Fiona WalshFrom: Drogheda, Ireland

Fiona completed the 7-week ‘Make-Up FX and Prosthetics Creation’ course in 2006 and her career has developed apace since. Since writing this, after working in New Zealand on The Hobbit: an Unexpected Journey and Elysium for Weta Workshop, she has done stints back in the UK on Doctor Who, Class, Call the Midwife and 20th Century Fox movie Victor Frankenstein. See Fiona's complete career history here.

Fiona what was your background before doing the course?

When I left school I studied Art and Design in Belfast, University of Ulster. I continued to do a degree in Fine Art but felt soon into the first year that it wasn't what I wanted to do. I left and went to Dublin, Dun Laoghaire IADT had a 2 year course in Make-Up and FX for film and TV. I loved the prosthetics side of it.

Around this time I was working for a make up company 'Fuschia' and also assisted a sculptor 'Elizabeth O Kane' with moulding her artwork. So, combining all these experiences led me to have even more of an interest in prosthetic make-up.

After finishing in Dun Laoghaire I entered the IMATS prosthetics competition. I came 3rd and as a result of this, I got funds from Screen Training Ireland, which allowed me to do Neill’s prosthetics course.

What was the final project you chose to do?

I made a full foam head prosthetic. It was based on an elephant seal.

What did you get out of the course and how did it help your career?

The course gave me good knowledge on different materials. As a result of the course I had a more solid prosthetics portfolio, the college I went to beforehand was great as an introduction to prosthetics, but didn't have the equipment or materials to make larger or complicated prosthetics like they have in the workshop.

The course also taught me how to approach a project, for example, to think about the most suitable materials, how much time there is, the budget etc.

What have you worked on since leaving?

I have worked on lots of short films, TV (Doctor Who, Wizards V Aliens, Torchwood, Casualty, Vikings), commercials and feature films (The Hobbit, Elysium)

What have your career highlights been so far?

I really enjoyed working on Wizards V Aliens recently for the BBC, and I got the chance to work at Weta Workshop in New Zealand for over a year making prosthetics for The Hobbit and Elysium, that was fantastic.

What advice would you give anyone trying to break into the industry?

Probably just work hard and enjoy it. And it's not a bad idea to have a part-time backup job to keep you going while you're getting started.

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Mag issue 13
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