Scott Essman and Mark Viniello Discuss Dick Smith’s Legacy for MUD Talks

You might recognize Dick Smith’s name for his work on Little Big Man, Amadeus, or Taxi Driver. Though he won an Oscar in 1985 for Best Makeup and Hairstyling for his work on Amadeus, his peers and proteges guess he would have won many more had the make-up award category even existed before 1981. For this reason, he also won an Academy Honorary Award for his career’s work in 2012.

Photo courtesy of IMATS

Nicknamed “The Godfather of Make-up” throughout the industry, Dick Smith pioneered many of the special make-up effects techniques we use today. The make-up for Little Big Man wasn’t just an old-age make-up, it was an old-age make-up that evolved to show the progression of over 100 years. He didn’t just do static bullet holes for The Godfather, but ones that bled and burst on screen. His make-up on Linda Blair for The Exorcist scared the audience so much, digital experts on movie remakes have attempted to recreate it. And, perhaps most memorably of all, David Bowie was so overwhelmed at the sight of his old age makeup for The Hunger that he left set for a full two days.

Photo courtesy of MonsterMovieKid.com

Writer, producer, and motion picture craftsmanship expert, Scott Essman, and special make-up effects artist, Mark Viniello, both came into contact with Dick Smith in very different ways. Taking up an interest in professional make-up artistry, Scott Essman was led to pursue Smith after hearing his name in interview after interview with other successful make-up artists. Viniello, on the other hand, pursued Smith as an aspiring make-up artist, mailing Smith copies of his work for months before Smith took him on as a student. Both talk about how they had to wear him down before he would take them seriously, contacting him repeatedly for information and advice. However, after years of collaboration, both came to consider Dick Smith a friend. Here are some of the most interesting things we learned:

  1. He’s responsible for multi-piece prosthetics. Back when make-up artists were using foam prosthetics in the 50s, these masks would have to be tugged and stretched to fit the actor’s face because the foam would shrink. This was very difficult and very uncomfortable for the actor because it was so hard to be expressive and move under the prosthetic. “Dick said there’s got to be a better way” says Viniello, “so what Dick reasoned is if there were little sections that overlapped, he could glue it on piece by piece and have a better glue down so the actor would be more comfortable and have more movability.” Now, years later, even though make-up artists all use silicone, Smith’s multi-piece prosthetic technique is still used.

    Photo courtesy of Lucy Amelia Thomas
  2. He was blatantly honest. When Viniello first approached Dick Smith for make-up advice, Smith told him he didn’t have “the skills you need to be a make-up artist.” After wearing him down by sending him continuous letters and photos, Smith eventually acknowledged his “drive” and and agreed to teach him. But, as Viniello says, “he didn’t sugar-coat anything,” and he developed a reputation for refusing to teach people he didn’t think would be worth the time. According to our host, he turned down Guillermo Del Toro as well.

    Photo courtesy of Dick Smith’s Special FX Training
  3. His attention to detail made him successful. When asked what set Dick Smith apart, both Viniello and Essman said it was his attention to detail. “Every wrinkle was based from a wrinkle in a photograph that he had up above his area where he was sculpting” says Essman. Viniello added that “he was never satisfied…not only artistically but also technically. He changed things to suit what he needed.” This attention to detail and perfectionism is likely why all his make-ups looked so real.

    Photo courtesy of Beauty and the Geek

 

 

 

Thanks for all your stories Scott and Mark!

Product Focus: Idol Lipstick

 

Do you turn to a bright red lipstick every time you want a pop of color? Or have you never ventured outside of peaches and nudes? Either way, it might be time to go outside of your comfort zone and pick up a vibrant, purple lip color. Lucky for you, we’ve got you covered with my favorite MUD lipstick, Idol.

Arriving in a rich, magenta-purple shade, Idol stands alone as a strong statement lip that’s flattering on a multitude of skin tones from light to dark. It’s a twist on a deep, vampy lip shade that’s a little bit more purple, but not so bright that it isn’t wearable from day-to-day. We recommend lining the lip with one of our MUD lip pencils before applying with our #310 lip brush for a precise, bold look.

