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Inside Job

Oscar-Winning Makeup Artist Tami Lane On Working With Actors

Oscar-Winning Makeup Artist Tami Lane On Working With Actors

Tami Lane won an Oscar alongside her mentor Howard Berger for their work on “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.” The makeup artist was nominated again this year for her work on “The Hobbit.”

How did you get into the business of makeup?
I got into a class at my university that was going to Los Angeles to learn about the industry. On that trip, the makeup effects studio we were touring was K.N.B. EFX Group Inc. And that’s when I knew this is what I wanted to do. The “B” in K.N.B. is Howard Berger, and we got on like a house on fire. I started at K.N.B. just cleaning clay out of molds and stuff. I learned all the skills from the ground up.

What’s been your most difficult job?
“The Hobbit.” It’s a logistical nightmare from hell. We had to get 15 main cast members all in prosthetics every day for over 256 shoot days. Also, we were shooting in 48 frames per second rate on these cameras that are so advanced that they see more than the human eye sees. So all the little flubs and cover-ups you’ve gotten away with in the past on film, you can’t get away with anymore. Eleven of the 13 dwarves have prosthetics that are forehead and nose pieces combined, so we had to create their eyebrows. Artists have to put each one of those hairs on, one hair at a time, with a needle, onto the prosthetic. And it’s a new set of eyebrows every day.

What advice do you have for actors when they’re in the makeup chair?
The quieter and more still they are in the chair, the faster we are. So no cell phone conversations, no texting, no iPad, no turning your head and talking to the guy next to you. In fact, we love it when they fall asleep in the chair.

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