You say contusion, I say penetrating head trauma.

Earlier this week I worked on a television series and encountered a little bit of a snag when creating a simple head wound. I had to match a wound that had already been shot for an earlier scene. Piece of cake! Or maybe not….

The first challenge was using materials that would easily wash out of hair. No prosthetic piece was created, and the convincing deep wound had to sit on the scalp. Most scar materials, including vinyl and silicone, would have been a nightmare to remove from our victim’s hair. Here’s how it broke down…

STEP ONE: Gafquat, a hair spray concentrate, built up in the shape of hole from a hammer on side of head.

STEP TWO: Painting prime red base color from TEMPTU PRO Dura Trauma Palette with a small brush, followed by stippling of yellow, bruise, and blood red with a sponge.

STEP THREE: Finally, I added a bit of My Blood brand gel blood in H.D. color with a small spatula to the center “hole”.

After that it was off to set. But there was another challenge…

The wound matched what was shot earlier, but the director wanted something entirely different. What was more of a puncture had to be redone as a contusion or severe bruise. Luckily, cleanup was easy, and I used a lesser amount of Gafquat, relying more on bruising color than texture and depth for our injured scalp.

Lesson From The Front: Keep calm under pressure, deliver necessary adjustments to the best of your ability, and remember director has final say.

Less is often more!

– Brian Kinney, Guest Blogger & Special Makeup FX artist working in Hollywood behind the scenes on CSI: NYBand of Brothers, and Vampire Killers among others


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