Actor, Writer, Producer David Dastmalchian Speaks with Students at MUD Industry Speaks

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David Dastmalchian came to Make-Up Designory’s Burbank campus for an interview in front of students with Deverill Weeks. He shared some of the secrets of success to being a working and well respected make up artist in the film and television industry. He offered three simple rules. First, the right make-up helps the actor create the character. David believes that if the make-up is right, the character flows from there. He says that character development is 90% from the outside in, and that hair and make-up help a great deal with character development. Secondly, remember that the make-up artist is the first one the actors will be with during the day, and that the make up artist really sets the energy for the actor for the day. So be positive, professional, calming, and create an environment that lets the actor feel safe and comfortable. This will be a great help in keeping the production on schedule. Finally, do not complain. Actors and others may start complaining about the conditions, the producers, other actors, or the long day. Do not fall into the bad habit of complaining. Be empathetic and understanding, but not negative. Keep the energy positive and move on to another subject. This will keep the actors and the set more productive.

David Dasmalchian, who is co-staring alongside Paul Rudd in the upcoming film Ant-Man, has an impressive body of work. He was in The Dark Night, Prisoners, Employer, and many stage productions. He was raised in Kansas and grew up loving special effects make-up and comic books. Throughout his life, movies were an escape. He was on his way to college to play football when he became heavily involved in theater. He started acting professionally in Chicago, and then headed to Hollywood where he has been doing well ever since. He is now married with his first child. He recently co-wrote and produced his first feature length film, Animal, which is being released in theaters nationwide in May. The make-up on that film was expertly done by MUD grad Amber Talarico. Look for details, of the movie release and his Q&A sessions at the premiers, on the MUD Facebook pages.

Students had a great opportunity to hear first hand from a well known actor about how important make up is to character development and to setting the mood of the actor on the set. His closing advice was find your marketable strengths and spend time with people you respect and want to be like.

Industry Speaks: Make-up Artist Kenny Myers

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What do you get when you leave a napping mother around a 5 year who is more interested in mommy’s makeup bag than he is about sleepy time? An Artisan Award winner and three-time Emmy nominee for make-up, that’s what. Kenny Myers, known for his work on The Prestige (2006), X Men: The Last Stand (2006), Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End (2007) and The Last Samurai (2003) graced MUD students and industry friends with insight on his journey as a make-up artist in the film industry.

While his story has great twists and turns, a few nuggets of wisdom appeared with every tale. For aspiring artists looking forward to their own journey, Myers shared professional advice that can be used in whatever path one takes.

“Innovation comes from every direction” Myers shared with the room full of wide eyes. The next big thing is always on the horizon and can come based on the smallest thing. Even when you’re working late at night, that one new “thing” can happen.

“Don’t be afraid of showing what you know. It WILL come back to you.” As the artist began talking about how techniques of Dick Smith had come alive from one project, it’s apparent that the genius of Smith has lived on throughout the face of make-up artistry today.

For artists that are ripe into the industry, Myers advises, “Your job isn’t to show off. It is to bring your skillset to who you work for.” People know that you’re good, that’s why you’re there. Do the job and save the sales pitch.

MUD thanks Kenny Myers and his family for joining us for such an insightful Industry Speaks and we look forward to seeing you around the MUD campus again soon. You can find a more detailed look into the eyes of the artist soon in an upcoming edition of MUD Art, with photographer and writer, Deverill Weeks.

Industry Speaks: Cloutier Remix

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Madeline Leonard, Director and Owner of the prominent agency Cloutier Remix, along with her team Libby Anderson and Marissa Alfe,visited Make-up designory Burbank to give students and alumni some insight on what it takes to get representation. The advice they gave was hearty and straight forward. “Show only your best work. Your portfolio is only as strong as your weakest image,” stated Madeline Leonard. Marissa, a new comer to the agency is focused on moving forward in the digital direction. She emphasized the importance of making sure your Online presence represents you as a professional artist and reflects your work and experiences in the best light, especially if you’re seeking work as a Brand Ambassador. “Brands want to protect their image and want someone that conducts themselves in a way that aligns with their brand.”

