Battles With Bits of Rubber

Battles With Bits of Rubber

This podcast is a joint venture with Stuart Bray and Todd Debreceni. It's all about the making of stuff for makeup effects and prosthetics. Todd is author of 'Special Makeup Effects For Stage And Screen', what many consider to be the modern makeup FX bible. Stuart Bray is a working makeup FX artist with many years experienc. Credits include 'Saving Private Ryan', 'Shaun of the Dead', 'Dr Who' and more recently 'Game of Thrones'. If you have any FX questions you would like to see made into a featured blog post, then get in touch: stuartandtodd@gmail.com

Episodes

August 16, 2022 79 min

Adam Dougherty and his company https://www.kreaturekid.com/ are based in Colorado. An incredibly talented artist, he is an inspiring soul who makes things happen with determination and persistent hard work.

Although he considers himself lazy, his output shows anything but. In particular, his style celebrates the warmth and unique character that Jim Henson created with puppets, and has himself produced some jaw-droppingly effective...

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Frank Ippolito is something of a practical effects polymath. From starting out with makeup effects and putting in solid work in the lab, he has gradually expanded to running a company and crew with impressive credits and a high standard of work.

Checking out Frank's IMDb, you’ll see a switch around 2016 as he started working on speciality costumes. This is a big overlap in the practical effects industry as creature and ‘hero’ ...

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July 30, 2022 61 min

In this episode, we look at a makeup I did nearly 30 years ago at college. Adrian Rigby sent me a remaining original piece from the mould, along with some photos (prints, no less, which I scanned).

We talk about remembering what you knew then (the past) and how you thought it should be done. You can also advise your old self on how it could be done better using the knowledge you know now (the present) and things you would attain i...

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July 3, 2022 112 min

"Bill, there's a scene where The Blob attacks a woman who's in a 'phone booth and it covers the 'phone booth, it crushes the 'phone booth and here and then it goes on the sidewalk and goes into a gutter and disappears into this sewer."

I'm just looking at him and I go…"Okay."

And he says "Figure out how to do that scene!"

I was, like "Well, what IS The Blob?"

He g...

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February 3, 2022 132 min

In this episode, we talk with materials maestro Pete Tindall about all things making related, along with a dose of rantage.

I moan a bit about ZBrush (although I love it) and the fact that despite the terrifying interface and the huge number of tools available in ZBrush, freedom comes from accepting that you likely need only a handful of them.

Early on in ZBrush, you are can indeed happily ignore most of it with confidence.

Pete i...

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January 27, 2022 80 min

Check the shownotes on the blog: https://battleswithbitsofrubber.com/

This second part of our chat with Ian and Cliff takes a look back at the company they had together, Creature Concepts - or as Ian puts it ‘How not to run a business'.

Ian and Cliff mentioned Blood On The Satan’s Claw (1971) and I watched it on their recommendation.  It whetted my appetite, and I had to rewatch some of my favourites, The Creeping Flesh,...

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January 21, 2022 90 min

This episode was recorded at Cliff's studio, with all four of us present and correct.

Ian and Cliff have worked together and separately in the industry for a long time - Ian's credits include Little Shop Of Horrors, Alien 3, Saving Private Ryan, War Horse, Fury and Dr Who. Cliff racks up an impressive listing on IMDb with Hellraiser (1987), Lair of the White Worm, Black Hawk Down, World War Z and 28 Days Later.

It was a h...

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January 1, 2022 105 min
Competence and comfort are the results of the repetition of activity over a significant period of time.   In an age of endless self-promotion, this podcast has always championed the work involved in quiet competence. Being competent at something is what people will pay money for, so it is worth considering as an ambition.    But how do we keep ourselves on the right track?   A great many working professionals have a very meagre...
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December 26, 2021 65 min
  What does digital sculpting have to do with battling with bits of rubber?   Speaking in one of the VFX classrooms, a huge space with rows of monitors and Wacom Cintiqs, we gathered as a group to discuss training to work in film and TV.   We looked particularly at the pipeline and workflow of VFX and how that has changed over the years with regards to practical work and why confidence matters and how it can be generated.   One...
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December 18, 2021 69 min

Our conversation recently with Jake Garber at The Prosthetics Event in Coventry was, we think, a very important chat worth listening to for anyone who is trying, or thinking about trying to get a foot in the door into the (oftentimes) wonderful and exciting world of movie and television makeup.

