|Make-up artists create Ghouls at Six Flags Marine World
By Andrea Garcia
Zachary Sweet is one of
five cosmetic creators working inside an overcrowded shack overlooking Chabot Lake. From 4 to 10 p.m., he caters to many undiluted
faces waiting to be painted. His goal is to get the actors in costume and out the door."I spend more time with the street zombies
because they're out in the park walking around," Fairfield resident Sweet said. "But the main thing is to get people out,
like those that don't need detailed make-up."
Sweet started his artistic endeavors with fiendish make-up five years ago at Marine World. He recalls auditioning for a part in the fest,
but decided his interest lay with creative make-up."I went in to be a talent (character), but the guy running the show wanted cool,
fresh minds in make-up," Sweet said of Chris Heit, then supervisor of special effects artists. "I told him I was interested
and showed him what I can do."Apart from Sweet's October gig at the fest, the 20-year-old is a freelance painter and
recently created store signs for Urban Rags in Davis, a hip-hop clothing and music store. His goal, though, is to attend Make-up
Designory (MUD) in Burbank."I'm working at Fright Fest to pay for school,"
A potential roommate for Sweet is Keri Picolla, Los Angeles resident and fellow make-up artist at the park. Returning to the fest and
staying with her parents who reside locally, Picolla takes on the one-month assignment with open arms."I started when I was 18
and I've been doing it for six years," Picolla said. "I do this every year because it's fun."Picolla graduated
from MUD and has been working as a professional make-up artist for two years. Her palette includes work on *NSYNC's Lance
Bass, recording artist Robin Gibb and personal make-up for Kurtwood Smith, who portrays Red Forman on "That 70s Show."
But entering the make-up profession is not an easy feat."It's very hard to get in professionally because it's very
competitive," Picolla said of the career. "I started working in films, networking and word of mouth. It's similar to
breaking into acting."
When simulating special effects. Design, construction and placement of foam latex prosthetics or the like are only the
beginning of a lengthy process.The process to apply a prosthetic, for example, involves prepping the skin to protect facial follicles
, readying the prosthetic with liquid latex, applying spirit gum to adhere the mask, bonding and clearing the edges and finally, painting
the potential masterpiece.
As such, it's not surprising to find that Sweet premeditates his work at hand."The night before I go to work
I'm always thinking of new ideas of what I can do," Sweet said of creating a street zombie.But a 45-minute session to
prep various actors as a street zombie or ghoulish character is the norm in this artistic community.
Katy Lyons, for example, portrays Angelique from "Hell Raiser IV," making this her second consecutive year
as Angelique. Her character requires sporting a bald, severed head with blood dripping down the side. Impossible? No, it's
just time-consuming to create this illusion, but the 17-year-old doesn't mind."It's one of the most extensive make-ups
in the fest," . "And it's one of the best jobs I've ever had. I can't believe I get paid to scare people.
"As I sit there, I prepare myself mentally because I have to be who I'm dressed as," McMickle said. "As
soon as I step out the gate, I'm in character."
Leland VanDermeulen of Vacaville portrays an evil character in "Brutal
Planet," a haunted house with ghoulish monsters and horrific surprises. As he also patiently awaits the final touches to his
prosthetics, he twinges as the latex constricts his face."Scaring people is a great way to channel all those negative feelings,
" he said with an added twinge. "I'm mentally unstable to do this and I get paid for it."
Zac is currently doing special effects make-up for the independent film-
"Origin the movie"