Before I get started I thought I’d pop a little disclaimer in here to say that there are some ‘gory’ images following. Novice special effects make up artist gore so judge as you will!
I can’t remember if I mentioned in my earlier posts but early December last year (The morning I flew out of NZ I think) I got accepted into National Youth Drama School or NYDSNZ. The course I got accepted into was the ‘Zombified, Special Effects Make Up Course and Costume Design’. I was extremely excited to be accepted and thrilled to be apart of the first class to take the course as NYDS had never offered it before.
So I arrived at Havelock North High School (Where the course was held) on the 16th of April ready for introduction evening prepared for classes to start the next day and let me tell you it was overwhelming. To be somewhere surrounded by people so passionate about the arts was amazing! After the introduction assembly students were sent home to get ready for the start of classes the next day. I was staying at the dorm with about 60 other students and was a little surprised by how ‘open plan’ the dorms were.. Lets just say I’m now the champion of the sleeping bag shuffle AKA me speedily getting changed in my sleeping bag hoping no boys walked in. The girls in my room were nice enough some a little dodgy with their talks after lights went out which often left me raising my eyebrows from the safety of my sleeping bag.
I’m going to be totally honest and say day one wasn’t the best start. We were given on outline of what we would learn during the week and I almost cried. The extent of what we would be ‘taught’ as apart of the costume side of things would be all about ‘distressing’ costumes.
I paid close to $500 to learn to rip up a T-shirt..
It made me so mad. Knowing then and there I wouldn’t gain a damn thing from the costume side of the course. What also made me angry was the lack of artistic liberty we were allowed to take with the special effects make up. Yes the course is course is called Zombified but only learning about making cuts for 7 days got tedious and I would have loved to branch out and do something different like making the face look more animal-like or changing the face shape, anything but f*****g Zombies. Here’s what day one’s efforts looked like.
Picture one is the most basic of cuts (Wax), two is suppose to be a burn of some sort..I wasn’t listening for that tutorial! (Liquid Latex with Gelatin over top to give it the wet look) and three is something along the lines of an animal mauling me (Effects Paste)
Five O’clock was home time, I found if I got back to the hostel quickly i could shower for as long as I liked with out anyone giving a damn as long as I was out by six to make it to dinner. All nights (Excluding Tuesday) had evening entertainment where all students would return to school to witness whatever it was! So on Sunday Night I attended my first ever Poetry Slam! And it was awesome! It truly exceed my expectations and I really did enjoy myself. They are something that I will look for when I’m studying in London because they are such a joy to attend!
Day 2 we sort of brain stormed what sort of a character/zombie we would be. The idea I stuck with was ‘Miss Underworld’ an obvious rip off the Miss Universe Beauty Pageant. We then told the costume teacher the idea we had and she went op shopping for the clothes we would eventually rip apart. Later in the day we did real zombie make up on our faces leaning how to make them look aged, dead and generally ugly.
My own mother didn’t recognize me in that photo. And our friends that we were staying with! I look hot. And that’s the dress I destroyed over the next few days. It was probably some girl’s formal dress at one stage and I felt a little bad tearing it to pieces!
The evening entertainment was a one man comedy show about an extremely lonely man who bought a sex doll to talk to and the skit was about him explaining his awful love life to it/her. It wasn’t made sexual at all and was extremely funny to watch.
Day 3 was more make up orientated so there was a lot of that going on and not much of anything else. I think that was the day I felt comfortable in the class surrounded by everyone and got my confidence back so that was a nice feeling. Special Effects paste was my favorite material to use as it didn’t hurt as bad as Liquid Latex to take off and wasn’t as messy to take off as the wax.
I don’t post enough selfies to WordPress do I?
In between the make up I was shredding the dress and that’s all that happened on day 3.
Tuesday being the night off I went and had dinner with my mother and the friends she was staying with (They lived 40 minutes away).
Very much the same as day 3, unfortunately I don’t have the shredding process of the dress so all I can really do is post pictures of the makeup!
Both wounds are made from effects paste. The top of my had was more so me just playing around with effects and colours than me trying to replicate anything. *More dress ripping without pictures*
The evening entertainment was ‘Tutor Night’ where some of the tutors preformed for the students with all sorts of acts. A Shakespeare scene, interpretive dance, singing, poetry performance and a comedy act. It was great to watch and I really enjoyed it.
Day five was again more stupid special effects make up which I was sick of the day before and just worked on my costume for the most of the day. I sprayed the dress with red paint in the shredded areas to give a bloody and messy look. I also stained a pair of white gloves red and a tiara.
Another selfie look at that!
That night was Student night where the students got to show off their talents. There were so many fantastic acts and performances.
Friday was the night my class would be sharing their work at the first of the two sharing of work nights. We had a little skit planed where we all came out one by one like a cat walk and then when finished all at once we would run from the stage into the audience. Cheesy I know.
So that day I continued fixing up the paint on the dress and making a sash that read Miss UnderWorld on it. and when that was done I started on my make up for the night.
And before you say it, I know I look gorgeous.
I had a great time scaring people and had fun putting together the costume.
I would also like to mention that the special effects teacher Nicole told myself and another student that our work wasn’t ‘Up to her standard’ and that was should take it off because it ‘wasn’t good for her reputation’.
The last official class day, which no one really took seriously as we had the stage combat kids in our class too and we just mucked about with them. It got really emotion for some the students who were attending their last year of NYDS and it really took me back and I realized how much of a family the school was.
The only make up work I did was a ‘hole’ in my hand.
The idea was that the rest of the image from the scrap of paper would be underneath my hand aligned with the ‘hole’ but some idiot ripped up that bit of paper. It still looks pretty good though!
That night was the last night of the sharing of work where the rest of the classes preformed. It was great to see what everyone was working towards over the week and the amount of talent in the school.
After the sharing of work there was a dance held in the gym. It was a lot of fun and was even more fun to see the drunk tutors dancing away.
Day 8 The Last Day
The most emotional day of them all. We had an assembly and watched videos from each of the classes and then summary videos from the two screen acting classes and screen writing class. Then the tutors surprised us with a music video they made without any of us knowing! It’s Time by N*YDSYNC 2016 It brought so many of us to tears with laughter in the auditorium and the crying continued when the NYDS class of 2016 was dismissed.
The Zombified Class of 2016
National Youth Drama School was an amazing experience, being surrounded by people so passionate about the arts was exhilarating.
The work provided was not substantial enough for someone attending the school with a lot of pre-acquired skill. There was no effort to challenge these student and I was in all honestly bored to tears by day three. Nicole the special effects teacher is not a good teacher and was a poor choice, she speaks broken English and is hard to understand at the best of times and insulted students on their work. She also sold one time use contact lenses for $35 which is ridiculously pricey not to mention that she didn’t ask if any of the students required prescription lenses or had worn lenses before. Zero thought of student safety right there. Angela the costume teacher seamed to be nice and agreed to help me with my scholarship submission ect after the course has ended but after two attempts of trying to contact her I haven given up.
To sum NYDS up:
I paid close to $1000 NZD to rip up a T-shirt and learn basic special effect make up skills. If I had been given a proper course outline before starting I would have asked for a refund and gone on Pinterest for 30 minutes instead.
I actually made a Pinterest Board summing up the week doing just that.
Weekly posts will continue from now on.
Thank you for reading