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July 2004

Make-up news from the computer of John Woodbridge

If this newsletter was published as a UK tabloid newspaper, this issue you might be reading a front page headline like


but, thankfully, I can skip the journalistic lingo and simply tell you that there’s quite a lot about silicone rubber in this month’s edition of HOT NEWS.

And there’s also a fantastic FOAM LATEX MASTERCLASS seminar thrown in for good measure...

Even if you’re not a prosthetic make-up artist - do keep reading as there’s lots of information in this month’s HOT NEWS that will be of direct relevance to you.

In fact, our main feature article this month is about a particularly gruesome make-up effects problem solved by a wonderfully strange silicone rubber.

We’ve a brief report from our incredibly successful LIFECAST LAB programme held last month, which showcased the remarkable SkinSil BodyDouble™ silicone lifecast elastomer.

To finish off this issue of HOT NEWS, our Website of the Month features a company specialising in the creation of.... you guessed it... silicone rubber prosthetics!

So pour yourself a cup of coffee, pull up a comfy chair and read on...



Firstly, thanks to everyone who booked in to the LIFECAST LAB last month to learn how to create facial lifecasts with the remarkable new lifecast silicone elastomer, SkinSil BodyDouble™.

Both the delegates and I were delighted with the ease with which incredibly highly detailed facial lifecasts could be created with SkinSil BodyDouble™.

It was wonderful to work on a one-to-one basis with each delegate and I am extremely grateful for your subsequent emails and phone calls with such positive feedback on the LIFECAST LAB programme.

Special thanks goes to Peter Turnock, Richard Watson and Sally White at Bentley Chemicals Ltd., suppliers of SkinSil BodyDouble™ for their tremendous support during the programme.

As I anticipated, the last few dates did book out quickly and we had to turn a number of prospective delegates away.

If you couldn’t come along to get ‘hands on’ with the product, you can still get a free CD-ROM featuring SkinSil BodyDouble™ on request by sending your name and postal address to


I’d like to thank our fantastic delegates, our lifecast models and everyone at Bentley Chemicals Ltd. for making the programme such a memorable and enjoyable event.

For more on SkinSil BodyDouble™ go to:




Saturday 25th / Sunday 26th September 2004

Twickenham Film Studios (venue subject to change with due notice)

For almost 70 years foam latex has dominated prosthetic make-up artistry.

Many of you will know that I spent over a decade of my career working with and developing exciting new formulations and processes for foam latex and it’s a material I know "inside out".

Whilst formulating, mixing and casting prosthetics, masks and props made from this amazing material, I never failed to marvel at the extraordinary versatility of foam latex.

With a few "tweaks" to the basic formulation and mixing cycle you can create ultra-light foam latex appliances, fleshy masks or animatronic skins... even heavy, dense foam latex props called "softs". Axe heads, bricks, guns... all cast using my special "softs" foam formula - allowing them to be safely thrown at, or whacked over the heads of a variety of unfortunate actors.

Q. What’s different about this Foam Latex Masterclass?

This autumn, I’m going to do something I’ve NEVER done before.

I’ve shown many people how to run foam latex over the years but generally I’ve taken them through the process ‘by the book’ - producing a good prosthetic grade of foam latex following the manufacturer’s basic instructions.

Normally, such foam latex tuition has been part of other training programmes that we’ve provided.

But now, I’m looking for 9 people who want to join me in the foam lab to gain the skills they need to master a much wider range of foam latex techniques and formulations.

This programme won’t be suited to everyone.

Because of the huge amount of hands-on practice during the programme, we haven’t got time to look at any other aspect of prosthetic lab work (sculpting, moulding etc.)

This Masterclass would ideally suit someone who is already working, or wants to start their career, in a prosthetic lab producing foam latex appliances, masks and props.

I’ve spent hours going through my own confidential foam latex log book - a veritable encyclopaedia and secret reference source for pretty much any type of foam latex you can imagine - carefully selecting the best formulations and techniques to pass on to you.

