing Gary, and having some of the most fun I've had in quite a long time, hearing stories, facts, and everything I could think of to ask him. After the interview I brought out my dinosaur puppet I had sculpted and fabricated and brought it to Bob hoping to get some feedback wether it was positive or negative.
(This is why today easily falls into my top 3 if not THE number 1 experience of 2017.)
Bob gave it a good look played around opening and closing the mouth, and gave me some great feedback. He was thoroughly impressed with my work and gave me some great constructive criticism, mostly on the paint job but was overall impressed with the sculpt I made. I was so pleased to hear that from someone, who's responsible for some of the iconic and memorable creatures and characters in pop culture history.
I also figured out how to patch awful seam lines In latex, which was really helpful, especially now that I'll have that for future reference. With that done, I got to stand around and observe some of the crew working on the prop in the studio. I talked with both Gary and Bob about some of the movies I really enjoyed, and had a some great conversations with them. With the intent of getting B-Roll I asked if I could get footage of the studio, of course with Bob's permission. Thankfully bob obliged and allowed me to shoot anything I wanted to in his showcase room, save for (again, under embargo) a prop for an unreleased movie. But before we left I did manage to get Bob to sign off on a release form, for the use of footage from his YouTube channel, so now, a happy coincidence, I now have an "autograph" from Robert Kurtzman. After all was said and done I thanked Bob for his generosity, Bob was curious to know when I would be done, which I was happy to hear, and then Gary and I headed out. I thanked Gary and we parted our separate ways. Today I was a kid in a candy store, I couldn't have been happier...
An absolutely phenomenal day, easily in my top 3 moments of 2017. I couldn't have done this with the help from Phil Garrett and Kat Francis. Kat, ALL the guys miss you, and I'm sure you feel the same way. They were really happy to hear about your MFA show, and were glad to know that you had reached out trying to get me in touch with Bob.
I never imagined in my lifetime that I would be meeting someone who helped shape the practical FX business and industry, NEVER imagined that I would ever be interviewing people in the practical FX industry. The last thing I ever expected was to be meeting so many famous and well renowned men and women who helped shape the industry and inspire me as a kid. I gotta tell you it's a humbling experience when you get to meet your childhood idols and the men and women behind he curtain responsible for all the monster effects in both those classic and iconic movies. I don't think I've ever put as much effort into anything as I have for my senior capstone thesis. With only a few weeks left, my post production has officially started with a few interviews left, still needing to be scheduled. With Robert Kurtzman's positive feedback and today under my belt, my drive and passion for this thesis film is a hot roaring fire. I'm so proud of myself and I can't wait to show this when it's all over!!!!!
Makeup, Monsters, and Movies: an Inside into Practical Effects
The original intent of this film is to explain and dive into the significance and importance of practical FX in the film industry. I believe that there is an importance to having prosthetics, makeup, and creature effects in movies. There is something that differentiates digital effects and practical on set effects. I have always been fascinated with practical movie effects ever since I watched Jurassic Park for the first time. Seeing those dinosaurs really wowed and struck me with a sense of awe. Within the last 20 years, CGI and digital effects have begun to take over the film industry and the use of practical effects seems to have slowly decreased. Although movies may be saving money in using both digital and CGI effects, it is pretty easy to tell the difference between a practical effect and a digital one. One major problem is that much of the digital and CGI effects have taken away the physical effects, losing believability in some aspect of realism. That’s why I want to bring to attention the importance of why practical effects still need to play a major part in film.
With this as my concept, I wanted to look upon the different aspects of the practical effects industry, focusing on creatures, prosthetics and makeup for movies. I wanted to not only focus on those but also on the importance of them in film and how they have evolved and changed over the years, starting from low budget productions to high expensive big budget name films.
With this in mind I want to interview people who have worked in the industry making creatures and monsters, makeup, and prosthetics for movies, even for haunted houses and other events. I have gathered together a large number of people who have worked in the industry both students, independent freelance artists, and a wide variety of other artists who have worked in the industry. I want to hear their stories, learn about their experience, how they got started, and what working on practical effects means to them. Bearing that in mind it is important for me to show the audience why each of the people I have interviewed, believe that keeping practical effects in the film industry is important. I hope that this inside will show people that although CGI has helped progress the film industry, that practical effects are more “practical” to movies and film.
This subject is very important to me. The practical effects industry has always fascinated me, and is something I have always dreamed of being a part of. The idea that one day digital effects might push practical out of the way in its entirety worries me. I think that we need to keep practical effects around for the sake of realism, compared to something we obviously know is false.
I have decided on my senior thesis title as Makeup, Monsters, and Movies: an inside into Practical Effects.
Iam currently in the midst of scheduling my last few interviews. I have gotten in touch with David Greathouse, and will be scheduling an interview with him hopefully in the next two weeks. I have begun to start editing my senior thesis. I hope to have a rough cut by the middle of April. Once a rough cut has been put together, I will be editing in the rest of my interviews. I am waiting to schedule interviews with Christina Himiob, and Adam Milicevic, and one to two more artists.
