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Midlands Spotlight Archive - Making it up as she goes along

By midlandsmovies, Apr 26 2013 04:44PM

Midlands Movies MIke interviews Leicester-based make up artist Amanda Goodfellow about the exciting world of movie and television make-up...

Midlands Movies Mike: Morning Amanda, can you tell us a bit about yourself…

Amanda Goodfellow: I am a make-up artist now based in Bristol. I grew up in Oadby, Leicester and I moved down south about 3 years ago. I love sci-fi/fantasy films, generally the cheesier the better, however one of my all time favourite films is Leon, it’s such an amazing film. I’ve always loved films and have been fascinated about how they’re created which may be why I chose this career path.

MM: How did you get into your current line of work?

AG: To begin with I did 4 years of training in make-up suitable for T.V, film, theatre, fashion and photographic, including casualty and prosthetics. I did 2 years at Leicester College, which is a fantastic course and then 2 years in Taunton, Somerset. Whilst there you had to build up a contacts base, so now the majority of the work that I get is from people that I know or have worked with in the past.

MM: Do you design your own creations or work alongside others?

AG: It’s a mixture of both really, when working in the make-up industry you have to start from the bottom and work your way up, it takes years of experience to be able to gain the title of ‘Make-up Designer’ or ‘Make-up Director’ So when I work on T.V and film I will follow designs that the make-up designer has set, where as when I do fashion and photo shoots I will come up with my own designs, but I always work closely with the photographer and models to come up with a design that will suit the models face/personality and something that the photographer is happy to have in their portfolio as well. It’s very important to ensure you please your colleagues as well as create an image that you’re happy with.

MM: Have you worked on any films to date?

AG: I have indeed. I’ve worked on 2 films so far, both of which are due to release around September/October. They’re both very different; one is a youth gang film set in Bristol, with a dark gritty storyline. Where as the other film is a remake of a classic George. A. Romero zombie film, which was a lot of fun to work on. The remake will be shot in colour and 3D to encourage people that liked this version to go and watch the original and appreciate older Romero films.

MM: Can you describe a day on the set/shoot

AG: There’s a saying in the industry that the make-up artists are always the first ones in and the last ones out, which is true, so you have to be used to working long hours and spending the majority of it on your feet. In the morning you’d set up and brief what needs to be done that day and then your artists will arrive, then you spend anything from 30 minutes to several hours getting everybody ready. Once that’s done you go on set and ensure your make-up stays the same. A lot of the time the actors like to play with their hair etc whilst off camera, so for continuity you need to keep an eye on them and make sure they don’t change anything too drastically. Most of your day will be spent doing make-up checks and as you know, they never film scenes in the correct order so you may end up changing your make-up several times a day. Once your wrapped for the day you then have to de-rig the artists and clean your kit ready for the next day.

MM: You hear stories of movie monster make up on stars like Boris Karloff (Frankenstein) and John Hurt (The Elephant Man) taking upwards of 6 hours. Would you like to work on something as long as that and how do you think they cope with these prosthetics?

AG: I would absolutely love to work on things like this; my favourite thing about being a make-up artist is transforming how people look, even with standard beauty make-up, so to be able to create such a drastic change and a memorable character would be an amazing experience. As for people coping with having to wear such extreme prosthetics, I think it depends on the person. Prosthetics nowadays are lighter and more durable so would be more comfortable to wear than the old style of prosthetics, but they aren’t for everybody. There are actors out there who build the majority of their career on wearing fully body prosthetics, take Doug Jones for example, he’s probably most well known for playing the ‘Angel of Death’ and Sapien in the Hellboy films or the ‘Pale Man’ and ‘Fauno’ from Pans Labyrinth, when filming he spends the majority of the day in prosthetics and does a fantastic job of it. However there is story of Tim Curry having issues with his full body prosthetics in the film Legend, where he plays the devil. Again this could be due to old prosthetics being very heavy, but it’s said the he became quite ill from working such long hours in his body suit and wasn’t allowed to have time of to recover and as a result of that he developed slight claustrophobia. Like I said, prosthetics has come a long way since the days of Legend but they definitely take a little getting used too.

MM: Can you describe a typical make-up process to someone with no experience at all of how you go about doing it?

AG: This is always a tricky question to answer, as there are so many different styles of make-up and lots of methods for doing one thing. Everybody works differently. Some advice that I could give is if you were looking to play around with basic prosthetics you could buy yourself a little kit from the internet containing liquid latex, derma wax and greasepaints and then watch tutorials on youtube. There are some fantastic tutorials on there and they’re great for fancy dress ideas, I can guarantee that once you begin doing that you’ll become hooked and very popular around Halloween haha.

MM: Who would you most like to do make up for? (E.g. style or genre of film, or film star or starlet?)

AG: Definitely horror, especially zombie based, they’re great for make-up and you can do so much with it, especially now make-up artists have been given bigger budgets and have developed looks from freshly dead zombies to gnarled and rotten, I think it’s fantastic. I’d love to work on a high budget zombie film or sci-fi would be as equally fun, they seem to be creative genres, I think that’s what I’d enjoy the most. I made a promise to my dad that one day I’d work on a Quentin Tarantino film, I’m unsure how reachable that is but it would be amazing.

MM: Do you have any heroes in this industry?

AG: Tom Savini and Neil Gorton without a doubt. I’d say they’re quite common ‘make-up idols’ in the industry but they’re amazing. I met Tom Savini once and I was too star struck to say anything to him haha. I have a signed photo of him hanging in my living room, it’s an old black and white photo of him doing make-up on young Jason Vaughee’s from Friday 13th, I think when people come over they find it a little odd but I love it. I also managed to see Neil Gorton do an alien character make-up at IMATS and he worked so quickly and the design was amazing too. I’d like to be able to work with his team at Millennium FX one day.

MM: Do you have any future plans?

AG: I do indeed, I’m hoping to work on a comedy TV series in the summer and I’ll be taking part in the World Body Painting Festival in Austria but mainly building up my experience and my contacts so hopefully one day I’ll get the chance to work on big films, but it’s a long process.

MM: What advice would you give to up and coming people thinking of getting involved? Where could they start?

AG: The key thing is, don’t be afraid to talk to people, if you get the chance to meet somebody from the industry introduce yourself, get their contact details and be polite. The more people you know and more experience you gain, the easier things will be for you. Of course, adequate training goes without saying. But just be friendly, polite and don’t be scared to ask.

MM: Massive thanks Amanda and we wish you all the best in your future endeavours.

AG: Thank you too!

Amanda can be contacted by email agoodfellow88@hotmail.co.uk or by phone 07957 282297

Facebook page here: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Amanda-Goodfellow-Make-up-Artist/273671122680504

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