You’ll learn numerous foam formulations - most never revealed before - and also basic and advanced foam latex techniques you can use to create prosthetics, masks and props.





Will I grasp all this knowledge in 2 days?

You’ll certainly feel confident running batches of foam latex by the time you leave the seminar programme. (In fact, you may even be a little weary with foam latex by the time you stagger out of the foam lab on Sunday night).

In truth, the rest is simply understanding how to vary the foam latex batches to give different properties to the foam.

You’ll learn that too, during your time with me in the foam lab.

But it’s possible that you’ll have questions, need advice or coaching through your first few foam latex jobs.

That’s why, as part of the additional bonus package for each delegate (see later) you’ll get free and unlimited telephone support from me for a full three months after the programme - to help you iron out any teething problems you may have running your first batches of foam.

Do I need expensive equipment to mix foam latex?

No, not necessarily. If you want to buy large mixers and ovens then this can get expensive. However, you can easily pick up suitable equipment to weigh, mix and cook smaller batches of foam latex very cheaply - we’ll tell you where during the programme.

Is foam latex difficult to master?

In a word - no.

I know that you may have been led to believe that you need the mind of a chemist and the skill of a fine artist to successfully mix a batch of foam latex but (at the risk of upsetting my foam technician colleagues) this is simply not true.

It may have been true in the ‘old days’ before highly stable, predictable foam latex systems were widely available - but this myth has stuck around a lot longer than the reality.

In fact, on jobs where I’ve been over-worked and under-staffed, I’ve taught total novices how to mix foam latex ‘parrot fashion’ in less than 30 minutes.

Even without attending this Masterclass, with a little hard work, you could probably become a very competent foam technician in less than a year.

But the aim of this Masterclass is to get you there a little quicker than that.

Whatever genre of movie inspires you, if you look back at some of the amazing prosthetic work or special effects, you’ll recognise why foam latex will always have a major role to play in the motion picture industry.

It has a wonderful ability to capture and reproduce even the most subtle of actor expressions and amazing lightweight feel and movement that can so accurately duplicate the properties of real flesh.

Whatever your area of interest, whatever your current level of expertise - you’ll come away from the Foam Latex Masterclass with knowledge and skills you can use in your career.

Although we have a lot of topics to cover, we’ll also have great fun working together mastering these techniques.

To see what other delegates have said about our previous training programmes click


What if I find I’m not enjoying the programme?

Then I’ll refund your seminar fee - every penny.

Our no quibble 100% Satisfaction Money Back Guarantee applies to this Masterclass programme.

In case you’re unfamiliar with this guarantee, here it is below.


John Woodbridge and the team at Woodbridge Productions Ltd. do not believe that you should risk wasting your money on a training programme that may fail to meet your specific needs and expectations.

Every two day Make-Up Masterclass we organise is taught to the highest industry standards by recognised experts who are working make-up artists with proven teaching experience.

However, if the training we provide is not what you expected or if you simply feel that you don’t wish to continue with the programme, just let us know by the end of tuition on your first day.

You’ll receive an immediate and courteous refund of the entire seminar fee you paid.

That’s 100% of your seminar fee refunded immediately and in full.

No questions asked. No hard feelings.

Please note if you decide to claim a refund at the end of your first day of tuition with us, you will be unable to take the seminar notes, bonuses and support material with you when you leave the programme.

This guarantee does not affect your statutory rights.

If you are unable to attend the Masterclass after making a confirmed booking, your seminar fee can only be refunded if notice of your non-attendance is received by Woodbridge Productions Ltd. not later than 72 hours prior to the seminar start date.

The Foam Latex Masterclass will begin by understanding the basic foaming process and you’ll gain plenty of hands-on practice formulating, mixing and casting foam latex into plaster moulds to create a variety of prosthetic appliances.

Once you’re confident running standard batches of foam latex, we’ll move on to more advanced techniques.

High rise, low rise and multiple batch castings will be covered - with special formulations for puppets, masks, props and stop motion pieces.

