Friday, 16 October 2015

Face Off {or was it On?}: An interview with Cassidy Fidler

So about 2 weeks ago I was scrolling through twitter as I was battling my odd sleeping patterns and I was thinking for ideas for the blog, now I know that the Artificer's Almanac posts are always popular but I wanted to branch out and try something different, so I was thinking of conducting some interviews, I had some ideas but no real data of who to go to or on what subject and then suddenly in my activity feed a name popped up.

Cassidy Fidler, intrigued I went to her profile and there were the golden words, "Amateur SFX Make-up Artist".
Cassidy had obviously been sent from the writing deity!

So ladies and gentleman, boys and girls I present to you, an interview with Cassidy Fidler! 

1. So tell us a little more about yourself?

Where do I begin? I’m best known as Cassie but my full name is Cassidy. I am recently 25 and currently work as a special needs teacher. I have always been creative, I studied performing arts and got a 1st class degree in media studies at university. I did a PGCE so that teaching was always a secure and stable option as the creative industries can be so cut-throat and tough. I fell in to SEN teaching but I do love it, it’s very rewarding. Some other quick facts about me: I have a little bunny called Milo, I worship elephants – I think it comes from my granddad. I love macaroons and sipping tea (especially after a long day or during an SFX make-up session). I used to sing a lot but that’s gradually fading out as I don’t find so much time to get up on stage! I love vintage and old Hollywood glamour and I’ve incorporated that in to some looks I’ve done. I generally have lots of things I enjoy and as long as I keep myself busy and spend lots of time around good people then life is grand! 

2. So what got you into to SFX make up? Are you thinking of developing this as a career or was it something you just fancied having a go at?

Well I’ve always been creative but I think it all started from being a child and loving dress up, I loved any excuse to dress up in to a character! It was never just about the outfit for me, it was always about make-up and hair too, I especially loved fantasy characters such as fairies. For many years it would just be about parties or Halloween but then I started to notice make-up in films more and visited the Harry Potter studio tour and was fascinated and overwhelmed by the creature shop and that’s when it really started to take off.
I guess it started as something I just enjoyed and then became something I would love to develop in to a career but it is a very difficult industry to get in to, the doors are very far and few between.  

3. According to your Twitter account, you say that you are an amateur. I’ve seen your work and you are very good. Have you had any training, formal or informal? If so, who from?

Thank you. I haven’t had any training, except for tutorials and information online. There are two very wonderful make-up artists in the UK, Stuart Bray and Neil Gorton. I added them both on Facebook, Stuart gave me some good tips and Neil has a page for 911 make-up support which is very helpful. Other than that it was just a case of experimenting and practising. 

4. Have you worked on any stage or film productions? If so, care to mention a few?

I haven’t yet had the chance to work on any stage or film productions, however I have been asked to assist with make-up for a local pantomime in January, so watch this space! 

(N.B: Cassidy may be working on Peter Pan with West Wickhan Pantomime Society {Twitter: wwpanto})

5. What are your favourite pieces of SFX make up you have seen, and were they in film, cosplay, or on stage?

I think it has to be the pieces on display in the Creature Shop at the Harry Potter studio tour in London. They are just so amazing and just thinking about them brings out my passion. 

6. When you create a piece, do you create a diagram of what you want to do first or do you just work via trial and error until you get your final piece?

I always have an idea in mind, sometimes I look for photographs or tutorials to inspire me and act as a reference during the process but generally is trial and error for me. I feel it’s the best way when you’re an amateur and learning by yourself. 

7. I presume it can get pretty technical?

It can sometimes, there’s quite a lot to consider if you’re making very heavy or layered pieces. I haven’t worked with too many big technical pieces so it’s not been too tricky yet.  

8. I have tried the odd bit of make-up for various cosplays, mainly scar based make-up. Mind giving us a brief tutorial on making a decent looking scar?

It’s important to look for reference material and it all depends on the type of scar you want. A wonderful product to use is called Rigid Collodion, it produces very realistic scars. To use it for a scar you’ll also want a thin paintbrush and a pale pinkish face paint. 

1.    Make sure your skin is clean and clear of other products.
2.    Apply a thin streak of face paint in the shape of the scar you want to produce. Remember that no scar is ever perfectly shaped or straight.
3.    Using the Rigid Collodion, apply a thin layer over top the face paint. Allow to dry and repeat this process several times. You’ll notice that as it dries it becomes taught and almost sucks in the skin.
Rigid Collodion is very cheap and is easily bought online or in party stores. It has a very potent smell but it really is an amazing product for creating lifelike scars on the skin. 

9. For any novice artists out there, what would you recommend as a beginners kit?

I would say the staple items for any SFX artist would be liquid latex, spirit gum, fake blood, cotton wool, scar wax, cream face paints and some good quality brushes and sponges. All of these things can easily be bought online and sometimes you have a lot of good items around the house like cotton wool for instance. For a slightly more advance kit I would recommend these products: 

•    Kryolan cream face palettes which come in three main colour ranges which are; skin tones, bright colours and colours more suited for casualty and horror FX  (or you can create custom palettes). 
•    Kryolan clown face white face paint as it lasts so long and is a really bright and pure white colour.
•    Derma Shield mousse which forms a layer between skin and make-up to protect is from sensitivities toward make-up.
•    Kryolan tooth paint for going the extra mile when creating looks.
•    Thick blood and fresh scratch blood to give depth and realness to casualty FX pieces as let’s face it, not all blood is bright red and runny.
•    Stippling sponges because they really help to blend and create some cool effects!
•    Good quality make-up remover and brush cleaners.
•    3rd degree or Gelafix to help build different looks and wounds/scars
There are so many amazing products out there! Charles Fox in London and Guru Emporium are two stores where you can browse, try and buy in London.

10. With the film industry moving into CGI, do you think makeup artists are becoming a rare breed nowadays?

I think that’s a tough one to answer. CGI is wonderful, it really can do so much more than is sometimes possible in film but I think make-up artists will always be required. I don’t think you can get the same truthfulness from CGI alone, close up shots require genuine make-up even if just as a base because otherwise people don’t find it quite so realistic. Also, let’s not forget that make-up artists will always be required for theatre and fashion!

Keep your eyes out around Halloween as some more of Cassidy's work will go up on the site!

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