Monday, April 7, 2014

Taking a break: The Beast - Angel Season 4

The blog break continues as I am still overwhelmed elsewhere. In my absence, here is some stuff I have never shared from my days in the Makeup FX industry! Today I have for you The Beast from season 4 of Angel...

The Beast was the BIG BAD MONSTERS for season 4 (or was it?) and a lot of work, time, blood, and tears went into it. I lost a lot of sleep painting almost all the makeups for this monster and his stunt double as well as being on set for almost all the times it was filmed (and then some). Actually, I am getting ahead of myself. The designs for this were all over the place since production was HEAVILY involved. They really wanted us to make a rock and lava version of the Hulk meets Darkness from Legend... and after many attempts to give them something different and new the art department gave up and gave them what they wanted. ...but by then I was working on other things and not really designing the monster.

The Beast appeared in a lot of episodes through out the bulk of season 4 and this required new makeups for both the actor and stunt double for each day of shooting. We also had to replace the suit halfway through the season since they have a limited lifespan. Fun side note - on the first day filming of the replacement suit both the actor and stuntman torn the right arm nearly off their suits. There was some panicked repair work going over the lunch break that day. Without the amazing help of my two other coworkers there is no way those suits would have been film ready in about an hour.

Often I would spend a VERY long full day on set with the two Beasts and then go to the shop to paint the makeups for the next day of filming. After they were painted, I would go home for just a few hours and then get up and head back to set with the new set of makeups for the new day of filming. More then once I would grab a couple more hours of sleep in a makeup chair in the trailer after the makeups were delivered and before we had to start suiting up everybody. Not being in the Makeup Union we could handle everything dealing with an actors makeup as long as it was below their necks. The union makeup people were lords of everything from the neck up.

I had a lot of fun and a lot of great memories working on set during this time as well as interacting with the actor and stuntman that portrayed The Beast. Not sure why this popped into my head now, there was an Assistant Director on Angel that CONSTANTLY referred to all of us from the shop by one name... Allen. He called ALL of us ALLEN. SERIOUSLY. "Where's Allen?" "We need Allen here to fix this." "Tell Allen..." get the idea. So weird to look back at it now, and funny.

While I was did some design work, a ton of paint work, and a lot of other assorted work on this monster there was an entire team of my skilled coworkers that saw to the sculpting, molding, casting, and everything else that went into seeing this creature come about. This, as with everything I share from these day is a team effort!

Enough talk, here is The Beast...

Our hero photo of The Beast. He turned out looking good and the fans loved him... we just could have made it "more".

That GIANT signature can only mean one thing... this is one of my designs.
This is the only one of my Beast designs that made it to a finished state and was done in the early staged of the concept period. I was working closely with the design lead and pulling a lot of direction and influence from him. I was told after the fact that when this was shown to production that someone claimed that this looked my a moose and they all sat around giggling that is was a moose.
Yeah... looks just like a moose.

I did design the contacts for the beast. I designed a lot of contacts actually for these shows. Often I would never see the final product but I did get to see the contacts for The Beast up close... like they were in my own eyes.

SPOILER ALERT! The Beast *might* not have survived season 4.
I was asked to design the melted Beast blob. This first version is not so good.

This second Beast blog is better and then final pile looked more like this. I painted the pile and wish I could find my photos of it.

Since The Beast was such an important monster the sculpture team actually had a chance to work up a maquette of The Beast. This also allowed time to work out some design issues... like the horns... that were still coming together.

More images as the maquette takes shape...

...and even more.
This is an image of the clay maquette that has been panted over to show production what it will look like. once this maquette had served it usefulness and was approved a mold was made of it and we cast an army of mini Beasts.

I painted SO many of these Beast maquettes. SO. MANY. The sad reality is that I never took the time to cast and paint one for myself. That is the thing about being surrounded by this stuff everyday, you loose sight of how rare and special these things are. I didn't realize that I never made myself one until a few months after I moved away from Los Angels and it was by then a impossibility to have one. Of all the objects that I dealt with while working in the FX business, this is the one I regret not having now. A lot of memories are associated with this monster. Oh well... I still have those memories :)

The sculpture team was all hands on deck for The Beast.

