September 30, 2011 at 16:24
Hi there! This is JoJo Myers Proud, and I am the head of the Grimm Makeup Department. With me for this
guest blog post is our Creature Makeup Creator, Barney Burman. Our jobs are to design, coordinate and
apply an array of makeups from straight/beauty looks to injuries to creature effects for a very diverse
group of actors. We have great support from an equally diverse team of Makeup Arts and Hair Stylists.
Probably our biggest challenge with Grimm is creating consistent looks. We are tasked with bridging the
gap between humans and creatures in a way that supports the look of the character in both forms. We
use a lot of techniques to create the looks. Mostly old school with some modern influences of course. We
are standing on the shoulders of giants really, because many of these makeup techniques go back to "The
Wizard of Oz" and "Frankenstein." We infuse modern sensibilities and materials, such as lifecasting,
sculpting the fabrication and application of prosthetics etc. in order to create a photorealistic look for the
creatures that is seldom achieved on a television schedule and budget. For example on schedule
challenges, from the time an actor sits in the makeup chair to the time they step out of the trailer ranges
from two to three hours depending on the intricacy of the desired transformation.
Everything starts with a conceptual design done digitally by designers Jerard Marantz ("Avatar," "The
Thing," "Rise of the Planet of the Apes") and/or Constantine Sekeris ("LXG," "Thor," "Where The Wild
Things Are"). They are simply the best in the business at what they do. Once they've done a pass, we have
several meetings and receive input from the director, the producers, NBC and sometimes the actor.
Through this process, we narrow the look down to a practical three-dimensional design that pleases
everyone and best serves the character. We can't tell you exactly what to expect this season on Grimm -
no spoilers!! But what we CAN tell you is that there is a surprise in every episode. If you brush up on "The
Grimm Fairy Tales," you might get an inkling of what lies ahead.
As to how to get into this line of work, we each have different stories.
JoJo: I went to the Joe Blasco Makeup Academy in 1993. I was living in Portland after I graduated
and the film "Mr. Holland's Opus" was shooting in town. I heard they were looking for hairstylists, and
since I had been working for ten years in cosmetology, I was given the opportunity to help on the movie.
From that first show, I was able to join Local 488 [the union serving Oregon, Washington, Northern Idaho
and Western Montana]. I haven't looked back since! Some of the looks I'm most proud of are from a not-
so-great movie called "One Night with the King." The whole movie was shot on location in India. Not only
did I get to design the most beautiful beauty makeups for the lead character, but I had all kinds of
character makeups too. It was an absolutely wonderful, life-changing experience. I am also really proud of
some of my print work. I did a shoot where we did super tight shots on eyes. The photos came out
amazing! See for yourselves...
Barney: I grew up in the business. Third generation, actually. My grandfather made special masks
and props and sometimes animatronic animals in the 1940s thru '60s. My father was one of the pioneers
of what's become known as "Special Makeup Effects." So, for me, it was sort of in my blood. As for proud
moments, a lot of them were jobs where I was just one artist on a large crew, such as "How the Grinch
Stole Christmas" and Tim Burton's "Planet of the Apes." But the biggest moment for me so far had to be
winning the Academy Award for my work on J.J. Abrams' "Star Trek" in 2009.
The biggest misconception about this job could be that it's glamorous! Or that we all must have fun on
Halloween. That we must all have nightmares. I (this is Barney now) think the biggest thing people don't
understand is that we are artists and not vendors. It's not like ordering a pizza with extra limbs and hold
the creature claws. Fortunately, the Grimm producers understand that this stuff takes time and they are
really good about giving us what we need to do the best job imaginable.
Our best advice for people who want to get into makeup or creature design is to go to college and get a
degree in fine arts first. That way, if it doesn't work out, you have an education under your belt and lots of
other options. Then research makeup schools and attend the one that feels right for you. They won't
teach you everything you will need to know, but you will learn the basics for become a makeup artist for
film and television. It's also important to be diligent and persistent. Do as much as you can on your own
and get yourself out there to anyone who will hire, whether it's paid or not. If someone put in even half
the time it takes to be a doctor or a lawyer, then there's no way they can fail in getting what they want.
And do it with a great attitude.
Favorite Beauty Tips:
JoJo: Take care of your skin. Get a facial once a month. See a dermatologist a few times a year. Stay out of
the sun, drink lots of water, you are what you eat. The most important part of your makeup, in my
opinion, is your foundation. Spend most of your money there and go for the less expensive brands on the
other times in your makeup bag.
Barney: I'm gonna leave the beauty tips to JoJo. I usually get paid to make people look worse!