During the group discussion, the panel was asked to describe what it meant to have an agent. “We do whatever it takes for the artist to be seen in the best possible way, that they get credited for their work, and that their image is protected as a brand—artists are their own brand. Nothing we do for our artists is too big a task, or too small,” responded Libby, while adding, “my goal is to make my client’s goals happen.”

Upon concluding the group discussion, the panel graciously agreed to review MUD Alumni Magali Perets’s website magalirachel.com and give her pointers on how to make it presentation-ready. “Portfolios these days are all online. It’s rare that a portfolio is delivered as a hard cover. Your site must state exactly what you do, it must be easy to navigate and again, show only your best work!”

We would like to thank Madeline and her team again for taking the time to share their valuable insight with our students. We hope they visit us again soon!

About Cloutier Remix | http://cloutierremix.com/

Cloutier Agency­—Los Angeles’ premiere hair, makeup and styling agency—is reborn as Cloutier Remix.
Always respectful of its remarkable legacy of longevity in relationships with artists and clients, Cloutier Remix is taking on the future.

Says Madeline Leonard, heartbeat of the agency for the last 23 years and now owner, “Our new name update reflects our developing direction. In addition to continuing to represent prestigious, innovative beauty and fashion talent, we’re also forging new alliances worldwide and establishing a stronger presence in New York.”

This global positioning is the next logical step for the agency, given that the clients, companies and media who generate beauty and fashion imagery are worldwide players. Furthermore, Cloutier Remix artists are at home on the world stage. At any given time, in fact, Cloutier Remix is sending talent to work on location on five continents.
With a stellar roster and flawless integrity in place, Cloutier Remix will continue to build real alliances with clients and artists. And that’s a beautiful thing.

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/cloutierremix | Instagram: http://instagram.com/cloutierremix

Industry Speaks: Make-up Artist Jordu Schell

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Contributor: Svenya Nimmons

They say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, but in the case of Jordu Schell, what frightens you, makes you create an imagination of your own.  At a young age, he gasped at an image of someone being chased in a movie and his mother quickly shut the television off.  Fearful and curious, the artist-to-be was then left to imagine what the creature looked like.

His curiosity continued as he began experimenting with masks during his youth, landing him at a tradeshow in Chicago where he was the first boutique mask maker showcasing his works.  The rest is history.

With such credits as Alien Resurrection, Men in Black, Avatar and Edward Scissorhands, this industry vet has 30 years of experience in painting, sculpting and designing. You can find him at work in his studio in Chatsworth, CA.  His lovely and talented assistant Emily Deroski helps with sculpting and her attitude of just showing up to do whatever is needed for the day is admirable.  Plus, she’s great with auto mechanics which adds to her cool factor.

So what makes an awesome character?  According to Schell, a well-crafted piece with an expansive imagination of form really brings it home. His advice as an artist looking to be taken seriously in the industry is quite simple: Be prepared for whatever opportunity comes your way with a website, business cards and a knack for networking that shows your genuine interest in what you do. “You’re not entitled to anything and the world owes you nothing,”- great advice from the guy from Philly that learned to love horror films in a way that has shaped his career.

As always, we are immensely grateful to Jordu and all of our  guests who give their time, knowledge and expertise to help our students through this diverse industry!

Industry Speaks: Don Lanning

 

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“If you feel you are an artist, you owe it to yourself to be an artist.” Don Lanning

Don Lanning was born in Van Nuys, California in the heart of Hollywood’s creature effects community. With early heroes Dick Smith, John Chambers, Stan Winston, Rick Baker and Rob Bottin as guides, Don started sculpting creatures at 10 years old. Don is known for his consistent ability to deliver the highest quality work at lightning speed on projects from conservative realism to the archetypes of horror, fantasy, and science fiction.

