Okay, it’s taken a little while, but my site has finally gone live. Bear with me over the next few weeks while I fill it up with meaty goodness!
I was a member of the special effects team who created the spectacular Fire for the hit ITV soap Emmerdale that aired in January 2011.
I assisted Ian Rowley Special Effects to create the various fires with the use of flame bars, smoke and a spectacular fire ball at the Emmerdale Post Office.
We filmed in November 2010 during the heavy snows that engulfed the UK. If you watch the scene closely you can see the continuity nightmare that was to hinder the crew. Snow..no snow etc. Thankfully much of the scene was shot in sequence so it appears that not only did the good folk of Emmerdale have a raging fire to contend with but horrendous arctic conditions too.
This is a wonderful short film that was adapted and directed by the very talented young film maker Alex Nichol. The film is an emotional little drama with a healthy dose of the blackest of humour. It is based on a short three panel cartoon created by the genius of Nicholas Gurewitch.
I had great fun creating the production design for the short, finding suitable prop items, creating the illusion of a real fire and providing the simple make-up. Even the grave stone is fake. Enjoy.
My involvement came late in the shoot of this new short film. I was asked to create two main make-ups. The first being a facial acid burn, the second was to create the effect of letters being carved into the victims skin.
James hopes his film gets to have it’s premiere at the Berlin film festival next year. Fingers crossed that it’s a huge success.
Sadly the long running, award winning programme is no longer on our screens but the hit TV show was my training ground for television.
My first job was to help out the art department as a prop maker and scenic artist back on seasons 7 and 8. My first role was to create tag/street art for the mischeivous character Terry, who got up to no end of trouble leaving his mark, ‘Godzilla!’ on the streets of Newcastle.
Later I was trained up as a set dresser and eventually an art director for seasons 9 and 10. Byker Grove was a popular and fast moving childrens drama, the script threw many challenges and with the help of an experienced and friendly crew we met those challenges head on.
The hit ITV series from Coastal Productions, “Wire in the Blood” showcased a number of grizzly scenarios and stories. My involvement came in season six when I was asked to create three mutilated suitcase victims.
In the story the bodies are discovered inside suitcases with their limbs hacked off, I guess they just don’t make suitcases big enough for serial killers these days! Then the mutilated corpses where thrown into a lake with the hope that they’ll never be seen again. Unfortunately for the killer but fortunately for me the bodies are discovered and I was given the task to realise their horrid demise and I had only a short amount of time to do it.
I began the job by doing research, what does a body look like after its been mutilated and thrown into a lake for several months? Well I found my answer from some rather disgusting images care of the pathology department. With research in hand, I drew up some designs and discussed the look of the corpses with the art department, who adviced me on just how grotesque to go with our poor victims.
So based on those instructions I set about creating the bodies by taking life casts from some very helpful volunteers. From those casts I created sculptures of the dead victims before making moulds and eventually the silicone castings.
The silicone rubber was pre-pigmented before applying into the mould, building up translucent layers one at a time. The bodies where then fitted with a wooden skeleton and filled with an expandable polyurethane foam.
The final bits to add was some congielled blood, gooey stuff to make the skin appear slimey and of course finished off with wigs and hair. NASTY!
Gore galore was created for the Comedy Horror “Zombie Women of Satan” which was written and directed by Warren Speed.
Lets be honest this is a film for the boys who like nothing better than to crack open a beer, sit with a curry and to leave their BRAINS on the door step.
This was the first feature film that I had the opportunity to supervise both the physical effect gags and the make-up effects. It involved two mad weeks of pre-production, working out of a small dusty room with my good friend and artist Jez Hunt. We created a whole variety of effects from duplicating weapons such as knives, golf clubs and baseball bats, to making and applying the gory appliances for the many silly if not horrific sequences.
We used every cheap gag that we could think of, the budget was low but the effort was huge. Many effects worked out wonderfully, inevitably some however were less successful but strangely added to the comedy. The film truly was a baptism of fire for all involved.
The film tells the story of the supernatural and other worldly events that a girl experiences after she is knocked over by a speeding motorist when making her way to school.
The film featured a number of make-up challenges which where designed and created by leading make-up artist Michael Birtley. Knowing that he had a huge workload and wanting to do something spectacular Michael gave me the call to help him create the ‘skater boy’ make-up effect.
So I helped Michael take a lifecast of the young actor, Lee Fox Williams. from that I sculpted up the face appliance that was later cast from gelatine. I then assisted Michael to apply the make-up, additional cuts and grazes were created with the use of Bondo, a mixture of Pros-aide adhesive and Cabosil.
This was a project that I decided to take on purely on the bases that I have always wanted to create a werewolf.
Dense Fear and Dense Fear 2 are both written and directed by Newcastle born Tony Gardener. The films have become a labour of love for Tony which he has been making over several years. Much of the film Dense Fear 2 had been shot before I became involved. I originally was going to supply Tony with a few simple make-ups and a werewolf puppet head that I had sculpted for a personal project several years earlier.
However publicity got involved, professional film making friends took an interest and became involved and suddenly I was nolonger just doing a few bits and bobs, I was now creating a full transformation on a very low budget.
Impossible? Realistically yes, but if you’re willing to put in the time (5 months unpaid evening work) the impossible for low budget films became possible and Tony got to reshoot his transformation. The full sequence will be showcased on here soon…I hope 🙂 Hurry up Tony and finish the film.
Below you can see ‘The Making of’ film, and some workshop images, cheers guys!
Some making of pictures!
Here it is….this is the graded version to match Tony’s film, their is a higher resolution version on Vimeo which I hope to add in the future.
Their is a load of things I’d do differently next time should I be lucky enough to get the chance, from better materials, better hair work, better this and better that. Hope you enjoyed and you can see Tony’s full length feature on YouTube.