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This Lady Gives Nice Black Eyes

Rondi Scott is a cool lady who's paid to hang around movie sets and make people look dead or close to dead, or sometimes just someone who was sexually irresponsible and now has pretend herpes all over their face.
Ellis Jones
Κείμενο Ellis Jones
18 Νοέμβριος 2009, 11:55am

Rondi Scott is a cool lady who’s paid to hang around movie sets and make people look dead or close to dead, or sometimes just someone who was sexually irresponsible and now has pretend herpes all over their face. She is a special effects makeup artist and if she was your friend, she could make you look like a big old bloody mess any time you liked. Vice: How long have you been a makeup artist? **Rondi Scott: I've been playing with latex and giving black eyes since high school.** Do you just do special effects makeup or do you enjoy just the regular beautifying kind? I enjoy everything from glamour to gore. And how’d you get into this field? Making fake herpes and blood and smearing it down someone’s face doesn’t seem like a typical childhood dream. I beg to differ! Halloween was always my favorite holiday. I'd spend so much time on my costumes and helping all my friends, but I never really thought I could actually get paid to do it for a living. Is the pay decent? It depends. Working on films is nowhere near as lucrative as commercials. But it's nice to do a mix of the two. Did you go to school for this? Classes like Grotesque Body Appendages 101? Out of curiosity I took a class, but I didn't get much out of it. I really honed my skills through mentors and basic trial and error. What type of makeup do you use for the really gross stuff? Are there special brands of more heavy-duty makeup or is it as simple as buying MAC products? Often, products we use are created by make-up artists who knew what they wanted but couldn't find it on the market and decided to make it themselves. There are many different brands for special effects make up, classics like a brand called "Skin Illustrator," an alcohol-based skin paint that lasts all day. What kind of movies do you work on? Are they lower budget indie films or some big name movie productions? My first movie was Charlie Kaufman's Synecdoche, NY, followed by Sex and the City. On those I was just a lowly intern, but I was able to learn set etiquette and other things like dealing with celebs and paparazzi. Most of the jobs I do as a department head are indie films, which I really enjoy because of the creative freedom. Those are two widely different films to work on. How did they compare? They were, understandably, two totally different experiences. Synecdoche, NY was a great first movie for makeup. Phillip Seymour Hoffman ages 50 years throughout the movie. They had an amazing guy, Mike Marino, custom sculpt all of the prosthetic pieces and apply them. From him I learned a majority of the special effects stuff I know now. I also was one of three artists creating a full body tattoo on an actress. We had to do it three different times for different scenes. It took 24 hours over the course of two days to complete the project. It turned out beautiful but is hardly seen in the movie. That happens a lot… You work forever on something and then it only ends up with maybe 30 seconds of screen time! And what about _Sex and the City_**?** That was a whole other animal. Every day there would be hordes of paparazzi outside the trailers and around the set. It was very invasive. The women were all very nice, but I spent most of my time with Sarah Jessica Parker since I was the assistant to her makeup artist. She's an amazing person—smart, funny, and hyper. I was constantly thinking of Girls Just Wanna Have Fun whenever I spent time with her. Really? All the actors weren’t just self-absorbed little babies? Aren't we all self-absorbed little babies? I guess that's a pretty general statement, but I feel like it really depends on you how you treat people. Do you know any crazy movie lingo? Sure, but if someone were to walk onto a set completely unfamiliar with that environment, they would be totally lost. Give me an example. OK. Martini's up, fly in a floppy 'cause first team is walking to set. Seriously? What could that even mean! It’s just a combination of different movie jargon. Broken down, the sentence would read something like, “Last shot of the day. Bring in a black flag to block the light because the primary actors are walking to the set.” That’s absurd. Hey, what about those guys in the end credits who are called “Best Boy” or “Best Boy Grip”? What the fuck do they do? It sounds made up. I know what they do, but mostly they just flirt with the ladies on set. At least they’re busy doing something. So, how cool is your job? Well, I'm writing this interview from Serbia and I'm going to Sarajevo this weekend, so I'd say it's pretty rad. What kind of makeup have you been doing there? I don’t really picture it being a love story with nice red lipstick and like, smoky bedroom eyes… There's definitely no beauty involved in this project. I spend most of my time making people dirty, really dirty. I have one gunshot wound to the eye and a man mutilated by a land mine. NATO has helped out a lot here. Many of the extras already have terrible scars and are missing various body parts from the war, which has made my job actually pretty easy. What other kind of gross wounds and things have you created? Well, I had to rig up a guy so it looked like he was missing his legs. There was blood everywhere. I enjoy doing different wounds. Botched C-sections, slit throats, and stab wounds are some of the more common ones. I also have a gnarly collection of reference photos from websites like to get really inspired. How long does it take you to create these kinds of special effects? It depends. Sometimes you have to spend days creating an application, others you can do it on the spot and only take about 30 minutes to apply. It really depends on the effect. But I can break a nose in about two minutes. Jesus. Do you ever scare yourself when you’re done because the wounds look so lifelike? Absolutely! I have to forewarn people before they look through my portfolio. Let’s be real here. Are regular makeup artists jokers with no real talent or creativity? There are some amazingly talented make up artist in the beauty and fashion world. Many artists get into a rut and work on mindless jobs for the paycheck and lose their creative edge. But I think this happens in many fields. If I ever wanted to take revenge on someone and look like I got stabbed or was almost dead, how hard would it be to recreate that with household materials? Homemade blood is easy to make. You start with corn syrup and food coloring, add a bit of eyelash glue and cotton, and you have a nice gory dose of payback.