GWG’s Felicia Mancini chats with Toronto based Prosthetic Makeup FX artist TENILLE SHOCKEY (JigSaw, Hannibal, Pacific Rim) about her career in the film industry and her biggest obstacles, favourite horror films and her must have items. 


GWG: When did you first start doing make up?

TENILLE: I first started doing makeup in High School.  I was always involved with theatre and acting and even though I always had a main part, one time the Drama teacher said that I had to do everyone’s stage makeup or teach them how to do it for the play.

There also was an awareness group called MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) at school.  They approached me to make a bunch of people look dead who were going to lie in body bags.  This was my first time making people into corpses, not sure why they asked me, maybe because I was the token Goth girl. After graduating I continued with helping local theatres with stage makeup.


GWG: What was it that drew you into the world of FX?

TENILLE: I have always loved art, sculpting, making things with my hands, dark art, and the macabre.  I never really knew FX was an option to do for a living (I grew up in a small town in interior British Columbia).  I had a friend who was working in the film industry and saw prosthetic people on set.  He suggested that I look into it. From then on I knew I had to at least give it a try.

GWG: Do you have a hero or mentor that inspires your work?

TENILLE: As a pre-teen I was very into Salvadore Dali, and I have always loved H.R. Giger, Evan Penny, and a talented artist who started in the FX world, Chet Zar.  Since opening my Instagram I have come across so many FX artists that have blown my mind, the talent that is in every country is amazing, and I would say that every one of them inspires me to work harder and aspire to do better.


 GWG: What is the biggest obstacle you face in your industry?

TENILLE: There are many obstacles, as a lot of people say the film industry isn’t for everyone.  One of the biggest ones I face is that being female in a male dominated industry can make things difficult - it is a very cut throat industry.  A talented friend, Sasha Camacho, said once “You need to have thick skin in this industry, for every person who wants you to succeed there are 10 that want to see you fail.

 GWG: What is the best part about your industry?

TENILLE: The best part would be creating and trying to problem solve. Always trying to figure out a new and better way to make something in the short time we are given. We never make anything the same way twice, so it never gets boring.  And of course building in a shop is awesome where you can listen to whatever you want on the shop speakers, and joke around with no filter.

GWG: What was it like working on JigSaw?

TENILLE: JigSaw was difficult even though MindwarpFX, the company I work for, did the previous 6 Saws, this was my first.  The deadlines were very demanding, unlike anything I have done before.  Usually with feature films you get more time than TV but that wasn’t the case with Jigsaw. The one thing I could always expect was that after any day on set I would be half covered in blood, there was no way around it.


GWG: What are must have items in your kit that you can't live without?

TENILLE: Even if I’m on set with a makeup that had no blood, I always have a small bottle of Blood in my set kit.  This is just in case any other department needs it for any reason, then I’ve got their back.  Easy way to make friends. As for stuff to help me, I love my airbrushes.  Not sure how I did the first few years without them.

Shockey's work on Actress Anna Paquin for NETFLIX' Alias Grace.

Shockey's work on Actress Anna Paquin for NETFLIX' Alias Grace.

 GWG: Do you have any advice for other women out there looking to work in FX/ MKU but don't know where to start?

TENILLE: Play around with material, keep creating, and remember we all had to start somewhere so don’t be hard on yourself.   If you really want to do this, be prepared to give up everything, it eats up your life, and your relationships (friendships included). Make sure you understand, and you can withstand, the long hours - that is the most difficult thing for most people to break past.

GWG: Do you have a favourite set or production you have been a part of?

TENILLE: My favourite production was the Hannibal T.V. series - all 3 seasons.  Everyone was lovely, the actors, the crew, the show runner.  The stuff I got to be a part of making was challenging and a lot of fun to try to achieve under the TV deadline.  Not to mention, I actually enjoyed watching it -the story line and acting is fantastic, and you can’t always say that. Even though you enjoy making the gory prosthetics sometimes the show isn’t something you want to sit through.

NOT JUST GORE: LED Mold & Painting by Tenille Shockey

NOT JUST GORE: LED Mold & Painting by Tenille Shockey

GWG: Do you have a personal favourite film or horror movie you will never get sick of?

TENILLE: All time favourite movie is Natural Born Killers.  But I am huge fan of Japanese and Korean, vengeance/torture/horror movies. Some are so twisted I won’t even watch more than once, but I love anything that can strike a reaction out of me, a few are: Audition , Old Boy, Sympathy for Mr Vengeance, The Host (fun creature movie) and I Saw The Devil.

GWG: Where do you see the future of FX make up and artistry going in the future? 

TENILLE: The industry is always changing with new things happening. About 15 years ago everyone was scared that CGI would take over all the prosthetic/FX work.  It didn’t seem to happen, however we work together a lot to achieve what looks best.  Now things are taking off with 3D printing, which have people talking about that taking over the sculpting process.  The truth is, I have no idea, it can go any direction,  with so many brilliant people figuring out new materials and methods, as long as I keep learning with it I hope I won’t get left behind.


Follow Tenille at @10.shock on Instagram to see behind the scenes photos of her work (WARNING: Spoilers!) or visit her IMBD page to check out a list of her stunning make up and FX work http://www.imdb.com/name/nm3464919/ for more.