Judge Cynthia Boris can't make monster masks, but she can make a wicked shadow puppet.
Tip: When painting monsters, look for inspiration photos in a magazine so you can get the colors right. (Who knew there was a "right" way to paint monsters?)
Special effects artists Omar Sfreddo (Spiderman 2, Chronicles of Riddick) and Anthony Giordano (Saturday Night Live) teach you the secrets behind making full-head latex masks like you see in the movies. They take you through the process of creating a plaster mold, tips for proper latex casting and unmolding and they follow that up with a second DVD devoted to the preparation and painting of the molded mask.
Sfreddo and Giordana make it look easy but I have a feeling that you need more than just this DVD to make a mask—like, say, talent?
First off, the DVD assumes that you already have the ability to sculpt a monster head as they begin with a finished bust but if you need help in that area, they also have a DVD called "Sculpting Movie Monsters." Next you're presented with a list of tools you need to complete the process. This is an area I felt could have been expanded on. My husband is a historical figure painter and he was able to pick up much of this information because he recognized the quick shots of the various labels but a beginner wouldn't have that advantage. Maybe a booklet with a detailed supply and source list should be included with the DVD?
Craftsmen, not actors, Sfreddo and Giordano get off to a rocky start (accompanied by some annoying buzzing when I turned the DVD up loud enough to hear it properly) but soon they fall into the groove and it's full speed ahead. Well, actually, it's more like snail's trail forward—who knew mask making was such a slow-going, time-consuming process! I'm a person who just loves the creation of special effects with no desire to create them myself and I was floored by the amount of handwork that goes in to creating a mask. They must have the patience of a saint and an accountant's eye for details and believe me, I have a new found level of appreciation for the guys who do this for a living.
By the end of the first DVD, your mask is ready to be removed from the mold. Now here's another thing that baffled me—why two DVDs? I suppose that some people might buy just the painting DVD if they were only interested in learning that technique, but if you want to make the mask from start to finish you really need both parts.
Part Two of the series, the painting of the mask, is particularly interesting. The monster comes to life in front of your very eyes thanks to nothing more than a few layers of carefully placed paint. The shading and highlighting were so effective; there were times when I expected the monster's eyes to open!
As a complete novice, my feeling was that this series was not made for beginners but my husband, who works in a similar field, felt that most of the instruction was too basic for anyone with experience such as himself. So between us we came to this conclusion: this series is aimed at the person with just enough knowledge to get started but not enough to see it through. Maybe you've played around with mask making, but haven't had much success. Then this series would be perfect for you. By utilizing the tips and tricks demonstrated in this series, you'll save yourself time, money and aggravation. With these DVDs and a bit of practice you'll go from amateur to pro in no time.
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