The movie, Swiri, was a pyrotechnic
phenomenon that declared the beginning of Korea’s blockbuster movie
succession. Thanks to special effects make-up, Swiri became a blockbuster
movie. Yea Reang Yoon, director of the Yu Young Special Effects Makeup Academy
was in charge of the special effects make-up for the movie. Yea Reang Yoon is a
graduate of the Theatre and Film Department at Chung-Ang University (CAU). She
is also the most famous special effects make-up artist in Korea. One rainy day,
the Chung-Ang Herald (CAH) stepped out to hear her story.
of special make-up artist to her…..
I feel that the charm of special effects
make-up is not to follow existing work, but to create new discernible works. For
example, I was the first to show a scene using special effects make-up, where
there is the cutting off of a head or arms, pulling out the liver from a human
body and a corpse to the Korean cinema audience. Like this, the special effects
make-up is meant to deceive audiences into believing that the special effects
make-up is real. In addition, the special effects make-up induces people to
concentrate on the movie. Most audiences remember the impressive scenes, where
the special effects make-up was used in a movie scene. People show a tendency to
remember visually shocking scenes, such as the one, where the actor, Shin
Hyun-jun, was stabbed with a sword in the movie, The Gingko Bed. When people
remember these scenes, I feel my work is worthwhile. But, things are not always
fruitful in the special effects make-up artist’s life. During the special
effects make-up process, there are problems, which can not be solved by human
power alone. The work needs physical time. One example is when there is an
episode that needs an artificial corpse. Generally, it takes about or more than
10 days to make an artificial corpse. But, the movie production manager
pronounces that the movie’s scene with the corpse should be shot the day after
tomorrow. Then I feel confused because I cannot control the physical time. I get
upset because I can not make the scene better despite our capability, because of
the lack of time. This point really makes me depressed in my career.
To make more real…..
I endeavor to
produce more realistic special effects in various ways. Because of the Korean
education system since childhood, Korean artists and staff are shortsighted
about a sense of design and creating ideas. So, in my case, I have to
independently investigate the job’s assignment in various ways. Now, let’s
assume that I have to make a monster. I have to ask some questions of myself
such as ‘where does the monster live?’, ‘what does the monster eat’, ‘how does
the monster breathe?’ and others. For instance, I made the monster in the movie
Ghost in Love. I had to describe the monster ‘Saek-ma’ - the monster ghost,
which rapes other ghosts. When I did the special effects make-up for this
monster, I focused on disgust rather than horror although the monster was a
ghost. I found the disgusting materials by looking around. Or I went to a
Buddhist Temple, and found materials by looking for a picture of Buddha, which
hung on the wall and the four heavenly guardians of Buddhism. Also, ordinary
animals and plants, which people regard as disgusting, can be useful materials
for special effects. There are many ideas that I can gather, such as the tail of
a pig, scales on a snake, sticky liquids, and others. After this collection, I
start to design an image by detaching and combining, these collected materials
with each other. Several designs may seem childish at first. However, as the
development process goes on the image proceeds, and the image become appears
more and more. I get ideas from dramatic things around me. For this reason, it
is very important to form a habit of observing everything around you carefully.
Also, seeing real things is very important to special effects make-up artists,
too. If I want to make an artificial corpse, I need to see a real corpse.
Similarly, if I make a face with pulled out eye balls, I should observe real eye
balls. Another endeavor to make real special effects makeup is by attending
various seminars. If a new movie is released, the seminar about the movie and
the techniques used in the movie is held. Since new techniques and materials
appear and develop almost daily, I attend almost every seminar held each year. I
think that experience of seeing new techniques and transforming the techniques
into our own is part of being creative, and is very significant in future
relation with famous make-up artist-Gil Mosko and Dick
Frankly, I have not studied formally
with a famous special effects make-up artist. First, there was Gil Mosko, who is
a famous special effects make-up artist and won an Emmy Award three times. I
visited him with no specific objective in mind, and asked him to accept me as a
pupil, which seemed pretty impossible. The reason why I wanted to make him my
teacher was that I wanted to see how his work developed on the spot. It was
impossible to see a professional’s work in school or University at that time.
