Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Clairemont Monster Maker Monica Wall

Monica Wall
If you see an otherwise normal, pretty young woman in Clairemont with stripes of black, grey and sickly green on her arms and what looks like smeared blood on her clothing you may have run into Monica Wall. This time of year Monica is truly in touch with her inner Clairemonster as she spends her evenings creating ghouls, vampires and the other scary creatures that roam the Haunted Trail in Balboa Park.

Making a vampire
Makeup Design Ideas
Monica, who grew up and still lives in Clairemont has a degree in theater and it was in college she learned how to do special effects makeup. She got the job at the Haunted Trail by applying for it, and she’s a veteran of a couple years now with the show.  The money isn’t great, but she loves the camaraderie. “Everyone is here really to just have fun, and I love that,” Monica explained.

There’s a cast of 45 actors and each night Monica and her colleagues convert them from humans to beasties in about an hour or so.  They work in a small office trailer crowded with makeup, paint and people. The walls hold ideas for makeup designs, showing the basics of creating a vampire or zombie. The artists are encouraged to put their own touch on their ghouls as well. “I love how I get to express my creativity here,” says Monica.

In the interest of efficiency, they work on a kind of assembly line; one person will use the airbrush to put a base color on a zombie’s face hands and other exposed skin. Monica wields it with confidence, spraying a line of each color down her forearm to check it before covering the actor. “Zombies are very veiny,” she explains as she draws dark blue lines with the airbrush down the arms of an actor.

 After airbrush the actors move on to have other makeup or fake wounds applied. Everyone is joking around and smiling, which looks strange on a person with green skin and what looks like a serious knife injury in their head.  The boss sticks his head in to ask how everyone is feeling tonight, and there’s a line of actors waiting for makeup outside the trailer.  Monica is in her element: she’s loved theater since middle school at Kroc and discovered how fun behind the scenes work was at Madison.

Monica Wall
The Haunted Trail isn’t her only job; she can also be found serving craft beer at Helm’s Brewery’s tasting room in Kearny Mesa, and assisting customers at the Trader Joe’s in PB.  Clearly, this Clairemonter likes to be busy.

If you are brave enough to walk the Haunted Trail, remember when you are scared by a zombie that he may just have been created by a nice girl who lives right in your neighborhood!

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