For this week’s Deep Dive Series, we’re interviewing, @SfxRobert, a true jack of all trades!
Robert Cox (@SfxRobert on Clapper) is an SFX make up artist, a scare actor, a content creator, a father, and (according to his profile tags) a Pisces! He’s a Clapper OG and a true icon in the Clapper community. In this interview, we talked to @SfxRobert about his work in SFX makeup, his plans for Halloween this year, his advice for new creators, and more!
Keep reading this Deep Dive to follow this creator’s inspiring story. Make sure to tune in every Thursday at 5pm CT on our @ClapperCreator account to listen to the bonus questions that will only be available on our live Radio show: Clapper Talks.
Like we mentioned earlier in the radio, we know you specialize in special effects makeup. Can you elaborate on how you feel into this industry? Is this something you’ve always been interested in or did a situation occur?
I was raised in The Projects, we were poor, and I felt bad asking my parents to go buy me a costume. So I got a hold of this weird derby hat and I grabbed one of my dad’s old suit jackets, and I took them outside, beat them up, and put dirt all over my face. Then I got a handkerchief and tied it to a pole, and I was a hobo! Ever since then, I just did my own costumes. Then we moved to Florida and my grandmother took me to a Halloween store for the first time. I was introduced to other makeups and by trial and error, I figured out how to use some of the stuff. I wish there was YouTube back then because I wouldn’t have put latex on my hairy arms!
So I kept doing that and then I got involved with the haunt industry. When I moved up to Tennessee I thought I wasn’t going to find another haunt. But my wife got in touch with a director who was looking for someone to do makeup for a bunch of zombies. Twelve years later I’ve been with this guy the whole time; I’ve branched off and done twelve movies, two shorts, one music video. But if it wasn’t for that guy, I wouldn’t have gotten into the SFX field at the level I’m at. Working with directors and on the brink of actually working on a bigger, major thing that I can’t really say yet because everything is hush and contracts. So hopefully that’ll branch off quickly.
We know Halloween is right around the corner! As an SFX artist can you tell us what your ideal routine is for this holiday? (prepping your costume, practicing scaring the kids, etc)
I do several different things. I’m a football coach and I’ve got a few more games left in the season. But I also do haunts for charities, and this year I’m doing a Trunk or Treat. I’m making a pirate ship with cannons and everything! There’s also a couple of haunts around there that ask me to do pieces for them. I don’t do the SFX but I do props, set settings, pyro-techniques, and I’m trying to get more involved with the actual fire side of that.
Can you take us through a day in your life when on set for movies? How long does it take you to do the actors makeup?
On Friday, I load the vehicle, check two or three times to make sure I have the right equipment. In my last project, I made the creatures on shoulderpads, and had all the pieces for them in two totes each. Then I wake up early on Saturday and drive there, set up at 10am, wait for the actors and get them ready. Sometimes the creatures can take two or three hours to put together, and I’m always on hand just in case something happens. I have everything I need to fix things on the fly: duct tape, glue, staples, ribbons, I have a sewing machine I bring with me. You never know if it’ll be flawless or if we’ll go twenty takes on someone screaming. That’s stuff that people don’t get to see a lot of. But recording bleeds into Sunday, too, which is usually a half day. So we have time to eat and drive home.
What has been your favorite SFX makeup look you’ve worked on and why?
I think the first one I ever did will always stick out. It was me being new to it, and I just couldn’t believe I was doing it. I got to work with Ricky Lynn Greg, Terry Kaiser from Weekend and Bernie’s, Eileen Gates from the Exorcist, and working with people that were stars but were still humble. Working with those people and taking in the knowledge that you can get to a level, stay humble, and stay kind. That stands out, more than the pieces I work with.
So, when did you join Clapper and how did your journey as a content creator begin?
I made my first account in early November, but I didn’t start posting until March. I came over from TikTok because I had a nice size account and overnight they took my whole account down with no notice. But I came over here and I haven’t looked back. I’ve got a huge family over here that I love and I’m honored to be their friend. That right there alone, without the Blue Check, would have been worth it. I love the friendships I’ve made more than anything else, and I like engaging with the people I’ve met here more than anything.
What’s the scariest thing you’ve seen on Clapper?
I mean @AussieKazz is scary altogether. No, I love her! She does the spooky thing with me; we’ve been doing the spooky stories for about the same amount of years. I’m glad to see there’s an event this year with it – that’s awesome! You guys should be doing your stories out there, I want to see them!
You were apart of spooky stories last year. What angle or avenue will you being taking this year?
Right now, I’m trying to do one every day of October. Some of those are two or three parts long and I’m trying to put things out that isn’t too overdone. So a lot of these stories are done right on the fly. I’m not looking it up, trying to get inspiration. Sometimes I’m just like “what can it be about?” I record about ten, fifteen minutes, put it all together, and push it out. Because you guys are asking to do half the story, then do the other half live, that’s a challenge. But I will do it! I may just have to do it about you guys and use y’all’s names.
What are some of your favorite things about Clapper, and in what ways do you think Clapper needs improvement?
I have to say I love the Multi Live, that is so cool! Seeing all my friends up there – I love it. The only thing I don’t like is when you’re trying to tag somebody in the caption of a video, you have to know their exact username. Instead of it popping up, you have to type their exact name out.
We know that you are a part of many strong communities on Clapper. Can you give some advice to new creators on how to find your niche or how to find their desired community?
The first thing I would say is don’t worry about your niche. I tried to focus on it right away and if you look at my content, 80% of it isn’t SFX. Go in the Live, find some people who have common goals or interests, sit in their Lives, and listen to them. See if you like these people and don’t be afraid to communicate. There’s a lot of great people on here that want to talk to you. There’s so many people that have open arms over here and want to help you. Even with the language barrier, you’ve got people that are willing to help you out.