MUD Celebrates our Emmy Nominated Winner: Emma Faulkes

Emma Faulkes

Despite its fantastical premise, watching Game of Thrones always feels very real. Whether you’re watching the death of your favorite character or a battle between two others, computer and prosthetic special effects blend seamlessly, giving birth to one of the most captivating fantasy TV shows of our generation. Special Make-up Effects Artist, Emma Faulkes, was part of the team whhelped bring this television fantasy to life. 

Emma Faulkes recently won an Emmy for Outstanding Prosthetic Makeup for a Series, Limited Series, Movie or Special for her work on Game of Thrones’ seventh season. Starting out as a trainee for Nick Dudman on the set of Harry Potter: The Deathly Hallows, Faulkes has always been drawn towards prosthetic effects. “I couldn’t believe how lucky I was to be surrounded by so much talent on one of the greatest franchises in film history,” she says about the job, defining it as the moment she knew she needed to be a make-up artist. In fact, she had already studied make-up in the UK for two years before coming to MUD, searching for a class that was “solely prosthetics-based” and “was 100% focused on hands on practical learning.” Luckily for us, MUD served her needs. 

But her time at MUD wasn’t all work, and she has some fond memories, too. When asked to share her favorite story, she recalled a time where her make-up kit was stolen out of the trunk of her car and her instructor, along with others all pitched in to replace it. “It was an act of kindness that I will never forget,” she says, describing her instructor, Mark Shostromas “an incredible FX artist,” and “the reason I travelled all the way from the UK to Los Angeles.” In fact, she even stopped by our Los Angeles school just last week to say hello to the staff! We are very excited about Emma’s success, and proud to say she is a MUD grad.

 

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!