Your Best Work: Detention of the Dead

Multimedia Makeup Academy would like to introduce their new YouTube series: Your Best Work. In this series, MMA will highlight the best work of its Alumni, Students, and Instructors! With host Matt Klink, Multimedia Makeup Academy would like o provide a first-hand look at where you can find yourself as a future student.

Subscribe to the blog and follow the links to our YouTube Page to ensure you never miss an episode of YOUR BEST WORK!

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In episode two, Christina Newman, the Academy’s Lead Instructor, told me about working for the Horror Film: Detention of the Dead!

Christina was hired on to do some mold and sculpting work, off set, but the story got really interesting when she was asked (the morning of) to come to set and put together a makeup style for an established character.

Christina is a major part of the makeup academy, so enjoy her words of wisdom and experience as little nuggets of knowledge and inspiration!



Special Effects in Horror

Matt [00:05:29] We’re going to get into what exactly is your best work is. And for me, I took a look, and we do have…You have a lot of fantastic work. One of the things that I wanted to jump in on is Detention of the Dead because now I get to show a trailer and stuff like that.

So we’re going to get to cheat here a little bit and show some more than we usually get to. But as you’re watching now, we’re going to be running Detention of the Dead, the trailer. We want to make sure that you’re focusing in on the artwork, makeup, and special effects.

Can you tell me a little bit more about what was going on for you for Detention of the Dead?

Christina [00:06:02] Absolutely! So for Detention of the Dead….correctly, I did pre -roduction work, meaning I was in a shop environment. I was sculpting, I was mold making, and I was casting all of the silicone appliances that are used for the zombies.

So some of them are featured meaning they’re up close in front. Some of them were just extras. I also worked on a couple specific gags that you have to watch the full film. I can’t like you know, spoil It for you or spoil it. But…

There are a couple different gags in the movie that involve like maybe a severed head… perhaps. A rat. Maybe…possibly.

 A severed arm. So some things that I had to work on in the film but I made those in a shop environment. I wasn’t necessarily on set, so it’s like you create this baby, and then you just give it away to somebody else.

Matt [00:07:06] It’s beautiful. It’s kind of sad. But yeah if you’re watching the trailer now, I know a part of it is that severed head so you will get to see that severed head in action. So with that do you want to touch on what you were doing, in the environment that you were working on. Like any of the techniques that you…You’ll be able to teach actually in your classes.


Christina [00:07:32] So one hundred percent. It was a lot of silicone work. Actually silicone, slab molds, which we teach here at the academy or I should say I teach here at the academy. But then also sculpting is a big part of being an effects artist if you don’t know how to sculpt, you’re not going to get very far.

You can just apply other people’s stuff, but it’s never going to 100 percent be your own. And then you know, I’m a control freak, so I like to control from the start of a project to the end. If I’m overseeing it. So sculpting is huge.

I would say encapsulating silicone is another thing that a lot of artists need to know how to do. This is industry standard stuff but, it’s really not anything you learn on YouTube properly. So that’s why you would come here.

Matt [00:08:31] I mean if anybody is following our series here we all know that I introduce myself as a complete novice, so anything I get to absorb here is a reason I want to take the lead in hosting the show. I can start to learn some stuff here, at least some of the verbiage is important.

But moving forward any challenges? I know we talked about a story earlier, but do you want to go over what that incredible story was. What we want to do here is allow everybody to see like what can happen on a film set.

Because we don’t want to have anybody lose sight. And we actually had a similar theme going on in our last episode. So always go back and check that out…But that same theme was that things can come out of nowhere. But you just have to keep rolling with the punches. So I apologize…I stepped on your toes here, but I love this story! Sit back and enjoy!

Christina [00:09:32] OK. So story time everybody!

Speaking of detention of the dead as I mentioned I did a lot of pre-production meaning I was never really on set applying… Except for one day, I got a phone call at like 6:00 a.m., and it was like “hey our lead artist has an emergency. Can you come filming on set?”

OK! No problem. I am your girl. I will get this done. I mean I at least read the script. So, I kind of know what’s going on.

So I packed up my kit. I hurried up to set. And I get there, and I discover I have to do makeup on one of the lead actresses… Only there are no continuity photos.

So if you don’t know what a continuity photo is: first of all it’s essential! It’s the established makeup for a character and you know it’s a visual representation of how the makeup should look every day. I didn’t have that.

Matt [00:10:36] We actually have an example right now if you watch the first episode. You might recognize the shirt the sweatshirt. Yeah. We’re recording these months apart, but I made sure that I came in with the exact same shirt to help tell the continuity story.

Christina [00:10:53] Right. Movie magic. Anyways.

So I have no photos of what this makeup is supposed to look like. Also. It’s like a Gothic makeup because she’s playing a goth chick. OK? And it’s very stylized. It’s supposed to look a certain way, but I don’t know what it’s supposed to look like.

So I’m like “oh, OK what am I going to do?” I’m setting up all of my makeup. I’m in this room by myself. I’m like OK you know what. We’re just going to have to do like a question and answer with the lead actress. Which is not what you want to do as a makeup artist! But at that point, I didn’t have anything.

So she got in the chair. I introduced myself. I’m like, “Hi! I’m Christina, and I’ll be your makeup artist today. You know I don’t have any photos of what your makeup looks like, but I’m confident that between the both of us, we can get you looking great!

And she was just… You know she was trying to keep it in… You could tell she was irritated and rightfully so. It’s not her job. That is not her job to tell her makeup artist what the makeup supposed to look like.

Matt [00:12:10] But very understandable.

Christina [00:12:11] She realized the situation. It wasn’t either one of our faults…It’s just…Stuff happens on a film set and you just have to kind of be flexible and go with the flow and try to get your job done. I just started asking her. 

“So your skin was paler right? Because you’re playing a goth chick.” I said, “Were your eyebrows darker?”

She replies “Yes.” Then she goes “I had this squiggly thing by my eye.”

And I’m like “OK, what should I draw?” Let’s see. So we just went back and forth back and forth back and forth. She was getting really frustrated. She’s like “you’re doing it too neat. It’s not sloppy enough.”

Matt [00:12:50] It’s all the technical terms you’d hear on a makeup set.

Christina [00:12:57] So I’m like OK my saving grace was that the hairstylist showed up and of course she had pictures of the makeup because she took pictures of her hair and her face was in the photo.

So I mean I was probably like 60 percent along on application when the hairstylist showed up, and she was so kind.

Didn’t know me just saw the situation and knew I needed some help and she’s like “Oh honey I got pictures.” And I was like “Thank you, ladies! Thank you!” So I made sure I did a proper introduction after I got through my crisis.

But the point is that: I didn’t know when I said ‘yes’…that all of this was gonna go down, but you know, I feel like it was my responsibility. I said ‘yes.’ So, you know what, I’m going to make it work! I’m gonna make this happen! And make the best out of it.

Matt [00:13:54] And that’s pretty much what you need to do as any sort of artist and as the famous phrase goes “you take what you want! You better eat what you take.”

I Can’t remember the movie that’s from.

Christina [00:14:06] That’s a problem.

Matt [00:14:07] Feel like Forrest Gump maybe. Who knows.

Christina [00:14:10] No. No way.

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