However, don’t think you’re limited to just one look with this color! After strutting my stuff with a rainbow make-up look at pride, I was able to make the look more mature for a family dinner that evening by pairing Idol with a maroon lip liner like our Mahogany or Mauve shade around the edges. Just line the lips and blend in until about halfway with the maroon shade and touch up with Idol in the center for a sultry ombre lip look.

If wearing a lot of product on the lip isn’t your thing, Idol makes for a lovely lip stain as well! Whether you’re going to the beach or trying to tone down your lip shade on your way to the gym like I did, just blot the lipstick evenly for a healthy-looking berry stain.

Versatile and bold, Idol has quickly become a mainstay in my primary make-up bag. It can be worn for a formal occasion, a festival, or even when you want to spice up your everyday make-up. I get compliments whenever I wear it, and I’m sure you will too. 

Idol lipstick can be purchased here.

From Mailman to Make-Up Artist: Adrian Rigby talks with Burbank Students for MUD Talks

Working as a postman for the UK Royal Mail, Adrian Rigby began his career reaching out to special effects make-up artist Nick Dudman. They had never met, but both living in Northern England where there was little work, Rigby figured Dudman was the only big professional he might be able to get to look at his portfolio. A few months later, Dudman invited Rigby to one of his first four-day make-up courses, and to his surprise, offered him a job on Harry Potter.

Photo courtesy of IMATS

“I had the interest from 11 or 12 years old” says Rigby about his swift career change. With little-to-no experience, it’s pretty remarkable that he would start his make-up career on the set of one of the world’s biggest movie franchises. “I had very little experience in film at that point so it was a completely new world for me,” he said about starting off in the Potter mold shop. His first task, making a mold for one of the Basilisk’s tongs, took him “longer than it should” and longer than his boss expected. But his appreciation for the job and raw talent shone through, and Dudman asked him to help run his courses in their time off between films.

Photo courtesy of Warner Brothers

Though Dudman may have catapulted his career, Adrian Rigby has gone on to make a name of his own. Since entering the industry professionally in 1998, he has done a lot of freelance work, including projects for Neill Gorton’s Millenium FX, KMFX, and Mark Coulier’s Creatures company. The films he’s worked on include Merlin, World War Z, Atlantis, Heart of the Sea, and Eastenders. And, in addition to working on the Harry Potter series, he also has contributed to other fantasy franchises like Game of Thrones, Star Wars, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. We found out his best tips:

  1. Let your passion show. When asked why he thought Nick Dudman so serendipitously wanted to hire him, Rigby guesses that “he could just see I really wanted it.” And, despite now being so established, throughout our interview Adrian Rigby kept calling a career in make-up things like “a dream come true,” or “fantastic.” In a field with so much talent, it’s clear how easily your passion can become the factor that sets you apart.

    Photo courtesy of AdrianRigby.net
  2. Be kind to your coworkers. When asked what makes some of the make-up professionals he’s worked with so special, Rigby answered “they’re just nice people. It comes across in working life.” Though this might seem like a no-brainer, it can be surprising just how important being enjoyable to spend time with is in the working world.

    Photo courtesy of IMDb
  3. Find a hard-working crew. Rigby says that though working on the set of Game of Thrones is “hard work,” it is also “one of the best jobs ever because of the crew we work with.” It can be easy to to get tired on a film or TV set, especially when you and your coworkers are working 12-hour days for months at a time. But when you’re with the right crew, the real magic begins to unfold. On the set of Game of Thrones, for example, Rigby says “nobody says no, because they have such a good time.”

    Photo courtesy of AdrianRigby.net
  4. Pursue the jobs you’re fanatical about. When he worked a day on Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Rigby skipped his break so he could watch the actors: “I just wanted the opportunity to be on set…I’m such a Star Wars fan.” He says the same thing about Game of Thrones as well, having watched the series before ever working on it. Needless to say, a job is going to be a lot more fun if you’re excited about it.

    Photo courtesy of AdrianRigby.com

Thanks for talking with our students Adrian!

Special Make-Up Effects Professional Neill Gorton Speaks to Students for MUD Talks

British animatronics and prosthetic specialist Neill Gorton has developed a name for himself on the sets of Saving Private Ryan (1998), Children of Men (2006) and Doctor Who (2005). Starting at only 17 years old, he has won the BAFTA (British Academy of Film and Television Arts) Awards four times with six nominations, and won the RTS (Royal Television Society) Awards two times with five nominations.

