Stories on Faces: the art of character make-up

Say Tola / Khmer Times No Comments Share:
The groups were made to do makeup of various characters. Supplied

Ever wondered how characters on television series and films get their blood-stained faces or monster looks? Of course we know they aren’t real, but their looks just seem so true and natural we can’t help but get goose bumps.

Well, we have to thank the talented make-up artists behind the epic characters on our favorite shows. The make-up artists bear the responsibility to make the actors’ look as real and natural as possible for viewer satisfaction.

This kind of make-up effect is starting to gain attention in Cambodia in the past years. With movies with ghost and fictional themes, the curiosity on how these look transformations are done just grows over time.

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Because of this, the Cambodia Film Commission recently hosted a make-up competition for rising make-up artists in the country who are interested in doing character make-up or theatrical make-up and special effects.

Professional make-up artist and instructor Jeff Cabral trained a total of 13 Cambodian make-up artists for two weeks. The participants were given more than the basics of applying make-up according to the character of the actor is portraying. They were also given tips on how to make the looks stunningly natural on screen.

After the training, the participants were sent out to compete in groups. Each of the four groups was given a specific film scene and was tasked to do the make-up of the characters assigned to them.

The groups were made to do character looks – wounded, granny, ghost, bald – and were judged on how genuine and imaginative the actors appear.

According to Cheap Sovichea, director of Cambodia Film Commission, the event was witnessed by local film directors and producers. The make-up training and competition is beneficial to both the trainees and the film and television outfits in the country in terms of acquiring talents to do cosmetic transformations for movie and television projects.

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“For all the trainees, this really means a lot to them because it is acknowledged by the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts. More than that, this will serve as a license for them to work in the film industry in the future,” Mr Sovichea said.

He hopes that all trainees will use the knowledge and skills they acquired from the training to further develop the art of character make-up in Cambodia, and to also help younger make-up artists learn about it.

One of those who joined the training is Thorn Thanet. According to her, the idea of character make-up was a stranger to her since she is more into beauty make-up.

“This kind of training is very rare in Cambodia. My make-up skills is for the basic kind of beauty make-up. During the training, I discovered the easy and hard points of doing special make-up transformations. It’s cool though,” Ms Thanet said.

“It’s really easy to formulate the looks of the characters in your head. The zombie, wounded and bloody kinds of looks seem so easy to picture out. But when I started to actually do it, it was tough. I have to make it look real for the film,” she continued.

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After the training and competition, Ms Thanet now believes she is ready to use the skills and learning she obtained.

“The training is really beneficial to me as an artist working in the film industry. It is very helpful and I feel happy to have been part of this rare opportunity,” she said.

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