How Do Makeup Artists Transform Faces for TV and Film? This NJ Academy Will Show You

The School of Makeup Effects (SOME) in Totowa teaches everything from color theory to prosthetic application.

A woman transformed into a woodland creature by students at the School of Makeup Effects (SOME) in Totowa
An elaborate look created by students in advanced SOME classes. Photo: Courtesy of School of Makeup Effects

If you’ve ever wondered how an actor transforms into a scary character in your favorite Halloween movie, the School of Makeup Effects (SOME) in Totowa will show you the tricks of the trade. 

At SOME, students who are eager to work in the industry learn everything from the basics of color theory to advanced practices like sculpting, molding and prosthetic application. Students have the chance to practice techniques on real people during hands-on class sessions. The intensive curriculums include classes tailored to varied skill levels for beauty and editorial artistry, master molding and sculpting and more. Each requires hundreds of hours of hands-on practice that may include layering materials to create realistic looks like bruises, burns, and wounds that shoot fake blood.  

They also learn how to cast, mold and sculpt the face, neck, chest, hands and arms to create creatures.

During the month of October, owner Lindsey Novotny has students create prosthetic looks based on their favorite Halloween movies, such as Friday the 13th and Beetlejuice. The school’s Instagram page shares photos of students’ work, with everything from zombies to woodland creatures to creepy clowns.

A creepy zombie prosthetic look done by students at SOME in Totowa

 In October, students create creepy prosthetic looks inspired by their favorite Halloween movies. Photo: Courtesy of School of Makeup Effects

“I really built the curriculum based off of everything I thought I was missing and all the mistakes I made as a makeup artist in television and film,” she says. “You’re running your own business, and it’s a lot more than just doing the makeup.”

Novotny, an Oakland native, is an industry expert. She’s worked in the film and television industry for over 10 years alongside A-list celebrities, and on the sets of network television shows. In addition to makeup and prosthetics, the program also teaches students how to build their businesses and brands, as well as how to pay taxes. 

Novotny and her business partner, Angelica Medina, opened the studio in Totowa in 2016. 

Just in time for spooky season, on October 7, SOME is offering a virtual class on how to create Halloween-ready makeup looks. Registration for the class is $200 and can be done online.

“We go over what you could create that you could get from your local Party City,” Novotny says, adding that many of the teens who attend the virtual Halloween workshop are interested in continuing their education at SOME.

“It’s a good way for us to be able to include our younger audience so they can kind of dabble and play a little bit, too,” Novotny says. 

 Visit to learn more. 

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