Quint's going to LA to worship the legendary make-up man Dick Smith! Plus guess what giant geek movie he's consulting on!
Published at: June 16, 2009, 3:17 a.m. CST by quint
Ahoy, squirts! Quint here. I’ve made no secret of my great love for practical effects, be they animatronics, miniatures, puppets or make-up effects. I think CGI is a brilliant tool, but one that is way over-used, often times out of sheer lazy filmmaking, especially in horror.
For effects nerds like me, Dick Smith is unparalleled. He’s actually one of the few special effects men not predominantly known for his horror work. Sure, his iconic work on Linda Blair in THE EXORCIST is world famous, but it was his ability to age an actor that became his trademark. Marlon Brando in THE GODFATHER, David Bowie in THE HUNGER, Walter Matthau in THE SUNSHINE BOYS, Dustin Hoffman in LITTLE BIG MAN and the one that won him an Oscar, F. Murray Abraham in AMADEUS.
So, he’s got the geeks with THE EXORCIST, SCANNERS, THE SENTINEL, HOUSE OF DARK SHADOWS and ALTERED STATES, but he’s got the legitimacy with his amazing dramatic work.
The dude has inspired (and trained) generation upon generation of make-up artists, including Weta’s Richard Taylor, Rick Baker, Spectral Motion’s Mike Elizalde, gentle giant Gino Acevedo and even Guillermo del Toro, who graduated from his Advanced Professional Make-Up Course.
I’m leaving for LA in a few hours in order to worship at Mr. Smith’s feet. Rick Baker is hosting a Tribute To Dick Smith put on by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and I couldn’t resist. Especially after talking to some old friends (and hopefully some new friends) in the effects world, I figured I’d spend my 2 nights in LA wisely.
Right now I’m hooked in to tour at least 2 Special Effects houses and talk with many of the people involved in the tribute, so I’m hoping to run a series of articles on special effects make-up and practical effects featuring interviews, photos, etc… on top of coverage of the actual sold out tribute.
I’ve been in touch with David Smith, Dick’s very gracious son, and I hope to getting a few moments with Mr. Smith himself if he’s not too in-demand.
So, now you know what I’m up to and I also have a nice little nugget of news for you as well.
Not only did Smith train many of the Weta people and Guillermo himself, I’m told by David that his dad has officially been invited, at age 86, to be a make-up consultant on THE HOBBIT.
I know from many of my friends at Weta that he’s been down there before as a guest and he garnered respect and love from every single person he interacted with down there. Sounds like a match made in heaven.
I hope you guys will join me on my trip through the who’s who of a shockingly and terrifyingly shrinking industry of special effects make-up and practical effects over the next couple of weeks.
If you want to know more about Dick Smith’s classes, visit this website. I can’t urge you enough to seek it out if you feel the calling. This artform needs to be continued and what better way than to learn from one of the living masters?