Right now I have hit a few roadblocks. I am stuck with some bad audio tracks from my interview with Katrina Francis. Hopefully with the help of Annie Kuhn we will be able to clean up the audio.
I am also in the process of emailing Unit 70, to finish my shooting there. I have gotten in touch with David Watkins, a graduate from CCAD. Hopefully he will be able to come down and help me film and do audio.
Most of my spring break consisted of me working on thesis. So far things have been going very well. In the last three weeks, i have gotten interview footage with Bill Hargreaves at Lexington Comic con. During Spring Break, On Sunday I headed down to Cincinnati for Horrorhound and got an interview with Michael McKay who played the Mummy in the Movie "The Monster Squad" as well as an artist that makes prosthetic teeth. On Tuesday I interviewed Kat Francis who worked for Robert Kurtzman, and worked for Union responsible for the prosthetic arm for the winter soldier. Wednesday I headed down to Unit 70 located by the airport and spent a little over three and a half hours there filming the studio and getting all my B-roll coverage. I have scheduled another time to go back there to interview some of the employees who work there. Right now I am currently scheduling a Skype interview with Christina Himiob and her boyfriend who are independent practice FX artists, as well as finding a time to interview Adam Milicevic who was on the show Face-Off season 8 and a returning contestant to season 11. As of now, I am in the process of organizing all of my footage and interviews. I talked with Kat and she directed me towards an artist named David House, someone who also was on the show Face-Off. I am still waiting to hear back from him. I plan on also interviewing a few students to get their thoughts. Finally I do have confirmed music for my soundtrack, all I need to do is to send my friend release forms for his music.
My interview with William Bryan is on Tuesday the 7th.
I am currently in touch with Unit 70, a company that makes monsters and halloween props that are shipped all over the world. I am currently still in the middle of finding a few more people to interview.
Last weekend I did my first interview with a student who does prosthetic and makeup effects. My plans are this week to get more interview coverage of a few students who do makeup, as well to prepare for the upcoming weekend.
This weekend i will be returning home for Lexington Comic Con, to interview several actors and people who have worked in the makeup industry.
I look forward to this upcoming weekend and the fun and opportunities i will have.
My current interviewees are at the moment:
Mark Bryan Wilson
I am currently in the process of finding times to interview each of these individuals. I have my first meeting with Robert Kurtzman on the 23rd, this Thursday. I will be leaving at 10 in the morning with Kat to Crestline Ohio to Kurtzman's shop. I'm hoping that it will be an all day filming and interviewing day. I will be bringing my 6D, tripod, and several lights. I will be bringing a lot of questions as well for Kurtzman and his team, so I can get a lot of good feedback and footage for my thesis.
Who or What? I will be Interviewing people in the practical and special effects industry while working on own personal creature(s) documenting work process and progress. I will be primarily focusing on the concept and construction of creatures, creating and sculpting prosthetics, masks and creatures, utilizing different assets and materials such as foam, resign, hard foam, latex, airbrushing, drybrushing, hand painting, working in Makeup and other paints. I will also be looking into the realm of the collaboration and incorporation of robotics into creatures, rod and reel, and many different ways and techniques used by companies like Stan Winston. I want to show the effect and difference between digital effects and traditional effects.
Research: Looked into the companies Stan Winston Studio, Kurtzman creature Corp, and Kosarteffects that focus on all practical effects ranging from rod and reel to giant robotic creatures. Watching videos on makeup and prosthetic tutorials via youtube. I need to get in touch with people who have made creatures for props or for movies.
What, Where, When and How? Set interview scheduling:
Robert Kurtzman: February 23rd (time leaving 10:00 AM, All day interview)
I have a Lexington Comic Con Media/and press pass
Bill Hargreaves- IG-88 and Aliens (At Lexington Comic con in March)
Planning a scheduled Skype interview with a previous Face-Off contestant.
Technology: Filming equipment includes at the moment: Scarlet Red Camera, Canon 6D, will probably need some lighting equipment. For my crew, I am currently in the midst of finding people to help film and photograph my project. I have been slowly reaching out to several people but am waiting to hear back from them.
Asthetic/Creative Approach: I want to push this project towards the usage of practical effects in movies.
Reasoning/Goals: I have been a fan of monster effects and makeup in movies. Jurassic park has been my inspirations since I was very little. I have always preferred practical over digital effects. My goal of this thesis film is to show that there is still relevance to traditional effects in the film industry. This is aimed at people, who are interested in learning about the practical effects industry. The social relevance of this film is to educate those on the differences between digital and practical and why we still need practical effects in movies.
Times and scheduling for Interviews: *Robert Kurtzman interview: February 23
*Lexington Comic Con_ Media/and press pass: Interview Bill Hargreaves
*Christina Himiob and her boyfriend Michael O’Brien current Alchemy Studios, former Optic Nerve interviews
*Interviewing William Brian who worked on the first Ghostbusters movie
*Waiting to hear back from Mark Bryan Wilson (first Ghostbusters Movie)
Samuel Koh (freshman) has been added to roster for on set filming (Been given his class schedule)
Lem, John Martino, and Luke all added onto the project to help score the film
I am currently still in the process of scheduling times for each interviewee, so what time during the day especially with time zones. I will have to find good timing with each person(s) finding times that work best with them.