Even for peeps already working in the industry, Jake’s extensive level of expertise and experience in a special and makeup effects career ...

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November 24, 2021 65 min

Figurative sculptor Amelia Rowcroft lives in the lovely Sussex town of Lewes on the South East Coast of England, which dates back to 961AD.

She was kind enough to invite us into her studio in a building that once housed a brewery in the 1600s, and that’s where we recorded this episode of BWBoR.

Amelia has been sculpting practically, working in clay for over 20 years, creating primarily fine art portraits and figurative sculptures, ...

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November 20, 2021 39 min

Click Here For Blog Post Of This Episode

Paul Savage is a returning guest on the show. We caught up with him at the Prosthetics Event in Coventry. Merging medical knowledge with movie makeup, he aims to bring more realism to training scenarios.  Raising the bar in simulation can help to save actual lives.

It is quite often that makeup students will work with a local emergency service and offer up their skills to make up casualtie...

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October 18, 2021 75 min

This episode is in two parts. The first part is the generally good news of the increase in film industry activity which sees many people run off their feet with work. After a year of lockdowns and closed up shops, this is good news indeed.

Film and TV productions are picking up because of the build-up of work owing to shelved ideas, and owing to the massive amount of free time folks have had to consume box sets and start to want t...

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July 20, 2021 52 min

We covered cutting edges in episode #61 but this one is specifically about cutting edges on flat moulds.

Cutting edges on appliance moulds do the work of separating the fine appliance edge from the flashing and excess, allowing the mould to close properly and achieve the feather thin edge you have sculpted.

The exact width of the distance between the cutting edge and the sculpted edge varies between artists and techniques, preferen...

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June 21, 2021 70 min

In episode #74 we talk about running lots of foam latex and overcoming the things that can go wrong with foam latex. Despite silicone being the material most go to first, it is a very real material that needs to be kept in mind for certain projects.

We also chat about how 3D scanning and printing has had a tangible benefit on some jobs we had this year, and how using this technology has enabled things that would not have otherwise...

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February 20, 2021 149 min

Rod Maxwell is a bit of a Renaissance man, and the more we talked the more you can see how wearing many hats has informed his approach. Of late, Rod has become known for his fusion of digital techniques with practical outcomes.

Looking at his Instagram, you can see trailblazing work with 3D printed moulds, scanning lifecasts and moulds and using that data to create things impossible to do any other way. Overlaying lifecasts done ye...

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February 10, 2021 113 min

Adam has become well known for his miniature and smaller-scale work which has both great expression as well as high levels of detail, and even developed a material which allowed such tight detail for miniatures called Cx5.

The man has done a lot of things and has worked many jobs - let's be clear his feet are on the ground and he knows what hard work is. 

He also has cultivated a very positive and effective mindset which is...

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January 8, 2021 141 min
Daniel was the first professional prosthetic professional to look at my portfolio. That stuff sticks with you.

That was back in 1994, and there was still a lot of Frankenstein stuff kicking about in the workshop from the previous year. I learned a lot being in that workshop, and got to see a makeup test on Ian McKellan for Richard III in my time there.

Daniel has recently been praised for his work as makeup and hair designer ...

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December 28, 2020 84 min

In this second and final part of the chat with Dominic, we look at his art and discuss the drawing and sculptures.

As usual, this podcast episode is a tale of two stories. Todd and I talk about the difficult work involved in lifecasting the deceased, which can be much trickier than dealing with the living.

Then the chat with Dom, looking at his processes for creating artwork, using traditional and digital media and how they can wor...

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December 13, 2020 91 min

In this episode (and the next), we have a chat with artist Dominic Hailstone.  He works extensively with visual effects and has a background in makeup effects and practical effects which inform his approach.

Being an early adopter of visual effects and using computers places him in a unique position of seeing both sides and is well versed in the processes and business in film making. As you will hear, his intimate understanding of...

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