Trying to remember how to paint. This was a difficult but necessary exercise. Body structure is totally out of wack. But I feel I’m pretty successful with the colors.
*spoilers* go see the movie.
A friend of mine argues that the Hobbit should have won the Oscar for best makeup. he believes that the degree of technical difficulty of creating the prosthetics should be rewarded with an Oscar. As we all know now, Les Miserables took home that Oscar and neither of us really understood why. After some thought, I believe I have the answer. Makeup, just like every aspect of a film, should serve and support the Story. Makeup must tell a story of a given character. What is that character all about? What has that character gone through? A clean and sharp looking character would tell us that that person is pretty well off and takes care of themselves.
A dirty and unshaven man tells us that this person has gone through hell and has probably been in hell for a really long time.
Hugh Jackman’s character, Valjean is a great example storytelling through makeup. But lets take a look at another character who’s transformed by makeup in dramatic fashion – Anne Hathaway’s Character, “Fontaine”.
Fontaine is a character that goes through a couple of transformations throughout the film. She goes through three main stages:
1. Vibrant and delicate
2. Pale and rough
As you will see, the makeup supports these stages by telling us who Fontaine is and what she has gone through.
1. In Fontaine’s first stage, she is beautiful and vibrant. Her skin is fair and clean; shes dressed in bright blue work clothes and then dressed in a relatively bright pink gown. Her hair falls gently on her face giving us the idea that she is a delicate woman. Though, her hair is messy enough to say that she is a bit overworked. Makeup has done an excellent job telling us that Fontaine is a character full of life yet delicate. However, placing this young and vibrant girl among her worn and dreary coworkers, hints that a jealousy has been brewing in this sweatshop for a long time.
This gives Fontaine’s co worker’s motivation to assault her and eventually get her thrown out of her workplace. Clearly, Fontaine is the only person who did not belong among them. Again, the drastic contrast of makeup work done between Fontaine and her co workers helped created this dynamic of jealousy and hate.
2. Fontaine’s first transformation into her character’s second stage begins when she enters the sketchy neighborhood. She is still vibrant and contrasts heavily with the beggars and prostitutes that surround her. The old beggar is dirty with frizzy hair that hasn’t been tended to in a long time. It is clear that the prostitutes have tried to pretty themselves up with makeup but have done such a bad job with it that it has turned out so unnatural. Again, Fontaine finds herself in a place which she does not belong. However, instead of being thrown out of the dirty neighborhood, this delicate girl is consumed by the place and eventually becomes one of them.
Her transformation seems almost immediate as her hair is chopped off – but we don’t stop there. More and more is taken away from Fontaine until she is left with nothing. She is literally stripped naked of everything she has! Now, lets look at that makeup job.
Her face but is now more of a pale and rough mess. Well… She WAS. I’m guessing they warmed her up just for this shot. Her rosy cheeks suggest that she is quite ill. Her hair no longer falls delicately on her face, rather its all butchered up, sharp and angular. Her makeup job shows the dramatic change of a once beautiful young girl into a torn and broken woman.
Fontaine’s health depletes more and more throughout the film, with the makeup to support it until eventually she dies. I did say there were spoilers in this analysis.
3. Fontaine’s third and final stage is her Angelic stage. After dying, she returns to Valjean in the form of an angelic being. She returns to her formal radiant self… minus the hair of course but at least it is nicely cut and less butchered! Fontaine has been given a heavenly shower and a makeup job that seems only possible by modern makeup techniques.
Angelic makeup = shes an angel… you get it.
So, you see the makeup in Les Miserables does an amazing job of supporting the story. It tells us who these characters are and what they have gone through. It’s not as technically difficult as creating prosthetics in the Hobbit, rather the difficulty is in telling a story through the makeup in a way that is believable and invisible to the audience. I’ve always been taught that in film, if an audience doesn’t notice or question the work you’ve done, then you’re doing something right.
Anyone notice how Javert’s makeup never really changes throughout the film? Even undercover, he has still got that clean and rugged face. Could this also be, in someway supporting the story and his character? He has always accused Valjean of never being able to change. When in fact it was Javert, himself who could not change and give up his mission on hunting down Valjean!
