Friday, May 18, 2007


EDITORIAL CONTACT: Gina Logue, 615-898-5081

One-Day Workshop Gives Youngsters Peek into How Hollywood “Plays Dead”

(MURFREESBORO) – Kids will be able to see for themselves how Hollywood creates the blood and gore of severed limbs and other gross stuff in a Special Effects Makeup Workshop from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, May 19, in Room 120 of the Boutwell Dramatic Arts Building.
Lori Gann-Smith, an assistant professor of speech and theatre at MTSU, will teach youngsters ages 10-18 how to cast and mold body parts and how to decorate them to indicate bruises, abrasions and other injuries for the most realistic possible look.
“They’re going to be taking home a severed finger,” Gann-Smith says. “They’ll be making a cast of their own finger and part of the hand” with foamed gelatin. The fake finger will deteriorate after a few days, but the kids will be given photographs to preserve an image of their work.
Gann-Smith says the youngsters will be using materials that actually are used in the film and theatre industry, and they will be given a list of the materials in case they want to create their own makeup designs.
“You can order pretty much anything you need off the Internet,” Gann-Smith says.
The materials are safe and non-toxic, Gann-Smith says, because the film and theatre industry takes its cue from the medical industry’s creation of prostheses and other functional and cosmetic devices.
Gann-Smith has worked in educational and professional theatre, as well as film and video, for the past 18 years. She has designed costumes and makeup for a number of producing organizations and repertory theatre. Her designs for the Nashville Shakespeare Festival’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream won a Tennessean Theatre Award for Best Costume Design.
“We teach a special effects makeup class, and I believe we’re the only institution in the Southeast that teaches such a class,” Gann-Smith says. In fact, she says, some of her students might be available to help with the workshop.
However, although she is teaching that class at MTSU this semester, the class is not available during the regular school year because it requires the scheduling of consecutive class dates for a period of time, she says.
The cost of the workshop is $50 with all proceeds benefiting the Youth Culture and Arts Center, which is dedicated to providing “a safe and positive atmosphere for young people to create and experience the arts. The YCAC will help build character in our youth by providing positive role models and access to the tools and technology used in various art disciplines,” states its Web site, YCAC is a program of Youth Empowerment through Arts and Humanities (YEAH), a 501 ( c ) 3 nonprofit organization.
To register, send an e-mail to, or call 615-849-8140.


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