The Most In-demand Jobs in Film FX (And How to Get Them)
09 Apr 21
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From killer aliens and super heroes to dinosaurs soaring through the sky, the late Stan Winston has left us with some of the most iconic moments in film.
If you aspire to be one of the best special effects makeup artists or special effects creators in the film industry, a master’s degree can be a great way to enhance your skills and further your career.
The MA Film FX Creative Practice course at the University of Bolton is a fantastic platform for progression and building your professional network. Many of our graduates have gone on to work on major productions including Game of Thrones, Star Wars: Force Awakens, Doctor Who, Wonder Woman, Guardians of the Galaxy, Fantastic Beasts, The Jungle Book, and more.
Here’s a look at one of our favourite special effects creators, Stan Winston, to inspire your next career move:
What was Stan Winston known for?
Stan Winston was an American television and film special effects creator, who won four Academy Awards for his work.
He is best known for the first three Jurassic Park movies, the entire Terminator series, Aliens, the first two Predator films, Iron Man, and Inspector Gadget.
Working closely with director James Cameron on multiple projects, he was a big name in Hollywood and owned several effects studios. In his studios, he and his team specialised in makeup, puppets and practical effects.
“What I came to admire more than his artistry and technical wizardry, was Stan's most amazing gift: the ability to lead a team.” – James Cameron
Before his death in 2008, he had expanded his studio to encompass digital effects as well, and was one of the first pioneers in this field.
In addition to his famous creature work with fictional aliens and dinosaurs, Stan Winston was also an accomplished special effects makeup artist.
One of his most notable works is for Batman Returns, transforming Danny Devito into Penguin, the film’s main villain.
He was also responsible for turning Johnny Depp into Edward Scissorhands, drawing inspiration from Tim Burton’s original drawings for the character but adding scissors for hands. This idea turned the film into one of the biggest movies of the early 90s, and is still very much loved today.
The ‘hybrid’ approach
In the industry, he was known for pioneering the ‘hybrid’ approach in special effects. This meant combining a range of techniques to achieve a better outcome.
This included bringing together robotics, digitally-enhanced makeup techniques, puppetry and CGI to build fantastical characters, bringing them to life for the screen.
He never showed a preference for one technique over another, always insisting that artists and creators were to remain open and agile to new ways of working, so they could select the best method for each shot.
A tailored approach meant being a jack of all trades, and understanding how different skills and techniques could work together.
If you’re looking to improve your skills and knowledge in film special effects, our MA Film FX Creative Practice degree could be for you.
We are a leading Greater Manchester University, one that ranks in the Top 50 UK Universities in Film Subjects* and in the Top 5 in the UK for Teaching Quality**, as well as being voted No.1 for Student Satisfaction for three years running.^
You’ll get one-to-one mentorship with highly experienced tutors, access to live projects for practical work experience, a chance to attend guest lectures with industry leaders, and opportunities to network while building your portfolio.
To find out more about applying in September 2021, see our course page for details.
Or if you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch on +44 (0)1204 903 394 or email@example.com.
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