For more Les Mis film analysis, check out Film Crit Hulk’s critique of the film’s cinematography. Here is an excerpt from the article that brings to light how the invisible art of cinematography evokes emotions and conveys important information:
“HULK HAS TALKED ON AND ON ABOUT HOW MUCH SOUND IS “THE ACTUAL VISCERAL EXPERIENCE OF MOVIES,” AND THAT IS VERY MUCH TRUE, BUT THAT STATEMENT IS NOT TO DOWNPLAY THE STUNNING IMPORTANCE OF CINEMATOGRAPHY THAT CONVEYS BOTH INFORMATION AND FEELING TOO. EVERY USE OF ANGLES, SPECIFIC CAMERA, LENS, PROXIMITY AND FRAMING HAS A DIRECT CORRELATION ON HOW THE VIEWER TAKES IN THE INFORMATION. IT IS NOT AN ACCIDENT THAT THEY CALL THE FILM CAMERA “GOD’S EYE” BECAUSE IT’S OUR GATEWAY TO OMNISCIENT EXPERIENCE. AND IT ALL ADDS UP TO ONE VERY SIMPLE NOTION:
I have THIS amazing Kevin Dart Piece hanging on my wall and I can’t get over how beautiful it is! It really makes me want to live in San Francisco one day. The painting below is my attempt at creating the same feeling of attraction towards the city. its no Kevin Dart piece. I really wish he would just come up for a visit one day and see how beautiful this city is. AND MAKE ART OF IT! DO IT, KEVIN!
Your Work VISA
To be allowed to work in the states, you must have a work visa. In order to be approved for a work visa in the states, the company that is hiring you should be willing to sponsor you. This means that the employer will go through the process of filing an application requesting a type of visa for you. Your employer should then send you some paper work along with a letter requesting a work visa. Then, usually you would go to the US embassy in your respected country to receive the Visa but in my case, I had to go straight to US customs at the airport. There, things may get a bit difficult. For Canadians and Mexicans, our work eligibility falls under the NAFTA ACT. Unfortunately, the categories of work are limited in this Act. if you are an artist, the company will try to put you under the ‘Graphic Designer’ category. Now, the border officers will most likely give you a hard time and refuse to grant you the visa. My advice: be patient and respectful. Allow them to call your employer and let them talk it out. If you’re lucky, the border officer will grant you your glorious, glorious work visa!
EDIT: Also, make sure that your passport is updated to ensure that it does not expire too early. Ideally, you want 3 years on your passport.
Your SSN (Social Security Number)
If this is your first time applying for a SSN then this may make things quite difficult. Without a SSN, you cannot get utilities for your apartment, activate a US wireless phone nor can you apply for a US bank account! You usually have to wait 10 days after entering the states before you can apply for a SSN. And even then, you must wait another couple of weeks before the card gets mailed to you. So for a good month, you will not be able to get utilities for your apartment, you will need a roaming plan with your current wireless provider and you will need to hang on to all your paychecks.
After 10 days, head to the nearest Social Security Office. Find the closest one using the Social Security Office Locator.
So what do you do with all those paychecks that you can’t deposit in your non-existent US bank account? I’ve been told that from students from France just had to deal with it. One French student was lucky enough to get the US bank to cash his check for him. Kept it all in a shoebox. The pay checks from Disney do not expire for 6 months, so if you can survive, you can hang on to your checks while you wait for your SSN.
Unless you are coming to Disney for the Summer Associate Training program, you will need to find housing. The Summer Trainees are set up with a Temporary Corporate Housing solution. Disney will also recommend that you stay the same temporary housing and I would recommend the same. Save yourself the hassle and take the place for a month or two. Corporate housing will come fully furnished and include everything like utilities. Apartment hunting can be dangerous around here.
Really, you shouldn’t be allowed to sign a lease with an apartment without a SSN but some will sign you regardless. so BE CAREFUL. I almost singed a lease with an apartment thinking I could just use their transit system to get to work. but guess what? LA’s transit system is practically NON-EXISTENT! Unless you have a car (which… you actually wouldn’t be able to drive for the first month as a SSN is required for a California Driver’s License) it would be best to find housing close to your work place.
I was going to include this as part of Apartment Hunting, but this point deserves it’s own header simply because of how ridiculous it is. That apartment you’re looking into? notice anything missing? uh huh. California seems to be the only state where apartments usually do not include REFRIGERATORS! imagine signing a lease and discovering that empty area in the kitchen where your ice box should be. (almost happened to me). Tenants in California tend to travel with their refrigerators. Or they buy a refrigerator and sell it when they move out. If you’re lucky, you’ll find a place where someone decided to leave their fridge. The newer apartments like the ones in North Hollywood will include a fridge and of course corporate housing will provide them as well.
Derp. thats all i can think of right now. leave a comment if you have any questions!
UPDATE: So I’ve looked into applying for a green card! I’ve discovered that you can throw your name into an annual lottery where the US government grants a whole lot of green cards to individuals who are coming form countries that have low immigration rates. The green card would allow me and my family to permanently work and live in the united states. The deadline for the next applications is this november. unfortunately my parents are from a country that cannot participate in the lottery. my next option is to continue to work for 2 years here in the states. then will i be eligible to apply for a green card. heres the website to apply for the lottery and a description of eligibility requirements: WIN A GREEN CARD