Posts tagged ‘teenagers’

Special FX Halloween Makeup

For this month’s teen program, I played to my strengths. As I believe I’ve said, I was a theatre major in college, so I’ve taken my fair share of stage makeup courses. I loved them, and I was encouraged to add a makeup minor by all my instructors, but I never had the time in my schedule. With Halloween coming up, I thought it would be fun to share some of my knowledge about special effects makeup. To appeal to the guys and the girls, I did a few gory makeups and one beauty fantasy makeup. I won’t lie; this would be a very expensive and somewhat difficult program the way I laid it out if you didn’t have any training or makeup at your disposal. I think I only spent about $10 of my programming budget on it, but I already had well over $200 in makeup at home that I wax happy to use for this program.

If you’re still interested, here’s what we did.

I started out with a little talk on the basics of makeup (stage makeup vs. movie makeup vs. Halloween makeup, all the things we can do with makeup, etc.). After that, I had them all sign up for the makeup they would like me to demonstrate on them. Then, we moved on to the first demonstration–bruises.

I chose to do a black eye. I talked about how bruises form, shape, old bruises vs. new bruises, how to blend, back story behind a bruise, etc. I did all the lecture while demonstrating the makeup to help with time. If you want a guide on how to do bruise effects, here is a good one.

After the bruising, I would have demonstrated how to create a scar with nose and scar wax, but I was concerned about running out of our time (I was squeezing all of this into an hour-long program). So, we ended up skipping it. Here is a guide for working with nose and scar wax.

Next, I would have taught them how to do a scrape, but, again, I was worried about time because my next few makeups were very time-intensive and much more impressive. To do this, you really just need a stipple sponge, some red cream makeup, some blood, and possibly some latex.

Then, we moved onto an open wound. This was a real hit with the teens, but it involves latex, so make sure no one has an allergy! Here’s the guide for making this particular wound (it’s very easy, even if you have no real training), and here’s the result (without stage blood).
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While I was in the middle of that makeup, I started my next demonstration because the latex takes a few minutes to dry for both of these. The next makeup I did was a bit more complicated, but if you’re relatively crafty, you should be able to manage it. It does take some prep time beforehand, though. I did a compound fracture. Here’s the guide I used, and here’s the result:

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I always seemed to take my pictures before I added the blood. It really looked a lot better once I added blood.

After those had dried and been finished, I demonstrated my last makeup. This was the one the girls had been waiting for–the pretty one. I did a mermaid fantasy makeup. Here’s the result as demonstrated on my coworker who was volunteered to help me practice all these makeups a week in advance of the program.

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This is another makeup that is easier than it looks. I had to choose fairy easy applications for such a short time limit. Here’s the guide I used.

During the downtime in demonstrations and lectures about anatomy and how it affects makeup application, back story, various tools, other makeup techniques, etc., the teens were advised to visit our two stage blood stations where they could mix up their own realistic, and very yummy sta,ge blood to take home. Here’s where I found the recipes. (We used method 3 “Chocolate blood” and method 14 “chocolate syrup and coffee.”)

I think this program went over well. The teens seemed to love getting all made up and joking around about what had happened to them.

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Improv Workshop

As a theatre nerd, I wanted to incorporate some of my favorite art form into my programming for this semester. Since I have several regulars who are interested in performing and are members of our library system’s storytelling group, I thought they would enjoy an improvisation workshop. It was very little prep on my end and pretty hassle free overall. It was also free which was a huge factor in my enthusiasm since the rest of my programs from this point on cost a bit of money. Imrpov is also really great for building confidence and creativity in teens!

When they arrived, I did a bit of an introduction to improv including what it is, how it doesn’t always have to be funny, that we do it every day, that it’s all about reacting to your partner(s), etc. Then, we went over the four “rules” of improv: 1) Never say “no,” 2) Don’t use open-ended questions, 3) Add on to what your partner is doing in the scene to move it forward, and 4) There is no right or wrong. If you’ve never done or taught improv before, there’s a pretty good teen lesson plan here that I drew from a bit.

Then, we jumped right into the games! I chose four games that occupied us for about an hour total. I’d recommend having a few others prepared in case your group goes through them quickly like┬ámine did. We had an hour and a half program, and Freeze gets a little old after a while. The games we did were:

  • Word ball
  • Sentence, Response
  • Story, Story, Out/Die
  • Family Portrait: This is great for learning to work with others for a scene. The actors (usually a group of 5-10) are given a type of family (i.e. the farmer family, the pop star family, the mad scientist family, etc.), and they must strike a pose together that reflects that family for their portrait before the instructor says, “Say cheese.” To add a bit more difficulty, the actors must remain in contact with one another, and some part of each person’s body must be touching at least one other person in the portrait so that they are all linked.
  • Freeze: Two actors begin a scene, and, when one of them strikes a pose that provides a possibility for another actor in the audience to build from, that audience member yells, “Freeze,” tags the actor they wish to replace, and starts a┬ábrand new scene from the ending positions of the last scene.

(All of the games above can be found on the lesson plan here except Freeze and Family Portrait.)

I just made up the prompts I used. Some were library-themed, others weren’t. There are plenty of books for improv prompts if you find yourself coming up short of ideas.

Other games I considered were:

  • Backwards Scene: Two actors are to do an interview scene with the topic chosen by the audience (i.e. a talk show interviewing a pop star, a news reporter interviewing a witness to a crime, etc.) The catch is that they must do the scene backwards so that the first sentence they speak is the last sentence of the interview. It can get very interesting as they work their way backwards through the scene.
  • The Dating Game: One actor leaves the room while the audience provides traits or a character for the three actors remaining who will play the contestants on a dating show. When the first actor returns, they must determine who the contestants are supposed to be through their answers to the interview questions they provide.
  • Machines: Someone chooses a machine, real or invented, and the actors must all play a part of the machine, working together to make it come to life physically and vocally.

You might find other games on The Improv Game Encyclopedia.

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