In fact, just about anything you can think of to do with foam latex!


DATE: 25th & 26th September 2004

VENUE: Twickenham Film Studios, London (venue subject to change with due notice)

FEE: £495 (incl. VAT)

TWO+ PERSON DISCOUNTED FEE: £445 (incl. VAT) per person


TUITION LEVEL: Basic progressing to Advanced / Film Standard Tuition

DELEGATES: Prosthetic Make-Up Artists, Special Make-Up Effects Artists, Prosthetic Lab Technicians, Mould Makers, Special Effects Technicians, Prop makers, 3-D Animators, Puppet Makers, Creature Designers, Animatronic Technicians, College Tutors, New Graduates, Students






All materials, moulds and protective equipment will be provided for the duration of the Masterclass.


n an introduction to foam latex

n materials and equipment to produce foam latex

n health & safety and safer working practises

n the basic foaming procedure

n casting foam latex prosthetics with basic mould mould filling techniques

n ultra-soft foam appliance formulations and techniques

n foam formulations for masks, puppets and animatronic skins

n casting foam latex for animatronic skins / masks

n advanced mould filling techniques (open and closed injection techniques)

n ultra-low rise formulations for durable props

n casting a seamless foam latex bald cap from a silicone rubber mould (demo only)

n intrinsic and external colouring techniques

The majority of the course is devoted to giving those attending hands-on experience of working with the techniques and materials shown.

As well as learning how to manufacture a wide variety of different foam latex formulations, you’ll keep all the foam latex pieces you make during the workshop - along with the comprehensive course notes.

But that’s not all!

You’ll also receive a remarkable Delegate Bonus Package to maximise the benefit you’ll gain on the programme.


BONUS # 1: Our New Prosthetics Video

Be one of the first to own our exciting, new, soon-to-be-released Step By Step educational video.

Value: £19.99

BONUS # 2: 10% Discount On Your First Foam Latex Kit Purchased From Screen Face

Start working with foam latex using this fantastic discount offer. The special voucher is redeemable against any foam latex kit from Screen Face Ltd. and is valid for three months from the seminar start date.

Value: Between £5.90 and £26.90

(Depending on foam latex kit purchased)

BONUS # 3: 3 Months Unlimited Phone Consulting

To ensure you get the very best from the information given on the Masterclass programme (and to help you deal with any teething problems you may have on your first few foam latex jobs), you’re entitled to unlimited telephone consulting with John Woodbridge for a full three months after the seminar programme. John’s standard consultation rate is £60 per hour and this huge bonus literally gives you access to his incredible knowledge of foam latex techniques and procedures absolutely free.

Value: £180.00

BONUS # 4: John’s ‘Little Red Book’

It’s a collection of ugly, photocopied notes - some even hand written. But trust me, if you work with prosthetics or make-up effects, you won’t ever want to be without John’s ‘Little Red Book’.

Value: Priceless

Throughout the Masterclass weekend, delegates are encouraged to take photographs of their work and there is plenty of time for questions and advice.

At the end of this fantastic weekend, each course member is presented with a Certificate of Attendance detailing the skills demonstrated during the Foam Latex Masterclass.







My friend, a make-up artist, sounded nervous at the other end of the phone.

They had a particularly gruesome and challenging make-up problem that had the potential of giving their actor a big headache too.

Apart from suggesting an aspirin, they wondered if I had any ideas...

Picture the scene.

An accident victim sits in agony whilst shards of broken glass are gently removed from their face with medical tweezers. There is everything from large, jagged pieces to tiny slivers in the bloody mess - including some pieces of glass very near to the eye.

Obviously, with the proximity of the glass to the eye and the fact so much of it had to appear to be embedded in the face, my friend was concerned that using a rigid plastic or glass-like material was just too risky.

My solution... Rubber Glass™.

Rubber Glass™ is manufactured by Smooth-On Inc. and is available from UK distributors Bentley Chemicals Ltd.

The remarkable water clear silicone rubber can be mixed and cast onto any flat surface to create 'panes of glass'.

