This is where everything comes together! All our preparation leads up to these 3 days shooting!
Step into our Makeup Truck and we will provide you with our first hand experience of being on the set of Dark Avengers 3. Not only will we talk about what went perfectly to plan but also challenges we faced and some tips on how to adapt quickly to changes and time restraints.
Being open to change would probably be the most important leaning curve, no matter how well you think you are prepared there will always be a new challenges or changes that we need to adapt to. You may have spend hours or even days working on something that may no longer be needed or used, remember not to take these changes personally, adapt and keep the job going. Work quickly to make these changes to the best of your ability, and always do so with a smile on your face!
On Set: Day One – Into The Caves
Day one was shot in the beautiful location of Wai Pu Caves in the North Island of New Zealand. An early morning road trip, watching the sun rise was how our first day on set started, as the day progressed we enjoyed the beautiful sun despite the ice cold air. AND WE ARE READY TO GO!!
HINT: Make friends with the coffee guy! You will be seeing allot of him!
First into our makeup truck was ‘The Shaman’, Gabrial Karcagi a talented actor and poet, with long white hair and a lovely resemblance to Gandalf.
With two makeup artists, an actor and our photographer we all squeezed into our makeup truck and got straight to work applying a scar to each of The Shamans cheeks. As we had two of us working on the makeup we had a scar each to apply.
Much the same as any prosthetic we applied the pieces using pros aid, for a full over view of application you can read our Orc makeup blog…
TIP: For aged skin, to get a nice application make sure you stretch out the skin when sicking down your prosthetic to ensure it is stuck down in all the wrinkles and the prosthetic will move with the natural lines in the skin.
These pieces were not pre-coloured as you never know exactly what the actors skin tones are going to be. Colouring can be tricky, flicking your undertones (warm or cool) on very lightly before putting your skin tones on can make a huge difference to the end result, also take into consideration how old the scars are, (old scars may not have much redness to them anymore).
The rest of The Shamans makeup was pretty straight forward.
- Black Grease paint and powder around the eyes and up the forehead.
- Dust with more powders on the forehead to blend out and reduce shine.
- Hair was done with Black Temporary spray color.
- Work from the bottom section by section.
- Spray comb with the color and comb through the hair for a salt and pepper look.
HINT: When working with more than one artist swap sides half way through the coloring of the application allows for continuity in the coloring again as different artists have different eyes for details/colors.
EVEN BETTER HINT: check your colors under the camera of your phone/camera as it will look different to what the naked eye will see.
Visit to coffee guy!
Hector was Played by Joel Ezra Hebner another talented american actor who was wisely chosen to play Hector for his large physique, his hair was done prier to shooting and once costume and his tattoo were on all we needed to do was give him a scar.
- Applied and colored his scar running from just above the eyebrow to through the eyebrow and continuing under his left eye.
- This was then changed to make just a small scar just above and through the brow.
- Removed under eye scar using Myristate and a baby wipe and painted the brow scar in skin tones to age the scar.
LUNCH BREAK: Poetry Readings and More Coffee
On our lunch break it is a good time to get to know your actors and film crew, Gabriel (The Shaman) sat with us on this day and shared some of his history with us and told us a beautiful but humorous poem that he had written himself. Personally I think this part of the production is just as important, it allows you to connect with your team and let your hair down.
AFTER LUNCH TOUCH UPS
After lunch we got The Shaman back into the makeup chair to restick down the edges around his mouth that had lifted due to eating lunch.
Make up artists are required to stay on set for filming in case of touch ups and for removal at the end of the day, so we packed ourselves a touch up kit and headed into the caves to watch the filming staying on hand for touch ups.
Touch up Kit Included
- Pros Aid
- Baby Wipes
- Cotton Buds
- Setting Powders
- Alcohol Palettes
- And anything else used in the application of the makeups
As the temperature dropped indicating the sun was about to set it was time wrap up and start removal of the make up. Any prosthetic pieces stuck down with pros aid needs an oil to remove it, we used Isopropal Myristate but baby oil or Isopropal alcohol is also effective. (Avoid alcohol around the eyes as it can cause irritation/burning feeling)
TIP: Give the edges time to soak in the oil to help soften the glue and make for a pain free removal. Be GENTLE and take your time!
- We removed the Shamans scars first
- Then used baby wipes and myristate to clean off the grease paint
- We told the actor with one wash of his hair the temporary color will all clean out.
- Followed by a quick removal of Hectors scar and a baby wipe to wipe off the tattoo on the side of his head. His arm tattoos were still needed for the next day.
And we are ready for a road trip home this time watching the sun set, to unpack, repack and have a cheeky wine to ready ourselves for another early start.
ON SET: Day Two – Orcs In The Forest
Day two was definitely our biggest day on set, with 7 of New Zealand’s best stunt men including NZ Actor Shane Rangi and a Makeup team of 15 people! Ready to tackle the 7 Full Face Orc Makeup Prosthetic’s and Kennith’s Scars in the midst of Woodhill Forrest, Muriwai, Auckland
After small briefing with the team and a hand out of the steps required to apply the Orc makeup, including reference photos, everyone was excited and in good spirits to get straight into it.
VISIT COFFEE GUY – WE ARE NOW BEST FRIENDS!
We set up our stations very conscious of our small working area. Once we were all fitted into our space we assigned each makeup artist and assistant and an actor to work on, the space whilst cozy, became surprisingly comfortable, with a UE Boom speaker and a great playlist at the ready we all got to work on applying the Orcs prosthetic’s + Kennith’s make up.
