This past winter into spring of 2017 I knew I had an uphill battle ahead of me with my makeup team for The Devil’s Attic http://thedevilsattic.com , “Team Demon Fabulous”. Our 2016 team was great but of a four person team only two of us were returning. We lost Lauren Bradley to a full time position at MAC and Kelsey Eisenhut moved away to Indianapolis. This meant only Mary Proctor and I would be returning. Being as picky as I am I knew finding one artist would be difficult let alone two.
Starting early in late winter I thought would give me time to find someone. I tend to like to hire artists that can do beauty makeup as well because I feel like it gives them the fundamentals of a clean makeup application. However finding a beauty makeup artist willing to come into a haunt environment is not the easiest task. A haunted house is a fun place to work but it is far from pretty and or comfortable. Given that time of year with the temperature change the climate is constantly changing. You are basically doing makeup in the trenches.
I talked to several of my makeup artist friends asking for recommendations and what not. One of these friends was Rebecca Rhodes. She had gone away to school in DC the previous season. I mention her because we had talked about how cool it would have been if she could have been on the 2016 team before I had found Lauren Bradley. With her makeup and theater background she would have been a perfect fit. With her away at school and most of the other artists not interested I had to keep looking. Edging towards late spring having not found anyone I started to get worried.
It was looking like Mary Proctor and I would be doubling up on makeup. We joked about having to do that but as the time ticked by it was looking like more of a possibility. We were preparing ourselves but knew that makeups would suffer. Our previous season was so strong in the makeup room I did not want to take any steps back so I kept looking. Our goal every season is to hopefully improve on the last. Of course I always want to put out work I can be proud of. With only two artists our looks would severely suffer.
I think I interviewed at least 10 artists. There were a lot of factors that had to fit though. First and foremost the time and scheduling commitment alone are enough to turn people away. Working in a haunt you pretty much give up all of your weekends in September and October. Not to mention the makeup team are the first people in and the last to leave. Then I had the team to think about. Would they fit the dynamic I had been building for the previous two years? Then clean application was a must. It didn’t really matter to me if they had haunt or special effects experience because I could train that. Lastly speed was a necessity. With limited time we get on average 15-20 minutes to complete a makeup and that is if all the trains run on time.
Out of pretty much nowhere Rebecca had moved back to town and was going to school locally. We had only talked about her working at the haunt but never took it seriously because we knew she was away at school. Rebecca and I talked a bit about her coming on board. I knew she was a great beauty artist. I also knew with her determination she would be easy to train. She came in to audition and landed the spot immediately. With Rebecca on the team I had to fill one more spot.
It was coming down to the wire with only a couple of weeks before opening night and I still had not filled my fourth chair. How I missed it up to that point I don’t know but I had an apprentice over the summer by the name of Phoebe Conrad. Phoebe showed a lot of promise and had a real passion for special effects makeup. She had also helped out a lot at the haunt on a volunteer basis. I knew she would be able to fill the final spot and I was happy that she accepted. With that I had a full team.
I am very proud of our team and the work that we were able to accomplish over the season. I loved watching the new team members build confidence and their makeups improve. It was awesome to see Mary take more of a leadership role as well. With having to switch out actors throughout the season and makeups not always showing up on time I was impressed with how the team was able to adapt and pick up each other’s slack. I’ve always said if, with the time constraints we are under that if you can do haunt makeup and do it well you can go into any makeup environment and succeed. I am excited to see what these artists do over the off season and would love to have any and all of them back for the 2018 season.
Also, thank you to Tyler Green for providing our team with his Wonderband Systems www.wonderbandsystems.com (that you can see us all wearing in the photo). They helped out tremendously with efficiency.