Photo courtesy of The Prosthetics Event

Having grown up watching other renditions of the same monsters he now recreates for Doctor Who, Neill Gorton’s successful makeup career is a childhood dream come to life. Now, with Doctor Who as a career-defining project, he spends much of his time on set redesigning his own characters rather than those of years past. The show’s humanoid robots “cybermen,” for example, have already been reimagined and recreated three times. This opportunity, he says, is due to working in TV instead of film: “you can take a great character and start exploring different directions.”

Photo courtesy of WhosFX

But Doctor Who isn’t Neill Gorton’s only career milestone. “In my teens it was working on Hellraiser II and Nightbreed…in my twenties the next big milestone was Saving Private Ryan…[and] in my thirties when Doctor Who came around it’s just ticking off all these great things” he says. Here’s some of his best stories and advice:

 

  1. When recreating a character, do your research. “You have to show respect to the source” says Gorton. As he finds himself reinventing characters that have been been previously featured on Doctor Who, he says it can be difficult to find a balance between an old design and a new update. Thus, instead of completely reimagining something, he advises artists to reference back to original designs and focus on carefully tweaking it for a modern setting. 

    Photo courtesy of National Film School Lecture Series
  2. If big productions aren’t for you, try TV instead of film. Although Gorton has had the privilege of working with some great directors, working on film felt to him like he was just a “cog in the machine.” When working on The Wolfman, for example, Gorton says he went to a production meeting with almost 120 people. “You can’t even have a conversation because you have to shout at everyone across the room” he says. In television, however, a makeup artist is able to work with a smaller crew and take on a greater variety of projects.

    Photo courtesy of Make-Up Artist Magazine
  3. On working with Steven Spielberg: Gorton says working with Steven Spielberg was one of his most exciting jobs. “He could edit in his head” says Gorton, and “there was so much attention to detail because you only need to do one thing wrong in one of those movies and there will be people pointing it out.” After life casting all the crew for Saving Private Ryan’s deadly battlefields, for example, Spielberg stopped him because he had made the bodies look British rather than American–something that had never occurred to Gorton. Working with that level of film craftsmanship was inspirational in his career.

    Photo courtesy of Lionsgate
  4. On the future of special effects makeup: Although the onset of CGI might scare a young makeup artist interested in special effects, Gorton gives us a comforting dose of reality: “people love new new toys,” but “then when they see something live they go: ‘hey, there’s something else there: it’s on the set, I can light it, I can perform with it, I can do something else.’ “ When Jurassic Park was released, there were all the same fears circulating through the industry, and now 25 years later there are even more professional artists doing special effects. According to Gorton, all that’s going to happen in the industry now is “closer collaboration” between technology and makeup artists.

    Photo courtesy of The Prosthetics Event

Thanks for talking with our students, Neill!

Makeup Artist to the Stars Gregory Arlt Visits our Burbank School for MUD Talks

One might know Gregory Arlt for his pin-up red carpet looks on Dita Von Teese, his vintage doll-like makeup on Katy Perry for her One of the Boys album cover, or his glamorous editorial work with Angelina Jolie for Vanity Fair. Make-up artist Gregory Arlt has had an expansive and successful 25-year career in the makeup industry. Luckily for us, Arlt dropped by our Burbank location for one of our MUD Talks to lend the students some red carpet tips, skin care recommendations, and stories from his work with the industry’s top stars and photographers.

Photography: Mert Alas & Marcus Piggott

When asked how he became interested in makeup, Arlt can point to a few distinct moments. Watching Culture Club on MV3 (what he called the “poor man’s MTV”), Arnt says his “whole life changed.” Not only was the star in makeup a man, something Arlt had never seen before, but also this was a moment in which Arlt’s suburban bubble of Westchester exploded to reveal a whole new world at his disposal. Arlt also points to the first time he saw his lipstick-loving mother come home from a department store makeover with eyeshadow for the first time, and flipping through Francesco Scavullo’s book Women. Inspired by the transformative power of makeup, Arlt went on to develop the distinctive glamorous style he is now known for.

