Deep Dive Series With @SFXRobert

For this week’s Deep Dive Series we are interviewing an interesting and talented creator: @SFXRobert.

Just in time for Halloween, we bring a creator that has shown us some gory and artistic content. Robert is a special effects makeup artist and he has worked in movies, haunted houses, and music videos. In his Clapper videos, he shows us the behind-the-scenes of his craft and we are loving the spooky vibes it brings to us. Keep reading to find out more about his life and craft.

Keep reading to find out more about this creator’s amazing story.Make sure to tune in every Friday at 4pm CT on our @Clappertalks account, to listen to the bonus questions that will only be available on our live radio show: Clapper Interviews.

Tell us a little bit about yourself. What does a day look like in your life? 

Well, in the mornings I get my daughters ready for the day. Make sure they’re ready and moving. Then, I got to the gym and take care of myself for a little bit. I actually developed a tumor a couple years ago and the medicine I am on, kinda knock me out of driving CDL and any heavy equipment stuff. Luckily, I got to stay home for a couple years for my daughter until she went to kindergarten this year. After the gym, I go to find out if an order has been sent for special effects. I have a little log for when things are done. A lot of things need to get done by this weekend because Halloween is right around the corner and is my busiest time of year. I also do a lot of volunteer work for the city.

What made you want to be a special effects makeup artist? Is there a special school for it? Did you need a cosmetology license? Tell us how did your journey start. 

My journey started being poor. I grew up in the projects in Baltimore and my grandmother used to send us her little care packages for the holidays and I felt bad about it, so I started getting creative and trying to make my own costumes. I slowly got better at it and I incorporated makeup. Then, my friends liked it so much, they wanted me to do their costumes and it kept growing from there. When we move to Florida my grandma bought me one of those makeup kits and took me to thrift shops. After that I started working at haunted houses. There was no school involved for me, everything just felt on to place. We moved to Tennessee and I missed working at haunted houses and my wife found a director on craigh list that was looking for special effect makeup artists and offered me a job for a zombie movie.

What films inspire you to get into special effects?

I watched a lot of the living dead movies when I was younger. But even Aliens and the older films like the original Dracula have such a great time stamp. It’s not so much trying to get your stuff like “Wow!” and that’s it. You want people to remember about your work. You want to leave an impression the way those old films did. They even did it with a lot less back then because they did it in Black and White. A lot of my stuff is over the top. I go the extra mile making it look as gory as I can. Also, I go from past experiences and never close up future opportunities to learn from the best.

What are your favorite things to create as a special effects artist? Blood, monster masks, scaring?

I actually like everything about exposing more internal parts of the body. There is one scene in the last movie I did where we had to dig a big whole on the ground, so I made a torso right below the ladies shoulder blades, so it looks like she is laying on the road and her skin has been ripped off all the way down to her pelvis and the only thing left is one femur.

We saw you worked on a set for all of its ends. How was that like? Tell us a little bit about that experience. Where can we watch it after it’s done?

I actually went live behind the scenes for the last couple of months every weekend for the shoots. The best part is seeing the interaction after the cut and seeing everyone just goofing around. When you are watching a movie you are so used to the bad guy just being a bad guy and then after the scene you see a little kid coming up to that big bad guy and he only wants to make him laugh. It’s those interactions behind the scenes that I love the most.

This movie is in post-production right now, but there are two scenes that we still have to shoot. I guess is going to come out by April. So, what we’ll do is that we will put a feeler out and then it would be picked up by Netflix or any big company or it could go to theaters.

What made you want to catalog your experience as a special effect artist on social media? What drove you to make this type of content?

When I first got on social media I was making dad videos with my kids. Then I was looking around in here and noticed there was a lack of special effects. I’ve seen cosplay and that’s what kind of gave me the idea. That’s what I need to do. There are so many parents that would love to know this. It just so happen that at the same time I was already involved in this movie and I could probably get a lot of content from the behind the scenes too and have social media be a good back bone to push it forward.

So, when did you transition to Clapper? What was your first thought about the app when you first started using it?

I actually joined with a couple friends and we all came together like a small little group. At the same time I had the idea to get my special effects going. We are also supportive of each other. I am glad we still have each other right now. From there we met new people and invited them to be part of the family. I couldn’t ask for better people in the beginning to give me that push. They helped me a lot.

What advice would you give new users that want to be successful on Clapper?

Don’t worry about being successful. Worry about having fun first and success will come with how much fun you have. If you focus only on the success you are going to be miserable. Just have fun with it. I am a dad, this is my escape. I came here not to have a lot of drama, but to meet as many people as I can. Have fun with it.

This is a sneak peek into one of the bonus questions. A piece of advice for future SFX creators…

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