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Student Work by Livia Toso, Special Effects Makeup

Student Stories: Livia Toso, Special Effects Makeup for Film and Television

Written by Sharon Holland
Published date 04 March 2019

Livia Toso took our Special Effects Makeup for Film and Television course in Spring 2019. She told us about her inspiring experience on the course, and her plans to change career.

Livia Toso: Work from Special Effects Makeup for Film and Television

Student Stories: Livia Toso, Special Effects Makeup for Film and Television

Can you tell us a little bit about your background?

I was born in a very small town in Brazil, from the third generation of a family of Italian farmers who immigrated in the late 1800's. Even though I spent most of my time watching films I never considered it to be a valid dream to pursue a career in the industry. It was just so far away from my reality. That being said, I went to Uni like everybody else and I got my degree in International Relations. When I graduated from Uni I was in that stage in life where you don't really know what to do or which path to take. I was never one of those people who are born and know immediately what they want to be as grown ups. All I knew is that I wanted to live abroad for a while and try to find myself. I always had the dream of coming to live in England, which is a country that I identify with, so after I graduated from Uni, I got a job in customer service, worked and saved money for six years in order to be able to come to Italy and get my double citizenship sorted out, as the country gives you the right to it if you have Italian background. After six months eating the most amazing pizzas in Italy, I could finally come to London, a city that is so diverse and where you can do and work with anything, that it is giving me the opportunity to start dreaming of not only watching films but helping make them. The short course at LCF will be my first step in this amazing journey.

What was your motivation for choosing the Special Effects Makeup for Film and TV course?

I already had done a few courses on straight/fashion makeup but this isn't really the side of makeup artistry that I want to explore, as I really want to go into film. My main motivation for choosing to do this course was really my passion for films. I felt that I needed to be more than just a spectator and I found in special effects makeup a way to create what I think is best expression of art.

Why did you choose to study at LCF?

When I decided to go into SFX makeup I started to search around for courses and the LCF short course caught my attention for its complete approach to the subject. It covers everything you need to know, from natural HD makeup to wounds to applying facial hair. The tutor is active in the industry, which was a huge deal breaker for me, as she would be able to provide us with relevant and contemporary information about products and techniques used, as opposed to retired professionals who went into teaching. I also have to say that the cost was very affordable and fair, which is always an upside.

What did you like most about the course?

The part that I most enjoyed was making and applying a bald cap. It was the most different and new set of techniques that I learned and it was definitely a challenge because it is not just applying makeup. You actually learn how to mix the products and create your own bald cap. Not every artist has this skill. It was definitely a game changer and the most fun class.

What was most challenging about the course?

For me the most challenging aspect was to learn all the products and how to use them properly. There is a whole range of things that can be used, depending on the effect you are looking to create. To get used to all the different materials and know which ones you can or cannot mix can be tricky. I had zero experience with SFX products before so getting acquainted with them was definitely the hardest part. Another challenge was the period makeup look class, when we had to make a full 1920's look, including hair. I had never done hair before so it was quite tricky.

What skills have you built on the course?

I can now work with principles of light and shade to age a person for example, through understanding the face anatomy. I've learned more about skin tones and undertones to perfectly match the skin you are working on. I can make, apply and colour a bald cap, create realistic wounds, bruises and skin disorders with silicone application and colouring. In the last two classes we will learn how to apply facial hair and do a frozen makeup look, which I think will be amazing!

How will the short course at LCF impact on your career?

Considering that I had no previous experience with SFX makeup before, the main impact the course will have on my career will be giving me the necessary knowledge of products and techniques I'll need to be able to work. I can now start building my portfolio the proper way. Another great impact the course will have is the network I made with the people in my class, the tutor and even the models. We already follow each other on social media and talk about future work opportunities.

What advice would you give someone thinking of taking this course?

Pay attention, write notes, ask questions and practice, practice, practice. The course will give you the knowledge about the products and techniques, but only your persistence will take you to the next step. If you have any insecurities about how to make a start in the industry, take some time to have a chat with the tutor. Jen is lovely and very active in the industry. She will give you great tips of how to be an employable professional and what to do next.

Who would you recommend the course to?

I'd recommend this course to anyone who wishes to go into the film/TV industry. It is a great start to those with no experience in makeup, as it will introduce you to all the products and techniques currently used in the industry. If you already have some experience or are self-taught, this will be a great opportunity to refine your skills and learn new ones.

Find out more about Livia and her work:

Instagram: liviatoso_mua