While Covid-19 has certainly made Halloween 2020 much quieter than normal. I was very happy to have the chance to get out and create once again. I was asked by the kind folks at Trimper's Rides in Ocean City MD to change their staff into zombies for the final weekend of October 2020. It was a task I am used to doing but have honestly never been the sole artist when creating zombie hordes for events. Since they are normally larger groups I have always worked as part of a team for most of my prior events as well as when I worked in OC Screams years ago. Time management and preparation become key when faced with having to do several people in a short amount of time. Also simplicity. My designs are normally very detailed and this time I learned to work fast and go for basic makeup tricks that pack punch and fool the eye. In the end I was exhausted but I think the staff and management were both happy with my services and I gained more experience. Oddly these events led to me deciding last minute to not go out myself on Halloween. I did have the time to create several new character looks that I was quite happy with and I have made several new connections with people through all this down time Covid has created. While I am anxious to get back to work and have a potentially very busy 2021, I know that we are all holding our breath to see if things will go backwards before they get better. Keep Creating and People will notice.
With Conventions and large gatherings cancelling or postponing essentially until 2021 artists like myself find that they become stale or like me you use yourself ,and family if they permit it, as models. I have been watching virtual Seminars, Q& A's and demonstrations when I can. I also have been doing the weekly challenges posted on instagram and hosted by McKenzie Westmore Tatopoulos of Westmore Beauty & SyFy Face Off Host. I was fortunate to have my Dark Fey look chosen by Patrick Tatopoulos as the Overall Winner. Ve Neil gave my Mortimer the Mortician entry for the Tim Burton challenge an Honorable Mention and then I got a second Honorable mention so far from Howard Berger during the recent Chronicles of Narnia challenge when I created my own version of me as Aslan the Golden Lion. It has felt great knowing that my work holds up even under scrutiny of such big Hollywood names all while we are stuck at home during the now 6 month stretch of Stay At Home Stay Strong Stay Seperate Together. More creations coming soon as I do have a few small gigs in the works as well as a few events this fall that have not canceled yet.
With the introduction of COVID-19 the entire world came to a screeching halt and so did many events large and small starting with early March to the present time. That being said I think it is a given that my schedule has cleared with event after event either being canceled or postponed. Currently any planned event with more than 10 people outside of work and church is at the very least discouraged. Now I am lucky enough to have a day time job as an 'essential worker" meaning as such my normal routine is still going strong. The volunteering and events I would have happily gone to in days gone by have scattered to the winds. I am trying to work on a few personal projects but honestly like so many others I am cleaning, reorganizing, rearranging and reassessing. At the moment I am okay with not having anything on my calendar until August but on the other hand makeup is a very up close and personal profession which currently is one of the last to be cleared. I also am wondering if any of the summer activities I would normally do face painting for will happen. Currently it is hard to even arrange for a private photo shoot due to travel restrictions so I am teaching myself how to be the makeup artist as well as photographer. Photo editing is next up all while I am still working on my Air Brush classes and Makeup Mastery Class. New photos soon.
I volunteer alot in the community through out the year when not working on my own personal projects. I find that I am getting busier with each passing year even though last year was going to be slammed and several projects got delayed or fell through completely. I in fact got called upon to help out with Matilda for the Community Players of Salisbury and then got called upon to do Makeups for Legally Blonde Jr with the Ocean Pines Children's Theater. Then I had a small window where I got to clean up after the Ocean City ComicCon and I got to do some makeups for a whirlwind private session. I actually had 3 models to do makeups on and then was tasked with doing the photos when my normal photographer was unable to be there but loaned me the equipment. I learned alot and now have 3 more models who loved the experience. It was fun but a bit frazzling and now I know how to better manage my time and supplies for next go round. I also learned that I need lessons on how to get the best images from a DSLR camera. I am now helping another budding makeup artist learn some simple tricks and tips for her school Fantasy Makeup Challenges which she is probably going a bit more Gore than her school is used to. Realizing that these girls are more versed in beauty makeup than in Special FX we are walking the fine line between the full Gore I could teach her and the simpler quick tricks that most folks learn for Halloween. Mostly because of budget and the fact she has a 1 hour application window that truly limits what she can achieve. Her teacher and former director we have both worked for has also asked me to be on hand behind the scenes to help with basic bald cap applications for Uncle Fester in an upcoming Addams Family school production where she is in charge of the makeups. He also has in mind inviting me to give basic theatrical makeup lecture to his drams classes sometime. Keep good relations and an open ear to any directors you work with. I find that my willingness to work and listen have helped establish a good rapport with most of the directors I have worked with in the past. This has lead to them calling me back each time they have a chance to put on another production. I am flexible and willing to work with other artisit's when scheduling timelines mean I can not achieve everything that is needed. I do still have actors who will either consult with me before going out or ask specifically for me to do their hair or makeup for shows, but I always try to channel the directors vision when I am involved in helping them bring their show to life. This often means that I am around while the cast are rehearsing lines or running scenes. I sometimes will even consult with or help with the wardrobe if they need it for quick changes as it helps me get a feel for the actors and the roles they are assuming. Overall it helps everyone bring the role to life as a cohesive image. So be willing to work but know your limitations. Be open to both give and accept help. I work with adults and children alike who have been doing drama longer than me so I will often step back if I feel the actor knows what to do and how to do it. The director will give us both pointers if he feels we are off track and then we work as a team to find ways to fine tune a look. In working with large groups and small staff this is key to getting everyone out in time. Moving forward I have made new contacts and tenative talks are in the works for additional projects but more on that as they develop. I have a stint as a leprechaun, a comic convention and then a road trip to New York all before Easter roles around with more theatrical productions and face painting work kicks into high gear. That leaves a short respite before Addams Family & Kiss Me Kate theater calls.
Yes not only do we have a new year ,but a new decade has begun. Who knows what trends and fashions will come out on top this year. Are you ready? Are you at least getting prepared to move boldly ahead? With the new year my schedule goes from quiet to crowded quicker every time. Currently I am lined up as Lead Makeup Artist and Hairstylist for 2 theatrical productions. January will find me backstage at the Performing Arts Center of the Roland E Powell Ocean City Maryland Convention Center with the Ocean Pines Childrens' Theater for their production of Legally Blonde Jr. I will also be running things behind the scenes with the Community Players of Salisbury this June as they perform Kiss Me Kate and have graciously asked me once more to be in charge of the hairstyles and makeup for the cast. In between those shows is a big gap which I hope to fill with both completing my courses in Airbrush Makeup and Makeup Mastery with QC Makeup Academy all while also doing several festivals offering Face Painting to the happy crowds of children. While I am still hoping that I will have time to travel and see my old friends and connections all while enjoying helping out charitable events like Scares that Cares Charity Weekend in Williamsburg VA and Salisbury University Student United Way annual Zombie Infested 5K both of which will be this fall. Time will tell what more I can add in between events as I continue to hone my skills. Happy New Year , happy new decade and Happy New You!!