Special effects make up workshop delights and disgusts

Special effects make up workshop delights and disgusts

10 May 2022

Emma H, Drama Ribbon

Drama and performing arts scholars and other keen Woldingham drama students were treated to master classes in special effects makeup on Monday 25 and Thursday 28 April. Both were run by the inspirational Zoe Warner, a special effects makeup artist who has worked in both stage and film.

In the drama studio, Zoe took us through the basics of stage and film makeup, including typical products used to produce tricks of the trade. We were then instructed on the difference in skin as it ages, our first challenge being to attempt to turn half of our partner’s face into an older version of themselves. We were given a sheet showing the typical placement of wrinkles, and Zoe gave us a step-by-step tutorial including using paler and matte foundations to recreate the drier and paler texture of older people's skins as well as highlighting underneath the brown or grey contour lines we made. The techniques we used were designed for the stage so although participants looked more like Voldemort than old women up close, from further away most of us looked quite worryingly old.

Following a mostly successfully attempt in making our partners older, Zoe taught us how to create wound and injury special effects. We formed a gash using scar wax and then used bloodier colours nearer the top of the opening of the wound and darker colours at the bottom. We used two different types of fake blood, one for the filling of the wound and another with a runnier texture. Things didn’t stop there, and Zoe brought out dried meal worms and crushed banana, used to resemble an infection, and bruise wheels to create some sort of zombie apocalyptic wound. These were all incredibly realistic and disgusting and it is safe to say that most of us wanted to keep our “wounds” on so we could scare the living daylights out of our peers and parents.

The experience was fantastically entertaining and educational. Zoe was clearly amazingly skilled and passionate about her job. We all really enjoyed the workshop and definitely recommend it to anyone with an interest in the behind-the-scenes crafts of theatre and film.

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