Father's Flicks
Movie Reviews
Film Links
About Us
Contact Us
Nathan Franson, Special Effects Makeup Artist
Nathan Franson
   Special Effects Make-up Artist
Nathan's effects for "Firefly"

Where did you grow up?  Born in Alaska, but grew up in Salt Lake City, Utah

Where did you receive your training?  I attended the Art Institute of Pittsburgh from 1991-92, but never finished.  Most of my training came from hands-on experience.  I met a lot of really good artists at the Art Institute and studied under some great talents in the industry such as Jerry Gergely and Greg Funk, and occasionally Tom Savini.

Where are you currently based out of? Los Angeles

What are your future projects?  I currently teach a series of classes on Special Makeup FX at Los Angeles City College.  It's a smaller scale than some of the big makeup schools,  but my focus is to teach some of the fundamentals to those who can't afford thousands on big elaborate makeup schools. 

Make-up effects for "Van Helsing"

Nathan Franson IMDb Filmography

Answer This?
Q & A with Mr.Franson

Film Addiction: How did you get started in this industry? 
Nathan Franson:Most makeup fx artists I talk to basically share the same background in that we loved reading magazines like Fangoria and Starlog and others like it.  I would buy up all the books and videos and torture my friends and family with it while studying the old Universal monster movies, Planet of the Apes, and a huge array of horror and sci-fi films. I attended the Art Institute of Pittsburgh back in 1991 and never finished, but met some great people and learned what I needed to get me to the next level.  From there it was just working on low budget projects, theater, and so on.
FA: What sources do you pull from for character make-up? ( Do you create your own prosthetic makeup or are they produced elsewhere?) 
NF:It depends. I'll make them myself if I can.  Often I'll call on other artists to make them if I don't have time. 
FA: You do a wide arrange of makeup effects (gore, old age, etc.) which do you enjoy the most? Why? 
NF:I love character makeup  (Creature, Old age, "Fat", Fantasy, etc.).  Those are the makeups that I really feel represent the craft well in that there's always room for new and unique characters.  I love making someone look different, no matter how subtle or how intense.
Creature effects from Buffy The Vampire Slayer
FA: I noticed you worked on "The Passion". What effects did you supply for that film? 
NF:There was a crew of us working at Captive Audience who made all the gore effects you see on Christ.

FA: What techniques were used to create such a realism in The Passion? 


NF:We used a really cool technique developed by an artist named Christian Tinsley, who has such a great mind for this business.  Unfortunately, I can't go into detail about it, but each lashing you see is a separate appliance.  How many were working on Jim Caviezel at one time?  Not sure, there were a few people though.  I wish I could take the credit, but there was an L.A. crew and a crew which traveled to Italy for the filming of it.  I was not on set.


FA: How long did the makeup effects take to apply to Jim Caviezel? (Taking the final scenes for example, where you see extensive flesh wounds) ?


NF:A few hours.

Creature effect from the tv series Angel

FA:I just finished ready about some of the production of Van Helsing in Entertainment Weekly, What can you tell me about the effects you worked on for that film? 


NF: I worked extensively as a Special Effects Technician  on the Frankenstein character.  The only thing I can really tell you at this point is that he looks amazing, sort of a bio-mechanical look.  I also worked on some of the appliances for the vampires and "bat" pods.  There were some other stuff we created for it which I believe they ended up scrapping.  It's too bad, as some of it was pretty neat. 


FA:Have you ever entertained the thought of making your own film? Especially one that highlights your makeup effects? 


Nf:I'm not a director, though you never say never.  I've tried producing, but hate all the legwork and headaches that come with it.  I'm very happy just seeing my work up on screen.  To me, that's the payoff for all the hard work.  I truly believe that this is the most fun line of work I could ever do.  It's grueling, it's stressful, but there's not anything else I'd rather be doing.  Each job is different and being able to work on set in different places and creating different characters and effects is a thrill.  I'm still a kid when it comes to it all, and I hope it always stays that way.  The whole process of filmmaking is fascinating.


FA: Do you add any digital effects to your final makeup effects or are you finished once principal photography is complete? 


NF: Once a film wraps, that's it for me.  I leave the CGI to the visual effects artists.  It's in their hands and the director's.

Injury Make-up effects from "The Martyr"

FA:(last one I promise!): What materials have been developed in your field since you began your career? (This could also include makeup styles) 


NF:Every year there seems to be something that comes along which causes a lot of people to jump on the bandwagon.  However, if you look closer, it's usually just turning a barrel upside down and slapping a new label on it.  I'm open to trying new products, but I come from the old school of makeup effects.  Rick Baker still used foam latex for Grinch and Planet of the Apes and made it look untouchable.  But every now and again there comes a new technique or product which jumps out.  Silicone has really come a long way in the last 10 years.  And there have been a few adhesives and removers which I use quite frequently.