Oscar-nominated and Emmy winning make-up artist Jake Garber was our Industry Speaks guest last night. We caught him just before this self-proclaimed “road-dog” disappeared for the next seven months to transform people into gruesome Walkers for AMC’s uber-popular zombie series, The Walking Dead .
A room filled with students, staff and friends listened attentively for the secret of Garber’s drive, the inspiration for his creativity, the “a-ha” moment that led him to become a make-up artist. His response: “It was a Halloween hobby gone bad.” That humorous statement set the tone for the rest of the hour while we sat back and enjoyed his colorful behind-the scenes stories and invaluable make-up tips from his experience working in a wide range of environments.
Before collecting a number of awards and nominations (see list here), Garber started his career in a way that’s familiar to many artists in the industry—by willing to work hard and learn from the pros. He credits Make-up Artist Gary Boham for giving him his start in make-up. He trained with Gary for about five years on a variety of projects and gained the fundamental skills that prepared him for his move to Los Angeles in 1989. When he arrived in L.A. , he was hired to work for Universal creating masks for characters like Frankenstein and Wolfman. The job lead was through a connection Garber made years before. “I met Mike Burnett at a convention. He said, ‘call me when you get to L.A.’ I called the day I arrived and got work pouring masks six days a week.” Every job he’s had since then has stemmed from making monsters at Universal.
Today, Jake Garber’s credits include Django Unchained, From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series, The Man with Iron Fists, Hellboy, Priest, Kill Bill: Vol 1 and 2, Predators and more.
Jake took us through his career reel and gave some great insight into the techniques used for each make-up and shared some on-set problem/solution scenarios you would never imagine. (Let’s just say his creative solutions, or ‘MacGuyver techniques’ once involved a cigarette filter and corn nuts to create a busted lip and broken teeth effect.)
Don’t miss out on the next Industry Speaks event! This is your chance to meet the most accomplished professionals in the industry, ask questions and hear the most inspiring behind-the scenes stories. Did you know that Quentin Tarantino was specific about the color of blood used on set? It has to be a certain type of bright red – thanks for the tip, Jake.