Local 706 - The Artisan

Fall 2016

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55 dirt, sweat, etc. Pretty typical concepts but continuity was the challenge. If you have been watching, then you understand that it "loops," meaning we are essentially replaying a narrative that repeats itself. For those of you who are fans of the movie, it's Groundhog Day. The problem lies in the fact that we shot more than two years and actors and BG changed almost daily. Yet, the Hosts can't refl ect these changes (in some cases they can, but I can't tell you why). For this reason, Georgia and the make-up team developed a facial hair and continuity checkout system for more than 250 BG characters which safe guarded the show's resources and story line. Brilliant!! In addition to the standard day-to-day make-ups, I was also blessed with the task of make-up effects design and creation, which was done through Tinsley Studios. We provided every- thing from the Vitruvian Man in the circular tooling reminis- cent of a car factory assembly line to an onslaught of pros- thetics that were required daily. We knew the show would have to be a marriage of practical and visual effects, so we always focused on how to achieve a quality effect within the shooting schedule and the fi nancial restrictions. I feel that part of my job is to put on my "producer's hat" and objectively review the needs of any given scene. As much as I am an advocate for practical effects, I am also an advocate of what is correct for production. Even though an effect can be done practi- cally, doesn't mean it always should be. There are many cases where the marriage between practical and visual effects works equally as well and ultimately, costs production less. There is a moment when the Woodcutter in Episode 3 is getting his head sawed off. We built a practical fake head that could be cut and bleed. We could have added eyes popping open as well but it was more cost-effective to have VFX comp in the eyes onto the fake head. Another example is a moment where we see Dolores as a robot while they are fi tting her new skin. This was achieved with prosthetics and a blue screen body stocking. We had dis- cussed building the body practical and there was no reason why we couldn't, but the labor involved is so extensive, that creating it digitally and marrying the two is simply more cost-effective. I can't think of a moment or scene where we didn't completely build or assist in the make-up effects resolution. One of the ways we assisted in saving production money was to build fake nude bodies in sitting, standing and laying-down positions. The reason was so we could reduce the volume of nude actors required for a scene that was more intimate. This helped with turnaround times, lunch breaks and pre-dressing. About every technique was employed during this show to survive the pace. No doubt the show had an ambitious story to tell. Shooting more than a two-year period and with a leading cast of 40-plus actors, stunt doubles, prosthetics, nude actors, animals, back- ground actors, period make-up, beauty make-up, make-up effects, make-up effects set dressing, and on and on … we had our hands full with never a dull moment to spare. In closing, Westworld was a grueling process and will forever be rewarding. I would be lying if I said it ended the way it began for me. It tested my skills at every turn, challenged my patience and I'm sure that I am a little shorter and more frazzled because of it. I also know I am a better person and a more rounded artist because of it. What was most important for me, however, was that the crew knew this was a place where you had fun doing your job. Sure, the work would be hard, sure it would be hot, sure we would have our occasional differ- ences but through it all, having fun and being happy was key. Eventually, the show will be a thing of the past but the lasting feeling you're left with is so important. Sometimes I have to pinch my arm and remind myself that we get to paint faces and play "make believe" for a living, how cool! Have fun, be happy brothers and sisters. Happiness is KING!!•

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