As our Industry Speaks guest last night, Don took us through his career—a career that got started 10 years after his initial opportunity. He told the story of meeting Dick Smith at age 17. Mr. Smith being a helpful mentor to many artists, was also there for Don, giving him the phone numbers to people who might help him get his start in the industry that held his heart and passion. But, there was something, or someone else who held Don’s heart and passion—a girl—and Don chose a career in real estate, perhaps assuming a steadier path. After 10 years, Don took a good look at himself and didn’t recognize the person he saw. He described it as feeling like he was in someone else’s clothing, living someone else’s life.

Shortly thereafter, he had the opportunity to sculpt for a commercial. It was during that process wherein he acknowledged his calling. He said, “I was found.”

Don’s story was the premise for the rest of the evening’s conversation as he encouraged MUD students to stick to their dreams. “If you feel you are an artist, you owe it to yourself to be an artist…you are the most beautiful when you are creating…art is the only thing worth doing.”  While Don shared his impressive portfolio, the true inspiration may have been in the pep talk he gave for living the life you want.

Don has recently received high praise entering the world of fine art with his modern take on pop icons Batman & The Joker and his elaborate reimagining of The Cowardly Lion, Scarecrow, and Tinman from “OZ.” His work is featured in more than 50 motion pictures and he continues to live out his passion, recently opening up a shop in Van Nuys, California.

Don’t miss out on these valuable opportunities extended to you to meet and speak with industry pros at our weekly Industry Speaks events. Our monthlyevent calendar can be found on our facebook page: facebook.com/mudschools

Don Lanning Instagram: @don_lanning

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/twoeyestwohands

Industry Speaks: Jamie Kelman

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Contributor: Jarrell Mosely

If you arrived late to Make-up designory’s Industry Speaks spotlighting Jamie Kelman (http://www.fleshycreatures.com/), finding an empty seat was not going to be easy. The crowd of MUD graduates, students and staff were unquestionably there to see Kelman and understandably so. He’s a skillful special make-up effects artist, an inspiration and a superb storyteller. This can be seen in his special make-up effects work seen in movies such as Looper, Oz the Great and Powerful and Star Trek: Into Darkness. It was also evident in the way he masterfully told an inspirational, and at times comedic, story of how he went from a thirteen year old doing special effects make-up in his basement to a two-time Emmy award winning make-up artist.

It didn’t take much prodding for Kelman to open up about his career as make-up artist and his love for special effects make-up which began as a three year old watching Star Trek for the first time. “I’m a Star Wars kid,” Kelman stated. “I saw it and the world just opened up before my eyes,” he smiled as he revisited the childhood memory. “I believe that’s where it all started for me.”

When asked about his first job Kelman replied, “I have to thank my uncle for that,” and then vividly recounted the day his uncle, a producer of New York’s Shakespeare in the Park, had taken him to an FX studio when he was just a teenager. “I started working in the studio. I swept the floors and did other odd jobs around the shop.” He reflected. “But I learned so much and it was also where I got my first job working on the 1990’s show Monsters.” Almost as if he didn’t believe so much time had passed he added, “I was only sixteen years old.”

He continued the time line of his career. “After that I studied film at NYU but I always wanted to move to L.A.” and without pause he added, “L.A. is just where it’s at,” referring to opportunities for the up and coming special FX artist.

“Do you think going to school helped you in your career,” Devrill Weekes asked.

The answer came quickly. “I do. School is a great way to dip your toe in the water. You learn a lot from the people around you. You may find a new technique. I always learned from the people that were around me.”

Since, you mentioned that,” Weekes said leading into his next question. “Who was your mentor?”

“I had many,” he said and then took a brief moment to ponder on their names. “Matthew Monge for sure. He gave me my first job on Monsters and I learned so much from him and John Jackson. Dick Smith and Rick Baker of course and Steve Proudy. Definitely Katzu.”

“What is advice would you give to a make-up artist that are just starting?”

He replied. “Make it work.” Stop, step back and take a breath. If something isn’t working don’t keep doing it. If you can, make it better.” It sounded like age old advice you would receive from an elder and it made perfect since.

