16.08.17 by Aneeqah Samsodien
Chclt showcases something fresh on the Journal this week. We highlight and promote creatives in South Africa and provide a platform for people to engage, network, learn and discover new things. We interviewed Chad Waller, founder of Organic Canvas, a company specialising in special effects, creature creations and silicone moulds. Take a step into the reality of fantasy.
Who is Chad Waller?
I’m a JHB boy, happy and extra friendly. My family relocated to the Cape when I was 7. But I stayed happy and extra friendly.
I attended Sweet Valley Primary and matriculated in 2003 from Bergvliet high school.
How did you get into the film industry?
It all started the year after high school when I came across a brochure to do a creative, one week Winter workshop at a local college, City Varsity. We learnt how to make a mask. And my take away from that week was genuinely, “You’re telling me I could do this kind of thing for a living?” Well that was me sold. Hook. Line. Sinker. I enrolled for the following year.
But my hunger to learn and grow was so ferocious that I couldn’t wait to get through first year before hitting the gory stuff. So I enrolled for an international course online – Dick Smith’s Prosthetic Make-up Course – to further my knowledge in the industry.
Straight into my second year I found myself snatched up in the film industry, working for one of the bigger film companies, doing moulding and fabrication for the year. I did go back to complete my diploma but was actually already fulfilling the role of a 3rd year lecturer to certain modules in the course. I spent two more years honing those skills whilst lecturing full time before stepping out into the film industry one hundred per cent, and fortunately working for the biggest film effects company in SA at the time as their Head of the sculpting department. My understanding of the industry grew immensely throughout another two years of hard grafting.
I’m sure there’s never a dull moment at work. What is a typical day like in the life of Chad Waller?
Well, the joys of running your own company means there is never a set routine, one minute I could be in the studio fiber glassing, next I’m in the office signing documents and contracts then bam next thing you know I’m on my way to a production meeting to meet with a film director or famous artist, dressed in my track pants with silicone stain down the sides. Hahaha. But that’s what I love about my job, always something new around every corner; it definitely keeps me on my toes.
Many people don’t know that we have some of the biggest international movies shot here in Cape Town. Which movies have been most memorable to work on?
Blood Drive – My team and I were given full creative control to design and create the fun gory bits. A special effects artist’s dream!!!!
What was the most difficult project that you’ve ever worked on?
Hands down “Dominion season 2” everything that could go wrong, went wrong!
It was a matter of learn to swim NOW or die! Well I swam, I swam for my life. But I learnt so many lessons, some of those lessons I wish to never re-learn. Been there, done that, got the T-shirt. And guess what, I didn’t die.
Are there any incidents (creepy/ funny) that you can recall about your silicone body parts?
I was once stopped by a cop whilst transporting a replica dummy in the seat next to me. He thought I was travelling with a naked passenger.
Also, the petrol boys tend to get a fright when they see the crazy creations lying in the back of my bakkie. They somehow never believe me when I say it’s fake, it’s fake, it’s for the movies.
What do you love most about your job?
Being the boss!!! No I’m kidding. I love that I am building a brand, a name. Creating work and pieces I can look back on and feel proud that it came out of my studio, Organic Canvas.
Is your work only based in the film industry?
No not at all. If you can design it, I will create it. Or hell just tells me what you are wanting and I’ll design and create it. There are not limits when it comes to my field. I can sculpt, fabricate, design, mold, cast, apply etc. I even made a set of old saggy balls for a fancy dress party. Believe me sky is not the limit.
How do people go about contacting you regarding projects?
They can mail me directly at email@example.com as well as via my website www.organiccanvas.co.za