Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Welcome to My First Person Monster Effects History!

Recently, I have thought about writing a book about my on-going career in Make Up Effects, but decided that instead of worrying about getting published and getting the rights to photos, etc., I'd just blog it in case anyone out there wanted to know what it was like entering this profession as it reached its zenith.
Believe me when I tell you that many, MANY a night, I lie in bed and ask myself why I have hung around this profession for the decades I have.  I ask why haven't I moved on with my life and picked up the digital tablet and re-imagined my career as a CGI artist.  The answer is always the same: Make Up Effects (even at its worst) is the single most fun job in the world.

Some might say Rock and Roll Musician.  Some might say Professional Athlete.  Some might say Movie Star.  I say that to enjoy a career in Make Up Effects is like doing it all AND at the end of the day, you get a cool creature you can put on your shelf and call your own.

But before we commence, I have to set the scene:

Things were alot different in those days.  Not to sound like the old man that I am, but in order to fully understand what it was like, you will have to wrap your head around some of the following notions:

1.) We had no computers at the beginning. And when they did begin to show up, they were used MAINLY for accounting. More on that later.

2.) We had no cell phones.  All calling and communicating was done via a land line.

3.) Cable TV was just emerging, but most of us still had antennas on our TV's and were watching what we could on free TV.

4.) DVD's and CD's did not exist at the beginning.  The best you could get was a great vinyl turntable and a cassette tape walkman to listen to your music.  Imagine what a colossal pain in the behind it was carrying around a case of cassette tapes to work every day so you can listen to your music while you worked.  If you wanted to watch a movie, it was on VHS tape which degraded over time. Most of us frequented Video Stores regularly for our home entertainment and it wasn't uncommon to carry membership cards to at least three different stores because none of them stocked ALL of the movies you wanted to see.

And yet, somehow, we managed to produce iconic images that have forever become a part of the collective Motion Picture psyche.

So in the coming weeks, I'll take you on a trip, back in time when Make Up Effects artists smelled like Roma Plastillina-sulphur, work was exciting and plentiful, and CREATURES WERE KING!


  1. Shannon,
    I knew from the first time I saw your work 100 years ago you were gonna do excellent!

  2. Thanks everyone! I'm going to do my best to recall as much as I can, while I still can! I'm hoping that friends and colleagues will chime in and help this become an accurate and entertaining portrait of a magical time in motion pictures!

  3. Can't wait til you get to "The Swamp" - I look forward to reading this through the coming months. This is gonna be fun Shannon!

  4. I was hoping this would be how Lord Galthos from Mars would demand Earth bow to Don Rickles and follow the path of Patrick Swayze but I am comfortable in terror getting to know the "Man behind the Soul" ;)

  5. I still remember the STACKS of trade mags that you always had at home and in your school desk.

  6. I'm really looking forward to following, you know I love (and deeply miss) your stories.

  7. I can't wait Shannon! Here's to your blog going viral!!! :-)

  8. I think you should think about a podcast!!!

  9. Thanks everyone! This project is part history/part therapy. I can't thank you all for your support!

  10. This is a great thing! I was there for parts of it, and long buried memories have already begun to bubble to the surface as I read!

    I can't wait to see how this develops, and I thank you for presenting this wonderful gift!

  11. Shannon you are amazing! - you are the perfect guy to tell our story.

  12. Thanks JD! I'm honored to have earned a recent writing assignment that I'll be at liberty to discuss sometime soon!