“Do you have a philosophy or a personal mantra?”

“Nobody wants to works with mean people.” He replied and the audience was enveloped by laughter. “I try to be nice. I try to have fun and I try to enjoy it.” His advice resonated with many in the room.

He continued to impart his words of advice. “I would also say protect your passion.” He said before adding, “Keep your passion alive because once it dies you may not be able to turn it back on.

A hand in the audience shot into the air with urgency. “How do you balance your work with your personal life,” asked a front row MUD student.

“I have a 10 year old and I’m married. I make time for them. When you start out take everything you can but don’t stay apart for more than 8 weeks. After that scandalous things start to happen,” He laughed. “You have to remember what’s important, which means sometimes you may have to say no. It’s also important that you know when and how to say no.

Other eager hands flew up. “What was your biggest challenge?”

The question required some thought. “I would have to say that beauty make-up was my biggest challenge. But I realized that you have to embrace what you fear the most so I started practicing beauty make-up. When I was working on The Grinch that Stole Christmas none of the guys wanted to do beauty make-up so they came to me.”

The questions began to come quickly. “What are some of the critical mistakes you’ve seen a new make-up artist make?”

“Trying to fly under the radar is the biggest mistake a new make-up artist can make. You have to make yourself known. You have to be on the radar. Now you have social media like Facebook so you can post your work.” He answered but shortly added words of caution and food for thought. “But people are posting everything on the internet. Only post what’s good. It’s better to have five great pieces of work than ten ok pieces.”

“Any advice for establishing relationships with a mentor?”

Reach out to them. You can find them on the internet and on Facebook. Send them a respectful email. Try hard to be helpful but stay out of the easy and learn. You’ll find that most people are willing to help you.”

“What’s on your goals list,” an enthusiastic voice asked from the crowd.

“I don’t have a goals list.” He answered. “I love what I do and I’ve had an amazing career. I’m living my dream. You’re lucky for the opportunities. Just grab them.”

And with those final words Jamie Kelman ended his interview and the audience erupted with applause. Without question he’d left an undeniable impression and left many words to ponder on later, words that would undoubtedly resurface during the careers of the make-up artist following in his footsteps.

Industry Speaks: Ashley Joy Beck

Having worked on everything from Cirque du Soleil to Fashion Editorials and Music Videos (the list of credits goes on and on) Miss Beck returns to MUD after graduating from the Special Make-up Effects Course in 2008.

She visited MUD to demonstrate her “DreamWeaver” character that was inspired by the Native American dream catcher and an ethereal sunset on the final scene in the movie Matrix 3. Her character appears to help you analyze your dreams so that you learn more about yourself.

Enjoy this step-by step make-up demo that was completed in an impressive 45 minutes.

Ashley, everyone at MUD thanks you for visiting the school and inspiring our students, staff and guests with your passion for art.

See more of Ashley’s beautiful work on http://www.ashleyjoybeck.com/

Click on the photos for more information on each step!

Remembering Dick Smith

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“Dick Smith died last night…”

The first words I hear from my wife as I roll awake. I lay there trying to digest the words and acknowledge the emotional impact that will befall me, my friends, my students, my peers, my heroes and my industry. I never knew the man well enough to call him a friend. We shared many handshakes, a meal with friends and some kind words. I will forever be remorseful for not taking a moment to ask for a photo commemorating the memory of such an iconic man.

To his closest friends, colleagues and family, I have no words, only a ball of emotion that rolls through my throat, to my eyes then to sink back into the pit of my stomach leaving me feel empty and hollow. I knew what it was like to lose a father, and that’s who Dick was to many people in our industry. The rest of us knew him as a legend, a hero, the “Godfather of Make-up” as he was called, and we knew him as a teacher.

As a teacher, Dick Smith became a symbol of sharing, of guidance, of support, of professionalism, of talent… his work became the very defining marker by which so many make-ups were compared. His contributions and influence on the lives of generations of make-up artists will continue to reshape and define future generations of artists, artists who will never have known or met the man, but will be better artists because of the foundations he laid.

