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Parents ask us your questions!

Posted: 28 January 2018

Parents ask us your questions!

In winter when everyone’s longing for better weather, bookings for our summer courses soar! Our most-booked courses in January were our Summer Schools for 14 - 18 year olds. We run four 5-day courses during the holidays and this year we’ve added an Advanced Summer School to our schedule. Here’s why they’re popular…

Prosthetics and makeup FX are niche subjects. For young people with an interest in them it can be hard to know how to get started, and even harder for parents to know how to guide their prosthetics-mad kids in their chosen subject!

These courses are a great opportunity for teens interested in the craft to learn from industry professionals and meet like-minded friends. They learn fundamental techniques on which to build their skills, gain industry insight to help in considering makeup FX as a career and kick-start their portfolios with their own casualty appliances and masks. They’re also a LOT of fun!

The Summer Schools are in our Falmouth studio. Falmouth is a sought-after holiday destination, so many summer schoolers’ families make a holiday of it and enjoy the beaches and attractions while the budding makeup FX artist amongst them spends their time with us…creating wounds, entrails, monstrous masks and learning how to rig blood gags.

Scars, wounds, intestines and splatters, all in a week’s work

Here’s loosely how the course unfolds – students can ask questions all the way through:

  1. Get to grips with creating scabs, scrapes, cuts and gore using direct applied silicone techniques – that means putting a silicone gel straight onto the skin with a tool and working with it to make the shape of the wound which is then coloured in situ. 
  2. Screen Shot 2018-01-22 at 07.46.56Learn the basics about gelatine, a material used in the industry to make prosthetic appliances. Students design, sculpt, mould and make their own casualty appliances or skin effects like gunshot wounds, burns, lacerations, zombie flesh or lizard scales for example. 
  3. Hear about the industry: what prosthetics are used for, what the specialist areas are, how the job of a prosthetics artist fits into the filmmaking process etc.
  4. Blood gags. These are the clever rigs and tricks that allow prosthetics artists to create believable accidents on screen that require blood to splatter or ooze from injuries – paper suits provided!
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  5. Mask making. This is a big deal because it takes students through all the fundamental skills of a prosthetics artist in one intensive project: design, sculpture, mould making, casting, painting and finishing. Once they’ve done that they’ll have their heads well and truly around the process that happens in an FX workshop every time a prosthetic is produced – whether it’s appliances for a character makeup or a full dummy body.

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We welcome questions from parents!

One of the most common questions we get from parents of prosthetics-mad teens is “Is makeup FX actually a job you can earn a living from?”

We’re very well equipped to answer that and any other questions you have because we have intrinsic links to the film industry. Neill Gorton whose name is above the door is founder and co-director of Millennium FX, one of Europe’s biggest and busiest screen prosthetics companies, and our team in Falmouth is led by Jez Marshall, an experienced assistant director who has worked on numerous productions including Poldark and Broadchurch. Jez has first-hand knowledge of what the working life of a makeup FX artist is like and what kind of opportunities exist for them in the industry.

Here are some thoughts from Neill on the subject for starters, here's some advice for young FX artists and if you’re a parent or carer accompanying a teenager to one of our Summer Schools this year, please do pop into the studio and ask to speak to Jez, who will be very happy to answer your questions.

Book a Summer School place here, or take out an interest-free monthly payment plan here.

Does your teen need a step up from Summer School?

If the tenage makeup FX artist in your life already has some experience in prosthetics under their belt – either self-taught or having previously completed a summer school course or similar, our Advanced Summer School will take their skills to the next level. Find out more here!

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