It’s the second to last day of shooting. We left the Hughes family cottage a couple days ago. Yesterday, we were at their suburban home, another beautiful property outside of Vancouver. This one has a swimming pool! Today, we’re at a gas station on the other side of the Fraser River. As we shoot, a few locals drive up looking for gas, only to be shooed away the crew. Instead of gas, they get a glimpse of Selma and the cast of Replicas.
I’m chatting with Cindy Barlow, Key Makeup Artist on Replicas. She’s been in this business for 15 years. We sit down on a bench outside the gas station as the rest of the crew sets up for the next shot. It’s important that Cindy stays close to the set at all times for final touch-ups on the cast just before each scene.
Me: When did you know you wanted to be a Makeup Artist on films?
When I was a kid, I had three sisters, two older, one younger, and my two older ones were kind of mean to me. So I’d take my mom’s eye shadows and make bruises, and they would get in trouble, cause I said that they hit me. I just used the eye shadows, I didn’t know any better. So yeah, I just wanted to do it for a long time.
What’s your favorite part of your job?
I love meeting the cast, and all the different personalities. You know, you just adapt. We also do special effects, which is fun. I love to use food for special effects, cause I love the texture of it. And that way there’s not too many chemicals.
What’s an example of a special effect you’ve done with food?
I did Blade the TV series. We had one character that was being tested on by vampires. And they would put garlic on him, he would be burned and things like that. So I used oatmeal. I just went to craft services that morning and got oatmeal that wasn’t cooked up, dried oatmeal, and just mixed it together with other things like cereal, so it just looked scabby and peely, and it was great.
Do you ever have interesting stories from the makeup trailer?
All the time. But the motto is, what goes on in the trailer stays in the trailer. It’s like a bartender. I mean, you’re close to them so they tell you everything. It’s just a personal thing so you just be quiet about it. I’m sometimes amazed by what they tell you, but you just be very quiet about it.
Whats one of the biggest challenges in the makeup department?
It depends on the show. Every show is different, and every show you learn something. You can do it for 30 years and you still learn something. If you’re shooting in the summertime, and it’s so hot out, trying to make them look like they’re not sweating, it’s very difficult. Especially when you’re shooting on pavement, and they’re getting a kickback from the sun, they can turn red during the shot. It’s just little things like that you have to watch out for.
How has Replicas gone?
You know what, it’s been a lot of fun. Some of the crew I’ve never met before, but some of them, you know, we go way back. The cast are a lot of fun. Josh is such a gentlemen. Very nice guy. Selma is a lot of fun, I love her personality, cause you never know what she’s gonna do or say, and you know, it’s just been really good.
How do you get involved in a film?
With Replicas, I know (Line Producer) Ian Smith, and I did a show with him last year with Lou Diamond Phillips. Just before this show, I did a Disney movie, Suite Life on Deck, and I knew Ian had a little girl, so I told him to come down to meet the cast, and then he told me about Replicas. But usually if you don’t know the Production Manager or the Producers then you send in your résumé, and you get an interview with the Director or the Producers.
How has the film industry in Vancouver been recently?
I found the last two years were a little different because of the Olympics. It really slowed it down a lot. But before that it was just like, show, show, one right after another. It was great, you know, cause I’m a workaholic. I like to take a week off after a show, and then that’s it, I go back to work because I get bored. Yeah, it’s changing now, cause I hear January is supposed to be really busy, so I think they’re making up for things, but yeah, it’s been really different the last couple years.
Do you have any advice for a young aspiring makeup artist?
Even if you know you’re not gonna get the job, just keep putting your resume out so that they recognize your name, and go to a school. You have to go to a school, but you’re gonna learn more on set. And just try things at home. I used to write this little article for this newspaper in the States; every Halloween they would ask me what to do for kids, and I would say just go to your kitchen cupboard. You can use flower and water for glue so you’re not using the special effects glues, and just pour that on your face. You can make it into anything and it just comes off with water at night. And just experiment with stuff. Just use your imagination. Cause we’ve done severed arms out of pool noodles. And if it doesn’t work out, who cares. Just try it again.