PARKERSBURG - How to make quality special effects makeup for Halloween or any other costume event was the subject of a workshop on Saturday in downtown Parkersburg.
Arthur Collins, a Little Hocking native now living in Youngstown, was leading the workshop on making quality costumes on a shoestring budget at the Dils Center on Market Street.
Collins, 37, has been involved in many aspects of film, especially in his favorite genre, horror.
Photo by Jeffrey Saulton
Arwen Chambers, left, of Parkersburg, transforms into a zombie at a special effects workshop Saturday at the Dils Center sponsored by Sacred Way Arts to teach people ways to make Halloween costumes at a minimum price.
"It's a workshop to learn how to do quality special effects makeup you could use in a movie without spending all the money," he said of Saturday's program. "You can use household products. You can make a zombie costume using toilet paper and glue - you can use almost anything."
Other items included oatmeal, corn syrup and some inexpensive makeup found at costume shops in the area.
In some cases Collins said it is possible to make special effects, such as fake blood, that are better than what you can buy. He demonstrated how he made a straitjacket with shirts and belts bought from a thrift store. The construction of the jacket took a weekend.
"It was also the first time I used a sewing machine," he said.
Collins said he got involved in the film business while growing up watching films on the family VCR.
"I was an '80s kid and when the VCR came out my mom would rent 15-20 movies a week and half of them were horror films," he said. "The movies seemed to bring the family together, we'd all laugh and scream. I've always loved cinema as a whole, but horror is my favorite."
Susan Sheppard, of Sacred Way Arts, said the workshop was one of a number of classes put on at the Dils Center and Saturday's workshop was also its Halloween event. She said 32 people signed up to attend the event with Collins.
Collins is a graduate of the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, where he studied special effects, animatronics and puppet design. He has been specializing in horror films since 2005 with Schotten Films of Youngstown.
Collins said on many films he has had to work on very small budgets, in some cases his whole budget was equal to or less than one costume for a large budget blockbuster.
"The biggest budget I've ever had was $7,000," he said. "On some films, one makeup effect might cost $10,000, but you can do a good job for about $3."
However, he said many people forget that the makeup is needed on more than the face.
"Some people put on their face and walk out the door," he said. "If that's all you do, you are just someone with their face painted."
To make an effective costume, Collins said the makeup needs to be applied to all skin the costume may expose and clothes can be aged and weathered in a number of ways such as rubbing them with sandpaper.