Kennith’s make up was more or less developed on the day, with two scars under the eyes, using 3rd degree silicon. We decided to use 3rd degree so that we could do Kennith’s makeup all on set however we were not informed that Kennith’s make up was to be shot on two consecutive days, if we had known this for continuity reasons we would have pre-made scars for this character, we took photos of the work so that we could recreate these again the next day.
- Mix 1:1 ratio of the two parts of 3rd degree silicon
- Sculpt desired scars on a plate
- Apply using either a silicon adhesive or even pros aid
- Baby powder after applying to reduce any stickiness and shine
- Colour to suit skin tones and the natural look of a scar.
Each team of one make up artist and one assistant was allocated an actor to work on, the orc’s were ranked and given specific prosthetic’s to suit. During pre-production we matched teeth and wigs to the various prosthetic’s taking into consideration the rankings of the Orcs and the colours used in pre-painting to give each Orc some form of personality and uniqueness.
As “the makeup artist” it is your job to be the main hands on the work, instructing your assistant throughout the process, it is often up to the makeup artist how much work the assistant is able to do.
As an “assistant” it is your job to follow your makeup artist instructions, you could be doing anything from as little as just holding prosthetic’s in place, passing your main artist tools, or holding a hair drier (drying pros aid/bondo) to doing a whole half of the face application and colour while your makeup artist does the other and just verbally instructs you as you go.
Our first challenge of the day was to adapt to some of the actors having facial hair, with quick thinking we decided it best to cut/rip the prosthetic’s to fit around the facial hair, Orc’s can have facial hair too right?! Bondo soon became our best friend as cutting the prothetics through some of the thicker areas made for a harder time at creating a seamless finish.
Before lunch we completed:
- Application of the prosthetic’s (Step by step in Orc blog)
- Colouring. Colouring was to be matched to the pre colouring of the prosthetic’s however adding further details like veins etc.
- Wig’s fitted and stuck down using Spirit Gum and Wig Tape
TIP: Wig Application- We applied our lace front wigs using Spirit Gum, the Spirit Gum is applied to the skin on the forehead and then the lace is pressed down into the adhesive. For some cases with our bald actors we used wig tape to secure the backs of the wigs however for our actors with hair we secured the back of the wigs using bobby pins, or in one case just styled and dreaded the actors naturally longer hair as his wig wasn’t up to the standard of the other orcs.
Removal of the Wigs
Should be done with alcohol as it will break down the Spirit Gum and just evaporate off without ruining the wig, as Myristate is an oil if Myristate is used to remove the wigs it will stay in the lace and mean that the lace will not stick again without a decent clean with isopropyl alcohol.
After lunch is where things get foggy, we were to pack up and prep for moving to a new location of the forest. Confirmation on what was needed and what we were going to be using to cover the orcs bodies was still yet to be confirmed, between health and safety of the actors being under fake rain in the cold of a forest with minimal clothing it was advised the actors wore Neoprene wetsuit tops and leggings.
For this reason, and that our actors bodies were not clean shaven meant our original plan of PAX (pros-aid and acrylic) painting all visible areas went out the window. Our options now were:
- Cut the neoprene clothing where the skin will be visible
- Colour all visible skin in black paint (grease paint as it still needed to be relatively waterproof)
- Shave the actors bodies and use PAX paint (not realistic for both time and getting the actors consent for a full body shave)
The actors who play a larger part in the orc fight scene had their sleeve’s and or leggings cut off and their visible skin painted black using the grease paint and setting powder. Other actors agreed to different options, some who wanted to keep the neoprene on their arms and or legs the logos were blacked out using Grease paint and their visible skin was painted black.
Our 7 Makeup artists had finished up at lunch break and it was up to us and our & assistants to finish the day with completing
- Any last touch ups to makeup
- Wig styling
- Body Painting
- Teeth and lens fitting
With the moving of locations, vague instructions and potential costuming issues, we were put behind time and running out of day light.
CHANGES MADE WHILE MOVING ON SET
- The main Orc changed places with another Orc under the directors instructions.
- Only 3 orcs were now being used on screen.
- Not having the right facilities and time restraints meant that fitting the teeth would be a mission as they need to be softened in boiling water and then fitted into the shape of the actors mouth.
- The options for covering the visible skin.
- Most of the actors not being able to wear lenses.
Filming begins and it was up to us to sit back and preview our efforts, we had our assistants on touch ups however with all the rain, fast pace fight scenes and camera angles and limited daylight it was a joint effort of just getting all the filming done that was needed.
Cold, wet and ready for bed the actors made their way back to the Makeup trailer to get their prosthetic’s removed and their body paint cleaned off. Same as other face prosthetic’s we used Myristate and cotton buds to remove the prosthetic’s and a mixture of Myristate and alcohol on towels to rub away the Grease paints.
As it is the end of the day all anyone would want to do is just rip off the makeup.. Remain patient give the oil time to soak through the Adhesives and get the pieces off gently and preferably in one piece even if you know it wont be used again.
ON SET: Day three – In the Studio
Today’s location was indoors at the ASB Show Grounds, with less involved for the makeup team we were back to two of us to replicate Kennith and Hector’s makeups for both the character’s still shots and a small scene involving Hector and 8 hands. Makeup included black hands, arms and long pointed nails. We used stick on nails applied with pros-aid and grease paint and a fixing spray for the hands and arms as they will be in and out of water.
That brings us to the end of filming for the Dark Avengers 3!
An incredible leaning experience more than anything for us here at The Magic Brush, we were challenged by time restraints, chopping and changing, and many in the moment decisions but all in all i think we thrive off the fast pace work and the ability to stay on our toes for anything that is thrown our way!