This past week, Atlanta Film and TV had the chance to interview Greg Solomon of FXetc (Effects Training Center) in Carrollton. FXetc is a “make-up school that he and his wife Sandra opened which specializes in the design, creation, and applications of make-up effects for the film and television industry. A variety of classes are offered for beginners to advanced students.”
Atlanta Film and TV Could you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Greg Solomon: I was born & raised in Southern California & have been involved in Makeup for most of my life, but before I actually made a living with it, I worked in construction - was even a licensed contractor for a while. I was also a licensed Cosmetologist for a few years until I made the jump to the entertainment industry. We now reside in Carrollton, GA and love it here!
Atlanta Film and TV: How long have you been doing makeup?
Greg Solomon: I began learning makeup in my early 20’s, 1972ish, working on local community theater productions and short films. But my professional career began in 1987 on the film, Alien Nation. That was just shop work, not on-set, but it still counts! So, I guess it’s been almost 32 years making monsters!
Atlanta Film and TV: Share with us, what interested you in makeup?
Greg Solomon: Makeup FX has always fascinated me because it can completely change the look of a person, from head to toe. Sometimes it’s just a small change, like a Bald Cap or Wound, but it can also involve a full Monster Suit, complete with horns and hair and whatever else you want to design into it.
Atlanta Film and TV: How did you get into Special Effects make-up?
Greg Solomon: The first real movie that I was hired for was “Alien Nation” at Stan Winston Studios in 1987. I just started knocking on doors till someone actually hired me. That first job only lasted 4 days, but I was ecstatic! It wasn’t long before I found work with other major effects shops owned by such prominent artists as Rick Baker, Tony Gardener, Rob Bottin, Steve Johnson, Todd Masters, Greg Cannom, Barney Burman, and Corey Castellano. All the while I was taking On-Set Makeup positions wherever I could, chasing that elusive butterfly called Union Membership. I finally got in the union in 2010 and discovered a whole new world as doors which were previously closed to me, were now wide open!
Atlanta Film and TV: What was it like working on high-profile films like The Avengers?
Greg Solomon: I totally enjoyed working on The Avengers: Infinity War, even though I was just a humble worker bee. I didn’t work on any of the main characters, but it was pretty cool just the same. I was in charge of the Foam Latex Department on several shows: Army of Darkness; Gremlins 2; Coneheads; & Fight Club – all great movies in their own way. I was the shop supervisor for the remake of The Wolfman (2010) at Rick Baker’s shop, which was a thrill for me to be back at Rick’s.
But smaller, lower budget shows are just as exciting to me. I just love what I do and enjoy myself wherever I am!
Atlanta Film and TV: What is an average time daily or how long does it take for you to do special effects make-up?
Naturally, it depends on how extensive the makeup is going to be. It can be as short as 15 minutes, or several hours. The longest makeup application time which I have worked on was for the character “Sloth” for the movie “Seven”. It took 4 of us a total of 10 hours! Our call time was 10pm to have him ready by 8am.
Atlanta Film and TV: Could you share with us about FXetc Makeup school? How can someone enroll?
Greg Solomon: Thought you’d never ask! We are oriented to offer instruction for the novice makeup artist wanting to gain the knowledge and skills needed to find employment in this ever growing entertainment industry here in Georgia. But also to cater to the veteran artists out there interested in honing their skills and/or learning new techniques with new materials.
We employ only experienced, working makeup artists from the film & TV world.
It’s easy to enroll – just go to our website, www.effectsmakeup.com and go to the CURRICULUM page to see what classes are offered, and then to the BOOK IT page to sign up on the date that fits your schedule.
For more information, be sure to check out the FXetc website!