Thank you Dick Smith for being an inspiration to our heroes. Thank you Dick Smith for being my hero. Thank you for your humility and the positive influence you had on so many, many lives.

With sincere admiration and deepest regrets,

Gil Romero
MUD School Director

“What can I say? I loved him. He was a giving, generous, open, kind, amazing human being. He wanted to feed your passion for make-up, he wanted to help you do great work. I remember when I was 13 I asked Dick for his ager stipple formula. I called him on the phone and he was so kind. He went out of his way to make copies of the formula and sent it to me. You can’t find a single person that hasn’t been touched by his kindness. I really can’t put it into words. He’s a legend.”
Chad Washum, MUD Faculty

“Words are so inadequate to relay our thoughts about our dear friend, Dick Smith, and the sympathy and loss we feel on his passing. Not only did the industry lose its foremost innovator and unselfish proponent. But, the world has lost the epitome of kindness, warmth and humility. He has left an indelible mark in our hearts. Our greatest memories are the many times we just listened to his eloquent commentary of his unbelievable life at the many dinners we shared with him. We’ll miss him dearly. So long, Dick. ”
Andre’ & Jenny DiMino (ADM Tronics)

A forefather to his industry and craft. His mark was left on us all. He will forever be missed and never be forgotten. His gifts will surpass his physical life and his talents will surpass us all.
Much Respect Mr Smith
KarrieAnn Sillay, MUD Faculty

Your passion for make-up and sharing your knowledge is your legacy.
Paul Thompson, MUD Director of Education

As a teacher I see Dick Smith’s iconic imagery continue to influence new generations of make-up artists. Though the artist will be missed, the art lives on.
Lisa Leveridge, MUD Faculty

Industry Speaks: Todd McIntosh

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“I could recognize an artist’s stroke; I knew that the same hand that created this make-up, created that make-up.”

Interviewed by Deverill Weekes, Article by Myrna Martinez

Todd McIntosh is a believer—a believer in theatre and movie make-up magic, a believer in an artistic hand that has been touched by a higher power—a believer in knowing every aspect of make-up artistry is the key to no-missed opportunities. When the key that unlocked your life’s calling is found in classics like Dark Shadows, or the theatrical magic of Peter Pan, and—Spock’s ears?—you know you’ve been called to be an artist.

At eight years old, Todd began exploring what he could do with an eyeliner pencil, drawing lines on his face and creating characters with available materials. A neighbor who surely saw something amazing in this young boy, gifted him with a book on how to create stage make-up. By 12 years old, he worked in theatre; by 15 he was molding; by 16 he was teaching his high-school classmates make-up techniques and by 18 he was employed by a Studio.

This young, talented artist was on his way to creating multitudes of characters in his lifetime. Determined to master his craft, he learned all aspects of make-up, from beauty to character and Make-up FX.

“Every skill you are without is every job you go without,” is Todd’s ambitious philosophy. But, only a special kind of passion for what he does can cause him to be so driven. “I could recognize an artist’s stroke; I knew that the same hand that created this make-up, created that make-up.” With such keen focus on the artistry, Deverill asked if there was anyone who contributed to his fire—and like many artists before him, he answered, “Dick Smith.”

“Dick Smith was my first, well, I don’t have the words for it. He has this artistic ability that transcends the average—he has a hand that’s been touched by God.” Todd continues, “I went to a museum with Dick and he had me looking into paintings. I saw colors in skin I had never seen before—greens and blues—and I learned first-hand from Dick Smith.”

Today, Todd is inspired by make-ups on shows like Supernatural, Salem and American Horror Story. He remembers a certain aging make-up in a final shot of AHS that he thought was absolutely brilliant.

Now, our students’ eyes are on you, Mr. McIntosh. We are so very honored that you visited MUD and shared your personal stories of growth and inspired us with your experience.

