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Interview with Spanish FX duo - Soma Estudio
‘WE TURN FICTION INTO REALITY’
Interview by Henry Gomez
Q1. In your own words, please explain what you do?
We turn fiction into reality. Our job is based on transforming actors physically according to the different demands of each project. We work on different fields on the transformation, such as make up, hair pieces creation and design, character design, sculpture, special effects, etc.
Q2. What was it that got you interested in Special make up FX?
We felt attracted to the fact of bringing fantastical characters into reality, as monsters or aliens, and of making blood special effects. Of course, something that made us even more interested on this were the genre films which we grew up with.
Q3. Where you a confident student?
We have the same opinion on this matter. Both have always had very clear goals and we have enjoyed learning a lot. Sometimes you have to work hard to learn certain techniques, but when you enjoy what you do, it is way less harder.
Q4. What courses would you recommend to an aspiring Special make up FX artist?
The key to get a good training on this field is not looking for the right school, but looking for the right professionals. Schools sometimes do not provide a complete training and might be quite expensive sometimes. Therefore, we recommend the aspiring Special Effects and FX artists the possibility to train at many different places and to always check where the good specialists are.
Q5. After you finished studying, did you ever work as an apprentice?
If so, how did you go about doing this and is the opportunity the same today as it was when you were looking?
None of us had the oportunity to start as an apprentice, which is something that we would have liked to do and, indeed we are always trying to get the oportunity to meet professionals with a longer career to learn from them. We believe that one of the best ways to learn is as an apprentice on a studio.
Q6. Would you ever be willing to take on an apprentice and if so, what would you say is the best quality or skill you could teach them?
We still do not consider we have enough knowledge or the volume of work to need take some apprenntices. For now, we count with colaborators who contribute to our work with their art. On the other hand, we both are teachers on different schools and academies, and we always try to offer teaching pratise with us to our most outstanding students.
Q7. It is a sad and common affair that many talented artists have to face. When an artist spends his or her youth studying and loving art at school and college but end up working in jobs (not careers) that they hold no passion for.
Have you ever come close to throwing in the towel and if so, what was it that kept you motivated and remain inspired and optimistic?
We believe that when you really want something in life, anything, you have to fight for it. It is true that it is difficult sometimes and you sometimes do not get to the goals you had established for yourself. However, that is not a reason to throw in the towel. Everytime you “fail” on a business you do not have to think about it as a failure, but as knowledge acquisition. We also believe that everyone should ask himself what kind of job they would like to do in life, putting the money apart from it. That is the best thing you can do to take the best of yourself and be able to be happy with your job, which is actually something in what we have to spend most our time.
Q8. If you could ask anyone for advice;
Who would you have like to ask?
What would you like to ask?
What would your answer be if asked the same question?
If I had a chance to meet the “big ones” of this proffession, I would love to ask many professionals such as Rick Baker, Tom Woodruff Jr, Mark Setrakiam, Ray Harryhausen…!
We have always thought that when you have a proffesional goal, the best thing to do is to focus on any other proffessional that reached that goal before and then try to find out how he did it.
Q9. If your children wanted to follow in your footsteps, what advice would you give them?
Above all, we would advise to always look for the field where they feel more comfortable in and the one they like the most. The best thing to do is to get a wide base on the studies, general culture about different areas, such as history, cinema, anatomy, physics, chemistry, etc. All these are really important to complete the base for any artistic job on the audiovisual sector. Concerning the treatment with agencies, technicians or artist, some of the most important things to have in mind is working in groups, respecting the work of the other colleagues and knowing which are your responsibilities on the job you have. These are the biggest qualities to express your professionalism.
Q10. Working hard and pushing yourself is undoubtedly the most important thing an artist can do. As a young company, what would you say are some of the vital steps and choices to take that got Somae Studio to where it is today?
For us, one of the most important decissions we have taken proffesionally speaking is to associate to create our own business. Being a specialist is really important on this profession, and each of us is specialized on different ranges on this field, which allow us complement each other and solve the projects more efficiently. Two heads always think better than just one. Another wise choise was never fearing the new challenges that might appear on the way. We for sure have many steps on our path, but when you are hard-working and persevering, you can get it all.
Q11. What steps are taken to make sure you get the job that everyone else wants?
For example, how do you present your work when going for the interview?
We always try to offer solutions and not create any troubles. The issues and difficulties that might appear on a project are solved in private to offer a professional and secured image of our business. On our opinion, the most important thing is to give results, since that is what our clients are looking for: real results, efficient solutions, sincere advise, realistic quotes and solutions in accordance with the dimensions of the projects offered. We front our enterviews as close and sure about ourselves as possible.
Q12. What is the highest budget job Somae Studios have worked on? And what was that experience like?
The most important works by now are the ones we are managing right now. This year is going to be great as per the perspectives indicate so. It is true that both have managed different interesting projects separatedly, but not until now we had had the opportunity to do so as a company.
Q13. What has been the public’s most popular piece to date and why would you say this is?
One of our most popular projects has been the personal project for the premiere in Spain for The Hobbit. We made a version of the dwarf Gloin, which had a great welcome. We ourselves financed it and made it on a very limited time, so we are really proud of the result.
Q14. What is your own favorite piece to date, and why?
As we are two different persons, each of us has her own preferences. We still work with very limited budget, and we are just waiting for our opportunity to work with great budgets that allow us to work on the best conditions… and it seems this year we will finally have the chance.
Q15. Are there any exciting creatures etc coming up that you can tell us about??
This year we have started a personal project in which we are working hard and with much illusion: a very elaborated serial of pictures (with art, atrezzo, dressing) of fantastic creatures. The idea is to recreate and transmit the beauty of the grotesque. For that, we are looking for models with different and rare physiognomies., We try to make a first edition of 5 prints: a composition of fairies, a fat and big satyr, Brian Froud style’s goblins, a “Weeping woman” (the woman on the marsh on traditional legends) and a siren.
Q16. Share with us your proudest moment in your career so far?
We are very excited about the project that we will manage in South America in 2016. It is the biggest project we have ever participated so far, with really big responsibilities, but we are just so looking forward to it, since we are expecting it to be a great experience and a good way to keep on learning.