February 6, 2014

Industry Speaks: Camden Toy

Camden Toy is an actor, screenwriter, and editor whose love for acting and make-up runs deep into his childhood. He spent an afternoon with our students, graduates and fans discussing his passions, sharing his love of theater and theater performances, actors and artisans, make-ups and monsters.

Camden has had a fascination with the world of fantasy, classic horror and the make-ups that brought these characters to life from an early age. His father Malcolm was a make-up artist who had worked under Wally Westmore at the Paramount lot.

Camden shares a story of his first experiences with make-up. As a boy of no older than about 8 years old, his father found him rummaging through his make-up kit. Camden fondly recalls how his father leaned into him and quietly asks his son, “Do you want me to show you how to use that?”  Learning to apply old age make-up, with a putty nose and a fake beard, Camden’s lifelong love of make-up began.

“Dick Smith was a huge influence…” Camden describes how thrilling it was to transform himself into all sorts of characters and creatures using Dicks Smith’s Do-It-Yourself Monster Make-up Handbook.

Over the years, Camden has had his fair share of wearing all types of make-ups, but some of his most recognizable characters and monstrous creatures don’t resemble Camden at all. He has been described as a suit performer and character actor who has acted in over 100 independent films. On this afternoon, he shared his professional reel and photographs of his most outstanding and identifiable prosthetic characters on the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel.

“I don’t like to think of myself as a suit performer. I like to think of myself as an actor who is able to integrate full prosthetic suits into my performance.”

Camden’s introduction to the Buffy the Vampire Slayer began with his principal role portraying one of the characters called the Gentleman on the episode “HUSH” This episode was one of the most highly rated and viewed episodes of the series and many would recognize his now infamous grin alongside his fellow Gentleman, Doug Jones.

Each of the make-ups Camden has worn for Buffy and Angel were designed so that he could fully express and act through the make-ups.  He explained how he appreciated the care and concern the make-up artists and craftsmen put into each aspect of developing the creatures, including contact lenses, claws and teeth.

“Almost Human had a wonderful dental technician and teeth guy…[James Conrad]” Camden explains how James was always gracious and considerate in taking his ideas into consideration when designing some of the most amazing sets of teeth for many of his characters on the Buffy and Angel series.

At the conclusion of the Industry Speaks event, a guest asked about the types of characters he preferred to play. Camden exclaimed with a dubious and sinister smile, “Bad guys are SO much more fun to play!”

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