I am very excited to start filming and look forward to everyone I will be working with.
Thanks to my friend Hannah Roberts I got some new photos for my website.
A few of my current works. My first update for 2017. Enjoy
Well, I must say, 2016 has been a great and fantastic year. I learned a lot, met a lot of new friends, and got to do some pretty awesome things. Looking back at everything, I am going to miss it. However I do look forward to what 2017 has in store for me.
I just finalized my Dinosaur sculptures. Both have been sprayed in a clear gloss, and are now ready for show. I am really happy with the end results for both of these. I made use of making my own studio space to shoot photos for these. Overall these look great and are portfolio ready for me. I cannot wait to see what else I am capable of doing the rest of this year and next semester.
October 13-16 I took part in Columbus Ohio's 2nd year of CXC also known as Cartoon Crossroads Columbus. CXC is a Comicbook and Graphic Novel Conference, and convention, with symposiums, lectures and panels ranging from educational to professional.
Cartoon Crossroads Columbus is run by Jeff Smith, the creator of the graphic novel series Bone, RASL, Shazam; Monster Society of Evil, and several other children's books.
This years lineup of headliner artists include Garry Trudeau, Charles Burns and Raina Telgemeier. Others include Sergio Aragones, Stan Sakai, Jeff Smith, Skottie Young, Jay Hosler, Ed Koren, and more. CXC hosted 100 different artists here in Columbus ranging from local to all over the states. I had the pleasure of meeting many different local and famous artists. Even CCAD had a spot on the floor with student work, one comic with the title of Shonen Trump a take off of the manga magazine series "Shonen Jump". Overall the four days were a success, and I got to talk to Jeff about my experience. Although this is the second year of CXC I thought it was very well organized and ran. The highlight of my weekend at CXC was meeting Stan Sakai comicbook artist and creator and writer of Usagi Yojimbo, the story of a rabbit ronin set in the Edo Japanese time. It was a true honor and pleasure to meet Stan Sakai, someone who I have looked up to for a very long time. In honor of Stan I built a bust of Usagi which I presented to him on Sunday, a gift as a token of my appreciation. During the Convention both Jeff Smith and his wife Vajaya presented an upcoming artists award to one of the artists at the convention.
The conference convention was a blast. It was so much to see all these artists together sharing and selling work. Once more it was great that this event is in fact FREE!!!! Yes the entire weekend save for a few events were absolutely free. I spent a little more money that I wanted to but it was worth it. I cannot wait to see what CXC offers next year with new artists, lectures, and symposiums. Thanks again Jeff for all your hard work and effort putting this amazing event together, and I hope to see you again down the road very soon. Until then good luck on Tuki and Bone.
On Wednesday October 12, Justin Bowers took Sean Perri and myself to the set of Cash Explosion a staged television show in which people play to win money. It was actually pretty cool sitting in the crowd and being a part of a "Live" show. I think my arms fell off the next morning but the experience was a lot of fun. Getting to experience being on set and acting, seeing professionals doing what they love on set, manning the cameras, lighting, and mic check. This is certainly an experience I would love to do again, and to be honest, hopefully act in short films or collaborative projects. I've never really acted in front of a camera, but doing this peaked my interest so maybe I'll look into acting.
This year I decided to take an independent study with my teacher Richard McKinley who teaches 3D illustration. I had taken his beginner and advanced class junior year and I want to pursue special effects making monsters and creatures for big budget films in the future. I am currently working on sculpting a life like 1:8 scale Albertosaurus bust. I had to do a lot of research on the skull because this needs to be an accurate depiction of a dinosaur NOT from Jurassic Park. From there I built a base for the head and drilled a hole inserting a rod for the armatures base. I then attached blue foam to the rod and secured it on with a 2 part foam mix which hardens. Next I sketched out the skull on the foam and cut the shape. After doing so it was a matter of sculpting the base of the dinosaur with clay. The clay I am using is an oil base clay not meant to be baked.
With the basic forms set I went in and began to really focus in on creating the shapes and details in the head. Using reference photos of featherless chickens really helps haha (but they're incredibly disturbing). I am currently in the process of adding detail and texture to my Albertosaurus. I have plans on making several other creatures in my independent study class so I want this done in a week or two.
Some of my inspirations that have made me want to create monsters and have aspirations to become a special effects person are Robert Kurtzman, Stan Winston, and Greg Nicotero. Film Directors that have been inspirations include George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, Peter Jackson, Guillermo Del Toro, and JJ Abrams.
These men have been a big influence in my life and role models growing up. Steven Spielberg's Jurassic Park (1993) was ground zero that began my life long obsession to make real life dinosaurs and creatures. Spielberg will always be my number 1 role model in both the movie making and directing industry.
Work from Greg Nicotero;
Robert Kurtzman Creature Corps;
Stan Winston Website;
Robert Kurtzman Site;