But Arlt’s talk was not all about his own biography. Scrolling through a slideshow of his favorite makeup looks, Arlt sprinkled in advice and stories of moments shared with some of his favorite faces. Here are some of his top tips:

  1. First, focus on skin: Looking at a bold-lipped photo of six-year client Gwen Stefani, Arlt draws attention to her clear, glowy skin. “A lot of makeup artists want to go to the fun stuff” he said, but “my brain doesn’t even compute that. You can throw on mascara running down the hallway or a lip whereas if you go on with your skin not being done and there’s imperfections or discoloration, everything gets negated.” Advocating that a makeup artist should never rely on photoshop for anything, achieving perfect, flawless skin is always his primary emphasis for editorial work.

    Photo courtesy of gregoryarlt.com
  2. Know your makeup history: “However important you think it is, it’s nowhere near how important” as it should be, Arlt says. Discussing 60s references in a Katy Perry makeup look, Arlt encourages makeup artists to ask questions, like “Is it Twiggy is it Edie Sedgwick is it Pamela Grier?” or just “where in the 60s are we?” Albeit fun, having good historical knowledge is also a necessity when references are the language of the industry.

    Photo courtesy of gregoryarlt.com
  3. Make your model feel good: Discussing the intricacies of red carpet makeup, Arlt’s bottom line is that he wants the star to feel “like the A+ version of themselves.” When it comes to red carpet, this means doing a makeup that works not only for an image but also when the star is talking to people, or allowing there to be a little more attention on the dress for a change. One specific tip he had for red carpet is to still moisturize the skin: since the client will likely be showing more of it, make sure the skin moisturized and healthy before toning down the shine with foundation and powder

    Photography: Aleksandar Tomovic

Thank you for taking the time to come to campus and speak with our students, Gregory! 

 

MUD Celebrates Ninth Annual Joy Prom

It’s summer again, and that means it’s time for the annual Las Vegas Joy Prom. A night full of music, dancing, and beauty for teens and adults with different cognitive and physical abilities, Joy Prom is one of our favorite projects to be involved with through our charitable branch MUD Cares.

Every year, MUD runs a room where a team of makeup artists are waiting to put glitter in the guests’ hair, blush on their cheeks, and and a shiny new layer of lip gloss on their lips. Even better, each guest leaves with a tiara and a makeup goodie bag with their choice of MUD Lip Glaze. The beauty station is often many girl’s favorite part of the event, and the guests’ faces always light up when they receive their free makeup.

Troy Watson, the MUD grad and director of International Sales who’s passion spearheaded MUD’s involvement with Joy Prom, was inspired by a conversation with founder Bobby Tyler while walking their dogs. At first, MUD just supplied make-up brushes and a couple of lip glazes. This year, MUD was responsible for a Starry Night-themed makeup room for all to enjoy.

The 2018 Las Vegas Joy Prom hosted 300 guests thanks to the help of over 300 volunteers. Thank you to everyone who helped make this happen, and we can’t wait for next year!

 

Product Focus: Firebrick Eye Color

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SSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSMOKIN’!– Jim Carrey in “The Mask”* on Firebrick eyeshadow (early 2000’s)

Do you ever feel like you woke up one day in a world where everyone is rocking pops of colors out the wazoo? As I sit here with my usual, standard makeup look, I felt like everyone around me was standing out as I blended in. I was struggling to incorporate more color into my looks until a little fire was sparked inside of me- Firebrick. I found Firebrick to be the most wearable pop of color and it was the easiest for my nude-loving self to incorporate.

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For those of you a little more on the conservative side, a bright warm orange may seem intimidating to throw into your everyday look; however gently blending a bit of Firebrick into your crease or transition area allows you to spice up an otherwise average eye look.

Once you’re feeling a little more aquatinted to adding color into your makeup,  I recommend you jump right in and start having some fun! There are plenty of ways to make a statement with Firebrick; here are some of my favorite techniques!

Drop Shadow! Daily, I blend the same two warm browns under my eye for a subtle hint of drama; swapping my usual shadows with Firebrick gave my eyes a bold pop that isn’t overwhelming. To do this, dip into the shadow pan with a flat brush like MUD 410 or 400. Gently run it back and forth under your lower lash line, building to your desired opacity.

