I hear a lot of people lamenting the fact that they feel there are too many special effects in films these days and not enough practical effects. Although I think we can all confidently agree that there is still regular use of prosthetics throughout many films in recent years. I recently attended a convention called Creaturegeddon, and prosthetics for film and television was exactly what this convention featured.
Creaturegeddon isn’t necessarily the kind of con you would associate with Food and Cosplay, it is in fact more of a creature show than an actual convention. It features special effects artists from within the film industry and showcases their works of art. I had initially intended to look at what was on display and support a friend I know who works in the SFX industry but I ended up enjoying it immensely.
Everywhere you looked there were extraordinary works of art including (but by no means limited to!) busts of zombie heads, half formed fetuses and a whole plethora of the weird and the wonderful. Prior to attending this convention I’d never really thought much about prosthetic effects, but Creaturegeddon was a great place to see the amazing things that can be done with practical effects. Although it also made me realise that I don’t have the stomach for it!
The con itself was small; consisting of the entrance hall, a dealer’s hall and a panel room connected with corridors that displayed various models. The dealer’s hall is not what you would normally associate with a con, Creturegeddon had a table from Charles Fox, sold products from mold life, had make up pallets and even fake eyes. Yes, lots and lots of fake eyes! Also dotted around the hall were make up companies doing zombie and make up demonstrations on live models, which took a while but it was fun to see the progress made as I came back every half an hour to see what they looked like.
As for panels, there were only a few per day. I had missed the one in the morning of the day I went, which had a talk about creature design. Instead, I went to a talk with David Marti who is the founder of the company DDTSFX. The company that did all the prosthetics for Pan’s Labyrinth and Hellboy II. The panel was pretty entertaining, even for someone with no SFX knowledge such as me. David talked about how much of a joy (as well as at times a pain!) it was to work with Guillermo Del Toro, how he started the special effects company and advice for anyone who is starting out in SFX, which was also helpful advice for anyone else starting out in the film industry.
Although I don’t know if there was really enough to do at the con for the whole weekend, I definitely don’t regret going to this con and will happily go again next time it’s on. It was fascinating and I’d recommend it to others who share a love of film and especially practical effects.