MUD LA Students with Todd McIntosh, Daveid DeLeon and Deverill Weekes

About Todd / http://www.mcintoshmakeup.com/

Todd McIntosh is known for his work on Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997) Emmy Winner, Memoirs of a Geisha (2005) Pushing Daisies (2009) (Emmy Winner)

Industry Speaks: Special Make-up FX Artist Norman Cabrera

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“Never be discouraged…” This was just one of many pieces of advice that Norman Cabrera gave to a room full of peers, fans, MUD students, graduates, and aspiring make-up artists attending Make-up Designory’s Industry Speaks. With over 20 years of special make-up FX experience and a resume that is just as tall as he is, it was certain that this advice would leave a lasting impression and serve as food for thought for those who were hungry to hear more about Norman’s roadmap to a career as one of the most sought after special make-up FX artists.

It was an informal gathering, almost like having a beer with an old friend — discussing work, family and the thing you loved most, in this case FX make-up. “I want this to be informal, like a chat,” he said, and encouraged the crowd to throw out questions as he talked. The first being, “How did you get started?”

His eyes lit up behind dark frame tinted glasses and with a reflective smile he began to talk about his start and journey as a make-up artist. “I’ve always loved monsters and make-up FX. I was obsessed with it,” he started. “I remember watching Planet of the Apes and it blew my mind. After seeing Rick Baker’s work I knew that was what I wanted to do.” He continued as he flipped through youthful pictures of himself surrounded by pictures of Return of The Jedi posters and masks he created. “I was sculpting by the age of 14. At 16 I, built up the courage to show people my work, and when I was 17 I sent Rick Baker pictures of my work.”

Realizing this was a teachable moment he briefly deviated from his story and took a minute to plant a seed of wisdom. “Always have something to show,” he advised. “Building your portfolio is one of the most important things you can do. No one is going to hire you if you don’t have anything to show them,” he added with a tone that was high-spirited yet still conveyed the importance of what he was saying.

Pens feverishly jotted down the tidbit of advice before Norman resumed telling the story of how he started his career. His moment of reflection took the attentive audience on a journey through his work and his experiences working on films like Hell Boy I and II, Drag Me To Hell, and Men in Black 3. He talked about his work with directors like and Guillermo Del Toro and fx make-up artists like Rick Baker, who had inspired and mentored him throughout his career.

“So, you knew beyond a hobby that this is what you wanted to do?” Gil Romero, School Director, asked.

Without hesitation and with a confidence supported by talent and years of experience, he answered, “For sure. I would always read magazines and I searched through the TV Guide looking for anything that had to do with make-up.” He talked about working in a supermarket as a teenager and saving his money to buy latex so that he could make masks.

“So, is the passion still there,” an enthusiastic audience member asked.

“Absolutely,” he answered quickly and assuredly. “I think about this stuff all the time. I’m always working on something. He then took another second to impart advice to the listening audience. “It’s important to always keep working. Do more stuff. Every waking moment you should be working on something.” He paused for a second and then added. “And always keep learning. Just as important as building your book you have to keep learning.” His words resonated with the crowd. But the wisdom coming from years of experience did not stop there. “Keep learning. Study anatomy,” he said adamantly. “Study all the creatures of the earth. You can find ideas and inspiration in all of this.” It was simplistic but still profound advice.

As Norman continued to talk about his experiences the audience hung on his every word, some writing them down hurriedly while others simply nodded in agreement. Before wrapping up his informal chat, he left them with some final words of advice. “I can’t stress enough how important it is to build your book. You have to have a kick ass book. This is a competitive industry but never be discouraged to follow what you want to do.”

As I wrote down these final words of advice I realized Norman’s gems of wisdom could be applied to all aspects of life. I recognized the motivation stirring in the room and the sense of inspiration emanating from the crowd. Just like the line waiting to shake hands and take pictures with Norman Cabrera, I left not only feeling the urge do more, but believing that I could. “Never be discouraged,” I thought as I scribbled the last notes before I closed my notepad. Wise words indeed.

— Jarrell Mosley