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Pack it on! I spiced up an evening smoky eye by adding Firebrick on my lid, creating a look that helped me stand out in a crowded room! To achieve this red-hot look, use warm browns in your crease and outer corner of eye. Deepen the shades as you concentrate more on the outer “V” and work your way down. Once you’ve built your standard smoky base, liberally apply Firebrick to your lid using a packer brush like MUD 350. If you want to kick it up a notch, dampen your brush and apply Firebrick wet by patting it over your existing shadow.

Pro Tip: To achieve a vibrant editorial look, apply a wash of Firebrick eye shadow all over the lid on a wet brush.

While I will always be a monochromatic, nude-loving makeup artist at heart, Firebrick has open the door to get me out of comfort zone, stay on trend, and have a little fun!

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Product focus : Spark

Spark

7am.

Manhattan.

Dunkin Donuts – the corner of Rector and Greenwich – grabbing breakfast before a busy days work at MUD Studio NY.

“Large coffee and a glazed donut, please.”

I’m waiting for the elevator when I go to grab a bite of my donut, I realize … this is my ideal highlight. It’s dewy, it’s glistening, it’s creamy and so much more.

But seriously, who doesn’t love a good highlight. As someone who’s constantly on the search for the ultimate glow, I was so excited when I got the email that MUD would be releasing our very own highlight shade, Spark! For weeks, I anxiously awaited to arrival of our new cheek color, hoping it would be as radiant, pigmented and silky as the highlighter of my dreams. When it finally came time to reveal Spark, it did not disappoint.

spark_alexis2Above - Alexis wearing Spark as a highlight

Spark is a shimmery golden-beige powder designed to complete your make-up, giving the skin a warm natural glow. While Spark is ideal for highlighting and illuminating it can also be mixed with matte cheek colors to add a touch of shimmer. It’s buildable formula will allow you to create a subtle daytime glow or layer it to achieve a dramatic high shine look.

NEW_Spark_instagram2 Spark swatched

If you’re going for a natural day look apply Spark with a loosely pack fan brush, like MUD Brush #510. If you’re trying to blind with your highlight, use a damp, dense brush like MUD Brush #620 and apply Spark in thin layers.

Pro Tip: For an all over glow that will work just as well for a model on set as it will for bride on her big day, try mixing a dime size amount of our MUD Face Primer with your Spark Cheek Color and apply to high points of the face and body with  fingers or a brush.

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Think of me and my donut the next time you go to highlight with our new cheek color, Spark!

Alexis Chance,  Store Manager at MUD Studio NY

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Joy Prom Las Vegas 2017 – A night to remember…

I am not sure where to begin as I have never written a blog. I prefer to tell my story face to face, so the person I am telling it to can experience the joy with me.

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Joy Prom Las Vegas started for me in June of 2008 while I was sitting at a dog park talking with Bobby, a fellow dog lover. We were talking about the weather, our lives and families, our dogs, our work, and things that were special to us. Bobby informed me that he was a pastor at a local church and had started an event called Joy Prom, which is a full-scale prom for teenagers and adults with cognitive and physical impairments. He explained that the girls get their hair and make-up done, while the guys get their shoes shined. They then walk down a red carpet, with volunteers screaming for autographs, as an MC announces their names.

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Hearing the joy in Bobby’s voice overwhelmed me and I knew from that moment, that I needed to be a part of this magical night. Right there, without even knowing what would be asked of me or what I would need to ask of MUD, I pledged my support and told him from this point on, my wife Allison, MUD, and I would take care of all the hair and make-up needs. Since that day in 2008, the wonderful owners of MUD have not questioned anything that I have requested for Joy Prom Las Vegas.

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In the beginning, we supplied the make-up and brushes and let each of the guests choose their favorite color (or colors) from our lip glaze collection to keep. Now, each guest also gets a goodie bag of eye colors and cheek colors to take home with them.

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The attendees make this event special every year. Regardless if I have flown in from abroad that day or the day before, I am never too tired to smile. I get to see these amazing people who I only see once a year. When you get that hug because they remember you, it makes it that much more gratifying. Some guests even come with their make-up already done, but that does not stop them from coming into the make-up room to pick up their favorite lip glaze from MUD.

