TAEM interview with props and makeup artist Lisa Hansell

Lisa and Courtney

Lisa with Courtney Peldon as Shree in Star Trek Renegades

TAEM- The Arts and Entertainment Magazine knows that there are many facets to the movie making industry and it is not only actors that make a movie great, but also those behind the camera who help create the illusions and scenes that are made for it. One such team of professionals within the movie’s crew consists of those artists responsible for props and makeup.

   We have been recently interviewing the actors and music composer for the movie production Nobility and have decided to probe behind the cameras and reveal the inner working of the project for our readers. We turned our attention to ImpaQt FX , a highly skilled component for the film. This company is headed by Lisa Hansell and her husband Tim Vittetoe. We caught up with Lisa and asked her for an interview with us.

   Lisa, please tell our readers how your company started and of the skills both you and Tim possess.

Lisa and Tim

Lisa Hansell and Tim Vittetoe of ImpaQt FX

LH- Tim and I co-founded ImpaQt FX as an evolution of the business Tim had begun in special effects makeup and custom props over 25 years ago in the Seattle area. Our current company has more well-rounded offerings in that I bring beauty makeup to the table as well as being adept at special effects, which makes us much more marketable for production companies. Tim holds an Engineering degree which he puts to good use in creating props, electronics, animatronics, etc., as needed. He is also the sculptor and prosthetics fabricator able to make any design or concept for a character a reality.

TAEM- Please tell us about some of the well known corporate names that your company has created work for.

LH- We have created custom props and prosthetic pieces for companies such as Microsoft, Nintendo, IKEA, MTV, Royal Caribbean, NBC Universal, Virgin Atlantic and Walt Disney.

TAEM- What were some of the earlier productions that you worked on?

LH- Early on, Tim was makeup supervisor on an independent Star Trek film called “Star Trek: of Gods and Men” which starred many of the original Star Trek cast reprising their roles. Then there was “Missing Girl: the Carrie Burke Story” which was Audience Favorite at the New York Film Festival. “Snow Day Bloody Snow Day” and “The last Stand” were some very early horror films that were quite challenging and fun, especially creating the illusion that a video game controller was used to kill a zombie.

Six Gun Savior

Lisa on the set of “Six Gun Savior” with Martin Kove. Makeup by Lisa Hansell. Photo by Oscar Benjamin

TAEM- I understand that Tim worked closely in the past [on independent] Star Trek [productions]. Tell us about this and the [projects] that you worked on.

LH-(*Note* we have worked with independent studios on unlicensed Star Trek productions only) We lead the makeup department on “Star Trek Renegades,” which is now in post-production, starring Adrienne Wilkinson, Sean Young, Robert Picardo, Walter Koenig and Tim Russ. This was a huge undertaking. It has a cast of 61 and 15 actors in complicated prosthetic makeup. At one point we supervised 15 makeup artists in 2 makeup rooms! For Renegades, we created a brand new alien species called the Syphon which took 5 hours in the makeup chair each day! Look for it in spring 2015 from Renegade Studios.

We co-produce and supervise hair and makeup for the web series “Star Trek Continues” (Far From Home Productions), which won Best New Media at the 2014 Burbank Int’l Film Festival and Best Web Series at the 2014 Geekie Awards. Some of our guest stars have included Lou Ferrigno, Erin Gray, Jamie Bamber, Daniel Logan, Michael Forest, Marina Sirtis and Michael Dorn. We got to paint Lou Ferrigno green once again for his role as Zaminhon the Orion slave trader. What an honor!

We are also working on the star-studded “Star Trek Axanar” now in pre-production as well as “Star Trek Horizon.” We have a great love for science fiction and are drawn to the genre.

TAEM- Describe your present work on the series Nobility and what you are responsible for.

LH- I am lead for hair and makeup on Nobility. I was brought on board by writer/producer E.J. DeLaPena in the very early stages for promotional videos and character development. E.J. And I first worked closely together to develop the very striking look of the Eujins. We then collaborated to create each of the looks for the cast as the story evolved. I am responsible for each of the actors’ hair and makeup needs including any twists called for by the script in the form of injuries or other special effects. Our company also created the base design for the larger pistol prop used in Nobility.

TAEM- How do you create the makeup and props and develop them for the set?

Lou Ferrigno as Zaminhon in “Lolani”, Star Trek Continues.

Lou Ferrigno as Zaminhon in “Lolani”, Star Trek Continues.

LH- On reading through the script and making notes regarding each character and each scene that may call for specialized makeup (injuries, etc.), we then meet with the director and the creative team to discuss the needs in each scene and get insight into any nuances that may not have been readily described. The look of each character is then designed and makeup tests are done to ensure that our vision is aligned with that of the director and then any adjustments can be made prior to the start of production. The process for props creation is very similar. The overall look must align with the design of the sets and must be functional for the actors and the story – believable.

TAEM- What responsibilities do you and Tim take on for your company to make it run so successfully ?

LH- Tim does the sculpting, mold making and casting of the prosthetic pieces as well as the CAD designs and fabrication of the props. We are both able to apply prosthetics and other special effects makeup, and I also tackle the beauty (human) makeup as well. I handle the retail aspects of our online sales and the more practical business tasks.

TAEM- We understand that there are a number of other productions that you are working with as well. Can you tell us about them ?

LH- I am working with Black Mast Studios together with Lion Forge Comics on a trans-media, live action series called “Catalyst Prime: Incidentals” wherein a group of ordinary people are affected by a meteorite and begin to develop super powers. I am also working on a Lord of the Rings-type story with a strong female lead called “Journey to Abbadon.” The proof-of-concept short film made for fund raising was accepted this year at the Cannes Film Festival. Tim and I worked together on a major motion picture now in post-production called Six Gun Savior with Eric Roberts and Martin Kove. It’s a supernatural western that was as fun as it was difficult: we made 35 zombies in 2.5 hours in the middle of the desert! We look forward to its release very soon. We are also on board for an amazing gangster vampire series set in the 1950’s directed by Tom Holland (Fright Night, Child’s Play) called “Lords of L.A.” starring Jason Matthew Smith, Maya Tremblay and Drake Bell.

Lisa on duty! Makeup on the set of “Nobility” with Cas Anvar and Torri Higginson

Lisa on duty! Makeup on the set of “Nobility” with Cas Anvar and Torri Higginson

TAEM- We learned that working on films is not your company’s only venue. Tell our readers some of the other aspects of your business.

LH- Many of the custom props our company makes are for advertising agencies and large companies. For IKEA, for example, we made giant furniture pieces that were mounted to the side of billboards creating the illusion that the billboard was the price tag. For Virgin Atlantic, we created huge buckles and straps turning their billboards across the East Coast into over-sized ‘luggage tags.’ Our motto is, “If it doesn’t exist, we’ll create it.”

We have an online retail store that caters to the non-professional makeup enthusiast. We sell prosthetics and makeup application kits geared toward anyone who wants to achieve a movie-quality result.

TAEM- How can movie production companies and advertisers contact you for your services ?

LH- We can be reached through our website at www.propsandmakeup.com where one can view portfolios and demo reels of our makeup and props work. By email: info@peopsandmakeup.com and by phone: 425-260-8949.

TAEM- Lisa, I want to thank you so much for your interview and giving our readership the behind the scenes workings of movie making. I want to wish you, Tim, and ImpaQt FX sincere luck in all your future projects and hope that you will update us on all your endeavors.

   TAEM