How did you come to work on Code Black?
I came into Code Black as a result of working with executive producer and creator, Michael Seitzman. A few months before Code Black, Michael told me of two upcoming pilot pitches he had made to CBS, one of them being Code Black. I had worked quite a bit on ER back in the day. On Lost I had done a lot of in the field surgical procedures. Over the course of my career, I just happened to be exposed to a lot of those kinds of effects and one of my mentors, Tom Burman, had shared a lot of his insight with me. Once we started prepping the pilot, I could see from the script that Code Black was going to be an exceptional challenge with a prime focus on very realistic medical makeup effects. This was going to be ER on steroids!
How many FX versus straight makeup artists does your team consist of?
On the pilot, we had a team of six makeup artists including myself. I hired everyone according to their compatibility and versatility, and had the thought of assembling a kind of dream team in the event we went into a series. I expect everyone to be good beauty artists as well as have the basic out of kit casualty and distress skills. I also need artists with heavier prosthetic experience. Since I’m usually the one who operates the blood pumps and rigs, I quickly realized that I had to designate specific artists for certain actors. My original key, Trent Cotner, took over my other two shows (Longmire and Bosch) so I brought in long-time friend, Peter Montagna. He has a great combination of all makeup skills from beauty to prosthetics. And he was highly influenced, as was I, by makeup master, Dick Smith. I then designated Perri Sorel to run the second makeup trailer and all the daily background players, aided by guest artists, Cary Ayers, Thomas Floutz and Ed French, as needed. Kristy Horiuchi and Judy Yonemoto round out my team by taking care of specific actors and sharing the day-to-day continuity books and supply stocking. We all juggle the guest players based on the individual workload.
What types of blood products do you use and how do you determine the right texture and color? >> Get the answer to this and the entire interview with Steve LaPorte in the Spring 2016 Issue.