By Mike Suchcicki, Pensacola State College
Pensacola State College teaches its students a wide variety of skills and vocations, from hairstyling to nursing, from welding to cooking, from truck driving to pottery.
Now you can add another skill to the list: Elf-ear-making.
Beginning this month, PSC’s Center for Corporate and Professional Development Training presents another series of special effects makeup courses with instruction by the illusion-on-demand company Underground FX Lab. Students in the workshops will learn the construction of latex prosthetics, mold-making, monster teeth, zombie makeup and, of course, elf ears.
The new “Beyond the Basics” workshop will teach students how to create professional quality, quick, easy-to-apply special effects makeup and prosthetics and how to gather the supplies to fill their professional makeup bags.
Eric Dupre, the creator of Underground FX Lab and instructor of the workshops, is excited about the new round of classes.
“It’s a growing field,” Dupre says of special effects, also known as SFX. “You see folks who are looking to get into the film industry, but you also see theater people, artists and cosplayers, like the folks who create their own ‘Star Wars’ makeup and equipment.”
The courses begin with “Working with Latex” on Jan. 18 and Jan. 19. Students will learn how to make bald caps, latex prosthetics, color latex, latex sculpture and more.
“Mold Making” is Feb. 29 and March 1 and will teach students how to make a two-piece mold for props, as well as how to read under cuts and the importance of keys and pry points.
On March 28 and 29, “Basic FX” will teach all of the basic effects tricks, including how to sculpt wounds, make bruises, transfer prosthetics, gelatin prosthetics and blood.
While the above workshops are one-weekend, 16-hour classes, “Beyond the Basics,” beginning April 4, is a 96-hour course spanning seven weekends. Students will learn how to make face and ear casts, which will then allow them to sculpt, hold and create their own prosthetics. Airbrush painting and application of the prosthetics also will be taught.
“We’ll have people coming in from all over to take the classes,” Dupre says. “I have two people coming down from Atlanta, and I also have some from Alabama.”
Dupre, whose day job is running a camera for the WEAR-TV 3 news department, is mostly self-taught as a special effects artist. His close relationship with Pensacola State goes back to the days he briefly studied multimedia at the College before leaving to study TV and film in Atlanta. In addition to his work with WEAR, Dupre owns and operates Focus Pointe Productions, a full-service video production company under whose umbrella Underground FX Lab operates.
“I’m a huge fan of Pensacola State,” Dupre says. “I’m very grateful for what they’ve done in helping me bring these classes to the public.”
He says he often sees his workshop students take their acquired skills to paying jobs in a variety of industries. In fact, he sometimes hires his graduates to help him during busy periods.
“Effects artists tend to be asked to do all sorts of things,” Dupre says. “For instance, I’ve been working with a mortuary service to do hand casts of deceased loved ones. Effects people get hired to do the most unusual things because we think outside the box.”
Dupre would like to forge a partnership with Pensacola State’s cosmetology program, to teach the students some tricks of the effects trade that might help them in their careers.
“The more they learn, the more they do, it helps their careers,” he says.
Dupre says his special effects makeup courses grow more popular with each passing year but warns that class size is limited to 10-12 students per workshop.
“I want to give the students the opportunities to do things the way they would be done on the job, in the studio,” he says. “It’s an all-day event, and we have so much fun.”
WANT TO SIGN UP?
“Working with Latex” (16-hour course), 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Jan. 18 and Jan. 19. Learn how to make a Bald Cap, Latex Prosthetics, Color Latex, Sculpt with Latex and much more.
“Mold Making” (16-hour course), 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Feb. 29 and March 1. Learn how to make a two-piece mold for props and learn how to read under cuts and the importance of Keys and pry points and more.
“Basic FX” (16-hour course), 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. March 28 and March 29. Learn how to make all the Basic FX tricks, how to sculpt wounds, make bruises, Pros Aide Transfer prosthetics, gelatin prosthetics, blood and much more.
“Beyond the Basic Level 2” (96-hour course), 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. beginning April 4. This is a seven-weekend course. Make your own (Lifecast) face and ear cast. This lifecast will allow you to sculpt, mold and create your own prosthetics. Learn how to paint (Airbrush) and apply your prosthetics and transform into the creature you design. All materials are included.
For specific course descriptions and lesson plans, visit www.ed2go.com/pensacola. To register, visit www.pensacolastate.edu/CCPDT or call 850-484-1374. For more information, call Ruth McKinon at 850-484-1363.