Monday, September 28, 2015

Karin Gleason's #GACrewCall: Department Head Make-up Artist [20150924]

*This GA Crew Call WAS NOT written by me. Unfortunately I missed this weeks periscope session. It was written by Alida @librarynerds. This post was reposted from

*This logo is owned by ABC's Grey's Anatomy

*I am not a professional writer and do not work for ABC, Grey's Anatomy, or anyone involved with this amazing show

Norman Leavitt: Department Head Make-up Artist

*Image Source
Norman is the make-up department head. He's been with the show for 12 years. He did the pilot and has been there ever since.

He's asked what his job entails. Running the department is about coordinating the supplies that everyone needs and making sure everything runs smoothly. Each actor or actress wants something different. They use different materials for different ones.

She asks if they come in knowing which ones they want or if he recommends them. He says they have a trailer full of supplies and things that work really well and different actors will come up with ideas of different things they want. They also have to work around allergies.

He's asked about his background. When he was young, he wanted to be an effects artist. At Universal Studios, there's a lab and he found out that being able to do wounds and such made you more valuable than just regular makeup. He says in his career, he has made up some monsters. He works closely with Tom Burman and Bari Burman. He'd worked with them on previous shows as well. Back at the time he started working with them, he had just one other guy working on makeup with him. He'd do the makeup for the day and then go back to make the stuff for tomorrow. He does the blood and bruising and wound makeup for the show. He also makes the fake vomit. He mentions Linda Klein, who says he's one of the better ones to make bodily fluids. It has to be non-toxic and edible, because it's sometimes put in someone's mouth and he knows how to do that. He says it's best made with a yogurt because so many people are vegan or vegetarian now. Or using health drinks, like Naked juice or papaya juice, which he says has the right color. All the tasty juices mixed together look nauseating. You can make some disgusting-looking vomit that tastes good. It has to taste good because they sometimes have to swallow it.

He's asked if he made Arizona's leg and he did not. That's a separate department.

Must have skills for a makeup artist aside from applying makeup is dealing with multiple personalities. Very early in the morning or very late at night, you have to be professional.

He says his blood is made out of an old-timey recipe. It's carob syrup and different food colorings. It, like vomit, has to taste good.

The best part about his job is doing a show where he does regular makeup and then getting to do blood and bruising and fluids. It's neat, but unusual to be able to do that.

His advice to people thinking about doing this is if you really want to do it, do it, no matter what the cost. Learn as much as you can about doing makeup and go for it.

He's asked about doing stitches. He says he makes the mark on the body and the stitches are just glued on the wound. If they have to make it look like it's being made and there's a guard put in place to make sure it doesn't hurt the actor. The appliance goes on top of that and the actor sews that.

His favorite thing from the show is hard to say. He says the plane crash was days and days of fun, but challenging. Everybody looked horrendous because of the crash and that was fun.
He's asked about the cat man and that was the prosthetics team.

Apologies again for missing out on this weeks session, life happens sometimes. Thanks again to Karin Gleason and Norman Leavitt for their time on Thursday. Feel free to follow Karin Gleason on twitter @karingleason for updates on future #GACrewCall sessions on periscope. You can also follow my random rants @TheAmandaAponte on twitter. Don't forget to catch a NEW episode of Grey's Anatomy on Thursdays or catch up on Hulu or On Demand.

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