I think there were four to five sculptures in total that worked on the suit alone. It came together really fast... because it had to!

Turning mud into a monster.

Rocky monster butt.

Some rocky monster gloves for all your rocky monster glove needs.
I was a hand stand in for The Beast in some second unit shooting. The Beast jabs his finger into the abdomen of a character... that was my hand in the glove jabbing a replica torso. RAWR!

The Beast cowl and horns coming together.

Beast face makeup sculpt.

Vlad going under the foam latex.

Early stage of the makeup going on the actor for one of the first days of filming.

The very... VERY first paint scheme of The Beast suit - not done by me. The suit over all became a lot darker and more even in pattern. I never thought this read well and to me appears to be burnt flesh rather then rock and lava. The earth tones continued, they just were spread throughout and the entire suit and makeup were unified.

The suit in a more finalized state on set. Notice the "suit boots" bottom right. They were built over boots with lifts in them and were for normal wear and were not meant to be filmed below the ankle.  Stilt feet with hooves were also made for 'hero' shots. They were said to be a little hard to walk in.

The stuntman getting all suited up as The Beast.

More hero shots of The Beast. Notice those great looking contacts!

And more of The Beast looking moody and introspective.

While the boss man painted the first set or two of the makeups to establish the look but this time I was painting everything including the suit. I painted so many of these makeups. Lost count actually!
The actor is posing here wearing a sword through the head rig for a dream sequence.

All kinds of weirdness here... what on earth?

The Beast is looking a little weird...

Oh... This is a rig used for the shot of the sword entering the head. There is a slot under the shin spikes that the sword slides up and out the back of the head. I painted this entire thing. It was fabricated by others. When to set with it too. Once of the other guys held the sword and I stood behind this thing and held the head up in a more realistic position and when the sword 'stabbed' the head I let go so that the head would rear back as if stabbed.

Even the Stunt Beast enjoys the holiday season.

More Christmas time filming antics on set with the stunt Beast.
This was a fun set too.

Last, but not least, Mr. Beefy and the Beast.
No comment on those goggles.

That is all for another exciting Monday on the blog, see you back here on Wednesday! Until then...

For more samples of my work or to contact me regarding my availability head over to my website:


  1. hello sir my name is ron just wanted to ask you if about that figure you made

    1. Hey there. What is you question? As stated above I was on the design team, painted a TON of makeups, masks, suits, parts, miniatures, etc. and went to set. I was not responsible for the sculpting of anything. Not sure what figure you are interested in getting more info on. I have a lot of memories of working on all of it, and I would be happy to share them.

  2. Sir I was looking at that small beast figure that is on the black stand

  3. Sir do you have anything for sale

    1. I worked on these shows back in 2002-2004. I have long since left Los Angles and now work in the gaming industry. I do not have anything from my days working on TV and movies for sale. I do not even have one of those Beast maquettes for myself. I do have an online store what offers items from my current work and projects.

    2. Sir who sculpted the small beast maquettes

    3. Like I said, it was a long time ago working with a lot of people I have not seen, talked to, or thought of in fifteen years or more. I do not remember the name of the sculptor.

  4. Hope you don't mind that I've used some of your photos and artwork on my own blog chronicling/archiving the creature effects in Buffy/Angel, but linking to your own blog and posts as well, of course:

    love your artwork btw, your blog is a great resource!

    1. Uh, okay. I am glad to hear you like my work and that the blog has been helpful. I did notice some errors in some of what you wrote about the shows, my work, and my involvement. One of the main ones is that I never performed the Bohg'Dar demon on the show. I suited up for a charity event, and that is the image that was on my blog and you included as me on the show - which it is not. The actor on the show was Brett Wagner, and he needs to be properly credited.

    2. Thanks for the correction! I misread your entry on the show (I admittedly wrote that passage in rush) - do you mind pointing out the other errors there are? I want to keep it as thorough as I can so any more info is appreciated!