Practical Magic: A Look Inside the FX Workshop of Dan Martin

Prosthetic effects artist of ‘High Rise’ and ‘Free Fire’
By  · Published on June 1st, 2017

Prosthetic effects artist of ‘High Rise’ and ‘Free Fire’

Call me old-school, a child of the 80s, a film snob or even a Luddite, but I still prefer practical effects over those of the computer-generated, virtual variety. While I recognize that both take an extreme amount of talent and intelligence, and each in their ways has its own artistry, there’s just something about practical effects that impresses me more. Maybe it’s the craft to the form, the way people put their hands to work to make movie magic, or maybe it’s just that my favorite effects-laden films – Jaws, Alien, Star Wars, Blade Runner – are built on the back of practical effects.

Whatever the reason, I found the following video from Little White Lies extremely fascinating. It features prosthetic effects artist Dan Martin (who’s worked for directors like Ben Wheatley, Christopher Nolan, and Danny Boyle) in his London workshop where he creates realistic, handmade practical effects and special effects make-up. Martin talks us through some of his process while introducing us to the tools and techniques of his very, very cool trade.

I’ve always felt that part of the allure of cinema is that outside of musical performance, it’s really the only art form that’s always a collaboration. Sure, the director gets the credit and the writer started the process on his own, but every film is the result of dozens if not hundreds of people coming together with their individual skillsets and combining them into art. Kudos to Little White Lies for singing out one of the less-heralded cogs in the filmic machine, and big props to Martin for keeping the hands-on approach to VFX alive.

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