This year’s event meant just a little more to me because MUD’s CEO, Tate Holland, and his wife, Kayci finally got to come and experience the magic of Joy Prom –  just seeing the smile on Tate’s face, I knew right then that he now fully understood why I do this event year after year.

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All the interactions that I have there are very special; they are moments that I hold close to my heart, but one interaction this year stood out. A couple came in to the make-up room, and the gentleman was pushing this beautiful woman in a white dress in a wheelchair up to the make-up station that my wife, Allison was at. As my wife was doing her make-up, I asked him how he was doing and that question led into a full-blown conversation. He pointed at his finger and was so excited to tell me, “she said yes!”. He told me that she works five days a week, and he three days a week, while the rest of the time he spends cleaning the house, but that’s okay because she said yes!

The reason this interaction stood out to me is that no matter who we are, what color our skin is, what religion we practice or what cognitive and or physical impairments we may have, we all have the same gripes and joys that come with life. To see the smile on his face when he was talking about his fiancé, and then to hear him complain about cleaning the house in the next breath, reminded me of myself, how much I love my wife, and that I don’t like to do chores either.

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After all the fanfare was done and the guests had dinner, it was time for music and dancing.  Even after we did our part in the make-up room, we made it a priority to go see everyone having fun on the dance floor, because in that moment, no matter what is going on in the world, the only thing that matters is the music. This year, as we were in the dance hall, I heard Kayci say to Allison, “I need to get him out of here before he cries like a baby!”, as I turned around I saw Tate with a big smile on his face and his eyes watering, because in that moment he realized nothing else mattered.

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Thank you, Bobby, wherever you may be, for starting this wonderful event so many years ago. It has changed my life, as well as so many others for the better. And a huge thank you to all of the volunteers who continue to help out with this event, and the M Casino and Resort, who so graciously donated so much.

-Troy Watson, Director of Sales at MUD Cosmetics

 

Click here to find out more about Joy Prom Las Vegas

Chronicles of a Traveling Make-up Artist for MUD: This Stop, London

So once again I’m ready to board a long flight. After my 16 hour flight to Dubai this 11 hour flight seems like nothing at all. Once again after a lot of movies and trying to sleep through the bumpy ride we finally arrive in London. This time I am also traveling with a fellow make-up artist Chad Washam who is also visiting London for the first time. As we are driving (on the wrong side of the road!) to our hotel the cute villages and quaint buildings are absolutely adorable. There is a blend between the older style buildings as well as some newer modern styled skyscrapers and best of all, pubs everywhere you turn.

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We only had one free morning to explore London before we had to get ready for the tradeshow, so we decided to take a double decker tour bus and ride through all of the sites. We had to take the train to the first bus stop and in the station was this amazing sculpture. Also, as we walk the streets there are these adorable little back streets that are filled with cute little shops and pubs.

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Once we finally get on the bus we pass by some of the amazing sites to see. St. Paul’s Cathedral, Tower Bridge, London Eye, Big Ben and so much more. We didn’t have much time so we weren’t able to get off the bus and explore more the way we would have liked.

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One stop we did make sure to jump off and explore was Buckingham Palace. We had no idea that we had timed our stop perfectly. As soon as we walked up to the palace the changing of the guards was beginning. The crowd was so packed it was impossible for us to see much of anything at all.

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Since we couldn’t see much of anything we decided to explore the beautiful park across the street and what a gorgeous site it was. The scenery was like something out of a fairy tale, including two of the biggest swans I had ever seen in my life!

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After we saw all that we could see we headed back to the bus to make sure we got to the venue on time to set up our booth for the next day. As we headed back to the bus and were ready to cross the street a police officer asked us to stop for a moment as the guards were heading right past us. Front row view!! We couldn’t have timed it better if we had tried 

The next day we were off to the Business Design Centre for the UMA expo!

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The first day Chad worked on our model creating a chemical spill victim and then an alien makeup as well. Watching Chad work and some of his techniques was an amazing experience for myself and the attendees of the expo as well.

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The second day Chad re-creates some looks that he had shown at Monsterpalooza. The female Thanos and the Japanese Uni character as well.

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Even though this trip was short it was so amazing to meet new friends and continue to work with this amazing MUD family!