Having ensured the rubber has totally set, it may be easily broken or crumbled to appear indistinguishable from broken glass.

But the major advantage over any rigid material is that the rubber has no hard or sharp edges that could scratch or injure the actor's face.

With a little skill and ingenuity, some prosthetic wax, blood and, of course, some pieces of pre-made Rubber Glass™, this gruesome effect could be easily created.

Crushed into very small pieces, Rubber Glass™ can even look like shattered windshield glass or ice.

I first came across Rubber Glass™ when I heard that it was used on a commercial to solve yet another awkward problem.

An actress had to luxuriate in a bath tub full of ice - a feat neither comfortable nor practical - particularly under studio lights that would quickly melt real ice.

Again, fake ice made from rigid materials would not be particularly pleasant to wallow in - but Rubber Glass™ provided a soft alternative, even allowing warm water to be used in the bath tub.

For more information on this remarkable material and other products in the Smooth-On range visit:


For a PDF Technical Bulletin about Rubber Glass™ click:


or visit UK distributors:




Last month’s main article about how to avoid many of the most common CV (résumé) errors certainly seemed to hit the right spot, judging by the response from HOT NEWS readers.

Many students and new graduates said that it was good to read about the "business side" of make-up artistry and wanted more of the same in future editions of this newsletter.

I’ll certainly do my best to oblige.

One of the most important ideas to grasp if you’re just starting out as a freelance, is that having great make-up skills is only half the battle in creating a successful career.

Unless you also have good knowledge of the way the industry operates, it’s very easy to sabotage your own career before you really get going.

If you’re newly graduated, or simply want to make sure you’re on the right track, I would strongly suggest you grab a copy of my audio cassette, HOW TO START OUT AS A FILM & TV MAKE-UP ARTIST.

This 30 minute programme is crammed with useful, entry level information and is just £2.99 (including P&P within the UK).


To get more information on successful freelancing,

listen to John’s incredible new 30 minute audio programme


For full information, visit:




WEBSITE OF THE MONTH: www.hybridfx.com

If you’ve recently glanced up at a billboard and seen some particularly ancient brewers advertising a well known brand of bottled beer - or saw actor Craig Charles having ultra-realistic scarring prosthetics applied to his face for a fascinating TV documentary on public perceptions to disfigurement - then you’ve already seen some of the remarkable silicone prosthetic work created by Hybrid Enterprises.

Silicone supremos, Mike Bates and Mike Stringer are the brains behind Hybrid Enterprises and their company is now widely recognised as one of the leading exponents of this cutting-edge prosthetic technology.

As you would expect, www.hybridfx.com is crammed with photographs of their incredible work in film, TV and advertising.

From fantasy creatures and extraordinary characterisations to prosthetic disguises and flesh-like props, the Hybrid website is definitely ‘required viewing’ by any make-up artist interested in prosthetic work.

Not only are Hybrid the creators of the phenomenal make-ups on their website, they have also developed and formulated many of the unique silicone rubber materials used in the manufacture of their prosthetics.

There is an incredible amount you can learn by taking the time to study these astounding make-up designs.

Look at the sculpted detail, the invisible blending of the appliances, the depth and richness of colouring, the flesh-like translucency, the over all characterisation and design of each make-up...

Quite simply, the remarkably talented individuals at Hybrid Enterprises will show you silicone prosthetic work at it’s best.

Go to www.hybridfx.com and enjoy!



That’s all for this massive edition of our HOT NEWS bulletin.

Next month, I’ll tell you how to airbrush your actor so they become completely invisible...

(It’s true - just you wait!)

There’s also some revolutionary news if you’re a working freelance make-up artist currently looking to update your skills.

Tune in to the August 04 edition of HOT NEWS - coming to an inbox near you soon...

As always, if I can help in any way with your own make-up artistry, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

My best, as always,

John Woodbridge


Discover Make-Up Artistry at www.woodbridgeproductions.co.uk

E. & O.E.


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