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  We spoke to Jon Fuller when LMC first opened and he had dreams of making it big in the FX world.  Well, as you well know, any exposure on LMC is monumental to a career :-).  Well, not really, but it makes for a good story.  Anyway, Jon did strike gold with his sculpting talent, tenacity and some good words from some close friends and landed a job with Almost Human on a few popular TV shows.  Jon's story is the stuff inspiring FX artists dream of.  We wanted to catch up with him and find out how his life has changed these last 8 or so months and to give you a glimpse of life at the sculpting table.
   

LMC: How did you manage to land a job sculpting?

JF: Well, I must say I was lucky to land my first job as a sculptor.  From what I understand, it is very difficult to start out as a sculptor. So I am very grateful for that.

I attended the Make-Up Artist Trade Show last year. During my time visiting with Dick Smith I met Rob Hall of Almost Human. Lee Romaire happened to already be over there working, so when I returned home I E-mailed Rob. With many E-mails and help from Lee I was soon offered a job. So, it was time to make that decision;  Pack up and leave everything behind or wait till I could move to L.A. I think everyone knows this answer. With a couple phone calls I found myself quitting my job and sleeping on my girlfriend’s brother's floor the very next day.

LMC: Did it take a lot of convincing to get the job or did your past work speak for itself?

JF: I would like to think my work speaks for itself. However, the day I met with Rob at the trade show I drew quite a crowd, thanks from the kind words from Dick Smith (Which to this day I keep to myself). I think it was on the 3rd or 4th E-mail I got the word.

 

LMC: Do you think Lee’s confidence in you helped to sway Rob’s decision.

JF: Yes. I think it did help in some way. Having the talent Lee has and having him put in a good word for me…Yes, I think that would sway someone’s decision.

LMC: What show did you start working on?

JF: The first show I started on was Angel, then Buffy and Miracles

LMC: Any favorites of the three?

JF: I can’t say there was. I was just happy to be working in the biz. When a cool design came around it made it exciting to interpret that in clay.

 

LMC: If there are other artists out of work, why do you think Almost Human hired you with no professional experience?

JF: They saw a new guy with promise, some potential . Maybe I was at the right place at the right time. Plus I was cheap. Wow ! That sounded wrong…….

LMC: Which other artists did you work with?

JF: Since I was hired on a sculptor I will mention the other sculptors.  I had the pleasure of working with my friend Lee Romaire and Mark Alfrey

LMC: Are there any other sculptors you would really like to work with?

JF: Not to answer this question in a round about way. But, the easiest way I could answer this would be to say. I look forward to working with other sculptors that are better then me. It drives you to be better and it is so inspiring to see what they can do. There are so many out there that I admire. I would hate to miss anyone trying to name them all.

LMC: Did they help you out?  Give you any advice?

JF: I have known Lee for a few years now and he has always been there to answer any questions I had and offer advice. Being the new guy I was made aware of my place in the work field.

LMC: How is the work environment between sculptors?  Is there any sense of competitiveness since jobs are more scarce?

JF: Well, I hate to use the word competitiveness. I am not here to compete with anyone. I do not receive a prize at the end of each day. I do feel that the new guys are looked upon as threatening. We are not jaded by the industry yet. We are still very excited about this and we are a lot cheaper.

LMC: How did you feel the first day on the job?

JF: This was a fun day. I had to leave from San Diego and drive almost 3 hours for my first day on the job. Needless to say I had a few hours to ask myself,  “What! In the hell are you doing”!  With lack of sleep and that wonderful feeling like I would puke at any minute made for a very long drive. I get there and come to find out there was a miscommunication on when I was supposed to be there. So, I was over an hour late on my first day. As I walk in you get this odd feeling that everyone is staring at the new guy. Yup! They are.

I make my way into the “Sculpting Room “ to meet the other sculptors and get acquainted with my sculpting table. Since I knew Lee and he was familiar with my work I was o.k., but to sit next to Mark Alfrey on the first day was enough to make one cry.

“ Here you go Jon.  We need you to sculpt full arm appliances by the end of the day” 

Holy Crap! What !!!. So I gathered myself, took a deep breath and started sculpting.

Two days later I was done ; )   

LMC: Did you feel you really had to Wow them at the start?  Was the attitude from your boss “show me what you got”?   

JF: For me I had to Wow everyone. I wanted to show them that there is a reason why I am here right now. I never did get a vibe that I was being looked at to see if what I had in  pictures is what they were going to get. I knew what I could do. I gave it my best and they liked it.   

LMC: Talk about sculpting for a studio as opposed to sculpting for yourself.

JF: Leave everything at the door. You need to remind yourself that you are creating someone else’s design whether you like it or not. It is not quite as gratifying as doing personal work, from an artist’s point of view. As you can see with these pics I was the Hand and Feet guy.

LMC: Is the pay what you expected?

JF: I did not know what to expect. I really did not know what I was worth or what I should be asking being new and not having professional experience. Now, being in the industry I look at it this way. We provide a service. We the artist, bring what the Producers want to life. I think that is worth something, and depending on your skill level could be worth A LOT. One other aspect is how quickly one can be out of a job and needs some extra money to get by till they land that next job. Trust me, living paycheck to paycheck will not work out for you in this industry.

LMC: So, is there a large disparity between pay for the new guys as opposed to the sculpting titans?

JF: I have not been around long enough to know what the Big Boys make. Plus I have only been at one shop. I do know Steve Wang makes a lot more, but one has to keep in mind that no matter how much you make, you have months off. The most money comes when you can go on set to puppeteer or apply makeup and the hours go into overtime, or if you run the show and own your own shop.

LMC: Do you have any neat stories to tell in the short time you've been working at it?

JF: No pun intended with this question? Short Time! Ha ha ha. It was pretty neat to go to set for the first time (lead in to the next question). Standing there with this Demon body I slapped together with the help of some guys at the shop, and watching how it was all done from behind the camera. There was this time at Band Camp………:-)

During one week the shop had News crews there doing some stuff with Rob. As they went around the shop this one day to get candid shots of a work day, I happened to be sculpting these Huge Boobies. A friend of Robs was going to be the girl from 13 Ghosts. So I got to sculpt these massive Cut-Up Boobies. One more time Boobies…o.k.

As they came around to my table the only thing I could do was grab these (sorry) Boobies.

So here is a guy being filmed holding onto these huge…..ha ha ha  clay BOOBIES beat red from embarrassment . That was neato…

LMC: Any high pressure situations?

JF: Everyday seemed high-pressured. Getting a sculpture done in a day and not having time to mess up or refine this wrinkle or make this form just a bit better. That day on set, that was high-pressured. Especially since it was my first time, and then to be left there alone. I was a real (pardon me) Pussy! I even called the shop and asked if anyone could come down there. I will regret saying this I am sure. Laugh it up. Trial by fire I suppose. I did not burn too bad, so I guess it was O.K.

LMC: Where you required to do anything on set to the makeup?

JF: Nope. You need to be part of the union to do that kind of thing. I just had to help get the body on set and dress it. Bloody it up and stuff.



 

 

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