So, I had to visit him with no definite objective. Whereas most professionals
would reject such meetings, he accepted me as his mentee without difficulty. At
that time, he wondered why I changed my job from actress to special effects
make-up artist. Americans have a tendency to consider people’s careers as movie
stars to be like those, who have made his or her mark by landing a leading role.
So, he could not understand my interest and offer to be his mentee at first due
to my already established career as a movie star.
was Dick Smith. He is well-known for his art and he was named ‘the god of
special effects make-up’. Americans give him standing ovations, when he appears.
I contacted him through Gil Mosko’s help. While I took work for several movies
in Korea, Gil Mosko informed me that Dick Smith would hold a seminar in New
York. As soon as I received the information, I departed from my work place to go
to the airport with money, passport, flight ticket, and wearing just sleeper
owing to the importance of meeting him. So, I met him first at a New York
seminar. Since then, we are keeping up our relationship.
why I quit being a movie star…..
At first, I entered the Theatre and Film Department not
because I wish to become a movie star, but just because I wished to become a
professor, who teaches acting. Then, I could be selected for a movie star role
accidentally, and be thankful to the recommendations of my professors. But, I
wanted to study acting, deeply. So, I determined to go abroad and study in the
U.S. Although I went to U.S after graduation, it was hard to compete with
foreigners. I could not do my emotional performances well, because of a lack of
communication competence. So, many professors held me back from letting me major
in acting and suggested changing my major. After all, I had passed all my
examinations so far, which was related to the job, so I felt I could still show
my promise by continuing to do well on the tests. In the vortex of the
examinations, I accidentally came in contact with special effects make-up
artists. In conclusion, I selected this job because of my possibility and its
I was a
Chung-Ang University student who was…..
When I was a student of the Theatre
and Film Department, I showed a peculiar talent from other companies. In my
thinking, a strong desire must have made me capable of accomplishing my goals.
For example, the professor used to give assignments to find plays or dramas. I
found several works, in which I could play a leading role very well. After
opening a course, I could get leading roles as opposed to other students, who
did not read any books. I had already memorized all the professor’s speeches,
including those of others, while I prepared for auditions. As a result, I could
have taken all the leading roles for 4 years with the exception of my own
pieces. Like this, I was a very greedy student towards acting and always wanted
to be perfect.
University to me and to my juniors…..
If I could select the best choice of
my experiences, it would be to re-enter the Theatre and Film Department of CAU.
Sometimes, someone would ask me, “Which University did you graduate from?” I
then answered confidently, Chung-Ang University. One of the reasons why I have
pride in this is due to my relationships including those of my boastful seniors.
During my time as a student and movie star, many seniors such as directors,
producers were a great help in many ways. However, the life of a special effects
make-up artist was an exception. I had never asked for help from my seniors I
achieved success in this field on my own, because I thought it was not a good
manner toward them. Moreover, I thought if I asked for my seniors help after I
succeed, I and the seniors are not ashamed of helping each other. Now I am
giving a lot of support to many of my seniors and juniors. And every time, I
felt the pride of my University. Moreover the relationships at CAU are more firm
than other Universities. Exaggeratingly, the cinema office of Director Kang
Je-gyu, Graduate School of Theatre and Film Department at CAU, almost consists
of graduates of CAU. < 저작권자 © 중앙헤럴드 무단전재 및 재배포금지 >
Maybe all seniors are proud of
being graduates from CAU. To raise the reputation of CAU may be a senior’s role.
But, I request juniors to do their best for CAU, too. After graduation, please
become a useful person, who takes a leading role for society and CAU. I want to
tell juniors to have pride and hope toward CAU. Thank